Coligny Theatre, originally named The Island Theater, first opened its doors in 1972, and was Hilton Head Island’s only theater for many years. With the advent and explosive growth in popularity of the VCR and cable TV, movie theaters all across the country fell on hard times, and thousands were forced to close their doors. Single-screen theaters like this one were usually among the first to go. The operators of The Island Theater held on as long as possible, but declining revenue took its toll. The theater and its equipment had deteriorated badly, and the theatre ended a 25-year run, finally closing its doors in late 1997.
In 2001, the owners of Coligny Plaza decided that the plaza needed a movie theater, and that if no one else wanted to operate one, they would. The theater was renovated, renamed Coligny Theatre, and opened for business on March 1, 2002 as an “art house,” mostly showing films by independent producers, and aimed at an upscale adult audience. The artwork both inside and outside the theater was done by local artist Ralph Sutton.