Through history, the theaters have traditionally been places that people go to for entertainment. The theater is a place where people may go to enjoy an opera, ballet, play or a movie. Of all the forms of entertainment that take place in the theaters, movies are a newer art form. Other forms of entertainment have taken place for centuries but going to the theater to see a movie first made it's mark in the early part of the 20th century.
A movie theater was originally called a movie palace. They were beautiful structures where silent films were shown and then later, films with sound. One of the first movie palaces was built in New York City in 1913. The success of movie palaces was based on its low admission price and unreserved seating. During this time, most theater productions were Vaudeville acts which were more expensive and harder to get seats than going to the movies.
Between 1914 and 1922 there was an expansion of movie palaces. There were approximately 4,000 new theaters built in the United States built during this time. Popcorn was first served in movie theaters in 1912 as a cheap and delicious snack. In 1907 a movie cost only five cents. This is actually where the name "Nickel" odeon came from when referring to movie palaces.
The first air conditioned movie theater was built in 1922. And the first multiplex for movies was built in 1963. This complex had two full screens and 700 seats. The first drive in theater was built in 1933 and was in the state of New Jersey. The drive-in theater was very popular during the 1950's and 1960's but they have now faded to a few hundred around the United States.
The first permanent movie house was built in 1902 in California. This theater was a storefront setup that was part of a factory building. In 1905 in Pittsburgh, the first nickelodeon was built. This theater had five cent movies since the name nickelodeon. They soon became very popular and spread through the United States. In Canada, the first large scale movie theater in the world was built. This was the first time multiple movies were shown in one facility.
During the 1950's and 1960's, many theaters were built across the country due to their growing popularity. The theaters were built to attract more patrons. The screens became larger and the facilities became more elaborate. The number of seats a theater could hold increased. The theaters included more comfortable seats, air conditioning and stereophonic sound systems.
As the popularity of the movie theaters continued to go, so did the size of the facilities. Large multi-plex theaters were built around shopping centers. The theaters had stadium seating with multiple balconies. The lobby sizes expanded to capacity other theater rooms within the complex. Multiple restrooms and concession counters were installed. The seats were built on an elevated floor to provide visibility for all seats.
Many other seasons were built to show movies. Drive-in movie theaters became very popular during the 1960's. These were outdoor theaters were cars parked infront of an outdoor screen. Moviegoers would watch the films either in their cars or on top of the hood of their car. They were provided with portable speakers to hear the sound or in some cases the sound came from an FM radio frequency. There are only a few drive-in movie theaters available today.