UA 6 Movies
320 3rd Avenue,
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Previously operated by: United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.
Architects: Daniel T. Uesugi
Firms: Uesugi & Associates
Located in Park Plaza at the Village. When UA Movies-Chula Vista had its grand opening in 1983, studio heads were brought down from Los Angeles on a special railcar to see its modern amenities and futuristic design. However, both Mann Plaza Bonita (1982) and Pacific Sweetwater (1983)–also sixplexes and each in nearby National City–also had recently opened. San Diego’s South Bay had 18 screens overnight.
UA Chula Vista was, unfortunately, usually the slowest of these three complexes because of United Artists Theatres' perennially weak booking power. However, with its glass pyramidal lobby and contemporary ice-blue tile decor, Chula Vista then was still quite something more to look at over its competitors. The main theatre seated 504 and it had 70mm capability, though this was rarely used (a notable exception was a 70mm engagement of “Amadeus”). “Rambo:First Blood Part II” (1985) was one of this theatre’s few super-busy times, opening on multiple screens and to sell-out crowds. Paul Belshe was manager then, before moving on to run the much busier and far more prestigious UA Horton Plaza opening in downtown San Diego later that year. All of Horton’s original assistant managers came from Chula; and many of the floor staff were trained here for Paul’s new location.
In the megaplex era, Chula Vista 6 did have a brief post-UA afterlife under the CinemaStar chain but closed in 2000. Today, like so many of the 1980’s multiplexes, it now serves as a fitness center.
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Recent comments (view all 4 comments)
This United Artists house in Chula Vista was one of a number of six-screen multiplexes designed for United Artists in the 1980s by San Francisco architect Daniel T. Uesugi.
When did “Amadeus” play here in 70mm? (It’s mentioned sans playdates in overview.)
I managed to ascertain the desired playdate details regarding “Amadeus” and, just as I suspected, it was a subsequent run commencing several months after the initial San Diego exclusive first-run at the Cinerama. This hdtv267 dude, consumed by his snarky attitude, no doubt thought the answer September 19th 1984 (because, you know, that’s what a five-second internet search yields when you misunderstand the question). Anyway, it appears the Chula Vista run commenced December 21st 1984 in 35mm with a mid-run switch to 70mm on January 25th 1985. If I did the math correctly, the run played 18 weeks in total.
My first job was at the UA6 in Chula Vista. I worked in concession briefly and then I was trained as a projectionist. I later left to work with Paul Belshe (manager) when the UA Horton Plaza opened. Lots of fond memories.
As for the Amadeus questions, we got it second run. We had it in 70MM for a bit. But unfortunately it didn’t last long. One of the other projectionist didn’t secure the suction cups on the platter system. The film unwound and tangled on the platter system.
I came into work that night to pick up my check. Belshe took me upstairs to see what had happened and asked me to build the 35MM backup print. He had me take photos to send in to the DM. I still have those somewhere.
We did try to get a a replacement reel to keep running Amadeus in 70MM. When Orion was contacted, they had not known that we even had a 70MM print! No replacement reels were dispatched and Amadeus finished it’s run in 35MM.
UA6 CV didn’t get the best of bookings. Mann Plaza Bonita and Pacific Sweetwater seemed to get the better bookings. But yes, it was a fun first job.
I continued to work for UA for many years. In 1994, I was stolen away by SDDS at Sony Pictures. It was a great graduation to the bigger side of the industry. The money at Sony was great! It was a fantastic job… until the layoffs.