Forest Theatre

2 Forest Road,
West Haven, CT 06516

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Showing 26 - 37 of 37 comments

YMike on July 30, 2004 at 5:22 am

Does anyone have information on a drive-in theatre several blocks away from the Forrest? Its closed but the screen is still there.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 23, 2004 at 1:14 pm


I agree it would be a great theatre to save, but if it is unused for 10 years it will be in no shape to run movies, and it just isn’t worth $10,000 per month to use as a cinema. The owner is right when he says that whoever buys it will probably demolish it. Economically it just isn’t feasible. As for first run movies, a Showcase Cinemas multiplex is only 4 miles away, so that is not doable. The film distributors won’t even permit the york Square 3 next to the Yale campus in downtown New Haven to have first run product (there is an ongoing lawsuit in that case) so the Forest wouldn’t stand a chance. As for art films, with 12 screens in New Haven showing art movies (York Square 3, Cine 1-2-3-4, and the Criterion 5 which opens this fall) there isn’t any chance of getting those either. Sub run split product on the single screen could possibly work, but twinning it would guarantee more success. Also, I’m not sure what seats you saw, but the ones I saw were dirty and many were missing their cushions. With renovations the theatre could be great again. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen.

Megan on March 23, 2004 at 9:44 am

This theater would be worth waiting 10 years to buy. Please don’t twin it. The screen and sound are of excellent quality, and the seating is of much better quality than other second run theaters. I only went there once, but that is because I was not a member of their target audience, and they didn’t heat the building, at least not on the very cold evening that I attended. I don’t see why the Forest couldn’t be an art or first run theater. There is no cinematic competition in the immediate vicinity, and there ought to be options other than New Haven. Showing two good movies a week, together, would draw me in. It is quite amazing to walk in and look for the auditorium entrance, then to realize you are already in it. The realtor is the Proto Group, (203) 234-6371.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 5, 2004 at 1:00 pm

Well, this theatre won’t reopen.

I was in touch with the real estate agent who is marketing it. It cannot be sold for ten years because of “tax problems.” For the theatre building which includes two storefronts, the lot to the left, the lot to the right, and the house next door they want $10,000 per month. That is WAY too pricey for anyone who hopes to keep it as a theatre. Ridiculous.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on February 23, 2004 at 7:10 pm

I have left a message on the owner’s voicemail inquiring as to the price. If it is reasonable I may just take the plunge myself, but I heard a couple of years ago that he was asking for a price that was “too high” to continue using the land for a cinema.

That “big brown building in the background” is the actual auditorium. The white building in front contains the theatre lobby and two storefronts.

The movies aimed at an African-American audience would not be cheaper to rent as they are still mainstream flicks (e.g. the final movie it is showing, barring ever reopening, is Love Don’t Cost A Thing). The Forest is near the New Haven town line and this strategy was probably designed to draw the urban crowd. The University of New Haven, with 1800 students, is just a couple of blocks away, and maybe these movies interest them too.

dschallert on February 23, 2004 at 6:19 pm

Just happen to see this while looking for movie theatres for sale…need to ask a couple of questions…hoping you can help.

Any idea (ballpark) how much $$$ the owner was wanting for it? What is the big brown building in the background of the picture? Why was he showing films mostly meant for blacks…is that the primary customer population or was this his marketing strategy (or were the movies cheaper to rent)?

sdoerr on February 23, 2004 at 5:55 pm

Great plans Roger, if there is a buyer you should present them with that information, it could save it.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on February 21, 2004 at 10:47 am

No, it wouldn’t, Robert. It is close to New Haven where Yale University is, but New Haven already has a 3-screen art house cinema and a 4-screen subrun art house cinema. also a 5-screen art house is currently under construction in downtown New Haven, so that market is saturated.

West Haven, where the Forest is located, is a working class community of over 50,000 people. The current owner has usually booked movies featuring African-Americans to try to draw in that segment of the population.

If I were to own this theatre here would be my plan for it:

  1. Move the video games and concession stand out of the auditorium. Expand the lobby by taking the former ice cream parlor to the left and put the concession stand there. Take the storefront to the right and put the video games in there. This arcade could even by open during non-cinema hours.

  2. A 600 seat auditorium is way too big for a subrun theatre. Divide it into two 250 seat auditoriums. Or if the space and configuration is right for it, triplex it into three 150-175 seat auditoriums. Whatever happens the auditorium needs a lot of renovation to make this facility first class.

  3. The current practice is booking one film each week and running it a few times per day. A successful subrun needs variety. I would book 3 films per week and run each one once per day at 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00, with maybe an additional children’s film showing as a weekend matinee at 1:00 and 3:00.

I do not know how successful the theatre is at the moment since the owner is leaving for medical reasons (he has to go to Germany for treatment of an illness) rather than financial ones. But I believe with the three strategies I outlined above implemented that this theatre would survive as a subrun.

RobertR on February 21, 2004 at 7:52 am

Would this theatre survive showing art films?

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on February 21, 2004 at 7:24 am

The Forest is closing for good after it’s Thursday February 26 showing. The building is for sale, but as of now there have been no offers. The theatreowner expects whomever he sells it to will probably knock it down.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on February 21, 2004 at 7:24 am

The Forst is closing for good after it’s Thursday February 26 showing. The building is for sale, but as of now there have been no offers. The theatreowner expects whomever he sells it to will probably knock it down.

William on December 17, 2003 at 4:13 pm

Watch the Henry Fonda movie “Madigan” (1968) and you will see the concession stand at the rear of the auditorium of the old Edison Theatre in New York.