Showcase Cinemas East Hartford

936 Silver Lane,
East Hartford, CT 06118

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Opened in 1973 as a 4-screen theatre and expanded through various renovations and auditrium divisions, it currently stands at 14 screens, 2 of which on the entrance side of the building are “new” – meaning the seats actually have cup holders. The other 12 are traditional big box types, a few have been subdivided, screens 7, 8, and 9 are the largest in the house.

A victim of National Amusements Buckland Hills this theatre was never crowded (unless the picture was sold out at the Palace or Buckland) and would usually show two Indian films (the only cinema in Hartford County to do so regularly).

A former ice cream shop in the cinema now sits closed up. The Showcase Cinemas were closed in 2006.

Contributed by John J. Fink

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Taxi on December 31, 2007 at 11:19 pm

Cinema City also opened in 1973, I am not sure which opened first, but if I had to bet which one would close first, I would have lost. There was a time when this was the only place to see movies, because it really was the only place, now there is such a glut of screens. If showcase had renovated the theater before buckland hills opened, with stadium seating etc, I think business would have been split and this theater would still be open today. -tom

John Fink
John Fink on January 1, 2008 at 8:28 am

Cinema City allegedly is getting a remodel by its new owners who are (shockingly) keeping it open for art films. Criterion’s programing mirrors that of the Palace, with a few exceptions (No County for Old Men, Before the Devil Knows Your Dead). I’m just glad to see Bow Tie isn’t veering into Real Art Ways territory. I suppose with 14-screens gone here and 8 in Bloomfield shut down for a few years now they figure the area can support 8 additional screens (2 additional ones at Buckland and 6 at Criterion). East Hartford was great, when the show was sold out at Buckland or the Palace, this was the place to go, and it was well maintained right up to its closing for the most part. I used to go here just for the retro feel of the place, it was like going to the movies in the 70’s/80’s, reminded me of going to General Cinema when I was growing up.

Back to Tom’s point, National upgrade a similar style of theater in Seekonk, MA (Seekonk 1-10) with stadium seating, its a little odd give the lack of riser’s height (think of the smaller theaters at Buckland) and the long narrow style of the theaters (or at least the one I was in in Seekonk), they also upgraded the color scheme to the blue and teal of Showcase/Mulitplex sites circa 1997-2002, it was like someone combined Buckland’s wall treatments, stadiums eating and lobby pre it’s Cinema De Lux upgrade with East Hartford’s lay out – with a much smaller square lobby).

e1337n00b on March 3, 2008 at 6:15 pm

I wonder what they’re going to do with the property. It’s probably just gonna sit there for years.

markp on March 3, 2008 at 7:57 pm

You got that right nub. National closed the Amboys Multiplex here in central N.J. in May 2005, and it still sits there boarded up. Every couple of months someone comes and paints over all the graffiti on the building.

e1337n00b on June 15, 2008 at 10:24 pm

Was going to venture around the old property, (and possibly take pictures) but every time I drive by a cop is there. Wonder if any bad activity is happening on the property to have a cop there every time I drive by.

danpetitpas on December 10, 2008 at 11:44 am

The Courant has an article saying the property has been bought by a developer and the cinema will be demolished.

You can read it here.

sandyrand on July 15, 2010 at 9:59 am

Saw “Tommy” there in 1975 for $5.50 (outrageous for the time) when it was UA Theaters East!

nemsltd67 on July 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm

I seem to recall, in the spring of 1982 while the film “Arthur” was playing here,seeing an article in the New Britain Herald
mentioning the actor Dudley Moore, who starred in the film, was in town accompanying his then girlfriend actress, singer Susan Anton who was performing in Hartford. While in town, Moore actually attended a showing of the film here, reportedly to watch audience reaction to the film.

John Fink
John Fink on July 17, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Anything going on with my old escape from a rough day of school? I loved this place. It was the first theater we visited when we went to look at where I went to undergrad (UHa) and I frequented it often on late weekday nights where I’d have one of those giant 400 seat auditriums to myself. I made the mistake of taking a girl on a first date here to see Queen Latifia in Beauty Shop, she said to me “this is amazing, how could a theater this big have no one in here” – it’s no wonder they closed – all my favorite theaters where I see awesome movies alone like Cineplaza and The Screening Zone in NJ are gone.

The place is/was still in good repair and kept spotless by the staff – only ever had one strange complaint about it – they jumbled the last two reels on a Bollywood film. I remember thinking “gee, that movie just ended – what happened to the other guy” and then I stayed after the final musical number and then – there was another 20 minutes that explained it all. National sent me 4 free passes for bringing it to their attention.

I’m willing to bet if someone could/were to reopen this as a discount house (could probably never happen, I think the property was sold with the condition it could be a theater) it could do some solid business.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on July 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Sadly, it is still sitting there all boarded up.

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