Branmar Cinema

1812 Marsh Road,
Wilmington, DE 19810

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: AMC Theatres, Budco

Functions: Gymnasium

Nearby Theaters

Class of 1984

The Branmar Cinema, tucked away in a corner of the Branmar Shopping Center (#11), Wilmington, DE was typical of the kind of humble, no-frills suburban strip mall movie theaters built around the country in late-1960’s to early-1970’s. This opened August 12, 1970 as a single screen cinema, operated by George M. Schwartz (GMS Theatres).

From the entrance, it had a modest-sized lobby with concession stand attached to the main auditorium, resulting in an L-shaped layout. During its life it was also operated by Budco and AMC Theatres.

Twinned on March 14, 1980, closed sometime in the early to mid-1990’s, the building still stands, its interior reconfigured to accommodate successive tenants, lately a karate studio. The poster window on the exterior facade of the theater still exists.

Contributed by Jordan Lage

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

offhollywood on April 17, 2011 at 1:30 am

I saw a version of The Nutcracker there in the 90s. They were having some issues and it wouldn’t play so we got a refund on our snacks and tickets and got to come back to see it another time.

I don’t recall what, if anything, was there between the movie theater and the karate studio. I know there had been a nice independent record store on that strip that finally closed down in the late 90s/early 200s. Nearby now is a movie rental place.

jordanlage on June 21, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Okay. Warning: personal indulgent comment about to begin. Blame the Branmar Cinema’s months-long booking of The Poseidon Adventure in 1973 for my wanting to become an actor. My brothers took me to see it early on in its run. I was so viscerally traumatized by it but excited by the film’s thrills & suspense (I was 10) I went back to see it on 9 successive Saturday matinees. Admission fee each Saturday matinee: $1. About the 8th time, the manager/usher did not tear my ticket and cautioned me not to lose my ticket. If no more than half a dozen people showed up, they wouldn’t be unspooling the film and I’d get my money back. Enough patrons attended and I got my weekly fix of the S.S. Poseidon capsizing and following once again “the combined talents of 15 Academy Award winners” in “Who will survive…?” I remember standing on line to get in to the Branmar in those years and enjoying the sweet odors emanating from a neighboring bakery. Paul McCartney’s “My Love” often played from another business' outdoor speaker that spring/summer of 1973. No atmosphere at this suburban strip mall theater; just memories of fun moviegoing. Believe I saw Blazing Saddles here and the immensely disappointing Jaws 2 on opening night with a huge crowd in attendance. Felt so awful that Roy Scheider had gotten himself caught up in that one. But when I was 10 I wanted to be Gene Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure! Inspiring everyone and leading them all to safety! I did become an actor. Still making a living at it, knock wood.

ronnie21 on August 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I think summer lover’s played here also in the summer of 1982.

cinebob on August 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Saw many movies her but I remember mostly “Earthquake” and “Rollercoaster” in Sensurround. Also waiting in a very long line for the opening weekend of “Jaws2” in 1978 – great fun for a 12 year old.

ronnie21 on February 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Other movies that played here.. JoySticks 1983.. i believe april of 83. Tron , summer of 82. also E.T. played here.. CreepShow in fall of 82.. and the original Halloween played here in spring of 1979.

chinatownkid on June 13, 2013 at 2:07 am

The Branmar, Concord Mall, and the Tri-State Mall were probably the three cinemas where I saw the most movies as a kid. I distinctly remember seeing Tron and ET here, plus tons of other films. My parents basically used movie theaters for babysitters.

TheALAN on January 3, 2014 at 10:07 pm

rave323: The Cine Mart has a page on Cinema Treasures. Look under Cinemart, 4302 Governor Printz Boulevard, Wilmington, DE 19810. The Cine Mart opened in 1968, seated 1,000 and closed in September, 1980. Because this page is for the Branmar Cinema, please see the Cinemart page.

jordanlage on September 1, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Oh, yes! Recall the Sensurround gimmick for both Earthquake and Rollercoaster here. HUGE subwoofers down in front between the screen & 1st row. Good times!

rivest266 on May 22, 2016 at 7:25 am

This opened on August 12th, 1970 and split into twin cinemas on March 14th, 1980. Grand opening ads in photo section.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on October 27, 2016 at 7:13 am

How come some of the early 1970’s ads has this theatre as part of GMS Theatres? Was GMS Theatres a part of Budco Quality Theatres?

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