Regal Cinema closes Broadway Faire cinema in Fresno

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Stand in line. Those who came to the United Artist Theater on Broadway Faire around noon on a Friday in 1996 were able to see a performance and make history.

Fresno Bee File

Fans of the big-screen multiplex cinematic experience now have one less choice in Fresno.

Regal Cinema announced that it will close its Broadway Faire theater on Thursday.

The company made the announcement in an email and on its website on Wednesday. No reason was given for the closure and fans were directed to Regal’s three other Fresno locations: Manchester Center, River Park and El Paseo.

Similar shutdowns have been reported in several states and are likely linked to the bankruptcy of Regal’s parent company, Cineworld, which has been struggling since the pandemic. Its stock crashed 80% at one point in Augustas reported by CNN.

A message to Regal Cinema was not immediately returned.

The Fresno Theater opened as a United Artist venue

The Broadway Faire Theater opened in 1996 under United Artist, at the time the largest theater chain in the county.

It was built in an expanding area of ​​West Shaw Avenue and was the first new movie theater in Fresno since 1975, according to Bee’s records.

In a way, this ushered Fresno into the multiplex era. He added 10 screens and 2,800 seats (with cupholders, no less) and brought the total number of movie screens in Fresno to 50, which was above the national average for a metropolitan area in the United States. era.

It was equipped with a digital stereo (the same sound quality as a compact disc, to quote The Bee’s cover at the time) and had two screens with LucasFilm’s “THX” sound technology. It also had side aisles and air conditioning and heating units “located so that moviegoers are less likely to hear them”.

Edwards Theaters Circuit Inc. opened its iconic 21-screen theater in River Park two years later.

That same year, Broadway Faire had its first remodel.

Not the first theater in Fresno to close

In some ways, Broadway Faire was also the last of the old-school movie theaters dotted around the city; along Blackstone Avenue north and south, and on Shaw from east to west.

Half a dozen cinemas closed in Fresno in the late 1990s, including Northgate Cinemas, UA Movies and Manchester Mall Cinemas (all part of the United Artists chain, which was eventually absorbed into Regal Cinemas).

Festival Cinemas on Blackstone and Barstow Avenues; The Regency Cinemas on Shaw and Willow Avenues in Clovis and the Fig Garden Cinemas in the Fig Garden Village all closed in 2000.

For those looking for a real trip down memory lane, the site cinematreasures.org has a comprehensive listing of Fresno movie theaters, including long-gone venues like the Country Squire Theater on Ashlan Avenue and the Hippodrome Theater on Fresno Street.

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Joshua Tehee covers breaking news for The Fresno Bee, writing on a wide range of topics from police, politics and weather to arts and entertainment in the Central Valley.

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