Denis Theater

The Denis Theatre is a historic movie theater in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1938 by John P. Harris of the Harris Amusement Company, and was in business until 2008. It is currently seeking funding to be renovated and reopened in the near future.HistoryPennsylvania State Senator John P. Harris formed the Harris Amusement Company in the 1920s, opening 15 theaters throughout the mid-Atlantic states. After his death in 1926, Harris’ brother Denis Harris took over the Harris Amusement Company and formed the Denis Theatre in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The $250,000 Functional-Moderne-style building was designed by architect Victor Rigaumont and erected in 114 days. Opening night was June 1, 1938. The Pittsburgh Press, reviewing the theater after attending the opening, was impressed by the theater’s air conditioning system and its distinguished Carrara structural glass front. In 1960, the theater was sold to Ernest A. Stern, owner and president of Associated Theaters, along with several other theaters previously owned by Harris. In 1965, a second auditorium was built within the theater, opening as an art house.Associated Theaters was sold to Cinemette in 1974, but the latter company declared bankruptcy just four years later. Stern was able to regain possession of the theater, as well as several others he had sold, that same year. The Main Denis auditorium was “twinned” in 1981, with the main projection booth being relocated to the front of the balcony, and the remaining balcony became a small auditorium. At this time Denis had four screens. Associated Theaters was sold to Jeff Lewine of Cinema World in 1988, though Stern was able to retain ownership of the Denis building. Stern’s son Richard gained ownership of the building after his father died, and in 1993 Stern grouped it with the local Manor and Bellevue theaters and formed CineMagic. Between 1994 and 2004, Stern's son formed a business partnership with Milo Ritton, who took possession of the Denis after their partnership dissolved. In 2007, the Denis was put on the market and purchased by D. Raja, a Mt. Lebanon entrepreneur. Subsequently, the Denis Theatre Foundation was formed as a non-profit organization. The Foundation signed a 15-year lease in 2008, with plans to renovate and reopen the theater. The Foundation purchased the theater outright in 2010.

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Pittsburgh, PA
15228

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