Apple Cinemas

168 Alewife Brook Parkway,
Cambridge, MA 02138

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This theatre, at the end of a suburban strip mall and surrounded by a parking lot, was a two-screen General Cinema in the 1970’s.

It closed some time in the early-1980’s and sat vacant for years before Entertainment Cinemas rebuilt and reopened it as a ten-plex in the spring of 1990. Entertainment didn’t keep it very long; on December 19, 1990, they sold it to Loews, who ran it through Thursday, January 26, 2006. The theatre did not become part of the AMC-Loews merger, and closed after the early evening shows that day. It reopened as an Entertainment Cinema once more on February 3, 2006.

In 2013, it was renamed Apple Cinemas.

Contributed by Ron Newman

Recent comments (view all 40 comments)

zaxxon25
zaxxon25 on February 28, 2006 at 12:32 pm

A banner has been placed over the sign, where the “Loews” used to be now it somewhat unintelligibly says “Entertainment Cinemas.” Other than that everything looks the same. The Loews spotlights are still up there.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 4, 2006 at 4:47 am

North Cambridge’s newspaper The Alewife has a long article about this theatre, its history, and Bill Hanney’s plans to return it to its former glory:

Fresh Pond Mall Cinema redux; Prior owner, waterfall return

Something I didn’t know: “General Cinemas would test new seats, snacks and interior decorations at the location before making decisions for the rest of the chain.”

And something that surprises me: “The other problem was the building’s footprint. Hemmed in by railroad tracks and the rest of the Mall, it was impossible to expand without losing parking spaces.”

That parking lot is rarely more than about 1/5 full. They could easily have expanded the theatre outward instead of upward, and made the walking environment more pleasant at the same time.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on March 4, 2006 at 7:03 am

It was already closed down when Cambridge Seven Architects used it as a prototype to display their new design elements to the executives. It was a one-time deal, not an ongoing program. And not used as a prototype while opened. (grey paint replaced white, grey formica and fabric covered wall panels over old white formica and alpro, and black ceilings, with hanging fixtures, to make the theatre darker. Carpets went from red to blue, and concessions got back-lit back bar graphics. After the executives looked at the makeover, the Cambridge Seven went ahead and did over the theatre in Columbia Maryland, Chestnut Hill, Arlington Texas, Parmatown Mall, and probably a few others, to one degree or another. They also begain to use Cambridge Seven Design when building new theatres. I believe this was around 1986.

zaxxon25
zaxxon25 on June 13, 2006 at 2:43 pm

The Entertainment Cinemas logo has now permanently replaced Lowes on the top of the parking lot sign. However, on the front on the cinema itself all they’ve done is take off the “LOEWS” … it still says “THEATRES” in the Loews font.

sweettrini
sweettrini on August 12, 2007 at 1:05 am

I like this theatre it’s small and never crowded.

nkwoodward
nkwoodward on December 11, 2007 at 12:26 pm

I went there too many times in the mid-1990s, and it was easily the worst place to see a movie. The clientele was young and rowdy, the theaters + lobby were dingy, and at least one screen was criminally small.

centersandsquares
centersandsquares on July 14, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Without a doubt my favorite memory of this theater – from its single screen days I think – was the ladies room. To this day I’ve never seen its match. Each stall had its own vanity with a sink. Sweet! A super bathroom and a huge screen – you can’t beat that!

MPol
MPol on July 15, 2009 at 1:15 am

I remember that general area before it became a strip mall, when the Fresh Pond Drive-In was there, and afterwards, when the Drive-in Theatre closed and the present Fresh Pond Cinema went up. Movies I’ve seen there more recently (back in the 1990’s and 1980’s) were Titantic, Tomorrow Never Dies, Wizard of Oz, and An Officer and a Gentleman.

One thing I’ve recently noticed, however, when I’ve driven past Fresh Pond Cinema is the fact that the theatre hasn’t seemed as crowded, even on a Saturday evening, as it used to be. Wonder what gives.

marco1
marco1 on November 22, 2009 at 9:33 pm

does bill hanney still own it? returning the waterfall?

rivest266
rivest266 on May 5, 2013 at 7:58 pm

This changed its name to Apple Cinemas according to the showtime websites. offical website at http://applecinemas.com/

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