French Market Twin Cinemas

2836 NW 63rd Street,
Oklahoma City, OK 73116

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Commonwealth Amusement Corp., United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.

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French Market Twin Cinemas were located on the ground level of the massive French Market Mall shopping complex. French Market Twin Cinemas opened on November 14,, 1975, and (although the mall is still in operation today) the cinemas closed on September 3, 1989. From 1992 to 1994 it was used as a live theatre.

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Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

rivest266
rivest266 on August 22, 2018 at 12:58 am

This opened on December 25th, 1975. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

kpdennis
kpdennis on March 10, 2020 at 10:17 pm

Random memories of managing the French Market Twin for Commonwealth Theaters for a few months in 1985, my second assignment…

The extremely narrow footprint of the FMT meant the lobbies sat on either side of the box office/concession stand, which meant crossing concessions to get to either auditorium. Each of the long, shoebox auditoriums had its own projection booth (barely big enough for the union operator) and really small screens. The office was tucked into one lobby and had a closed circuit tv, the first such security system I encountered in a theatre. Sometimes it worked. Above the theater was a nightclub; loud music routinely filtered through the porous FMT ceilings and walls on the weekends.

While the theatre was rarely busy enough to congest the lobbies, that situation was different when the University of Oklahoma football team arrived one Friday night to catch Jagged Edge. Imagine putting 100+ larger-than-normal people, coaches, trainers, etc., into a space that comfortably fit maybe 15. A sight not easily forgotten. The Sooners got free popcorn and drinks, too, so the concession scene, young giants and mere mortals in the same line, was a bit manic.

Jagged Edge was the biggest film that played FMT in my tenure. A reissue of Gremlins didn’t draw any crowds, but a Stripe doll, swag sent to the theatre, is still around. And Young Sherlock Holmes, despite the Spielberg hype, bombed at Christmas. FMT was also an OKC site for weekly trade screenings, and I got to see many films far in front of their release, or never again. The most memorable was a work print of the Patsy Cline biopic Sweet Dreams, featuring Jessica Lange and a lot of green screen effects yet to be finished. But largely it was a string of contract-fulfilling single plays of Cannon Film product, the Israeli-based company that controlled Commonwealth at the time.

The FMT is gone and not really lamented. The little twin always felt cramped and crammed into its space without much thought or practicality. And it was a way station for managers on the move. As usual, it was the crew that made the French Market Twin memorable.

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on March 19, 2021 at 1:57 am

The French Market Mall launched with its first phase theatre-less with a preview on August 4, 1972. The second phase including an Oklahoma Cinema Theaters Inc. Circuit twin, the French Market Cinema Twin that opened November 14, 1975 with George Kennedy in “The Human Factor” and Natalie Wood in “Peeper.” On June 5, 1981, Commonwealth Amusement Circuit added the Oklahoma Cinema Circuit’s locations of North Park Theater 4, Heritage Park Mall Cinema Three and the French Market Twin.

United Artists bought out Commonwealth in November of 1988. It started to weed out smaller theaters. UA bid au revoir to the French Market 2 theatre which had been demoted to discount $1 house status on September 3, 1989 with “Lock Up” and “Weekend at Bernies.” It also shuttered its Quail Plaza 2, Reding 4, and Shepherd Twin - all aging locations as it wanted to concentrate on 6- and 8-screen multiplexes instead of twins and aging quads.

The theatre was used as a live theatre venue from 1992 to 1994.

OKCdoorman
OKCdoorman on March 20, 2021 at 3:11 am

One exhibition factoid for the French Market Twin: presented the 1977 science-fiction film DAMNATION ALLEY in its authentic “Sound 360” multi-speaker process. It was fairly impressive; as the film’s Landmaster vehicle was introduced on-screen and “rolled over” the camera, the respective audio channels steadily roared from one end of the auditorium to the other.

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