New World Stages

350 West 50th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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New World Stages

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was a six-screen bunker-like complex built under the massive Worldwide Plaza office building/residential development that encompasses the entire block between Eighth and Ninth Avenues and 49th and 50th Streets. Madison Square Garden was once situated on this block. There were entrances mid-block on both 49th and 50th Street, but the 49th Street entrance was rarely, if ever, used.

The complex was built and run by the Cineplex Odeon organization in the late 1980s/early 1990s when it made a big splash in entering the Manhattan theatre market. However, the theatre never took off due to the fact that the surrounding neighborhood didn’t gentrify quickly and its somewhat off-the-beaten track location.

As some point, around 1995/1996 the Worldwide Cinemas changed its booking policy from first run fare to second run fare at a deeply discounted price that was $2 or $3. The cinemas did quite well under the new format, but with the AMC 25-screen ‘plex and the Loew’s E-Walk 'plex opening on 42nd Street, the Cineplex Odeon saw the handwriting on the wall and closed the theatre in '99 or '00.

The Dodger organization, a once white-hot Broadway/Off Broadway theatrical producer, took over the complex and renovated it for live theatre, turning six cinemas into five live stages. The Dodger organization is currently undergoing some severe financial distress, so the last chapter on this facility has yet to be written.

Contributed by Chris Heaney

Recent comments (view all 40 comments)

KingBiscuits on August 30, 2008 at 6:02 pm

It began its second-run police on March 4th, 1994 with Geronimo: An American Legend, Addams Family Values, The Joy Luck Club, Beethoven’s 2nd, The Accompanist and The Summer House as the engagements.

The theatre closed on February 22nd, 2001 with Meet The Parents, Charlie’s Angels, Rugrats In Paris (matinees), Dude, Where’s My Car? (evenings), Wonder Boys, Vertical Limit and Proof Of Life as the final engagements.

KingBiscuits on August 31, 2008 at 11:18 pm

That should say policy, not police.

TLSLOEWS on February 19, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Pretty cool name, looks O.K. from the outside.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 2, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Encore Worldwide Cinemas is an aka here.

NYer on March 2, 2010 at 9:38 pm

While it might have been easier to just gut the place and turn it into a supermarket when the movies failed, it’s great they are still theaters. It’s a great place to see a live Off Broadway show. A futuristic two level lobby, five theaters, some with balconies. It’s been very successful. Some Broadway shows, Tony winning Best musical “Avenue Q” and “The 39 Steps” have recently transfered there. Some shows I’ve seen were the absolutely hilarious “Evil Dead, The Musical” and Charles Busch’s “Die Mommie Die”.

KingBiscuits on March 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Funny to mention that the crowds weren’t upscale during its second run phase since they seemed to well with art films.

KingBiscuits on October 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I noticed that Jurassic Park played for nearly five months in second run here. I knew the film was a huge success but to play five months in second run (only being pulled for its first-run reissue) is some staying power.

Willburg145 on December 26, 2014 at 9:42 am

I liked this theatre very much. And even more so when it was a $2.00. What a shame it didn’t last. I remember the old Adonis on the next block.

areacode212 on April 12, 2015 at 8:56 pm

This was a pretty popular place in my social circles during its second-run phase (I was in my late teens through early twenties), when it was known as “the $2 movie place”, “the $3 movie place”, etc… I remember seeing lots of fun stuff here: Mortal Kombat, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Scream, High Fidelity, etc. I was crushed when they closed it. Good times!

BTW, here is a documentary on the construction of Worldwide Plaza:

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