Sunrise Multiplex Cinemas

750 W. Sunrise Highway,
Valley Stream, NY 11581

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Showing 51 - 75 of 90 comments

MarkieS on January 5, 2010 at 3:20 am

why is there no listing on this website for the old Sunrise Drive In which stood on this site?

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on December 15, 2009 at 9:08 pm

This link to this 1991 NY Times article is the most in depth I’ve read about the shootings. (apologies if it’s linked above and I missed it) I enjoy that it seems to convey that National Amusements put the metal detectors in out of public pressure than of their own choice. A lot of times I hear people talking about the metal detectors they make it seem like it was a choice when in fact it sounds as though it was necessary to allay the fears after the shooting.

View link

GaryCohen on December 8, 2009 at 12:39 am

I went to this theater a lot during the 1980s. The first show price was $2.50. Sometimes I’d take a day off from work, jump on the Belt Parkway from my home in Canarsie and be there in less than 20 minutes. Among the films I saw were John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” “Conan the Barbarian,” “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” etc. I took my son to see Disney’s “Oliver and Company” there.
I remember seeing “Hellraiser” there. The film was near the end of its run and it was playing in the theater on the extreme right. There were no ushers nearby since they all hung out in the lobby which was about half a block away. I was the only one in the theater seeing this horror film and being alone really unnerved me. I started thinking that someone could’ve come behind me and cut my throat. And nobody would know…Watching this rather disturbing film by myself in this rather large theater with no one else in close proximity was a rather nervewracking experience.
Around this time the surrounding area was going completely downhill and there was a well-publicised shoot-out duirng a showing of
“G-dfather III.” Metal detectors were installed in the theater.
And I haven’t been back since.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on November 11, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Sumner Redstone! It all started right here when this place was a drive-in. Sumner Redstone is one of the most powerful media moguls of the late 20th century. In his capacity as owner and chief executive officer of Viacom, Inc., Redstone lords over Hollywood’s Paramount Pictures television and motion picture factory; a handful of cable TV networks including MTV, The Movie Channel, Showtime, Nickelodeon, VH1; and several radio and TV stations. It was tough being the technician here, so many types of old projection equipment. However, it is history, so it was worth it.

Jorge on October 14, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Wow…like jjt posted above, I too have memories of seeing one of my “first” movies in a theater which was Raiders of the Lost Ark! I recall seeing E.T. the first time here as well!

Some of my movie going memories at the Sunrise are “not so fond”. Two incidents, both HORROR movies (oddly enough):

My parents made the mistake of taking me & my sisters to see ‘Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ on the Saturday night of the weekend it opened…the theater was oversold (or people obviously snuck in) as people were standing in the back of the theater! A big fight broke out between a white & black women as the latter was “kicking” the others' chair..this was within a year of the “Howard Beach” incident some of you NYers might remember, so things got from bad to WORSE…when the mostly “black” crowd started yelling obscenties at the white woman & a bunch of them chanting “Howard Beach!, Howard Beach!, Howard Beach!” as the women got in each others faces & argued…I was SCARED!!!!…took about 15-20 minutes for things to calm down, but by then the crowd was “hyped” up & the mostly young crowd was pretty rowdy after that…I wanted to LEAVE!…

The 2nd time during a screening of Halloween 4…in which my father cussed 2 guys out sitting in the back of the theater that would NOT shut up through the 1st 10 minutes of the movie!!!!…they quieted down to a dull whisper for maybe 5 minutes, only to crank back up to FULL volume after that time! My father got fed up & we left & saw another movie in the multiplex despite paying to see Halloween 4!

I remember those seats being EXTRA sensitive to anyone walking by or even gently tapping the back of your seat! It was HORRIBLE! I wish my later bad experiences at Sunrise didn’t overshadow my early good ones!

jjt on May 4, 2009 at 9:53 pm

I was an Usher (and then Head Usher – no jokes) who also did many other jobs there in the early to mid 80s, including security detail, popping popcorn, managing the lines and changing the marquee.

At first it was a great High School and College job – but the pay was dismal. In fact, most of my best friends come from working there.

I had left before the metal detectors and the later problems, but with such a large influx of people every weekend, there were always serious issues at hand. On a high traffic Saturday night we could have several blockbuster movies selling out and the only place to
put people while they waited was that big box of a lobby.

If you were there in the early 80’s then you were sure to have heard myself and couple of others yelling “Please move up! Please step up!” until eventually someone in the line would start mooing, then some joker in the front would drop a rope and the whole mass of
people would crowd forward with nowhere to go.

The worst large event I remember there was a semi-riot for a “Friday the 13th” evening show, where the drop the rope trick occurred after people got impatient waiting for us to clean up the trashed theatre. The ushers taking tickets had to jump into the telephone alcove to save themselves and mayhem ensued. Once done, there were almost no
pictures left on the wall and people were trying to stand in the back of the theatre since so many people snuck in during the melee.

The “sneak in” problem got so bad that we ended up using walkie talkies to do counter-surveillance on guys passing off ticket stubs and opening the back doors. We had also developed a long list of nicknames for the regular sneak ins.

There were also many fights, between ushers and people sneaking in or between patrons – and a few of those I was a part of ended up with us finding a dropped weapon. That’s when I decided to move on.

I did love going to movies at Sunrise – believe the first thing I saw there was either “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or “Arthur.” When I worked there, “ET” came and went back THREE TIMES and was almost always a packed show – and a pain to work with the high kid ratio. (I used to get stuck with Saturday and Sunday openings since I was only 16 at the time.)

The most annoying film to work may have been “Reds” which was more than 3 hours long, so the midnight show got out way after 2AM. Also, the high senior citizen contingent for that one led the “Candy Girls” (yes, not politically correct, but what they were called then) to follow many orders with “Yes, I know – EXTRA butter, NO ice.”

While as others relate in these comments there were some serious race issues going on in the area at the time, the people that worked together at Sunrise there were a completely mixed group and for the most part got along very well. Any problems were personality based as far as I know. Plenty of parties, weekend clubbing and meetups at the Cinemas summer mornings where people would jump in cars and head to the beach.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 30, 2008 at 3:51 am

Thanks for that thoughtful and heartfelt post. I grew up in the “not so desirable neighborhood” of Laurelton, Queens from age 9 through my first couple of years in college and have great memories of this theatre and others in the surrounding areas – I also have great memories of living on my block of 231st Street between Franny Lew and 137th Ave. Througout my stay in Laurelton, it was I who was in the minority, being a caucasian of mixed latino descent. I, too, get a bit indignant when folks bring “race” into the equation when speaking of how this theatre and the surrounding area have become less than desireable. Even when they don’t mention race, you know what the inference is. I feel lucky to have grown up where I did, for it was a warm and cheerful neighborhood where I was never made to feel unwanted or an outsider. Indeed, it was a very tightly knit community where parents organized block parties each and every year that EVERYONE actively participated in and thoroughly enjoyed. Even in the schoolyard of PS 156, “race” was never thrown in my face… Sure there were fights and scrapes, but nothing that hadn’t been happening in countless communities all across this City for ages. We were all just neighbors, pals, classmates, whatever. My fondest memories of family and childhood go back to that wonderful tree-lined neighborhood.

cinema90 on March 18, 2008 at 4:19 am

I was just 12 years old when it happened. The year was 1990.I lost a good friend. His name was Tremaine Hall. He was the victim of the Sunise Movie theatre Shooting that took place Christmas Weekend in 1990. Like other kids in our age group, Sunrise was an easy way to have fun and meet up with other teens. Yes I resided in the “less than desirable” surrounding neighborhood that you talk about. To me it almost sounds as if you’re implying that the residents of the mostly African-American neighborhoods, caused the depreciation of Value in your beloved theatre. Tremaine was killed watching a Mafia Movie. The Irony is Tremaine was Killed watching the Godfather, and not some Urban rap movie that you made reference to. If it was the latter, Tremaine may have been crucified for watching a movie that contributed to the theatre’s beginning and end. Tremaine was only 15 when he was brutally shot by some unruly teens. He was an innocent bystander. With the drive of his parents and local politicians, the theatre has installed Metal Detectors. Please Dont blame Tremaine, the “not so desirable neighborhood”, or the “riot” for not going back. Blame it on your prejudices. This is America. A melting pot of people. Sorry that your segregated theatre fantasy will not be showing there..

P.S. the further Irony is that I am a 29 y/o African American Female who was raised in Jamaica Queens. I am employed as a Police Officer for Nassau County.

7traintoshea on December 2, 2007 at 3:37 am

I went back for the first time in ten years, still metal detectors, still use 1980 type signs, new refreshment stand, theatre still long and narrow. Dolby Digital sound only in theatres 1, 8, 9 and 13. DTs digital in theatre 10 and REAL D in screen 10. They now have cupholders. The other screens are Dolby SR analog sound.

Late 1995 when they put all screens Dolby. The only good screens are 1, 8, 9 and 10.

The capacities are
1. 682 SR+EX
2. 342 SR
3. 306 SR
4. 337 SR
5. 283 SR
6. 283 SR
7. 327 SR
8. 682 SR+EX
9. 682 SR+EX
10. 583 REAL D dts
11. 241 SR
12. 282 SR
13. 359 SR+D
14. 359 SR

Don’t be fooled because the small one 300 seats, but the theatre are long since they were divided in half, with the exception of screens 13 and 14.

The large houses usually show big blockbusters or urban films. For example, Screens 8 and 9 had This Christmas which seat 700 each

ridethectrain on December 1, 2006 at 10:59 pm

The theatre is down hill, you have to go through metal detectors and the only good screens are 1, 8, 9 and 10. The others the screens are small and long and noarrow 300 seats houses.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on May 30, 2006 at 1:38 pm

Here’s a standalone ad for the Sunrise Cinemas that ran in Newsday on 12/9/80:

Sixplex Ad

Sorry for the blurriness of the image. I saw every one of the movies playing here except for “The Competition”. The phone # listed in the ad still works.

lopez on February 11, 2006 at 5:25 pm

I wasn’t there for the shooting, but recall vividly from newspaper/TV accounts that a bunch of teens from Nassau/Queens pretty much opened fire on the crowd, injuring a few folks and killing one.

Another story from back in the day from when I was a teen…I was at the adjacent Green Acres Mall with a friend just killing time in the arcade before going to see Nightmare on Elm Street 4 at the Sunrise Multiplex. We started to play the old USA-Russia hockey game, when an all-out massive fight broke out between rival African-American and Latino gangs and spilled right into the arcade. I remember it clear as day. My friend and I both hid under our video game the whole time, scared as sh*t. After the movie I remember thinking that no Freddy movie seemed as frightening as that one, though I suppose it was brought on by the pre-show action rush at the mall.

Jesse Hoheisel
Jesse Hoheisel on February 11, 2006 at 1:52 pm

Anybody have pictures of this theater?

topaz on October 11, 2005 at 5:41 pm

Can anyone bring light to the 1990 godfather three shooting at Sunrise theater?

topaz on October 11, 2005 at 5:38 pm

Can anyone bring light to the 1990 godfather three shooting at Sunrise theater?

topaz on October 11, 2005 at 5:38 pm

Can anyone bring light to the 1990 godfather three shooting at Sunrise theater?

topaz on October 11, 2005 at 5:38 pm

Can anyone bring light to the 1990 godfather three shooting at Sunrise theater?

Vito on September 16, 2005 at 12:50 pm

That was a tough time, we had to increase security to handle crowd control which had gotten out of control, there were so many people that the lobby had filled up, so we formed additional holding areas outside the front doors. When we opened the doors the people stormed in breaking a few doors and windows. The next night we had police dogs in the lobby and added additional screens to handle the crowd. The Godfather shooting was caused by someone cutting in line at the concession stand, Imagine that? I am not sure how business there is now, although from what I understand it is still a popular theatre.
I haven’t been involved in the Long Island theatres since 1987

chconnol on September 16, 2005 at 12:38 pm

Vito: since you worked there during the period that I saw a lot of movies there, do you remember the riot that took place during “Krush Groove”? In my opinion, that was the beginning of the end of this place. As popular as it was, I know a lot of people who began to have second thoughts about going there. After the shooting during “The Godfather, Part III”, I absolutely refused to go there ever again and never did. Even before that, it was the theater of last resort.

How is it doing these days? I cannot imagine that its like it was during the early 80’s.

Vito on September 9, 2005 at 9:33 am

I worked as a projectionist at Sunrise Feb 1984 thru Nov 1987. As Ed posted it was a very busy theatre then. We were mentioned in the trade magazine Boxoffice as the busiest theatre in the country. Some films were so popular, on weekends we would interlock (project the same print on two or more screens at the same time) on three screens for a total seating capacity of 1900 seats per show. Back then, five of the twelve auditoriums had 700 seats each. We expanded to fourteen screens while I was there. Three of the auditoriums have 70mm capability and during the 80s we often had two or three 70mm prints running. It was great reading the above posts, It was a great experience working there.

BobT on September 9, 2005 at 1:39 am

Although no one knew it at the time, I firmly believe the opening of this theatre was the death knell of the single screens on Long Island. It was impressive for what it was. It was always packed and and like “The Blob”, the more people, the bigger it got. After it opened everyone was splitting and quading. In the early years they would do studio test screenings. I saw Burt Reynolds in “Paternity” during a test. Other films I saw included Richeard Gere in “Breathless” and the nuclear nightmare “Testament”. As wildly successful as it was it was still no Lowes Quad, err I mean Lowes Sixplex, well strike that, it’s now the Lowes Nassau Metroplex.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 9, 2005 at 1:00 am

The opening date was December 7th, 1979 with Star Trek: The Motion Picture the sole feature presentation as CConnolly described above. I was in attendance that night. The first of many, many nights my close freinds and I spent in one (some nights even more) of it’s ever expanding # of auditoriums. We had our favorite seats almost every time out (dead center of the 4th row) and saw just about everything here through the early ‘80’s from Star Trek to Roller Boogie to One Trick Pony to Airplane to Altered States to Excalibur to History of the World Part One to Stir Crazy to Chuck Norris flicks, slasher-flicks and Bruce Lee re-releases. I remember going to opening night of the Sean Connery flick Outland (a sci-fi remake of High Noon) and having to settle for 1st row seats due to being one of the last in the capacity crowd to arrive. That movie (and one or two others I can’t recall exactly) was presented in some sort of new sound system (not Sensurround) that required about six huge speakers placed on the floor of the theater right under the screen (and about 6 feet away from our seats) that nearly blasted us out of the theater!

There is a photo in the Cinema Treasures book that features the very large sign that stands near the curb of Sunrise Highway advertising the attractions at the theater and I figured out that I had seen every single title up on the marquee! And by the time of this photo, I believe the complex had been expanded to 8 auditoriums… and one was playing a double feature! We were definitely movie hounds back in those days. Easily going out to one movie theater or another once or twice a week.

As I recall the expansion of auditoriums here, they initially started dividing the outer theaters first (those being farthest to either the left or right of the lobby area which was dead center in the complex. At some point, just about all but the 2 center theaters had been divided and then, eventually, the building was physically expanded for a couple of extra screens.

One last note… a lot of teen agers seemed to show up to this theater just as much to play the arcade games that were situated in the lobby as to see the movies themselves. I seem to recall that some of the early hints of “trouble” in this theater originated with disputes between the rowdies that often crowded out the smaller children who wanted to play those games while Mom and Dad waited on the ticket-holders' line.

Wait… I lied…. Just one final related memory… the image of the old Sunrise Drive-In just before it was razed to make way for this theater remains indelibly etched in my mind… with a chain link fence surrounding the stripped down base of its hulking screen where someone had scrawled in white spray paint large enough to be seen from the passing cars on Sunrise Highway, “Goodbye Cruel World!”

CathyN on June 28, 2005 at 9:32 pm

Hey Chris, I saw the Jaws at teh Green Acres too on its opening night! Graduation present from Ogden Elementary from my older sister and her boyfriend. 30 years this past weekend!

berkfam on November 30, 2004 at 6:21 am

I remember this was the first theater that I ever saw that had high back soft seats that rocked. They also had cup holders in the armrests. Quite innovative for its time.

longislandmovies on November 22, 2004 at 11:18 pm