Philadelphia Film Center History
1880 • Site of the Homer Colladay & Co. clothing store.
1899 • Re-opens as the Jacob Reed clothing store.
1921 • After major renovations, opens as the Karlton Theater. The theater is designed by Philadelphia theater architects Hoﬀman-Henon, the lobbies and foyers have Italian marble and fountains, and the auditorium seats 1,066 on one ﬂoor.
1941 • Becomes part of the Warner Bros. movie theater circuit.
1943 • Philadelphia theater operator William Goldman acquires the Karlton Theater and changes it to a ﬁrst run movie house.
1949 • World Premiere of Adam’s Rib with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
1950 • After major renovations and the installation of a new marquee, the new Midtown Theater opens with the World Premiere of The Goldbergs.
1954 • A huge screen is placed in the auditorium to showcase Todd AO 70mm epics. The Midtown hosts the World Premiere of Beau Brummel with Elizabeth Taylor.
1972 • William Goldman sells his theaters to local operator Budco.
1979 • World Premiere of Rocky II. Budco sells their theater chain to AMC.
1980 • Theater auditorium is split down the middle to create the AMC Midtown I and AMC Midtown II.
1995 • AMC closes the Midtown theater, and sells the building to the American Music Theater Festival (AMTF), a non-proﬁt company specializing in new musical theater.
1999 • After major renovations to resize the auditorium to 450 seats, create a full ﬂy-loft, orchestra pit, larger lobby, and remake the second ﬂoor ballroom into a Black Box cabaret space, AMTF opens the Prince Music Theater – named in honor of Broadway producer and director Harold Prince. The Prince hosts the World Premiere of The Sixth Sense.
2014 • Prince Music Theater / AMTF closes after 15 seasons of creating musical theater – including 92 world premieres.
2015 • The Philadelphia Film Society, a member-supported, non-profit arts organization, acquires the historic building at 1412 Chestnut Street, and renames it the Prince Theater.
2018 • Philadelphia Film Society re-dedicates 1412 Chestnut Street to film and inaugurates the Philadelphia Film Center.
Sources: Cinema Treasures, George Quirk, Howard B. Haas, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, City of Philadelphia–Department of Records, PhillyHistory.org, and Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Project