The First 30 US Theaters

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Although there is some conflicting information on seemingly official documentation of exact starting dates, the US locations listed below make up the first theaters to play The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a weekly, ongoing midnight-only movie. It opened in an exclusive run in September, 1975 at The UA Westwood and a week later scheduled to be (but not actually shown) at 10 other theaters before becoming a midnight-only engagement in the US.Some articles mention the figure 30 specifically as the number of theaters showing Rocky Horror by the end of 1977, others say "around 30" theaters. While researching the topic (at the time of this writing), 33 theaters were found with starting dates in 1976-1977. The UA Cinema Center in Westwood (down the street from the original premiere theater) had an on-going, standard release for most of 1976 and 1977 (including midnight showings) that evolved to a midnight only engagement in 1978. The Loft and Rialto, which began regular screenings in January of 1978 also had periodic screenings in October and November of 1977. 1978 year saw an explosion of additional theaters, with over 200 known locations by the end of 1978. In 1983, California alone had 50 theaters showing midnight screenings indicating the peak of the trend.

1977 was a milestone year for The Rocky Horror Picture Show as it slowly went from failure to breaking even to modest profit according to Variety.

Waverly Theater - New York, (4/3/76)
Varsity Theatre - St Louis, MO (3/12/76-4/76) Began as prime-time feature in March 1976, and became midnight-only in April 1976.
Riverside Twin II - Austin, TX (5/12/76)
New Yorker - New York City, NY (7/76)
Gentilly Orleans Theater -New Orleans, LA (9/3/76)
TLA Cinema - Philadelphia, PA (1/77)
Strand Theatre - Ocean Beach, CA (3/77)
Westwood Theatre - Toledo, OH (8/19/77)
Art Theatre - New Brunswick, NJ (4/77)
The Sombrero Playhouse - Phoenix, AZ (4/77)
Village Theater, Dallas, TX (4/29/77)
Sherman Theater - Sherman Oaks, CA (5/77)
Tiffany Theater - West Hollywood, CA (6/10/77)
Graceland Twin Cinema - Columbus, OH (6/10/77)
Alabama Theater - Houston, TX (6/11/77)
Ogden Theatre - Denver, CO (6/25/77)
Grove Art Cinema - Miami, FL (7/2/77)
Neptune Theatre - Seattle, WA (7/29/77)
State Theatre - Pittsburgh, PA (8/19/77)
Heights Art Theater - Cleveland, OH (8/19/77)
Westwood Art Theatre - Lakewood OH (8/19/77)
University Cinema - Baton Rouge, LA (8/19/77)
Strand - San Francisco, CA (8/19/77)
Cove Theater - Hermosa Beach, CA (8/19/77)
Balboa Theatre - Newport Beach, CA (8/19/77)
Northwest - San Antonio, TX (9/9/77)
Riverside Twin I - Austin, TX (9/16/77)
Valley Art Theater - Tempe, AZ (9/77)
Whitehaven Theatre - Memphis, TN (9/77)
RKO Proctor's Theatre- New Rochelle, NY (9/23/77)
UC Theatre - Berkeley, CA (9/23/77)
Key Theatre - Washington, DC (12/2/77)

Early 1978:
Loft Cinema - Tucson, AZ (1/6/78)
Rialto Theatre - South Pasadena, CA (1/7/78)