Cinema City 4

235 Brainard Road,
Hartford, CT 06114

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 26 comments

rivest266 on February 24, 2017 at 12:22 am

This opened on July 18th, 1973. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

BrianTalbot on October 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Drove by here over the weekend and the right half of the building has been razed.

John Fink
John Fink on July 25, 2010 at 12:30 am

Now closed – but excellent news for fans of the seats – they might have a new life at another Bow Tie Cinema: View link

John Fink
John Fink on June 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I hope they do convert an auxiliary snack bar (that are never used) into a coffee bar, tables and pleasant atmosphere. Part of the charm of Cinema City was the patron review board, so adding those touches will give it a sense of community. Ironic that a certain type of patron you wouldn’t mind loitering – whereas others…..well let’s not go there.

I haven’t been to either theater in about two years since I lived in CT but the rare art film that played at the Palace rarely was met with success – I think we were the only ones in the theater when we saw Bee Season there. I think the issue is the perception of the Palace, which attracts a certain kind of rowdy crowd no matter what Joe Masher might believe (it did last I was there). Upscaling part of it and making it into a unique art house would probably help them sell the idea of art pictures at the Palace – or better yet – show them at Blue Back Square. It makes sense since I think that end of town/West Hartford is a little over screened (although the Palace’s 7PM shows on Saturdays did too well – in fact we’d have to budget in a half hour just to buy tickets, other times it was less crazy).

I’m sad to see Cinema City go, it was out of date and really it just needed new seats and masking in the two smaller theaters (it didn’t under Crown, anyway). I have many a good memory from my undergrad years at Cinema City (many times virtually alone at the late show on a weekday night under Hoyts/Northeastern and Crown).

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on June 3, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Sadly, this theatre will be closing on July 22.

View link

Yes it says its “moving”, but in reality its going to take up 5 of the 17 screens at the Bow Tie complex across town. How long do you think it will be until those screens get converted back to mainstream fare?

fred1 on July 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Ive been to every Bow Tie cinemas in CT. All theater are clean and pleasure to attend.The staff are friendly.They care about their theaters

jlabelle on July 27, 2009 at 3:06 pm

The place is looking a little better these days in my opinion.The Lobby has been spruced up a bit.I agree with someones comment that the seats are comfortable although they do look a bit shabby.My wife complains about that every time we go.Cup holders would be nice but not crucial.I imagine the cost of replacing the seats is prohibitive given the amount of business they do.Perhaps a small center section in each auditorium could be replaced.That would handle the amount of people I generally see at each show.Maybe 100 seats in each theatre?

John Fink
John Fink on June 29, 2009 at 4:24 am

I had an allergic reaction and ended up getting sick a few years ago. I got there on a Saturday night just at the 7PM show of Junebug was starting and had to sit in the front of the theater. It was so musty I barely made it through what was a really great movie. Of coarse – that was Crown Theaters' problem. To be fair – Hoyts, Northeast Cinemas and Crown never really made any major improvements. I’m sure Bow Tie corrected the issue with a new air filter and a proper cleaning.

It’s not a bad place to see a movie and Bow Tie to their credit has continued to offer the most talked about art pictures. I’m a little surprised to hear very little has been done to upgrade the theaters – after all this is the closest thing Hartford has to the Angelika (not like the NYC location is that nice either). You’d think given the upscale audience the films attract an upgrade would be in order, they could even turn it into another branch of Criterion Cinemas the way they did at the Plaza in Greenwich.

I’m glad they kept this theater open. I suspect if this theater had closed, like it did for a week a few years ago and Criterion at Blue Back avoided programing these films, the result would have been Real Art Ways becoming more mainstream. The shame in this is they wouldn’t be able to play the smaller documentaries and art films they are known for, instead they’d be be showing Cheri and Whatever Works. An art theater of this caliber is essential in Hartford, but isn’t it time to upgrade this place? Perhaps the problem isn’t with Bow Tie, but the building’s landlord.

tmbggirl on December 15, 2008 at 12:13 am

Very happy that this theater is still around. Yes, the seats are the same, but they are quite comfy. Cupholders would be nice, but ah well. The ‘no advertisement’ policy before the movie starts is refreshing, though I’d be fine with ads if they were needed to keep the theater afloat. Concession prices are reasonable…we took advantage of the $10.00 large popcorn and soda combo (free refills at least on the popcorn). Free parking also makes it preferable to the West Hartford Blue Back Square location.

Went there this Friday to see “Milk”, as they were the only Hartford area theater showing it. Although the 10pm showing had ‘only’ 30-40 people, the 7:30pm showing looked like it was sold out! :)

tmbggirl on December 15, 2008 at 12:05 am

Please indicate that this theater was also once owned and operated by Hoyts. It does not come up as one of theirs in the ‘search by chain’ feature.

nritota on April 2, 2008 at 6:20 pm

I was priveledged to have managed this theatre in 1979 under SBC.This was before the conversion to art and independent films. SBC was searching for an identity for this out-of-the-way house, and I was brought in after having converted the Providence Cinerama to art.

Sadly, I was promoted on to the company’s flagship before the conversion was complete. But we did enjoy many years of sucess before Hoyts purchase in the mid 80’s.

BTW, the seats in that house, American Rocker Recliners, cost about $100 each when that house was built in ‘73. Quite the investment in todays dollars!


e1337n00b on March 4, 2008 at 9:51 pm

I went there for In Bruges last week. Nope, same old seats.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 7, 2007 at 11:51 am

This cinema should just be known as Cinema City as Bow Tie changed the name back (removing the Art @ part) when they bought it.

shoeshoe14 on December 7, 2007 at 11:42 am

The owner back in 1987 planned to expand to 8 cinemas, according to View link

jpcollins on August 6, 2007 at 4:36 pm

Was there two nights ago to see Interview. Really loved the theater and the location. The whole place just had a really nice feeling to it. Not to mention very unique programming for the area.

joemasher on June 10, 2007 at 5:49 am

Yes, that’s part of the plan. The are really comfortable, though…

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on June 10, 2007 at 5:39 am

Will you finally upgrade the seats? I believe the ones in there are still original from when the cinema was first constructed!

joemasher on June 9, 2007 at 7:36 pm

Bow Tie Cinemas will keep Cinema City open and operating! Our new Criterion Cinemas at Blue Back Square is set to open on 11/2/07. Look for some improvements at Cinema City in the near future.

scottshule on January 14, 2007 at 11:09 am

My wife and I have patronized Cinema City throughout our almost 2 decades in Connecticut because, unlike its multiplex competition, it consistently shows films worth seeing, films that are thought-provoking and artful.

The visual appearance of the theater is not particularly important — there are very few attractive multiplexes. Nor is the sound system a problem. The films this theater shows are not of a type that rely on special effects for their impact. The key is to maintain a safe parking lot and clean, comfortable seats.

While it is likely that the new Criterion complex at Blue Back will siphon off some of Cinema City’s clientèle, it is likely to be expensive. Perhaps Cinema City, with its free parking and relatively low overhead, could best compete by featuring quality at a lower price.

joemasher on November 25, 2006 at 5:42 am

Bow Tie Cinemas assumed operation of the Cinema City (note name restored to its original) on 11/17. With our new Criterion Cinemas at Blue Back Square opening this fall, we have not yet finalized our plans for the future of Cinema City. Should we countinue to operate it, look forward to a decent renovation (seats, projection & sound, concessions, etc.).

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on November 12, 2006 at 6:57 am

This theatre, along with all Crown Theatres in Connecticut, was just sold to Bow Tie Partners.

SpikeSpiegel6262044 on January 31, 2006 at 3:30 pm

I remember seeing Snow White a long time ago at this theater.

John Fink
John Fink on September 12, 2005 at 4:30 am

This is pathtic, the worst theatre in the area. Hartford deserves an Angelika or a Criterion Cinemas, Real Art Ways and Cinestudio are much better than this moldly theatre that probably hasn’t been upgrade since the 60’s, the place smells moldly.

I’m guessing prior to the muliplex boom that took place in Hartford County they got away with this horrable theatre because a.– they were the only theatre showing major art movies (verses Cinestudio which shows art, alternative and some cultrually significant Hollywood films and Real Art Ways which shows art, alternative films and documentaries) and b.– because its compition was the Showcase East Hartford, which is only in slightly better condition. Why upgrade the lobby? I’m there for the theatres, to see a movie, thats where I’ll spend more time.

I’m looking foward to the day it goes dark and Criterion Cinemas comes to West Hartford. I don’t have anything against old constructions but they have to be upgraded and at the very least they should have put in new seats.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on August 31, 2005 at 12:33 pm

It has not been refurbished since it opened many years ago. When Crown took over from Hoyts last year they did nothing other than paint the walls of the lobby.