Loews Liberty Tree Mall Cinema 1-2
96 Commonwealth Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Loews, Sack Theatres
Previous Names: Sack Liberty Tree Mall Cinema
Built as a deluxe single screen by Loews in 1969 on a piece of land away from the main mall itself. It was a twin to the Natick Loews Cinema. A beautiful single screen house with mural of movie stars gracing the top of the lobby. It was sold to Sack Cinemas in the 70s and later twinned.
Sack later built a cement box four screen complex across the highway (later making it six by splitting two of those houses into bowling alley type auditoriums.) The Liberty Tree Theatre was often booked with lesser films even though it had more seats due to a bad contract it had with the mall.
It closed when Loews built a new complex inside the mall building in the 90s and was demolished in 2002 for a sporting goods store.
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An odd footnote on the Liberty Tree Mall Cinema was it being raided and shut down in 1975 for showing an adult movie.
The movie was ‘Linda Lovelace For President’ which was a softcore comedy, barely x-rated but still enough that the town did not want it showing on a theatre that was near the mall.
The print of the film stayed in the booth for years after that and was used regularly to teach how to put a print together for the platter projection system.
The towns attitude about x films did not apply to the other Sack theatre across the highway which opened with Last Tango In Paris and also showed The Cheerleaders x version with no trouble.
Later the Tliberty Tree showed a reissue of Last tango with no one caring.
From the Boston Globe archives, December 7, 1980:
Youths throwing rocks and bottles injured three policemen and damaged theaters in Malden and Danvers last night at midnight showings of “The Song Remains the Same,” a movie featuring the rock group Led Zeppelin.
The problem first erupted at about 11:20 p.m. outside the Sack Theater on Rte. 128 in Danvers. Hundreds of youngsters were waiting for a previous movie to end so they could enter the theater. According to police, some of the teenagers and young adults were drinking. Police said there was some “pushing and shoving,” and then beer bottles were thrown.
Officers said additional help was sought from State Police, Hamilton, Wenham and Topsfield as police were bombarded with beer bottles and rocks. Several theater windows were also smashed. Three police officers were taken to the Hunt Memorial Hospital where they were treated for minor injuries and later released.
Police said a dozen young people were arrested on charges, including assault and battery on police officers, disturbing the peace, and being idle and disorderly. Those arrested will be arraigned Monday in Salem District Court.
At the Granada Theater in Malden, youths caused some $5000 damage as they slashed theater seats and the movie screen and tore radiators out of the floor. Police Sgt. John McCallan said: “They just went wacky. They wanted to raise some hell, and they sure did."
Earlier Friday, it was announced that the Led Zeppelin band was breaking up because of the death of the group’s drummer, John Bonham. Sgt. McCallan said it was unclear whether the news had prompted the rioting, but pointed out that similar disturbances have erupted in other towns which have held midnight showings of rock movies.
The riot mentioned above took place at the other Sack house in Danvers, the four theatre Cinema City that is now Hollywood Hits. I was working at the Liberty Tree Mall cinema when the midnight show incident took place.
The 1971 annual report of Loews Corporation says that “Among the openings scheduled by next spring are: A 1200-seat luxury theatre in Danvers, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.” That refers to spring of 1972, so I think the 1969 date in the description above is wrong.
The report does not say whether the new theatre would be a single-screen or a twin.
I saw a bunch of movies here in the 80s. My memory is a bit hazy, and I tend to get this theatre confused with the now also gone (it’s a Barnes and Noble) North Shore Mall theatre, and the old Burlington Mall Theatre, but I am fairly certain I saw Nightmare on Elm St 4, Elvira Mistress of the Dark and Hellraiser II at this theatre.
It might be a false memory but it seemed like this cinema showed more horror flicks in the 80s than some of the other theatres?
The last movie I saw there was Men in Black around 1997 or so, that may have been the last movie shown there, it was certainly ONE of the last movies shown there, because I believe the first movie I saw at the new Mall theatre was either Election or Rushmore which I believe came out in 98 or 99?
“LInda LOvelace For President” was rated R,What idiots!
This theatre closed on December 17. 1998 with “Star Trek: Insurrection” and “A Bug’s Life” being the final two movies.
This opened on Christmas day in 1971. Grand opening ad uploaded here.
The theater was split in 1978. First attractions as a twin were Goin' South and Who Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe. Not too bad a job on the split since the single house was wide enough that the twins escaped the dreaded double bowling alley look of so many split theaters. Really missed the cross aisle from the single house that let you really stretch out your legs.