El Rey Theater
With a long and rich history reaching back to 1906, El Rey is a specialty cinema house and live performance venue in the heart of Chico. The historic building has been renovated with state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and high-definition LED video wall production.
The El Rey Theater is available for rent for all types of events ranging, from live music, comedy, public speakers, movie screenings, private events, school events, community functions, corporate parties, and more!
A Brief History of the El Rey Theater
The El Rey Theatre was originally commissioned by the Chico Elks Lodge in 1903 as the Majestic Theatre. Home to the Chico Elks, the bottom floor was leased to the owners for the Majestic Theatre Company in April 1906, which showed its first set of motion pictures 14 days after its opening on April 23, 1906. This screening date officially makes The El Rey Theater the longest continuously operated movie theater in California and the 3rd in the entire country.
In 1924, The Majestic was acquired and renamed The National. In 1939, it was acquired by a new company and once again renamed, this time as The American. After a fire in 1946, The American reopened in 1948 as The El Rey, because the owners had a sign that was the only feature to survive a fire at one of their other theaters, The El Rey, in the Bay Area.
The El Rey continued to screen first run films until 2005, when the competition from the new local multi screen cinema became too great, and was scheduled to be gutted and converted into office and retail space with parking. However, in late 2007 it reopened as a specialty cinema house and live performance venue.
Today, The El Rey remains a popular live performance venue, with the current owners dedicated to restoring the entire building and bringing it back to its former glory from its days when it was still The Majestic.