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Preserve the legacy of the Century Theatres

This petition had 736 supporters

We invite you to join the many residents of the Sacramento region in
favor of preserving these historically significant venues. We believe the 3 remaining domes should be saved and incorporated into this new development proposal at this Arden-Arcade section.


The Century 21, with a huge 70-foot curved screen and over 900 seats under a unique dome-shaped ceiling, equipped with 70mm film projection and the latest sound technology, opened in November 1967. Its sister theater Century 22 opened soon afterwards in June 1968. Both showcased Hollywood's biggest movies and were the area's premiere movie venues. They were designed with a space-age theme by architect Vincent Raney, who had already designed several similar theaters in San Jose (originally designed for 3-projector Cinerama), Pleasant Hill, Reno, and Salt Lake City among others. It eventually had two smaller 500-seat dome theaters attached to it, but by 1978 both large domes were split with walls down the middle into awkward half-dome theaters.


Movie fans in Sacramento have hoped for years that the Centurys would someday be restored back to their original glory. Part of that hope was killed on June 2nd, 2015 when Century 21 was demolished. The landowners plan on demolishing the rest of the Century Theatre complex soon, and replacing it with a newly-built theater and other retail buildings. It has been said that efforts were made to restore the old theatres, but were in such poor condition that it was impractical to do so. However, the new theatre planned for the site appears to be nothing special at all and hardly a suitable replacement for the Century domes. Plans from The Edwards Company show it as having a total of 14 screens, but the entire building will occupy LESS space than the current 12-screen Century 22 complex and have only 1650 seats altogether which is an average of less than 120 seats per auditorium! The magnificent Century 21 and 22 domes originally had more than 900 seats each, with the two smaller domes having about 500 each. Based on other recently-built theaters such as the Century Greenback 16 (which replaced the 1980s Cinedomes), these will likely be small, cramped theaters with screens hardly much larger than what many people have at home! It is also very likely that they will not endure for more than 20 years, nor be the source of fond memories for anyone.

The original large Century Theatres introduced many people to the magic of moviegoing- for me personally, they have always been the standard by which I have judged other theaters although very few have lived up to that standard. With home theatre equipment constantly improving and becoming more affordable, consumers expect and deserve something SPECIAL when going out to see a movie. Unfortunately the majority of newer theatres are an embarrassment. Many are designed with common-width screens, meaning Cinemascope movies appear letterboxed as they do at home, rather than on screens made for their full width. (A common criticism has been that "Die Hard" should never be smaller than "Driving Miss Daisy"!) While ideally the Century 22 could be restored to its original glory with any needed additional theatres attached to it, if that is not possible any new theater that replaces it should go all-out to meet or exceed the original theatres' grandeur. Small cracker-box theatres would be an absolute insult to the Century domes' legacy as well as the experiences of future generations. Let's honor and remember what these theatres were and either restore what remains or build a new one that will also be something truly special, and more than just a place to "watch" a movie!


Ideally, the remaining Century 22 complex should be restored back to its former glory, including the removal of the wall that divided it in half. It has been an iconic building to the area since 1968; the loss of the Century 21 dome has already drastically altered the appearance of the Arden and Ethan Way intersection. Century 22 should remain the focal point of this area and incorporated into the new development as Hollywood's famed Cinerama Dome was. If the Century 22 building really is beyond repair however, any new theater built in its place should be comparable to it in design and size- not the same sort of embarrassment the Century Greenback 16 was. Sacramento currently does not have any theater worthy of being its "premiere movie venue", but this location should become exactly that!

Today: Madeleine is counting on you

Madeleine Flynn needs your help with “SyWest Development, Cinemark Theatres, The Edwards Company: Preserve the legacy of the Century Theatres”. Join Madeleine and 735 supporters today.