Avalon Theatre

5612 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20015

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Showing 51 - 67 of 67 comments

rlvjr on July 10, 2007 at 10:32 pm

Regarding 70MM films: The AVALON played Paul Newman and Tom Cruise in THE COLOR OF MONEY in 70 MM for several weeks when it was first run. The fact is that in 2007 Hollywood has lost interest in 70 MM, as there hasn’t been a new 70 MM in years. Too bad.

rlvjr on July 10, 2007 at 10:24 pm

I think the point should be made loud and clear that the AVALON is a fully functioning 7 day a week movie theatre, usually showing first run pictures. That’s what most users of this site want to read.

The most recent movie I saw here was THE QUEEN — which was popular enough to run several weeks.

If you want to see a good movie in a real historic theatre, come to the AVALON and/or the UPTOWN which is two miles away, just down Connecticut Avenue. Prices, by the way, are similar to multiplexes.

HowardBHaas on December 25, 2006 at 2:25 pm

The theater’s website has photos and history of the auditorium ceiling dome mural, which was painted in 1985. The site also discusses the restoration of the theater.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 25, 2006 at 2:22 pm

I saw a movie here 100 years ago (OK maybe it was more like 1988). Cineplex house at the time. Show was in the main theatre. Nice and roomy. Interesting mural painted inside the dome, which I have heard was a modern-day creation. Rest of the theatre painted black.

JodarMovieFan on September 11, 2006 at 4:10 pm

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing “Hollywoodland” at this theater. And I’m pleased to report that someone either read my Email or posting here about in-house advertising the theater to bolster its support and continued patronage. The presentation was excellent as was the sound. As noted in my previous visit, the AC system does interfere with the sound somewhat but you learn to ignore it as the movie progresses. I doubt there’s anything they can do short of spending a lot of money redoing the heating and cooling system, which would strain their finances.

As for 70mm presentations, I’m still waiting…………..as well as other patrons for some classics in the wide screen format someday….

JodarMovieFan on May 29, 2006 at 12:08 pm

I just saw “The Davinci Code” here having not been to the Avalon in probably over 14 years or so. The presentation of the film, itself, was quite good, the sound separation and clarity is very good. The only detraction to the complete enjoyment of the sound was the loudness of the air conditioning system, which seemed to be coming from above the screen and sounded like a constant hiss, which I thought was the movie’s sound. Probably for this reason, this place could never be THX certified.

The purple carpet and theme of the previous Cineplex company is gone as are the seats. The current seats are very comfortable and firm, though there are less of them to make accomodations for patrons with special needs. The surround speakers are visible, whereas, if memory serves me correctly, they were blended in the walls of the theater. The screen doesn’t use the curtain anymore, which is a shame but the old, slightly curved screen has been restored though there is a slight tear at the bottom of it. The mens room is need of repair as the waste water pipe, underneath the sink, is missing, with only a bucket to capture waste water. Lastly, there was no individual to introduce the film or encourage people to become members to support the theater. At least they could’ve filmed an announcement to show prior to the movie. AFI and The Senator do, perhaps they should take some cues from those two about growing awareness about the Avalon and independently owned theaters.

I have written twice to the individual responsible for programming, with the suggestion of having a classic film festival, ala the Ziegfeld, and showcase films in 70mm. No response has been received. I guess they don’t care much for your suggestions if you’re not a member of their non-profit group.
To my recollection, they have yet to screen any film in 70mm since they have reopened.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 7, 2005 at 2:47 am

An October 2005 photograph of the marquee and entrance to the Avalon Theatre here:
View link

rlvjr on May 19, 2005 at 9:41 pm

When the AVALON and the UPTOWN were neighbors under Warner ownership and functioning as neighborhood theaters, the AVALON got pictures about one week later and charged about 10% less. This was in the 1950’s. Both would become first run theatres and I saw many pictures here. The AVALON I and AVALON II are not similar. The AVALON I is a superior one-screen theatre with about 600 seats. The AVALON II was created decades later utilizing unused office space (not the balcony as there never was a balcony). With 200 seats, a flat floor, and small screen, it’s a broom closet; not a great place like the full auditorium downstairs.

Refrigman on January 23, 2005 at 4:44 pm

As an usher at the old single screen Avalon in late 1964-early 1965 I was stunned to find a former place of employment “an historic restoration project” when I visited DC briefly in Sept. 2003. I peered in the front and was surprised to see the concession stand at the side of the lobby rather than through the doors to the seating area. In 1964 the manager was about 85 years old (his name I have forgotten) but had been there a long time. His office was along the left side of the seating area about half way up. The assistant manager was a part-timer (like me) who was a member of the Navy Band as a day job. I saw “A Shot in the Dark” 42 times while working and used to know the dialogue by heart.
At that time the ushers had been exempted by Congress from Federal minimum wage and I was paid $.85/hr.
Also the marquee letters at that time, as I recall, were placed on the projecting marquee from a ladder with a pole, and not over the front doors. Must have been lots of changes when the 1970s remake was done.
Dave Martin

JodarMovieFan on July 25, 2004 at 8:09 pm

I now remember the name of the sound system. It was HPS-4000!

JodarMovieFan on March 8, 2004 at 10:33 am

I have fond memories of this theater as Theater #2, the small one upstairs, was where I saw my first Rated R film, Altered States back in 1980! So, the statement that it was twinned in 1985 isn’t correct. After the 1985 remodel, the theater, at that time, boasted one of the first digital sound systems in the country. That same year I saw “The Goonies” (70mm?), with my little cousins, and the re-release of “Fantasia” (which put me to sleep). The print had excellent sound, or updated Fantasound <G>, but wasn’t enough to sustain my interests.

The theater, at that time, boasted one of the first digital sound systems in the region, if not the country. I don’t think this film booked any other 70mm films, as the larger moviehouses usually got those special prints, but I also remember seeing Steven Spielberg’s “Always” (non-70mm) and a few other films. The screen, if I remember correctly, had a slight curvature to it.

NickCoston on November 14, 2003 at 1:01 pm

I live in DC and helped with promoting the opening of The Avalon. It’s a great testiment to the will of the people in that neighborhood who made this place open and look so original. It’s a site to behold, the entire city of DC owes these people a huge thank you.

leedavid on March 6, 2003 at 5:03 pm

The Avalon is reopening in April. There will be a number of public events, as well as a fundraising Gala on June 1. The DC Filmfest is scheduled to show films there next month too. If you’re in the neighborhood this spring, stop by and see the restored theater. And check the website, www.theavalon.org for updated info.

Leesburgtheatre on July 17, 2002 at 12:07 am

I was interested to see that you are taking on the Avalon. My partner and I are about to reopen a 71 yr old twin(the Tally Ho) in Leesburg, Va. – as a twin movie theatre, plus live performances(stage, music, comedy, auctions, closed circuit sports, etc. If there is anything we can do to help you, pld feel free to ask. At the very least, we share a common destiny and should communicate from time to time. Best of luck. Pat Hoke.

Jenikap on December 7, 2001 at 2:59 pm

I want to inform anyone who is interested that a non-profit organization, Avalon Theater Project, has been created to preserve and reopen the Avalon. If anyone is interested in participating, volunteering or supporting our efforts please let us know. We can be reached by e-mail at . We are currently looking for signatures for a petition. Please let us hear from you.

Bob007 on August 28, 2001 at 10:40 am

The Avalon was originally built as the Chevy Chase Theatre. It was twinned in the early ‘70s not in 1985 under RKO Stanley-Warner’s ownership. The second auditorium was added where a dance studio originally was located. The main auditorium never had a balcony. The story goes that a balcony was planned for but the builders ran short of money and had to eliminate it. The projection booth was high enough above the floor that you could see there was plenty of room for a balcony if they had desired one!