Best Big Screen Trend: The Movie Theater Rush

by UrbanTurf Staff

Best Big Screen Trend: The Movie Theater Rush: Figure 1
The 16-screen theater planned for Navy Yard.

In the 1990s, Washington, DC was awash in movie theaters. And then they started disappearing.

Three located in and around Dupont Circle closed one after another. Then Georgetown lost a theater. Another on MacArthur Boulevard became a CVS Pharmacy. When the movie theater in Union Station shuttered in 2009, it certainly appeared as though the venue would soon be extinct in the nation’s capital.

And then 2013 arrived, and it seemed as though a new movie theater was opening every other month.

In June, we learned of the possibility of an independent six-screen theater coming to 8th and V Street NW. Two months later, ANC 6D voted unanimously to support the newest plan for the Navy Yard, which included a 600-unit mixed-use development and a 16-screen Showplace movie theater.

Then, in rapid succession, two more theaters were announced in relatively close proximity to one another. On November 7th, UrbanTurf reported that a 10-screen Landmark Theater would open in NoMa with a full-­‐service bar, luxury seats, reserved seat selection, and 3-D projection. Not more than a week later, The Washington Post reported that an eight-screen Angelika movie theater would open at Union Market in 2015. The Angelika Film Center is known for showing independent movies and offering movie-watching cuisine that goes beyond popcorn and soda.

What led to the thinking that the silver screen could once again be successful in DC? Who knows. But UrbanTurf staff will be frequenting all of these theaters once they open their doors.

Other entries in UrbanTurf’s Best of 2013:

See other articles related to: dclofts, best of 2013

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/best_big_screen_trend_the_movie_theater_rush/7945


  1. Film Buff said at 9:38 pm on Wednesday December 18, 2013:
    I went to the Angelika Film Center out in VA and was underwhelmed.
  1. m said at 11:15 pm on Wednesday December 18, 2013:
    I hope they end up like LA. You can reserved seats online or on an ipad at the theatre...so no racing to beat the rush. Bars and restaurants inside the theatre. And real stadium comfy seats!
  1. Film Buff said at 3:03 pm on Thursday December 19, 2013:
    ^^ You can do all that at the one in Merrifield, but it still wasn't all that.
  1. e said at 3:17 pm on Thursday December 19, 2013:
    Underwhelmed by a movie theater? It's got a screen, seats, and over-priced snacks. What are you expecting? One problem theaters in DC had was that they were pretty much singular -- one or two screen deals. Economically, that no longer works. They need more movies, and even multiple screens for the same big movies to accommodate time-sensitive demands of customers. The only real multiplex was Union Station, which was not a great destination - no one lives there, and city residents wouldn't go out there for the food offerings. The new theaters are banking on locating in places where residents are already spending entertainment dollars. Yeah -- people have more entertainment options at home now, and movie theaters seem like they might have an expiration date, but city residents are going to be more inclined to go out. So, it could work.
  1. JJ said at 3:46 pm on Thursday December 19, 2013:
    I think its quite an omission to cite all the movie theater closings since the 1990's while ignoring the additions including Regal in Gallery Place, Landmark on E Street, and Loews in Georgetown.
  1. Kevin said at 5:18 pm on Thursday December 19, 2013:
    If anyone has been to CineBistro like the one in Hampton VA, they do it right. And to address "e said" I want the movie experience to be one free of rowdy people and crying kids great seats (that you can reserve online), and a top of the line cinema delivery system as well as sound system to immerse myself in the movie. I like how the theater in Hampton is off limits to 21 and under after a certain time...no exceptions and the food they serve their was amazing but I can certainly forgo the food for just a great cinema.
  1. Hill Girl said at 7:14 pm on Thursday December 19, 2013:
    <i>The only real multiplex was Union Station, which was not a great destination - no one lives there, and city residents wouldn’t go out there for the food offerings</i> Plenty of "city residents" went there, and they made the place a nightmare to see a movie with their talking, little kids (at "R" movies, no less) and ghetto antics. I think someone was shot there right before it closed.

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