Beautiful Photographs of Decaying and Repurposed Movie Palaces

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From the 1920s through the 1950s, thousands of ornate movie palaces were built across America, seating hundreds of patrons in lavish settings for films and live shows. But the introduction of television, the rise of the multiplex, and the dissolution of city centers caused the movie palace to go the way of the dinosaur. In the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, many were destroyed (usually for parking lots). Some were converted, into multiplexes, performing arts centers, or adult theaters. Others were repurposed into different (and somewhat incongruent) businesses entirely; others were simply left to fall apart.

In 2005, photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre (whose photographs of Detroit in ruins captivated us last year) began documenting theaters that had either fallen into decay or been transformed entirely. The results of the ongoing project can be viewed on their website; we’ve collected the most haunting and fascinating of those pictures after the jump, along with four photographs not yet in that collection, provided to Flavorwire by the photographers. (Follow the link on the theater’s name for more information on the venue, at the wonderful Cinema Treasures website.)

Paramount Theater, Long Branch, NJ. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Palace Theater, Bridgeport, CT. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Gem Theater, Cairo, IL. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Westlake Theater, Los Angeles, CA. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Westlake Theater, Los Angeles, CA. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Eagle Theater, New York, NY. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Paramount Theater, Brooklyn, NY. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Central Park Theater, Chicago, IL. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Uptown Theater, Philadelphia, PA. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

RKO Dyker Theater, Brooklyn, NY. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Proctor’s Theater, Newark, NJ. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Proctor’s Theater, Newark, NJ (interior). Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Fabian Theater, Paterson, NJ. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Loew’s 46th Street Theater, Brooklyn, NY. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

RKO Keith’s Richmond Hill Theater, Richmond Hill, NY. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Kenosha Theater, Kenosha, WI. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Loew’s Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, NY. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Loew’s Palace Theater, Bridgeport, CT. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Uptown Theater, Chicago, IL. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Casino Theatre, Brooklyn, NY. Photo courtesy of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Special thanks to Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre for their dedication to this project and for allowing us to use these remarkable images.