Circus Cinema

1604 Broadway,
New York, NY 10019

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Circus Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Another one of the adult cinemas that once florished in Times Square. The Circus Cinema closed in 1996.

Contributed by Robert R

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 12, 2007 at 12:21 am

Calling AlAlvarez!!! A member of CT (Hollywood90038) sent me some video he shot back around 1990/91 that shows a small porn theater around the corner from the Circus Cinema that was named “World Theater” per the marquee signage. This would have been on the south side of 49th Street just east of Broadway – adjacent to the RKO Video that was on that corner. I’ll have a screen-shot showing the small triangular marquee to post here tomorrow.

I’ve always been confused about the location of the more famous World 49th Street – thinking it was on the short block between 7th and B'way and on the south side of the street. Of course, that theater (the former Punch and Judy) was between 6th and 7th on the north side of 49th. Now I guess I know why – I must have had this marquee in my mind’s eye! I suppose once the original World theater was forced out by its landlords (Rockefeller Center) in favor of a mainstream house run by Embassy, perhaps the World management might have opened this small converted space as replacement? Any recollections out there?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 29, 2008 at 9:22 am

And seen on the left side of the photo is the marquee for the alternate World Theatre I referenced in my posting of 9/11/2007 just above. The original World Theatre (nee Punch and Judy) was located a block to the east and on the other side of the street. Anyone remember anything about this place? Almost certainly a storefront or office space conversion – but did it open as the World upon the ouster of the original World Theatre management by Rockefeler Centre? Or had it been opened under another name?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 29, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Ed, here is a story about David Copperfield, the magician, shutting down teh Circus and Pink. This may be the current site of the Playwright Tavern.

View link

RickB on April 16, 2011 at 11:53 am

Here is a screen capture from the TV series Taxi showing this theater’s marquee at right. It’s from a first-season episode titled Hollywood Calling.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm

A sort of karaoke-cabaret establishment called Spotlight Live opened at the former Circus Cinema in 2007. The concept was a restaurant and nightclub where patrons were encouraged to take the stage and enjoy their “15 minutes of fame,” while cameras would broadcast their performances to passersby via a jumbo-tron screen positioned over the street entrance on Broadway. Interesting idea, but didn’t appear to have sufficient appeal, and the club has since closed its doors.

Here’s a link that offers a good description and interior photos of the place.

Evidently, there was a “private penthouse” for parties of up to 175, which may have been in the former Big Top Theatre space. Judging from some of the event photos on the site, the spirit of exhibitionism certainly carried over from the old days!

rivoli157 on November 17, 2011 at 1:16 pm

The Spotlight Live club is now closed. A few years back an underage party goer was found dead on the roof of the club. She had been murdered by a club employee. Other incidents of violence had occured at the club prior to that. Signage for the club is still up at the now empty site

patrickgenna on May 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm

The 1984 movie MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON with Robin Williams has a scene showing this theatre. It seems that 12 years later, the theatre closes?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 5, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I remember being on a high school class trip to the city. We were coming down Broadway and were walking under some scaffolding as we approached this corner. As we emerged into the daylight, what did greet our tender eyes than the marquee of the Circus Cinema, proudly announcing its current attraction: ANAL INTRUDERS.

After our jaws dropped we all starting laughing, and needless to say our catchphrase for the rest of the day, and for some time afterwards, was “Anal Intruders,” which is also to this day my go-to name when I need to make up a porno title.

NYer on January 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Used to pass this theater all time going into Video Shack, the premiere place to get VHS at the time. I was always curious, being a theater lover, what kind of theater it was. Was it upstairs? Carved out of an office building? I know it was always an adult theater but was it actually presentable? Sloped floor? All questions I ’m sure their clientele wasn’t interested in. There doesn’t seem to be any pictures of the interior.

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