Act III Theatres

From Audiovisual Identity Database


Act III Theatres was an American theater chain with multiplexes located in Texas, Oregon and Washington. They were founded in 1986, with the acquisition of Santikos Theatres in San Antonio. Television producer Norman Lear owned a controlling stake in Act III Theatres through his company Act III Communications. Over the years, they have made multiple acquisitions such as purchasing Santikos Theatres in 1986, Luxury Theaters in 1988 from Tom Moyer, and Presidio Theaters in Austin. They also bought theaters from other chains such as AMC's in Austin and Cineplex Odeon's in Oregon and Washington. By 1997, they were the 10th largest theater chain in the United States. In October 1998, KKR acquired the company for $323 million and would combine its theater operations with Regal Cinemas through an acquisition.

1st Opening (Logo Trailer) (November 1991-Spring 1994)

Logo: A minute-long animation shows a starship flying around space.

Technique: CGI animation by SmithGroup Communications.

Music/Sounds: Composed by Cal Scott.

Availability: Extinct.

2nd Opening (Red Car) (Spring 1994-Spring 1997)

Logo: The screen moves to the right of a city building, revealing a red hovercar on a road. The hovercar drives to the right and towards a city in the evening sky. The sky suddenly turns dark as the car enters the city and a "CITY CENTER" sign moves to the right. There is a first-person shot of the car going under two overpasses. The screen shows a bottle-shaped Coca-Cola Classic building with a Coca-Cola cup on top. The car moves around the building and to the right. As the car enters a tunnel, lightning strikes some popcorn in a bucket off a Vogel Popcorn billboard; the popcorn fades back in shortly. The car moves towards a road leading to a large Act III theater. As the screen zooms to the Act III logo on top, "OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION" scrolls to the left and stops under the logo.

Technique: CGI animation by SmithGroup Communications. Produced and directed by Randall Blaum, who was also vice-president of marketing at Act III. Craig Paup animated this opening with an Amiga computer, a Video Toaster Flyer, and LightWave 3D software.

Music/Sounds: Starts with the sounds of a car starting, then a triumphant brass fanfare composed by Cal Scott with sci-fi sound effects scattered throughout.

Availability: Extinct.

Legacy: Act III failed to make this project work-for-hire, resulting in SmithGroup making very similar openings for GKC Theatres, Brenden Theatres, and AmStar Cinemas (although in AmStar's case, there are no cars, just the camera flying over the city).

3rd Opening (Spring-Summer 1997)

Logo: It starts out like the Dolby Digital "Egypt" logo. A THX logo (with LUCASFILM LTD. above it) appears in place of the Dolby Digital logo, which is engraved on the floor with "PRESENTED IN" above. Then it fades out, and a gold Act III Theatres logo with "FEATURE PRESENTATION" below it fades in and out on a black background as a shine passes it.

Technique: Nearly the same as the Dolby Digital "Egypt" logo.

Music/Sounds: Same as the Dolby Digital "Egypt" logo.

Availability: Extinct. Shown on Act III's Dolby Digital-capable screens.

4th Opening (Spring-Summer 1997)

Logo: The Dolby Stereo "Temple" logo is shown. Afterwards, a silver Act III Theatres logo with "FEATURE PRESENTATION" below it fades in and out on a black background as a shine passes it.

Technique: Same as the Dolby Stereo "Temple" logo.

Music/Sounds: Same as the Dolby Stereo "Temple" logo.

Availability: Extinct. Shown on Act III's stereo screens.

5th Opening (Spring-Summer 1997)

Logo: We fade into a mountain landscape cloaked in shadows. The shadow slowly dissolves to reveal the text "Previews of Coming Attractions" or "Feature Presentation" etched into the rocky surface. The shadow further dissolves to reveal the Act III logo in gold standing on a rock just in front of the mountain, with a second (smaller) rock seen to its right. The opening then fades out. This was also used alongside the 3rd and 4th logos.

Technique: CGI animation.

Music/Sounds: A light string fanfare.

Availability: Extinct.

6th Opening (Spaceship) (1997-1998)

Logo: On a black background, a small satellite flies past the screen to the left, going behind a larger satellite branded with the Act III Theatres logo. The screens zooms into the space between the first two Is. Next, there is an array of small stages and the screen passes through the nearest stage's curtains. Three red, pink, and purple rings are passed through, and then the screen hits a satellite displaying a Dolby Digital logo. A THX satellite zooms away from the screen and disappears behind the Act III Theatres satellite, with "A HARD ACT TO FOLLOW" below the logo and "OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION" above it.


  • On stereo screens, the Dolby Digital satellite displayed a Dolby Stereo logo instead.
  • An edited version of this trailer was made for Mexican theater chain Cinépolis, with a different color scheme and with the Dolby Stereo Digital SR and DTS Digital Sound logos appearing instead of the Dolby Stereo and THX logos. The slogan also says "Una experiencia simplesmente espetacular". SmithGroup also made a version of their Regal Cinemas trailer for Cinépolis, before making an original trailer for them later on.

Technique: CGI animation, intentionally simple so as to focus attention towards the soundtrack. Produced and directed by Randall Blaum, and animated by SmithGroup Communications.

Music/Sounds: A mix of brass fanfare and sci-fi synth, possibly inspired by the 2nd opening but a noticeably different arrangement.

Availability: Extinct.

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