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.

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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.

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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.

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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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