In 2000, the Grinch didn’t just steal Christmas. After serving 63 years as the stage for countless cinematic and personal memories, Coronado’s Village Theater abruptly closed its doors. But, unbeknownst to most island residents, the action continued behind the scenes…
For the past decade, Lance Alspaugh of Vintage Cinemas dedicated himself to bringing the historic Village Theater back to life. Vintage Cinemas, based in Los Angeles, operates select classic movie theaters that offer patrons a “timeless moviegoing” experience without forgoing modern perks. Village Theater is their third movie house, in addition to Vista Theater (1923) in Hollywood and Los Feliz Theater (1934) in Los Angeles.
Built in 1947, Village Theater was originally a 600-seat single screen movie house. With financial backing from Coronado’s Redevelopment Agency, the dedication of a variety of talented specialists, and an investment of $3 million, the original marquis is glowing once again. Renowned theater designer, Joseph Musil, responsible for the beauty of Hollywood’s El Capitan Theater, is the genius behind the Art Deco splendor of Village Theater. Although he died before its completion, he was able to give enough direction for the design team to complete his vision.
In order to allow for proper movie rotation, which is necessary for survival in today’s movie industry, the theater is now a triplex with a 215-seat main auditorium and two 45-seat screening rooms. Despite the budgetary glitches typical for a project of this caliber, no detail was overlooked. The most jaw dropping features are the glowing three-dimensional murals depicting downtown San Diego’s skyline, Balboa Park, and the Hotel Del…all hand-painted by acclaimed Disney muralist Bill Anderson. Although you may feel as though you’ve stepped back in time after purchasing your ticket at the single box office, walking through the classic lobby with its solitary snack bar, and sinking into your lush chair surrounded by exquisite art, the state-of-the-art technological features – including Sony Digital Cinema, Dolby Digital Sound, and two RealD 3-D screens – keep you firmly rooted in the present.
Village Theater reopened to the public on June 24, 2011, with the screening of Cars 2. A wide variety of movies are planned for the future, including both major first run productions and independent artsy films.
Rather than line up behind the hordes of followers at your local megaplex, break free from the chains, cross San Diego Bay, and enjoy a taste of Americana and small town service at Village Theater.
Coronado Village Theater
820 Orange Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118
Click HERE for movie times!