A Service of UA Little Rock
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

SLIDESHOW: Former Cinema 150 Demolished In Little Rock

It took workers using two excavators a little less than an hour to bring down the old Cinema 150 movie theater in Little Rock. The dome-shaped building at the corner of University and Asher Avenues ran many of the top films of its day.

Built in the late 1960s with a screen that curved at a 150 degree angle, it gave movies a big impact.  The theater was closed in 2003, considered functionally obsolete for having just one screen in an era of multiplexes. But it still had a very special place in the hearts of many who saw films there.

"It's sad man, it's really terrible," said Jason Powell of Little Rock, one of several who came to see the demolition Tuesday. "I really hated to see that building go because it was one of a kind and you don't get the same kind of movie experience in any other theater that you did in that one."

A small crew of workers knocked down support beams, causing the roof to crumble in, first with the eastern half of the building giving way. A pattern of the interior ceiling was exposed, a sight likely familiar for those who went to the building. Within a matter of minutes, as an excavator on the other side of the building continued hitting support beams, the rest of the building gave way.

Looking at the ruble afterward, shaking her head, was Lydia Perry of Little Rock.

"There's just so many memories that I remember of being there and just the screen opening. There was a lot of good nostalgia that I remember about the place, so it's sad to see it go down," Perry said.

She noted the outpouring of responses since it was announced last week that the iconic theater would be torn down. Many have been sharing stories, especially on social media, about seeing the biggest films of the day there.

"It's just one of those memories that a lot of people in Little Rock remember, so I think it's really interesting how the community has come together to share their experiences."

After movie screenings ended at the Cinema 150, the building was used off and on as a live venue before recently being boarded up. The shopping center that includes the old theater was sold last month, with the new owner planning major renovations, which included demolition of the building.

Michael Hibblen was a journalist for KUAR News from May 2009 — December 2022. During his final 10 years with the station, he served as News Director. In January 2023, he was hired by Arkansas PBS to become its Senior Producer/ Director of Public Affairs.
Related Content