The Eustis Plaza Theatre was built in 1968 by the Spears Construction Company of Eustis, FL, at a cost of $130K, for the Shopping Centers Theaters, INC. company. It opened on December 26, 1968, with Frank Sinatra in “Lady In Cement”. Admission was 50 cents for children, $1 for students through high school, $1.25 for adults, and $1.40 for the loge smoking area. The first theater manager was Tommy Wright.
It appears that this was originally a single screen theater, but sometime in the 1970’s it was converted to a twin screen and became the Eustis Plaza Twin Theaters. It also appears that SCT sold the location to Floyd Theaters at some point in the 1970’s as well.
By the 1980’s it was a second-run ‘dollar’ theater, which continued until the location was purchased by Carmike Cinemas in March 1995. Beginning in May 1995 Carmike raised prices to $3 for children, $5 for adults, and began showing first-run films, starting with “Crimson Tide” . This lasted only until September 1995, when prices again were lowered to 99 cent matinees and $1.25 evening shows, which were again second-run offerings.
The screen finally went black in July 1996 with “Primal Fear” and “James and the Giant Peach” being the last shows.
In January 2000 the location was resurrected as the Florida Sunshine Opry, a Nashville style county music venue. This lasted until around 2012 when the location was again shuttered.
In July 2019 the theater was yet again resurrected, this time as The Living Drama Theatre, which opened with a staging of “Southern Fried Funeral”.
Contributed by Shawn D. Langrick