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Central Cinema is a community moviehouse located in the heart of North Knoxville's Happy Holler neighborhood. Currently regaining our footing following a year of COVID-19 closure, we offer a limited number of weekly screenings and look forward to resuming our full-time schedule of films, series and special events.

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 Screenings page to browse current & upcoming programming.)


Central Cinema's single auditorium features digital projection and 88 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. We do not currently offer captioning options for hearing impaired patrons, though open caption screenings are available as part of our private rental services.


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
$5 Kids

$15 Double Features any time


For your safety & comfort we are currently selling just 40 tickets per show (~45% capacity), and require guests to wear masks when not actively eating or drinking.


We open for business 30 minutes before the day’s first scheduled showtime and close down our concession stand about an hour 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.


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

Face Mask Required 

It's widely acknowledged that mask use is the most effective tool we have for preventing coronavirus transmission in public settings, even as our community vaccination level rises. To that end we are requiring masks to be worn when not actively eating or drinking. Remember, this is not just for your safety... it's for the safety of your fellow moviegoers and the Central Cinema crew.

Limited-use masks are available free at the counter; 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 45% per screening to ensure safe distance throughout our auditorium. That means just 40 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 & fogging between screenings. Markers have been placed in our lobby to designate safe queueing distance. We appreciate your patience if any of these measures cause delays or inconvenience.

Your Safety Is Our Concern

Going to the movies amid the pandemic remains an activity of at least moderate risk, and we obviously can make no guarantees of your safety. 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.