Manhattan’s Lincoln Plaza Cinema to Close in January 2018

posted by Ross Melnick on December 18, 2017 at 12:58 pm


Indiewire reports that the beloved Lincoln Plaza Cinema will close next month. According to Indiewire: “The news of Lincoln Plaza’s demise sent a shock wave throughout the independent film distribution community on Friday, as many figures in the specialty business who had relied on the theater to showcase highbrow foreign language films and other major arthouse releases wondered what a new owner might do with the theater. Some speculated that Landmark Cinemas, which recently opened a new location on 57th Street in the wake of reports that its longtime Lower East Side location would close down next year, would be unlikely to acquire the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas without radically changing its business model.”

Comments (20)

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on December 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm

This article has been updated since it was first published:

UPDATED (December 16): A spokesperson for Milstein Properties provided the following statement: “Milstein Properties built 30 Lincoln Plaza in 1978, we are long-term members of this community and have played a central role in nurturing this special theater. There is vital structural work needed to repair and waterproof the plaza surrounding the building that cannot be completed while the space is in use, and will begin now that the cinema’s lease has expired. At the completion of this work, we expect to re-open the space as a cinema that will maintain its cultural legacy far into the future.”

It sounds like the theater will reopen after construction work is completed. Fingers crossed!

moviebuff82 on December 24, 2017 at 6:21 pm

This is the second oldest arthouse theater in NYC. The Paris was the first.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 25, 2017 at 5:29 pm

moviebuff82, I am not sure how you define ‘arthouse’, but the Cinema Village, Quad, and Cinema 1, 2, 3 are all older than this. The latter having been the definition of ‘arthouse’ at one time.

moviebuff82 on December 30, 2017 at 2:58 pm

VictorNarraway on January 11, 2018 at 6:53 am

I’m encouraged by the comment from Milstein Properties re: on the completion of work that needs to be done, they expect/hope to reopen the cinema. Oh, let it be true!

moviebuff82 on January 15, 2018 at 4:58 pm

I never been there but my dad went there years ago…

SethLewis on January 28, 2018 at 11:34 am

A nice tribute to the Lincoln Plaza (and the Sunshine) and NYC’s remaining arthouses in today’s New York Times

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on January 29, 2018 at 9:14 am

Link to NYT editorial comments on closing here

RobertR on February 5, 2018 at 2:42 pm

Its so heartbreaking NY is loosing all its cinemas. I hate to say it people are content to sit at home for the most part and watch it on TV.

Genius Attestation Dubai
Genius Attestation Dubai on February 20, 2018 at 11:04 pm

Its really heartbreaking NY is losing all its movies.

moviebuff82 on February 23, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Even New Jersey too. It’s the megaplexes that are eating up the profits somewhat, with concession sales that make up the bulk and people using moviepass, which will go bankrupt soon. Netflix, Amazon, Google, Hulu, as well as pay tv stalwarts like HBO, Starz, Epix, and Showtime control the majority of streaming media for movies. Not only that, but we live in an era of Peak TV where every episode is important. Some of the NY theaters, like those in Lincoln Square, Orpheum, and 19th street are in dire need of recliners for their aging seats.

cineramafan on March 10, 2018 at 7:01 pm

I no longer live in NYC but hate hearing of another great movie house closing. Last year it was the Ziegfeld. Stand alone screens or even small multiplexes are an endangered species, I guess. What a thrill it was to see something with a huge screen, the parting curtains, and brilliant sound. Alas, true showmanship and the exciting “sense of occasion” has disappeared, along the way with polite audiences. I love home cinema (which is basically what multiplexes offer with only slightly larger screens) but the shared experience with supreme presentation, 70MM, CinemaScope, etc. can never be equaled. Movies today seem to me dumbed down for the international market and sorry, but IMAX doesn’t do it, at least for me. No wonder people don’t want to go out to the movies.

JAlex on March 16, 2018 at 10:14 am

Venue slated to close in January…did it?

stevenj on March 16, 2018 at 11:01 am

Wondering why, in 3 months, this news blog has not had any new news.

zoetmb on March 17, 2018 at 1:38 pm

Due to closings and the installation of lounge seating, NYC has suffered a net loss of 97,000 seats in the last 30 years and 23% of the seating capacity just since December of 2015.

(On the upside, Regal is opening the Market Line 14 on Delancey and Essex, Nitehawk should reopen the Prospect Park 7 (Sanders/Pavillion) this year and Queens is getting the Tangram Flushing 7 in a new development that should be open in 2019 or 2020.)

Being basement space, there are limits on what Milstein can do with it so it’s certainly possible that a theater will reopen there, but frankly, it’s become such a lousy business that I doubt it, because no theater can pay the rent that Milstein would probably be asking, never mind the reconstruction costs. Audiences have declined: look at the new Landmark 8 — it’s only 558 seats across 8 theaters with the smallest theater containing only 19 seats!

Jasonbryan on April 2, 2018 at 6:48 am

It is slightly close to a month and we still feel the effects of the closure. Has anybody any idea of the next thing that is close to it?

zoetmb on April 5, 2018 at 10:36 pm

@Jasonbryan: Loews Lincoln Square is on Broadway and 68th. They play some art films, usually in the three basement theaters: Canal, Palace and Jersey.

As part of Lincoln Center, you have the Walter Reade at 165 West 65th and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film enter across the street. Between them, there are five screens and almost 800 seats.

There’s the Paris on 58th St and 5th Avenue and there’s the new Landmark 8 at 57 West which is on 57th Street and the West Side Highway and replaces the now closed Sunshine on Houston Street. And there’s also MOMA, which usually shows films daily on 53rd between 5th-6th Avenue.

CF100 on May 14, 2018 at 2:15 pm

zoetmb: US box office statistics.

According to this page, annual ticket sales in the US have been between 1.2bn to 1.6bn in number since 1995, peaking in the early 2000s, but I’m not sure there’s evidence of a decline.

cineramafan: Shame IMAX doesn’t cut it for you; IMAX with Laser (given digital acquisition using, say, Arri Alexa cameras and digital post) is superior to old 70mm prints, and in many ways, 15/70 IMAX as projected also. “Blade Runner 2049” at London’s Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square in their “IMAX with Laser” equipped auditorium on an 87.5ft. wide screen was one of the best screenings I’ve ever attended.

Agree about tabs but alas for the most part the world has changed in that respect.

codemagazine on May 20, 2018 at 1:31 pm

It’s sad hearing of another great movie house closing

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