Century Theatres

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Century Theatres
Type subsidiary
Industry movie theaters
Founded 1941
Headquarters San Rafael, California
Key people Raymond W. Syufy, founder
Parent Cinemark Theatres
Website www.centurytheatres.com

Century Theatres is a movie theater chain that operates many multiplexes in the western United States, primarily in California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. In its later years, it had expanded into the inter-mountain states, the Pacific Northwest, Texas, and parts of the Midwest. Founded in 1941, the chain was headquartered in San Rafael, California until it was acquired by Cinemark Theaters from Plano, Texas in 2006. Many now-Cinemark-owned theaters continue to operate under the "Century" name.

History[edit]

The Century Theater chain was originally named Syufy Enterprises, for its founder Raymond Syufy (senior), who built his first theater in Vallejo, CA in 1941. The first Century theater was the Century 21 in San Jose, California, which opened in 1963, adjacent to the Winchester Mystery House. The Century 21 theater was built to showcase Cinerama type movies (the left and right empty projection booths are still present), but in fact, it showed only 70mm movies. The screen was later replaced with a flat model, and has remained intact as a throwback to the domed Cinerama palaces of the 1960s. The "Century 21" name was a tactic used to convey to the viewing public a "futuristic image". This image is bolstered by the lobby's distinct modern "bubbled lights" and metallic gold accents. The large orange metal ornament on the top of the domed-theater was functional in addition to being decorative—theater employees rappelled from it when the dome's outer track-lighting needed to be maintained. The first film presented at the Century 21 was It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 70mm format.

A Century Theatres location in Oregon in 2011

The company started using the name "Century Theatres" in the early 1990s.

Century Theatres has a long history of litigation against its much larger competitor, AMC Theatres, for alleged anti-competitive behavior. However, since the late 1990s, both sides have generally refrained from suing each other.

On August 8, 2006, Texas-based chain Cinemark Theatres announced that it had completed a purchase agreement under which Century Theatres would be acquired with a combination of cash and stock from Cinemark's parent company and Front Row Joe.[1] The transition to Cinemark was completed on Thursday, October 5, 2006, with the exception of the Century 21, 22, and 23 theatres in San Jose, which were transferred back to their original company, Syufy Enterprises, and operate under the name "Winchester Theatres" (in early 2013 it was announced that the theater property is soon to be redeveloped). The company's drive-in theatres and swap meets were also not part of the merger and also reverted to Syufy Enterprises ownership. They now operate under the brand-name "West Wind Drive-Ins and Public Markets".

2012 shooting[edit]

Main article: 2012 Aurora shooting

On July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight showing of the movie The Dark Knight Rises, a gunman, suspected to be one James Eagan Holmes, shot at viewers in Theater 9 at the Century 16 theater, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others.[2][3]

The Aurora 16 theater, 3 months after the 2012 Aurora shooting

Cinemark held an "evening of remembrance" at the remodeled theater on January 17, 2013, inviting elected officials, victims and relatives of victims, after which movies were shown without charge. The theater reopened permanently on January 25. Theater 9 at Century Aurora is now a Cinemark XD Theatre. On the other hand, instead of numbers, there are letters instead. For example, the Theater 9 which now has an XD screen is now Theater I and Theater 8 is now Theater H. [4]

Amenities[edit]

The Aurora 16 theater, as of January 17, 2013 after the reconstruction now called Century Aurora

Most Century theaters serve Starbucks iced coffee and Nathan's Famous Hotdogs. The concessions area of each Century typically sells a large selection of candy, pretzel bites, nachos, pizza, popcorn, kettle corn, ICEEs, sodas, ice cream treats and water. Since the summer of 2010, they are mostly equipped with Coca-Cola Freestyle. The cafe section of concessions sells cakes, Starbucks coffees, teas, cookies and other treats.

XD[edit]

In 2009 Cinemark introduced "XD" or Extreme Digital Cinema, the company's response to IMAX. Extreme Digital allows Cinemark to play any movie they want on it, unlike IMAX which needs special formatting. Because of this, Cinemark can play a different movie on their XD auditoriums whenever they want, where IMAX usually plays the same movie for weeks. There are currently 25 Century and Cinemark Theaters equipped with XD. The technology employs a larger screen, up to 38' × 70', with additional improvements in audio and digital projection. The projector can project either 2D or 3D from digital cinema sources.

Shortly after its introduction IMAX filed a lawsuit against Cinemark, claiming that Cinemark stole trade secrets from them that ultimately went into the creation of xD.[5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Century Theatres at Wikimedia Commons