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 44 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Encore Worldwide Cinemas is an aka here.

NYer on March 2, 2010 at 11:38 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 9:13 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 9:42 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 11:42 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 10:56 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:

theatrefan on August 31, 2015 at 7:09 am

When this complex was first opened by Cineplex Odeon in 1989 one of the auditoriums had LucasFilm THX Certification, anybody here remember or know which auditorium number it was?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 31, 2015 at 8:21 am

Theatre fan, it would been the largest screen, whichever that was. It failed certification due to HVAC noise, but later Lucasfilm advertised uncertified theatres in the trade papers. Cineplex Odeon noticed and started to do the same. It was all just one big con job on movie-goers.

HowardBHaas on August 31, 2015 at 9:05 am

Auditoriums 1 & 2 were identical with 524 seats each & 40 foot wide screens for scope. With full use of the curtain, I saw the restored “Spartacus” road show in # 1 in 70mm 6 track in 1991. # 4 had 208 seats. # 5 had 182 seats. Aud 6 had 366 seats. I didn’t see a movie in # 3.

theatrefan on August 31, 2015 at 11:53 am

Thanks, Al & Howard! The Cineplex Odeon Chelsea also had I believe #6 & #7 as THX Auditoriums. Now when you check the THX Website there is not one single theatre in all of Manhattan with it at all. The last two I remember seeing were Lincoln Square & Union Square.

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