Irvine Spectrum 21 & IMAX

65 Fortune Drive,
Irvine, CA 92618

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Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21

This Edwards Theatre’s 21 & IMAX opened November 22, 1995 and was one of the first megaplexes, also billed as the largest motion picture complex in the nation at the time. Soon to follow was the Edwards Ontario Palace 22 and IMAX. The Edwards Irvine Spectrum is located within a large out door shopping complex called the Irvine Spectrum.

This theatre was the first to use the themed auditorium concept from what I have learned. The lobby is 15,000 square feet. The theater itself is adorned in marble from Italy, Greece, South Africa and Tunisia, with vibrant murals and majestic staircases, Art Deco-inspired, polished stainless steel and brass ornamentation, and mosaic floors. The lobby has a 100 foot long snack bar and also has seven additional concession areas within the theater.

This Edwards has four themed theatres. They are “The Egyptian”, “The Chinese”, “The Palace”, and “The Hollywood”. These each seat 550 people. The other 16 screens seat between 200 and 250 people. I don’t remember the auditorium numbers for the themed screens. The themed auditoriums are only done so on the outside of the auditorium. The inside looks like any other theatre from it’s time.

The IMAX is a massive 90' wide by 65' high (roughly six and a half stories tall), and seats 580. The Irvine Spectrum site claims the IMAX screen is eight stories tall. I’ve seen it and I don’t believe it’s that tall. The Edwards chain is now under the Regal Entertainment Group and has retained it’s brand name.

Contributed by Mike Juarez

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

CTCrouch on December 19, 2007 at 12:18 am

The property is sandwiched between the 5 and 405, beside the “Y” merger of the two freeways. Back when it opened, there was a small retail courtyard in front of the theatre and a few office buildings in the immediate area (the most significant being the Western Digital building). The theatre was a gawdy beacon, who’s violet neon glow could be seen for miles in all directions. However, within a decade, the area was developed to near capacity and the theatre was virtually encapsulated.

Recently (12/07), I noticed that a set of retail “blocks” were being constructed on either side of the theatre’s main entrance (seperated from the theatre structure by a matter of a few feet), further smothering the building in developement. While the neon roof top is still visible from a distance, on site, one has to almost be at the front doors to see the theatre.

A once dramatic structure that has lost much of it’s visual impact in the name of progress.

rivest266 on November 16, 2009 at 5:42 pm

The 1996 grand opening ad can be seen at the Orange Coast Magazine at View link (Page 11)

RobertAlex on May 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

Regal’s RPX Screen opens here Friday, 5/25 in what was the Egyptian auditorium.

Marklar on November 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm

I think the first movie I saw here was Jurassic Park: The Lost World but I vividly remember seeing the re-released Star Wars movies here in 1997.

rivest266 on May 24, 2015 at 2:46 pm

December 22nd, 1995 grand opening ad in photo section

greenth1ng on August 4, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Seating capacities for the new VIP theaters (via Fandango’s reserved seating service):

  • Theater 2 – 73 seats

  • Theater 3 – 58 seats

  • Theaters 4 & 7 – 81 seats

  • Theaters 5 & 6 – 63 seats

  • Theater 8 – 68 seats

  • Theater 9 – 85 seats

Flix70 on December 29, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Caught The Hateful Eight here in 70mm over the weekend, only theater in OC showing the road show version. They had it in a tiny little theater, looked like any other standard presentation. The only reason I knew it was film and not digital was the sound of the projector. Glad I saw it, but 70mm road shows are not made for little multiplex screens. Really felt bad when I stepped out at intermission and saw that the large Hollywood screen across the hall was sitting empty (no doubt in between Star Wars screenings).

Flix70 on December 29, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Can anyone tell me the screens numbers for the Palace, Hollywood, Egyptian and Chinese theaters?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 10, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Regal carried out a remodeling of this theater beginning in 2015. Reseating has undoubtedly reduced the overall capacity, but I haven’t been able to discover the current number. The plans for the remodeling were by BB Architects, and the firm’s web site features this slide show with eight photos displaying some of the results.

Fotomac on October 5, 2020 at 11:37 pm

Which auditorium is the ScreenX theatre?

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