Onate Theatre

700 Dalies Avenue,
Belen, NM 87002

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Commonwealth Theatres

Functions: Movies, Restaurant, Special Events

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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Keeping America's Great Theaters Alive!

The Onate Theatre was opened around September 1939.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 20, 2006 at 12:49 am

The Onate Theater is listed in Film Daily Yearbook; editions 1941 and 1943 but without a seating capacity given. This usually means the theatre had recently opened and details had not been passed to the publishers of F.D.Y. (However two years delay seems like a long time!). In the 1950 edition of F.D.Y. the seating capacity is given as 600.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on November 4, 2006 at 4:53 am

My photograph of the ONATE sign. After reading LM’s comment, I hope they preserved it.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 18, 2016 at 8:51 pm

There were several shots of this movie theater in 1971’s “Bunny O'Hare.” There was a mock movie on the marquee so I couldn’t tell if the place was still open.

Lia on February 13, 2018 at 11:31 am

This fantastic theater is currently available for special events and screenings. The building is in a great downtown Belen business district with lots of unique features. For more information contact

MichaelKilgore on May 7, 2022 at 8:23 pm

Boxoffice, April 28, 1969: “Commonwealth Theatres has sold the Onate Theatre and Zia Drive-In, Belen, N. M., to Gilbert Tabet.”

Boxoffice, June 16, 1969: “Gilbert Tabet, new owner of the Onate Theatre at Belen, N.M., has reopened the house following renovations. The lobby has been recarpeted and paneled, the 559 seats have been reupholstered and the exterior (including marquee) has been redecorated”

Boxoffice, Oct. 21, 1974: “The newly remodeled Onate Theatre in Belen reopened Friday (11) … The theatre, which had been dark several months, was purchased earlier this year by Fred Chapman, who spent approximately $30,000 to renovate the house. Belen’s only movie theatre, the Onate now has 470 seats, including 120 new ones. The other 350 were rebuilt. Other improvements include: new black acoustic auditorium ceiling, overhead lighting system, enlarged lobby, new restrooms, new projection equipment, improved sound system, new snack bar and new boxoffice.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 9, 2022 at 11:37 pm

It looks like the Onate Theatre opened around September, 1939. Here is an item from the October 2, 1948 issue of Boxoffice: “BELEN, N. M.— The Onate Theatre celebrated its ninth anniversary recently with a change of program every day and a stage show at each evening performance.”

robboehm on May 10, 2022 at 9:03 pm

I found an announcement that a Central Theatre was being built on Dalies Avenue which I’ve uploaded. However I couldn’t find a year for the announcement. I subsequently found a one line reference that the Central and Cortez Theatres were operating in Belen in the 1950s. While the announcement would offer the possibility that the Central became the Onate the later reference disputes it.

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