Neighborhood Movie Theatre
General Admission: $9; Children (12 yrs old & younger, please show ID if your kid is big): $8; Seniors (65 yrs old & older, please show ID): $8; Surcharge for 3D format: add $3 to each admission price. Mondays only: $5. Tuesdays are in Spanish language. All other days are in English language.
Gardena Cinema was built in 1946 and is an old-fashioned single screen movie theater with a seating capacity of 800. Our large screen is over 35 feet wide. We also have a Dolby Digital© 5.1 surround sound system to enhance the original theater atmosphere.
Gardena Cinema is the only old-fashioned single screen movie theater in the South Bay area that shows first-run Hollywood movies. We have been showing first-run Hollywood movies since 1995, starting with “How to Make an American Quilt” starring Winona Ryder. Gardena Cinema is a family-operated establishment. Currently, the Kim family has operated the cinema since 1976.
We have shown films from all over the world, including South Korea, Mexico, and Japan. The Gardena Cinema was briefly known as the Morning Calm Cinema and the Eden Theater while it exhibited movies from South Korea during the early 1990’s.
During the late 1970’s to the 1980’s, the Gardena Cinema was operated as “Teatro Variedades” and showed Spanish language films. Teatro Variedades also hosted live concerts once a month. Promoters from Mexico City brought to our stage some of the most well-known and esteemed names in Mexico for live variety shows. Our stage has been graced by La India Maria, Pedro Infante Jr., Jorge Rivero, and Mario and Fernando Almada.
Also, once a month, Japanese films would show on our screen. Samurai movies were popular during the late 1970s.
Before being Teatro Variedades, the Gardena Cinema was known as the Park Theatre. The Park Theatre was operated as a second-run cinema by Joseph and Mary Di Donato since the late 1960’s.
The Gardena Cinema has gone through many format changes over its long history. Most recently, we converted our 35mm film projection system to a Christie Digital Cinema projection system on October 19, 2012. Since the major movie studios announced in 2011 that all future movies would no longer be released on film, a digital conversion was necessary to stay in business.
We still have our old 35mm Christie film projector with a 3-platter system, but we have not used it for showing 35mm films since the digital conversion. The last 35 mm FILM we showed was SPARKLE which opened on August 17, 2012 and the last 35mm film showing of it was on September 3, 2012. It took almost a month to complete the installation of the digital projection system and cost the Kim family over $150,000. Thankfully, the Kim family was able to finance the digital conversion by obtaining a business equipment loan so the business did not have to close.
The Kim family has enjoyed getting to know our patrons and their children and grandchildren. The Kim family is looking to retire from the film exhibition business. If you or anyone you know would be interested in getting into the movie exhibition business, please feel free to email the Gardena Cinema or send a private message.
The Gardena Cinema is conveniently located 1.0 mile south of the 105. We are also north of the 91 freeway; east of the 405 freeway and west of the 110 freeway. We are 35 minutes south of Downtown Los Angeles and 45 minutes north of Anaheim (Orange County).