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Central Cinema is a community moviehouse located in the heart of North Knoxville's Happy Holler neighborhood. Due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis we are currently closed for public film events, and hoping to return by late summer.

Our Story

Central Cinema was founded by the creators of the Knoxville Horror Film Fest, who have been programming local film events for more than a decade. Years of sustained cultural momentum convinced us Knoxville deserves the type of eclectic film venue so many less-cool cities already enjoy. Hundreds of generous fans proved us right, contributing more than $30,000 to a GoFundMe campaign. After a year of fundraising and fine-tuning, we opened our doors in August 2018.


Every weekend we present a selection of classic films and/or first-run independents. This standard programming is complemented during the week by special film & arts events of all sorts. (Click through to our Films page to browse current & upcoming programming.)


Central Cinema's single auditorium features top-notch digital projection and 92 seats. At the end of the adjoining gallery hallway is our concessions lounge, featuring both inside seating and a deck for good times & discussion before and after film screenings.

Snack Bar

Central Cinema offers a popcorn, candy, nachos, bottled soft drinks and a selection of canned beers & ciders... all priced well below what you're used to paying at the concession stand.


Central Cinema's auditorium features wheelchair-accessible seating options. Larger patrons should be advised that most of our seats are more compact than those at a standard multiplex; if this becomes an issue during your visit please contact a manager and we'll do our best to accommodate you. We do not currently offer captioning options for hearing impaired patrons but intend to as our operations expand.


1205 North Central was originally built as a silent moviehouse in 1916, becoming the first "suburban" theater in the burgeoning Knoxville metro area. The theater changed hands many times over the next four decades, operating under names including the Picto, the Central, the Liberty, the Cameo, the Joy,  and the Center. The building was repurposed in the 1950s, and most recently served as the Taoist Tai Chi Center until Central Cinema renovated the space in 2017.


Central Cinema
1205 N Central St
Knoxville, TN 37917


$10 Adult
 Students & Military
$8 Members & Seniors
$7 Kids

Matinee (before 4:30pm)
$8 Adult
 Students & Military
$6 Members & Seniors
$5 Kids

$15 Double Features any time


We open for business 30 minutes before the day’s first scheduled showtime and close down our concession stand just before the final film lets out. (Due to limited staffing we may be closed during extended down periods between matinee and evening screenings.)


We’re located in the heart of Knoxville’s “Happy Holler” neighborhood, just one mile north of Downtown and easily accessible via I-275’s Baxter Avenue exit. Free street parking is available throughout the surrounding blocks.

A Note On Re-Closing - June 30, 2020

To our friends & fans -

Over the past two weekends it’s been our pleasure to host a “trial re-opening”, presenting five of our favorite crowd-pleasers to gauge Knoxville’s interest in returning to the movies. We’re proud of our work creating a safe, comfortable experience, and are grateful to our customers for embracing our guidelines on masks and distancing. It was nice to see (the top half of) so many familiar faces, and some new ones as well!

Unfortunately this same period has also seen a sobering uptick in COVID-19 infections on a local, state and national level. For this reason we’ve decided to take a step back, and will be discontinuing public film events for the time being.

This “trial re-closing” doesn’t mean Central Cinema is headed back into full hibernation mode. We’ll be stepping up our private rental options, which allow a controlled environment above and beyond public screenings. (Email us for more info; prices start at $200 for up to 25 guests.) We plan to finally roll out take-home popcorn & beer options, and to make our promised Central Cinema Drive-In Experience a reality. And if you’re interested in supporting us without leaving the house we continue to offer streaming options, memberships, merchandise and gift cards here on our site, as well as the $30 “adopt-a-tile” offering via our COVID Catch-Up GoFundMe campaign.

We’ll be back as soon as we can justify it, and we’re excited to work with all of you find find our new normal together. But in the meantime we hope you will stay home, wear a mask when you have to go out, and find safe ways to support local businesses as they navigate these same shitty waters.


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’re observing enhanced safety measures to promote your comfort and well-being.

Face Mask Required For Entry

We're all in this together, and there is broad consensus that community mask use can be crucial in preventing the spread of the coronavirus... so for your safety and ours we insist that face coverings be worn in our hallway or lobby area. We also strongly encourage mask use in the auditorium when not snacking or drinking, especially if others are seated nearby. (We also strongly encourage mask use pretty much anywhere you can't breathe fresh air six feet away from a stranger! It's the right thing to do.)

Limited-use masks are available for a nominal fee; if you find yourself here without one, please come in through our rear parking lot entrance and we'll fix you up.

Socially Distanced Seating

We’ve reduced our capacity to 35% to ensure safe distance throughout our auditorium. That means just 30 tickets are available per screening, so be sure to grab yours in advance!

Please be courteous when taking your seat by leaving six feet of space, or roughly three seats, in all directions between your group and others. The more thoughtful you are of others, the more everyone will enjoy their trip to the movies.

When the film is finished we encourage you to leave promptly and thoughtfully to avoid unnecessary crowding. We do, however, welcome and encourage you to take the time to wash your hands before you go.

Enhanced Cleanliness Measures

We’ll be working in accordance with Knox County Health Department guidelines to maintain high standards for hygiene and operational safety. Hand-washing is constant, bathrooms and relevant surfaces are regularly disinfected, and we've spaced out our showtimes to allow for thorough, uninterrupted cleaning between each screening. Markers have been placed in our lobby to designate safe queueing distance. Nachos & hot drinks have been discontinued for the time being, and our candy selection has been moved behind the counter.  We appreciate your patience if any of these measures cause delays or inconvenience.

Your Safety Is Our Concern

Like virtually all public activities circa Summer 2020, moviegoing involves an inherent risk of coronavirus transmission. We encourage you to make your own informed choices for your health. Stay safe, Knoxville... and if you’re showing symptoms or have been exposed, please stay home.