Janus 3 Theatre

1660 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20009

Unfavorite 4 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cineplex Odeon, K-B Theatres, Loews Cineplex Entertainment

Architects: John Louis Field, Hugh Newell Jacobson

Functions: Restaurant

Previous Names: Janus I & II, Cineplex Odeon Janus

Nearby Theaters

News About This Theater

29 December 2006

The Janus I & II opened on July 2, 1965, on the first floor of a late-1950’s-era office building located in the DuPont Circle neighborhood of Washington. The opening film was Michel Auclair in “Symphony for a Massacre” (aka The Corrupt). It was designed by architects John Louis Field and Hugh N. Jacobsen as an independent twin theater, one of the first twins to be built in the DC area. Its auditoriums sat 180 and 153. It was known for showing off-beat and avant garde films, and the Janus Film Society hosted midnight Saturday and noon Sunday screenings in its earlier years.

In late-1980 a third screen was added. It was acquired by Cineplex Odeon (later Loews-Cineplex) in March 1994. The theatre was nicked named the “Heinous Janus” by Washingtonians due to the theatre’s less-than-stellar decor, its strangely sloped floors which were not quite stadium seating, and a column in the center of one of the original auditoriums. Still, it was one of the few theatres in the city which, even after ceasing to operate as an independent, screened a varied mix of first-run and more unusual films until the end.

When the Janus 3 Theatre was shuttered in 2002 by Loews, ironically, one of the last films playing there was “Hollywood Ending”. A restaurant has since taken over the former theatre space.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

SethLewis on March 21, 2009 at 6:50 pm

The oddest most unsatisfactory of several DC theatres I experienced in the mid 90s…Managed to survive Hoop Dreams, Dead Man Walking and American Buffalo in Number 3, Fargo, The Postman and La Haine in Number 1 but you have to wonder how they got away with it not that the Foundry or Dupont were much better…on the other hand they didnt have a pillar in the middle

sconnell1 on April 2, 2009 at 12:30 am

The Janus 1&2 opened on July 2, 1965 with the film SYMPATHY FOR A MASSACRE.

dpjaudon on June 14, 2009 at 5:53 pm

I saw “Bad Lieutenant” there in 1993 while visiting a relative. I remember the theater being fairly skeevy, but still appreciated the opportunity to see “Lieutenant,” since it was not playing in any theater where I lived at the time.

AlanHerman on February 20, 2010 at 10:11 pm

It is amazing how many projectionists went through the KB chain in DC. Glad to see you guys, yet, no mention of KB anyhwere. I worked as a union projectionist for the Janus, as well as for most of the KB chain in Va, DC and Md. I did see them as pretty big and unorganized, but it brought me into the high end theater segment, after working in lower grade cinemas, such as the Rolling Valley cinema. The Janus was small, but served its purpose for DC.

WilliamBeran on October 1, 2010 at 8:39 am

This brings back such memories…the death of Tony Curtis reminded me that the old Janus Film Society screened “Sweet Smell of Success” back in the 60’s when the movie was pretty much unknown, and now it’s an acknowledged classic. The theater was funky, but the movies were wonderful.

cblog on November 6, 2012 at 7:43 pm

This was the first theater I went to in the district, seeing the Star Trek film focusing on whale song. Dinner and a movie dates included meals at Katmandu, Fonda, Bermuda Club, and Dupont Italian Kitchen.

MickatNight on November 7, 2017 at 11:09 am

This was a great place. In 1985-86, a girlfriend and I always checked the listings to find when a good movie was playing at a particular screen – I think it was 3. In that particular theatre, in the back and off to the left as you faced the screen, there was a column with an isolated bench seat for two on the far side of it, pretty much providing a private screening. Probably saw ten films on that bench seat.

Soundman176 on October 29, 2018 at 5:37 pm

I had been to the Janus only once prior to Cineplex Odeon acqiring it and a few other shuttered former KB locations. We installed used, but better projection equipment, the previous projectors were so loud they were a distraction in the auditoriums. Posters are right about the columns in the auditorium but since they were holding up an office building there wasn’t much you could do. The #3 auditorium around the corner actually had the best picture. It was projected from the rear at a 45 degree angle onto a phosphorus screen. Once you got past the keystone, it was a nice picture. The theatre had a mind blowing box office per seat ratio which is why it stayed open so long.

Betzee on April 12, 2020 at 8:35 pm

Remember going to matinees in the mid-1980s for $2.25. Among the many films I saw at the Janus were “My Beautiful Laundrette” and Wayne Wong’s “Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart.” Will always appreciate the opportunity to see art-house gems like these!

Marteljr on May 9, 2020 at 1:35 pm

I wish someone had a good photo of the “Pole” Theater. It was really unique and cool to have an intimate theatre like that. Enjoyed MST3K The movie there back in college. Anyone have any pictures?

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