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Uptown Theater (Washington, D.C.) facts for kids

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The Uptown Theater
Uptown Theater, Washington, D.C.15084v.jpg
General information
Type Theater
Architectural style Art Deco
Location Northwest, Washington, D.C., United States
Coordinates 38°56′06″N 77°03′31″W / 38.9349°N 77.0585°W / 38.9349; -77.0585
Completed 1936
Roof 171 feet (52 m)
Design and construction
Architect John Jacob Zink

The Uptown Theater, known as The Uptown (formerly Cineplex Odeon Uptown or AMC Loews Uptown 1), was a single-screen movie theater in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Opened in 1936, it hosted the world premieres of such movies as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Jurassic Park. It closed in March 2020.

Its screen was the largest commercial movie theater screen in the DC Metro area outside of the Smithsonian Institution.


Opened on October 29, 1936, the theater was designed by architect John Jacob Zink, whose firm designed over 200 theaters across the United States, and the 14th built by Warner Brothers in Washington, D.C. The exterior is constructed of yellow and red brick and the facade is partially faced in limestone fluted panels. The limestone features typical Art Deco motifs, including zigzag patterns and floral reliefs. The marquee includes streamlined aluminum bands. The main entrance to the theater is below this marquee. Two one-story storefronts flank the theater entrances.

The Uptown has a curved screen, 70 feet (21 m) by 40 feet (12 m), one of the largest in the area. The theater originally seated 1,120, but a $500,000 renovation in 1996 decreased capacity to 850. Nothing remains of the original decor.

In December 2010, the theater's Norelco 35mm/70mm projector was dismantled and replaced with a Christie Dual-Projector 3D system for the opening of Tron: Legacy.

In March 2020, AMC Theatres announced the closing of the 84-year-old theater, as AMC's lease on the space was about to expire. Unlike many temporary closures hitting the D.C. region in 2020, the closure of the Uptown Theater is permanent and does not seem connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Film premieres

Detail of Uptown Theater sign
  • World premiere of 2001: A Space Odyssey on April 2, 1968. The release was presented in a 70mm projection format with a six-track stereo magnetic soundtrack. Following this screening, director Stanley Kubrick cut almost 20 minutes from the film's running time.
  • One of the first 32 houses to play Star Wars on its opening day (Wednesday, May 25, 1977) in 35 mm with a 4-track stereo soundtrack. The theater also started playing the film in the 70 mm projection format with a 6-track Dolby Stereo magnetic soundtrack on December 16 of the same year.
  • Madonna attended the world premiere of Dick Tracy on June 10, 1990.
  • World premiere of Jurassic Park on June 9, 1993.
  • The 8th U.S. theater to screen director Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now on October 3, 1979. Six-Track Dolby Stereo, which showcased a then-new quintaphonic split-surround audio mix. The film was shown without opening or closing credits or any studio logos; instead, a program was handed out to moviegoers.
  • World premiere of Dances with Wolves on October 19, 1990. During the screening, the projector broke down twice.
  • The Guardian, starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, on September 7, 2006.
  • Lions for Lambs, starring Robert Redford, Tom Cruise, and Meryl Streep and directed by Redford, on November 7, 2007.
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