Cine Oriente was established in 1895 as a theater where Cebuanos would enjoy watching musical programs, stage plays, operas, and silent movies. During this time, it was called the Teatro Junquera. It also served as the venue for Gov. General William Howard Taft to speak before Cebuanos in 1901.
The play “Ang Gugma sa Yutang Natawhan” of Vicente Sotto was also staged at the theater in 1902. In 1915, it was renamed Cine Oriente after it was purchased by Don Jose Avila, who later became the “Father of Cebu Cinema.” Cine Oriente was the foremost theater to show silent films in 1920. The musical drama Part-Talkie motion picture of Warner Bros “The Singing Fool” premiered at Cine Oriente in March 1930. This was the first time Cebuanos experienced a sound film in the Queen City of the South.
The theater went through a major renovation and reopened with much fanfare in 1984. It went through another renovation in 1995 and the second theater gave way to the construction of a mall. Cine Oriente became the first movie theater to feature Dolby Digital Surround Sound in the Queen City of the South in 1996.
Digital projectors offering high-definition quality viewing came to Cine Oriente after it went through another renovation in May 2013. The Colon Heritage Realty Corp. currently manages the Cine Oriente and currently offers the latest movies at an affordable price.
Cine Oriente today
While a lot of unpleasant stories have proliferated about the theater, the new management has made it a point to ensure the safety and comfort of moviegoers. Aside from the installation of the latest digital technology equipment, the management also equipped the theater with night vision cameras to ensure the safety of their patrons. The theater is also kept squeaky clean and security personnel keep watch 24 hours a day. The movie theater also has two cinemas with Cinema 1 accommodating 252 moviegoers while Cinema 2 can accommodate 188 movie patrons.