Majestic Theatre (Shanghai)

The Majestic Theatre

The Majestic Theatre (Shanghai) Exterior Night in 2021Art Deco Jewel of Shanghai

The Majestic Theatre (美琪大戏院), built in 1941 during World War II with US investment, on the corner of Gordon Road and McBain Road (today Jiangning Lu and Fengxian Lu), the venue became an iconic landmark of Shanghai and a main stage for visiting troupes and imported movies from the United States. It was one of the last cinemas of old Shanghai owned by the Asia Theatres Inc.

The Asia Theatres Inc. company was started by A. T. Holt (He Tingran 何挺然) and hired Robert Fan (Fan Wenzhao) who was among the first Chinese architects to study in the US, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, to build a new cinema in the International Settlement. The Majestic reflects his style of lots of parallel lines and sweeping curves, outside and inside.

The name for the new theatre was based on the Majestic Hotel, which stood on that land since 1924. The Majestic Hotel was the largest event venue in 1920s Shanghai. The street to the east of the lot was even called Majestic Road.  Along with the Canidrome, the Majestic played an essential part of Shanghai entertainment history.