Cinema Plaza

240 Route 202 North,
Flemington, NJ 08648

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teecee
teecee on August 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Passed by today. They have begun to tear down the building, starting in the back where the DMV office once was.

SPOK
SPOK on April 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Sadly I also spotted the closure of this multiplex during my frequent drives through Flemington on US Highway 202. I remember the building as a car dealership in the 1970’s. The solitary film I ever saw at this theater was ET. I did not realize until reading the contributions to this site that cinema was once owned by Richard Nathan. My first real employer (outside of the paper route I had as a kid) was a Nathan owned theater in Berkeley Heights, NJ. If I still resided in the area I would have gone to this cinema for more than a solitary film. Unfortunately for the past 30 years it has been not much than a landmark along my lengthy commute. The numerous times I have driven past I noted that the cinema always screened movies immediately after their release.

HalWolverton2
HalWolverton2 on April 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm

John, I felt silly when I saw that you posted the closeing here.
Here the caption for a FB pic. that I uploaded today:
4/1/11-Cinema Plaza, Flemington, NJ-this was the last movie theater in Hunterdon County until it closed last Sunday. In Nov., 2007, I was stopped at this intersection with my kids in our old Suburban. We were on our way to the theater. A higher force stopped me at a green light. That saved me from being broadsided ( and probably killed ) by a speeding SUV running the red light on Rt. 202. I, also, now work at this same intersection during the tax season.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on March 30, 2011 at 5:38 am

Here is an article about the closing: View link

chip26
chip26 on March 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Just drove past the theater today. Sign on marquee says “Closes Sunday”.

teecee
teecee on June 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm

View link

Looks like this is going to be hot news with frequent updates.

teecee
teecee on June 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Latest update on demolition plan:
View link

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on May 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm

It looks like the plans to build a new theater to replace the Cinema Plaza are coming to nought; the owner shopping center in which this theater is located wants to demolish it and rebuild, and the theater operator wants to build the new theater at a different location; story here: View link

bigjohann99
bigjohann99 on September 7, 2007 at 11:08 am

Any updates on the New Theater? I noticed the website talks about a Sparta Cinema… it that the only plans for the future?

ejonathan
ejonathan on October 14, 2006 at 8:39 am

when is he new theater going to be ready?

JMonsport
JMonsport on January 19, 2006 at 4:29 am

Steve Kalafer and I are planning a new multiplex fashioned after the movie palaces of old with some new tricks thrown in. Theatre will be on the same site and will give you more details when the project is set in stone.

ejonathan
ejonathan on January 17, 2006 at 11:31 am

Does anyone know if a new movie theater is still being planed for Flemington or elsewhere in Hunterdon?

bigjohann99
bigjohann99 on November 3, 2005 at 8:00 am

I love this theater. It’s retro, funky and little worn around the edges … but you can always get a good seat and it’s got great popcorn. I’ve gone there on dates, newly married and “movie nights” without the kids.

The sound system is a not the best and the screen lighting can be dim. Part of me hopes they keep it just the way it is, carpeted walls and all.

teecee
teecee on June 2, 2005 at 3:51 am

The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), August 22, 2003 p031
Movie buff buys a theater of his own in Hunterdon; New owner vows show will go on at Cinema Plaza, at least for now. (SOMERSET)
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2003 The Star-Ledger. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of The Star-Ledger by the Gale Group, Inc.

Byline: PETER N. SPENCER

Ever since he was a kid, local businessman Steve Kalafer has been in love with the movies.

Now, in a way, he owns them.

The 54-year-old owner of the Somerset Patriots baseball team and Flemington Car and Truck Country, is buying the Cinema Plaza on Route 202/31 for $3.5 million. The 21-year-old theater is the last remaining in Hunterdon County.

The complex, with two buildings on a nine-acre site, includes a state Division of Motor Vehicles office, the Star Maker School of the Performing Arts, Studio One Photography, Rugs to Riches, and the Ready, Set, Go day care facility. As the long as the businesses stay viable, the complex will stay as is, Kalafer said. He is sitting down with each of the tenants and offering them one- to five-year lease deals.

Although this was a good investment on a “great piece of real estate,” he said, the real gem in this purchase is the theater.

The property was put on the market by owner Richard Nathan about 3 ½ years ago. Nathan turned down offers from people who did not plan to keep the theater.

Kalafer and his family have been frequenting Cinema Plaza since he moved to Franklin Township in the early 1970s. His oldest son saw his first movie there – “E.T.” – in 1982.

“It’s a great movie-going experience,” said Kalafer, a self-professed theater buff. “It’s very intimate and retro, and it has the best popcorn I’ve ever had.”

No stranger to the movie industry, Kalafer co-produced two Oscar-nominated films: 1998’s “More,” a six-minute animated short that won a prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999, and “Curtain Call,” in 2000, a documentary about retired film and stage performers. He is co-producing another documentary “The Bridge of Rose’s,” which he expects to be released next year.

Kalafer also has been a longtime benefactor and trustee of the Actors' Fund.

Current operator John Monsport took over the business in 2000.

Kalafer is hopeful it doesn’t fall by the wayside like all the other county theaters, which lost patrons because they were old and outmoded. He believes there should be an alternative to the current crop of stadium-sized megaplexes.

Ultimately, Hunterdon County theater-goers will decide the fate of Cinema Plaza.

“At least for some time, the show will still go on,” Kalafer said.

Peter N. Spencer works in the Somerset County bureau. He can be reached at or at (908) 429- 9925.

JMonsport
JMonsport on March 26, 2005 at 12:32 pm

AmericanPlace Movies is not Steve Kalafer’s company. It is owned by an ex-Sony/Loews executive and his wife. Americanplace bought the business from Nathan Theatres with a 90 day and out lease. Steve Kalafer bought the property at AmericanPlace Movies' urging last September. The proposed theatre will be a world beater in every way. If you ask the manager there he can give you a glimpse of what the local press has not seen. Hunterdon county will get a real cinematic boost. The new theatre is designed after the old Paradise Theatre by John Eberson.

teecee
teecee on March 23, 2005 at 5:56 am

Thanks for the interesting history on this theater. I have viewed movies here and thought from the decor that the theater was from the 1970s. I normally support older theaters but this one really needs to be replaced. I suspect this will happen soon with the new Home Depot and Applebee’s right next door. I am glad that the proposed theater for nearby Clnton got shot down; the highway exit there is not well designed and already clogged. This theater has a good central location but the crazy jughandle would need to be reconfigured.

The theater is currently owned by local movie buff and entrepreneur
Steve Kalafer, who also owns numerous car dealerships on Rt. 31/202.
I suspect that American Place Movies is his operating company for the theater.