The Jean Cocteau Cinema opened as the Collective Fantasy Cinema in 1976. Brent Kliewer, programmer for the Collective Fantasy, bought the theatre in 1983 and renamed it the Jean Cocteau in reverence to the French filmmaker and artist. Kliewer, who remains the programmer for The Screen in Santa Fe, sold it to Blue Pearl Corporation in 1986.
Trans-Lux Corporation purchased the venue in 1989 and ran the theatre, which has a single screen and 120 seats, until closing it in April of 2006. The state of New Mexico then leased offices above the theatre and the theatre itself as the home for the state film office, with plans to make the theatre auditorium into a film museum. Funding for that project never came to fruition and the film office left the theatre and offices in 2010. Trans-Lux still owned the theatre, which stood vacant until it was purchased by author George R R Martin in 2013, who reopened it on August 9, 2013.
The theatre shows film on 35 mm and digitally as well, combining the best of the old with the best of the new, including Santa Fe’s only ‘Midnight Movie’ series, with a different title being offered each weekend at 11 PM.