Former MacArthur Cinema Becomes CVS Pharmacy

macarthur-movie-theater-cvs-pharmacy-washington-dc (All images by Urban Ghosts, reusable with attribution)

The former MacArthur Theater – now a CVS Pharmacy – dominates the pleasant high street of Washington DC’s Palisades neighbourhood. Opened as a single screen cinema on Christmas Day, 1946, the building is one of several classic DC movie theaters to be acquired by the pharmacy chain.


The utilitarian interior of the re-purposed auditorium, together with its low ceiling, barely hint at the building’s former use. But externally efforts have been made to preserve the cinema’s history.


The Art Deco ticket office remains in place, flanked by a couple of vintage movie posters from the structure’s golden days. It’s unclear how original the lobby is, but a few more vintage film posters and marble walls make it more interesting than the interiors of most CVS establishments.




The MacArthur Theater’s greatest moment arguably came on December 7, 1979, when it held the world premiere of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”. According to Cinema Treasures, the building was triplexed in 1982 and finally closed in 1997.

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