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A year-by-year, film-by-film history of 70-millimeter wide gauge exhibition in Orange County, California


 Compiled by Michael Coate and William Kallay



70mm Equipped Theatre Pictures



Theatre Specifications
Chains: AMC / Blood's
Opened: September 25, 1987
Closed: 2000, then re-opened later that same year — Closed again in 2006
Seats: Approx. 500 (in two auditoriums)


The AMC MainPlace 6, located upstairs in the MainPlace Mall, opened in the fall of 1987.  This was AMC’s nicest theatre complex in Orange County.  Why say this?  Because most of the company’s theatre complexes in Southern California were small, dank theatres with skinny auditoriums, bad projection and lousy mono sound.  Yet when MainPlace opened, it was the dawn of a new era for AMC in the region.


This complex was extremely nice.  To get to it, patrons had to ride up an escalator to the upper level of the mall.  Once upstairs, and depending on what you were seeing, you were either directed to the right side of the complex, or across a bridge to the left side where the two large, 500-seat auditoriums were.


Most of the auditoriums on the right side of the MainPlace 6 weren’t too small, though theatre #1 was pretty tiny.  All had common-width screens, though.  But the showcase theatres were something special.


Each screen on the left side of the complex (when entering the lobby from the escalator) had 70mm projection and THX Sound certification.  Though the screens weren’t very large (especially compared to the Cinedome nearby), they held the bright projected image of a 70mm print very well.  And even certain 35mm prints looked very good here.  The sound system was clean and dynamic.


The auditoriums were something beyond what AMC normally had in Southern California.  The seats were comfortable.  The interior décor, though sparse, was pleasing.  Ceiling fans spun above.  Typical of AMC’s “policy,” there weren’t any curtains covering the screens, and on-screen slides were shown to the audience as they waited for the film to begin. 


At first, art films like “Withnail and I” and “Chuck Berry: Hail, Hail Rock and Roll” played at the theatre, which always seemed empty, even on weekends.  It seemed like it took a few months for the theatre to gain patronage.  Soon, AMC started booking more commercial films, usually ones that didn’t play at the Cinedome.


The complex ran 70mm prints from studios who normally did not book with the Cinedome.  Disney and Fox were the main suppliers, as well as Columbia (now Sony).  The first 70mm presentation here was “Cry Freedom,” which was soon followed by the much more successful “The Last Emperor.”


Although the theatre did moderate business, it closed down in 2000 when AMC opened up their huge 30-screen complex at The Block of Orange.  That mall replaced the old City Mall, which had the Orange City Center theatre in its parking lot.  But all was not lost when Blood, an independent theatre operator, came in and leased the theater shortly after it had closed.  But in 2006, the owner was evicted and the theatre closed again.  It's scheduled to re-open in fall of 2006.




AMC MainPlace 6 opened on September 25, 1987 [Enlarge]


The restored 50th Anniversary print of Walt Disney's "Fantasia" drew big crowds of kids and adults [Enlarge]


Ticket stub from one of two times FSTD's Bill Kallay saw "Fantasia" at MainPlace in 70mm —  Unfortunately, the first time seeing it was with a crowd of parents and their young children, which made for a noisy and very distracting show — But the second time seeing it was with a theatre filled with adults to enjoy this masterpiece in animation


MainPlace 6 (2005)


MainPlace's two main auditoriums are housed on one side of the upper level of the mall


MainPlace's four additional auditoriums (located via bridge inside of mall)

[1] The Orange County Register / AMC
[2] AMC / Walt Disney Pictures
[3] William Kallay



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