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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

Town Center


Theatre Specifications
Chain: Edwards
Opened: December 25, 1981
Closed: Approx. 2001 - Demolished in 2007
Seats: 600 (in each "big" auditorium)


Close to the 405 Freeway and just a short drive from the South Coast Plaza theatres is the Town Center.  Opened on December 25, 1981, the four-screen theatre featured two auditoriums with 600-seats each, fairly large for then-modern cinemas.  This theatre was built during a period in which Edwards seemed to have a similar design on many of their theatres.  The lobbies weren’t huge, but large enough to handle weekend crowds, and restrooms were located upstairs. 


What made this theatre, and some other Edwards' unique, was that moviegoers could get a glimpse of the projection booths on both sides of the complex.  Large 70mm reels were displayed in the window of the booths for display. During a 70mm engagement, patrons could see the large format film turning on the flat platters.  And if memory serves, there was at least one sign/sticker posted in the window of the projection booth that told moviegoers that the theatre was equipped for Dolby Stereo.


The large auditoriums had two aisles and three seating sections, red and white curtains on the side walls, and a viewing section in the back as you entered.  The screens were flat and not particularly large, but projection and sound were generally excellent.  The theatre, on occasion, would play two 70mm prints at the same time.


Town Center hosted a number of 70mm engagements during the 1980s.  Like its sister complex up the street (South Coast Plaza III), Town Center hosted a number of 70mm engagements during the 1980s, including the O.C. exclusive of "Quest For Fire" (1982).  The theatre was also one of the host sites for a special British film festival. 


By the early 2000s, the theatre became an art house, but it was in seriously poor shape.  Curtains were torn, carpet was well-worn and seats weren’t very comfortable anymore.  The theatre closed by 2001.  It was demolished in May 2007, and is slated to be replaced by a high-rise office tower.




Edwards Town Center opening day ad (December 25, 1981) [Enlarge]


Edwards Town Center shortly after closing (2000)


Town Center entrance and lobby


Side of Town Center


Front view of Town Center (2005)


Looking towards Anton


Looking towards 405 Freeway


Side view of auditorium #1 exterior


Canopy over box office


Town Center box office


Neon box office sign


Town Center sign on Anton


Looking toward the former Town Center and South Coast Plaza (not pictured)


"Mount Town Center" rises above the parking lot in 2007

[1] The Orange County Register / Edwards
[2] William Kallay



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