Cedar Grove movie theater closes after 12 years

posted by chochuts on May 17, 2010 at 7:48 am

CEDAR GROVE, NJ — Not being able to make it through the summer, Cinema 23 abruptly closed its doors last week.

A recorded message left on the theater’s phone system on Wednesday thanked patrons for their business over the past 12 years.

A spokeswoman for the Clearview Cinemas chain in Florham Park, which owns the local theater, confirmed Wednesday that the chain had closed but did not provide further details about the facility or others the chain owns in other parts of Essex County, including Montclair and Millburn.

Read the full story in the Verona-Cedar Grove Times.

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Comments (20)

John Fink
John Fink on May 17, 2010 at 8:49 am

This story says Clearview lost their lease: maybe Jimmy Dolan’s former drug addict temper turned the shopping center’s owners off like ABC Oscar night style (I strongly dislike Cablevision but deal with the fact they own half the theaters in New Jersey). Here’s that article: View link

CSWalczak on May 17, 2010 at 9:56 am

The articles are in error when they indicate the theater is twelve years old; that is probably only the length of Clearview’s management. The theater was originally a single screen that showed 70mm features in the 1970s, making this theater at least forty years old.

larry on May 17, 2010 at 10:44 am

Just another example of a local movie house “biting the dust”

moviebuff82 on May 17, 2010 at 11:20 am

Losing the lease was a big deal. This theater was one of the first in NJ to show 70mm films like Star Wars before getting cut into 5 screens. Yet another former 70mm cinema bites the dust.

larry on May 17, 2010 at 11:46 am

They should close down the Bellevue next. It is just a shell of it’s former self.

moviebuff82 on May 17, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Same for the clairidge, even though it still shows great indie films but has crappy projection and sound. The allwood should be closed too because it doesn’t have the 3D of say clifton commons. The Wayne quad and Kinnelon theaters are ok because they have 3d, and so is Morristown except Madison and Chester, both of which don’t have 3D.

larry on May 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

If they closed down the Clairidge, there would be place to see the indie films. The theater seems to do a very brisk business on Saturday and Sunday. Not sure about the rest of the week.

Once in a while some of the other theaters might show an indie film, but never when the film first comes out. Think it would be a real blow to many if they shut the place down.

moviebuff82 on May 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

This cinema opened on November 23, 1969. It died May 11, 2010. For 20+ years it showed movies in 70mm before showing 35mm movies. It was retrofitted on December 23, 1977 with Dolby Stereo 70mm for a rerelease of Star Wars, which was the most popular movie of that year. Clearview bought the theater in 1998 back when Cablevision was buying the chain. With Cablevision, its Optimum Rewards program allowed moviegoers to see a movie for free on Tuesday nights. The last day that this happened was the day before the theater closed down on May 12.

moviebuff82 on May 17, 2010 at 12:23 pm

This isn’t the first cinema that Clearview closed down in Essex county. They also closed the Colony cinema in Livingston, as well as the Screening Zone in Montclair. The only theaters that are left are Millburn (3D), Caldwell, South Orange (3D), Bellevue (3D), and the Clairidge.

John Fink
John Fink on May 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm

As awkward as the Clairidge is it has gotten better since the remodel, but it still does very well and sold out shows aren’t uncommon on the weekends, the weekdays are slower but depending on the show they still pull a healthy amount of business, I doubt it will close and if it ever did I bet another chain would snap it up quickly (Bow Tie or Landmark would be good fits).

The Screening Zone they told me had many equipment problems (as well as poor projection, it was retrofitted from a bank into a theater by its prior owners), while I saw many a great film there I had a few unwatchable experiences (often they’d have to call the projectionist to come down from the Clairidge to help fix an issue). I have many a happy memory from the summer of 2000 seeing great indie flicks in Montclair – stuff that today would never play at the Clairidge, at that time Montclair had 11 screens: the more commercial stuff played at the Clairidge, the indies and foreign films played at Screening Zone, and mostly foreign films from micro distributers and the occasional big Hollywood film played at the Wellmont. SOPAC was originally going to trend more towards art films and they occasionally surprise (last thing I saw there was the anthology film Tokyo!).

William on May 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm

This is just a short list of films that played in 70MM.

“Gone With the Wind” 4/29-5/5 1970
“Doctor Zhivago” 5/6-5/12 1970
“The Sand Pebbles” 5/13-5/19 1970
“2001: A Space Odyssey” 5/20-5/26 1970

“Star Wars” 12/23 1977
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” 7/21 1978
“Alien” 7/27 1979
“The Empire Strikes Back” 7/31 1981
“E.T.” 2/18/ 1982
“TRON” 7/9/ 1982
“Brainstorm” 10/21 1983
“Starman” 12/14 1984

William on May 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm

The opening film was Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run” in 35mm on Nov. 23 1969.

pbubny on May 17, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I’m sure the newspaper article reporting the prerecorded message thanking patrons for their business over the past 12 years was accurate; why would Clearview thank people for patronizing a theater before Clearview ever owned it? (History and tradition seem to count for very little with that company.) I have several fond memories of the Cinema 23 in its single-screen days, and none whatsoever of its five-screen incarnation, which I gave up on after three trips there in 1990. Put it this way: I couldn’t imagine seeing any of the films referenced by Williams in his 70mm posting (several of which I saw there in the ‘70s and '80s) at the post-fiveplexing version of the theatre.

mark edmunds
mark edmunds on May 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm

I looked in the door tonight and see that they have started to ‘dismantle’ the place. The chrome mouth piece’s and ticket pass thru window’s of both box office windows have been removed, the lighted poster display frames in the lobby have been removed along with the candy/soda counters.

CSWalczak on May 17, 2010 at 8:59 pm

They even packed up the popcorn, according to this later version of the article. Folks at another Clearview theater are in for a treat. View link

CSWalczak on May 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm

The article, PB, is in error because of its headline and because the opening line states explicitly, “After 12 years in the community, the only movie theater serving Cedar Grove and Verona has gone out of business.” The theater has been “in the community” for over forty years. The writer apparently assumed that Clearview’s recorded announcement referring to the “past twelve years” indicated how long the theater had existed since its opening; he should have done more research.

pbubny on May 18, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Good point, CWalczak, and I had only clicked on the later version of the article rather than the (inaccurate) Verona-Cedar Grove Times blurb, which does make the erroneous claim that Cinema 23 had only been open for 12 years. The writer also fails to mention that at one time, Verona and Cedar Grove had two single-screen theaters: Cinema 23 and the Verona Theatre a couple of miles away, which shut its doors in the early 1980s.

CSWalczak on May 20, 2010 at 11:11 am

Here;s a follow-up article; apparently the landlord is now looking for another theater operator even though Clearview packed up just about anything that could be removed: View link

larry on May 21, 2010 at 8:30 am

There is no way another theater operator is going to come into this location. It’s a lost cause.

Most of the people who came to the theater were for the Tuesday night “freebies” If Clearview felt the theater was worth keeeping open, they would have negotiated a new lease. They knew it was not worth keeping it.

John Fink
John Fink on June 14, 2010 at 11:17 am

I agree, but it’d be nice if someone could come in and challenge Clearview and AMC, it would have to be a local operator. I wonder if Community Theaters which opened the excellent theater in Center City has any aspirations to branch out.

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