Cinema 46

1 US Highway 46,
Totowa, NJ 07512

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moviebuff82 on February 25, 2015 at 7:38 pm

When did UA take over…had this theater still run it would’ve been owned by Regal. The opening of the Paramus Park movie theater this fall will mark Regal’s return to northeast NJ after selling its theaters in North Bergen to independent companies. The closest Regal is in South Plainfield as well as Pohatcong, NJ.

raysson on February 25, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Correction: The Cinema 46 opened by Skouras Theatres on August 12,1964 with The Beatles in “A Hard Day’s Night” It closed in April of 1997 under United Artists Theatres.

headwaiter on February 25, 2015 at 5:01 pm

I remember the summer of 1978 as the summer that “Animal House” came out. I remember seeing it at this theatre and if we had a slow summer night with nothing to do, we would go back to this theatre and see Animal House again.

I enjoyed this theatre and I saw many movies here. I loved the seats and the big screen. I miss this theatre.

bilbo on September 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm

I saw Star Wars the first week it arrived at the Totowa cinema. We got there too late for a good seat. I was in the first row and the farthest seat to the left. With the curved screen I could only see the right side of the screen. It was the only seat left but hyperspace was still a great experience. It was fun to turn to the right and look back at all the attendees faces.

moviebuff82 on June 23, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Was that theater the Wayne quad? Both theaters were run by UA in addition to the Pascack theater in Westwood, NJ among others, before either closing them or selling them to other chains as competitors expanded screens such as Sony/Loews in Wayne.

MovieMan____1952 on June 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I managed this theatre from 1965 to 1966. Theatre opened slowly but took-off after showing “Zorba The Greek”. we ran an “arty” type schedule including; “Fail Safe”,“A Man For All Seasons”, “The Ipcress File.” The theatre never had enough parking in those days resulting in gridlock for the second evening showing. The NJ State Police actually blocked off our entrance because of a traffic back up on Route 46.

Kirk Douglas appeared here in person for the Reserved Seat Engagement of “Cast A Giant Shadow.” I did not get to meet him as I had moved on to another theatre.

Ken Lehman…former manager.

Jef on October 11, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I saw a lot of moves at Cinema 46. I wish I could remember more of them. When I was twelve an usher there caught me and my buddy trying to sneak into an R rated movie. I saw “Purple Rain” there and liked it so much I stuck around and saw it again. Sometimes if it was crowded the ushers asked people to exit through the outside doors. But if you told them you needed to make a phone call or use the bathroom they let you back in the lobby and you could usually stick around and see another movie. Does anyone remember pay phones?

moviebuff82 on September 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm

The officemax in totowa was closed earlier this year. Maybe they should put in the movie theater back again lol

markp on May 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm

There was a story many years ago about this theatre, dont know how true it was, that when they played the first ever Sensurround movie, Earthquake, that some of the ceiling tiles actually fell out of the ceiling. I dont know if this happened, as I was only 15 at the time and heard people talking about it.

moviebuff82 on May 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I agree unclejay73. I think I saw Hook on a very big screen. FYI, Hook was supposed to be the first movie with Sony’s SDDS sound system, but was pushed back nearly two years until “Last Action Hero” came out.

Mikeoaklandpark on May 2, 2012 at 7:46 pm

If I remember correctly this theater had the exclusive showingin 1978 of the movie version of A Little Night Music with Elizabeth Taylor which never played Manhattan.

unclejay73 on May 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I was there the very last week it was open. It became a second-run theater and the ticket prices were $1.99. I saw the re-release Special Edition of “The Empire Strikes Back”…and then it closed. The screen was huge!! We need more theaters like this.

PeterApruzzese on December 31, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I was working at Cinema 46 the day of the “E.T.” sneak preview – people started lining up at 11am for the show. I called up the house manager at little while after opening when it looked like we were going to have a huge crowd (we hadn’t anticipated a crowd as the trailer and poster were met with indifference in the preceding weeks) and said that he should come in to supervise the event. We called in all off-duty staff as well. The official sneak preview (7:15, IIRC, and tagged onto the 5:30 show of Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid) was a complete sellout by late afternoon. After the show went in at 5, the manager decided to run an “unofficial” second show of ET at 9:30 by itself, which had about ¾’s of a house.

milanp on December 31, 2010 at 6:11 pm

I lived in New Jersey briefly back in the early ‘80s, and remember Cinema 46 with affection.
Saw “E.T.” there at a sneak preview (wow! remember those?) Memorial Day weekend 1982.
They actually passed out little metal badges that you could pin onto your shirt saying, “I saw 'E.T.’”
I still have mine, in fact.
The funny thing is, the theater was barely half-full, and I remember thinking that the movie was going to be a b.o. disappointment.
Also have fond memories of some other Jersey theaters I patronized back then on a regular basis: the Royal and Center in Bloomfield; the Bellevue, Claridge and Wellmont in Montclair; the Essex Green
triplex; the Verona and Nutley theaters; Cinema 23 (in Montclair??); the Paramus Mall single-screener and the larger Paramus ‘plex with 70 mm capabilities (saw “One from the Heart,” “Quest for Fire” and “Annie” in 70 mm there that same year).

moviebuff82 on July 3, 2009 at 1:09 am

Some signs of life coming back to Totowa…a Sonic drive-in just opened on the same road.

moviebuff82 on February 29, 2008 at 8:49 pm

The latter. You can relive that moment since that movie’s out on DVD and in 5.1 surround sound, also shown sometimes on MOJO (formerly INHD) HD. Which theater profited well, this one or the GC where an Officemax used to be?

filmfanz on February 29, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I only ever two films at this theater:
HARDLY WORKING – (yeeesh…remember that one?)
PINK FLOYD: THE WALL (in 70mm/6-Track if I recall correctly…)

Guess which experience I still cherish?

moviebuff82 on March 8, 2007 at 7:57 pm

Breaking news….the CompUSA which replaced the old movie theater will be closing this year…so much for a so-so computer store that took over a popular location…maybe the movies should come back there….too bad OfficeMax is still popular where the old GC Totowa Cinema was located. The last movie I saw at that theater was “Hook”, which was an ok movie to see in a small auditorium in Totowa, where there was no 70mm version. According to, the last 70mm movie that played there was the box office flop The Black Cauldron, Disney’s first PG-rated cartoon.

BarryMonush on September 6, 2006 at 2:38 pm

Correction: Mikeoaklandpark (in a June 2005 posting) says that A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC never played in New York. Not true, as that is where I saw it during its original East Coast run in the spring of 1978. It opened at what was then (I believe) called the Gemini Twin. I don’t think there are many examples of NYC not playing a movie because it was considered “bad.”

teecee on March 2, 2006 at 7:58 am

Listed as a 3 screen in the 1991 International Motion Picture Almanac under the United Artists listing.

pbubny on December 1, 2005 at 7:25 pm

My own most vivid memory of Cinema 46—the original auditorium, anyway—is that it had to be the most comfortable theatre I’ve ever been in. Plushy seats and more legroom than I’ve encountered anywhere else. Felt that the screen was maybe a little undersized for such a big auditorium, but I enjoyed a number of 70mm blowups on that screen regardless (“1941” and “Superman II” come to mind). I think the last movie I saw there was “Unforgiven,” which looked and sounded pretty spiffy, so I guess I was lucky enough not to experience what other posters describe as the place’s sad decline in its last few years. The two tacked-on theatres really suffered by comparison to the main hall in all departments—screen size, picture and sound quality, decor, comfort—suggesting a juxtaposition of two completely different eras and philosophies (showmanship vs. sheetrock) in building theatres.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 26, 2005 at 12:32 am

Sorry – that date is August 12, 1964.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 26, 2005 at 12:31 am

Announcing the opening of Cinema 46 in July 1964:

View link

PeterApruzzese on June 27, 2005 at 4:33 pm

Michael – it is a CompUSA store, but a lot of the building was changed so it’s not really recognizable as a theatre any longer.

The Totowa Cinema – ¼ mile up the road – is now an Office Max store and is similarly unrecognizable.

teecee on June 27, 2005 at 4:21 pm

Looks like it was planned to be a CompUSA.

The Record (Bergen County, NJ), April 30, 1997 pB1
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1997 Bergen Record Corp.

By KEVIN G. DeMARRAIS, Staff Writer

At one time, it was known for its big screens and excellent sound quality, but the United Artists Cinema 46 in Totowa had been struggling of late, unable to compete with a bigger, brighter competitor down the road.

And so, with no fanfare, the three-screen movie theater passed into history this week, shutting its doors after Sunday’s final showing of “The Empire Strikes Back” to make way for a computer store.

By Tuesday, the large sign along Route 46, which last week was promoting a $1.99 admission, was blank.

About all that remained to identify the white building as a movie theater were three small decal signs on the doors and eight hexagon-shaped film canisters in the deserted lobby, awaiting their return to the distributor.

“Once Sony came in with 14 screens, they were dead,” said a clerk at the Holiday Inn next door.

The clerk was referring to the Sony theater a couple of miles west on Route 46, across from the Willowbrook Mall and Wayne Towne Center, which went through a makeover and expanded from eight to 14 screens last year.

At the same time Cinema 46 was losing business, its land was increasing in value as a Who’s Who of national and regional retailers converted a four-mile stretch on Route 46 west in West Paterson and Totowa into a major retail center.

The 11-acre plot on which the theater and Holiday Inn are built, between the Passaic River and Union Boulevard, is the only underdeveloped property in that four-mile stretch.

As a result, the land, which is owned by a partnership, S&T Associates of Totowa, is valued in the “tens of millions of dollars,” said Larry Liebowitz, president of Landmark Real Estate in Westwood. Liebowitz is the exclusive broker for the property.

The property has already undergone change, with part of a tennis club converted into a Pet Nosh (now Petco) superstore, and the movie site will become a 30,000-square foot CompUSA store, the Dallas-based chain’s fifth New Jersey outlet.

Most of the current building will be razed, and CompUSA is seeking to have the new store open by the fourth quarter of the year, in time for the holiday shopping season.

This is the second Totowa movie theater to have its site converted to retail use in the past four years. The Totowa Cinema, a two-screen theater about a half-mile west of Cinema 46, shut its doors in 1993 to make way for an office supply store.

Both theaters drew praise for the quality of their pictures and sound when The Record reviewed North Jersey theaters in 1988. But neither could compete with the multiscreen competitors that offered a wide choice of first-run films, even when Cinema 46 discounted its prices.

“The days of three-screen theaters are over,” Liebowitz said. “They did some business on the weekends, but they couldn’t compete with the Sony theater. It’s too expensive to operate.”

Closing small theaters is part of an industry trend. United Artists Theatre Circuit Inc., which operated Cinema 46, opened 15 new multiplex complexes with a total of 130 screens last year, and closed or sold 54 buildings with 245 screens.

Each of the new theaters had an average of 8.7 screens. The facilities that were cut averaged 4.5 screens.

Closing facilities such as Cinema 46 fits with United Artists' corporate strategy, as stated this month by Kurt C. Hall, the acting chief operating officer, to increase “efforts to dispose of older, less productive, or non-strategic theaters.”

The Denver-based company lost $46.6 million last year, which was nearly a third less than its $68.9 million loss in 1995.

Article CJ70689395