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Movie Theaters in the United States

The first movie exhibited in the United States was in June 1894, when a man named Charles Francis Jenkins showed a short film of a vaudeville dancer to family, friends and reporters in Richmond, Indiana. In 1896, Thomas Edison began public viewings of his films in New York City and the same year, the first building dedicated to showing movies was a store converted into a theater in New Orleans.

The first real movie theater was Tally’s Electric Theater, which opened in Los Angeles in the spring of 1902. It showed The Great Train Robbery in 1903, which is considered the first American action movie. The 10-minute silent film included a shot of an actor playing a train robber, who fires his gun straight at the camera, which caused panic amongst many audience members.

The first Nickelodeon opened in 1905 in Pittsburgh, and a newspaper article in the Pittsburgh Dispatch dubbed it the first theater in the world "devoted exclusively to exhibition of moving picture spectacles.” Just three years later, there were thousands of Nickelodeons across America. Today, there are over 5,500 movie theaters with over 39,000 screens. Millions of movie screenings take place each year with offerings such as 3D, IMAX, D-Box and Ultra AVX.

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