About the Philadelphia Film Center
In March of 2015, the Philadelphia Film Society acquired the theater building at 1412 Chestnut Street, its second venue in Center City Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Film Society (PFS) announced plans to transition the former Prince Theater from a multi-use performing arts facility into the premiere hub for film in Philadelphia at the 27th Philadelphia Film Festival. The Prince Theater has been renamed the Philadelphia Film Center, with the venue moving exclusively to film programming at the start of 2019.
CLICK HERE to learn about plans for major improvements in the near future!
With its purchase of the Prince, PFS supported the preservation of one of Philadelphia’s distinguished historic buildings. Dating from 1880, the structure formerly known as the Prince was a movie theater beginning in 1921, and saw a number of Hollywood premieres, including 1949’s Adam’s Rib. Renovated in 1999 as a multi-use theater for film, live performance, dance and cabaret, and further updated in 2013, the Prince had been a venue for the Philadelphia Film Festival since 1999.
The 33,000-square-foot building houses a 446-seat theater with a proscenium stage, orchestra pit, and full flyloft, along with 1 flexible space capable of screening films with seating for up to 150, hosting receptions, discussions, performances, and more.
Complete with the largest screen in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Film Center is equipped to screen both classic 35mm and 2K digital film projection. With some of the best acoustics in the city as well as Dolby digital surround sound, PFC is the ideal venue for film events.
The History of 1412 Chestnut Street
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.
The story continues …
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
For information about the event spaces available for rental at the Philadelphia Film Center, click here.
For information about upcoming events in the Mainstage or Black Box theaters at the Philadelphia Film Center, click here.