Cobb's grandfather, Jefferson Richards, opened a movie house in Fayette in 1921. Richards' daughter, Lucille Cobb, bought the theater from him in 1934 and sold it and a second theater to her son, Richard, in 1947. Starting with those to locations, Cobb expanded across North Alabama, adding drive-in theaters as well as indoor movie houses. By 1965 Cobb operated 27 theaters in the Alabama and Georgia. He moved the company from Fayette to Birmingham the following year and built the nation's first four-plex in 1971. In 1978 he constructed the Cinema City 8 in Roebuck, then the largest multiplex in the nation.
In 1992 Cobb purchased Tampa, Florida's General Cinema chain, then acquired South Florida's Wometco Chain in 1994. The company was operating 643 screens when it was acquired by Regal Entertainment for $200 million in 1997.
A new Cobb Theatres III was founded by Robert Cobb in 2000, building the Dolphin 19 in Miami and expanding to 11 locations by 2006. It launched a CinéBistro concept in Miami and Tampa in 2008 and currently operates more than 253 screens at 21 locations in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia and Colorado.
Current Alabama locations
- Alabama Theatre, 1817 3rd Avenue North, Birmingham (owned 1981-1987, never operated)
- Brook Highland Cinema, Brook Highland Shopping Center on U.S. Highway 280 (1994-1997)
- Cobb Capri, 2300 block of Center Point Parkway (1965–mid 1970s)
- Cinema City 8, Roebuck Shopping City, Birmingham (1978-1992)
- Center Point 6, Queensbury Shopping Center, Center Point (1983-1997)
- Cobb Festival 12/Festival 18, Eastwood Festival Center, Birmingham (1989-1997), now Edge 12
- Cobb Midfield 2/Midfield 6 (early 1970s-1996)
- Cobb Movies 4, 1007 U.S. Highway 78, Jasper (1983-1997, 2000-2013)
- Cobb Vestavia, Park South Plaza (early 1970s–early 1980s),
- Galleria 10, Riverchase Galleria, Hoover (1988-1997)
- Hoover Square 6, Hoover Square Shopping Center, Hoover (1983-1997)
- Cobb Theatres website