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Opened on 1st March 1937 with Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers in “Swing Tme”, the Ritz Cinema was built for Union Cinemas. However Union Cinemas were in financial trouble and they were taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC). It was lavishly fitted with deep pile carpets and chandeliers.
In 1961 it was re-named ABC. It was converted into a two screen cinema from July/August 1974 when the former circle became a 534 seat screen and the front stalls a second screen seating 212. The rear stalls area was converted into a Painted Wagon pub. Sadly the conversion destroyed much of the original interior of the auditorium. It was later taken over by the Cannon Cinemas group, but later went back to the ABC name.
Sadly it closed on 29th April 1999, the last of Sunderland’s major cinemas. It has recently reopened as ‘The Point’ a nightclub which has four dance floors and has now completely lost all features of its cinematic past.
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