Academy Cinemas

792 Beacon Street,
Newton Centre, MA 02459

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MrDJDude
MrDJDude on April 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm

The description needs to be updated, as the Pier 1 Imports store has since closed. The space is now housing a Citi Bank branch, a Kaplan Test Center, and a salon, Mini-Luxe.

meredithlee
meredithlee on February 23, 2009 at 2:46 pm

SEVEN BEAUTIES opened at the Exeter for sure, I was there opening night. SWEPT AWAY may have played there too, can’t remember. Believe it or not (well Ron, I bet you may share this obsession) I have every movie ticket stub since about 1968 when I got old enough to start my own little collection of things, and later, when I have nothing to do (besides perusing this site) I might just dump them on the floor and start sorting them by city, so I can remember where things played! Before they printed the name of the film on the tickets I used to write the titles on, very small on some of those tiny old stubs! Difficult when they were long titles and double bills!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 23, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I never saw The Seduction of Mimi, but I vaguely recall it and other Lina Wertmuller films playing at the Exeter Street Theatre in Boston, which was also part of the Sonny & Eddy’s chain.

meredithlee
meredithlee on February 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I think the Academy Twin opened around 1969 or 1970. I remember Monday and Tuesday nights were 1 dollar nights. Early films they had were BUTCH CASSIDY, and THE STERILE CUKOO – I recall these 2 especially since they were rated M and we hoped they would let us in as we were 12. Sometimes we passed, sometimes not. Later, THE SEDUCTION OF MIMI was a huge hit there. Funny to think a foreign film opened in Newton Center and not downtown or Harvard Square. Maybe it played there too but I didn’t recall hearing about it before it came to the Academy and I was really into foreign films by that time. The lobby had great mod movie posters of old stars, like Jean Harlow and Charlie Chaplin – all swirly pinks and oranges.

tobaccocard
tobaccocard on June 24, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Newton Centre is a high rent district. It was impossible for the Sonny & Eddy’s theatre to survive the large rent increases which were typical in the area.

Most of the independant businesses in Newton Centre which were in existance at that time are gone.

Most new independant businesses last under one lease cycle.

Many stores have been converted to realty offices.

I remember the Newton Paramount as being on Washington Street in Newton Corner. A few miles east of the West Newton Cinema.

I think other Sonny and Eddys theatres like the Allston closed on a similar timeframe to the Academy.

I don’t think the West Newton Cinema had much effect. As I remember it the renovations which made the West Newton an attractive venue occurred later.

70sfan
70sfan on May 17, 2007 at 4:04 pm

As a kid growing up in Newton Centre, I remember this theatre very well. I distinctly remember when it was being built. I sneaked in once (on a weekend?) when the workmen weren’t there, and got stuck in the elevator! Someone finally got me out (but by then the theatre construction was finished! Just kidding), and I thought I’d get in such trouble with my parents, but I never did. I also recall the smell of the new theatres (probably glue or something) and the very first films they showed… well at least one of them (‘cause they had two theatres) was Zefferelli’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Possibly the other screen was showing “Chisum”? Not sure, but I do remember seeing that there as well. I was at college out of state in the late 70’s, and when I came back it was a Pier One! FIY, it was located on the ground floor, not the basement, where as one person said was indeed where the “Academy” gym was.

tinydr
tinydr on May 22, 2006 at 3:23 pm

Funny, my childhood memory of the Newton Center theater was that it was only in the downstairs location (where the Kaplan center is now). Either I’m misremembering or by the time I would’ve been going there perhaps it had already been downsized?

That would’ve been in the early 80s.

ErikH
ErikH on May 13, 2005 at 9:19 am

The Academy was an attractive twin cinema in a great location. I recall seeing Fellini’s “Amarcord” there. I don’t know for sure why the Academy closed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if competition from the nearby West Newton complex had something to do with it. Also, Stanley Kaplan’s was not always in the basement of that building. A gym (called, appropriately enough, the Academy) was located there from the late 1960s through at least the mid-1970s.

Regarding the Newton Paramount—-I would also be interested in learning more about it. I recall going there once, for a screening of “Westworld” in the early 1970s. The Paramount was a twin at that time and I assume it closed by the mid-1970s. The parent company of Variety and other trade publications is located on the site of the Paramount.

cinemaboy
cinemaboy on February 16, 2005 at 12:04 pm

No idea why it closed. I was away at college and came back and it was no longer in existence. My hunch is that the lease became too expensive? I will add a posting for the Paramount soon.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 16, 2005 at 11:49 am

By the way, if you or anyone else know something about the Newton Paramount, please add it to this site as well.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 16, 2005 at 11:48 am

Thanks again. Do you know why it closed?

cinemaboy
cinemaboy on February 16, 2005 at 11:43 am

The current space is occupied by Pier One Imports. Kaplan Test Prep is (and was always)in the Basement and is reached from an entrance on the side of the buidling, although they share the same street address. The building was probably just gutted for the retail space — it seems about the same on the outside and Pier one uses the same entrance, but the interior is nothing as it was when it was a cinema. Now that I recall, the Academy had a spacious lobby for such a small venue. It was long and narrow, but always packed with locals on a weekend night. I remember a red, white and purple, very early-70’s, mod color scheme.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 16, 2005 at 7:40 am

In this 1983 letter found on the tobaccodocuments.org web site, an attorney complains to the Academy’s owner about a commercial for KOOL cigarettes that was shown before a 1:50 pm Saturday matinee of the the G-rated movie Snow White.

He was also not happy that the theatre preceded this Disney film with a trailer for the James Bond film Octopussy, which he felt was totally inappropriate for children under 6.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 16, 2005 at 7:17 am

The address was 792 Beacon Street, Newton MA 02459. Google shows both Pier 1 and a Kaplan Test Prep center at that location now.

Was the Academy theatre building demolished and replaced, or just gutted for retail space?

Other theatres in the Sonny & Eddy’s chain:
Allston Cinemas (2 screens)
Central Square Cinemas, Cambridge (2 screen)
Galeria Cinema in Cambridge (single screen; later renamed ‘Janus Cinema’ under different ownership)
Exeter Street Theatre, Boston (1 screen)

Sadly, none of these are still open.