Big Cinemas Manhattan

239 E. 59th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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Big Cinemas Manhattan

Opened in 1969 as the Cine Malibu, it was an art house theatre located in Midtown East, Manhattan. It belonged to a cluster of single, twin, and triplex movie theaters; all of which were within two blocks of each other.

One of many subterranean venues around the city, this single screen theatre was reached through a small entrance that originates on E. 59th Street. The entrance continued past a modest concession area and then ended at a staircase, descending to theatre level.

It went through several name changes and ownerships during it life.

In 2000, the theatre was one of the few theaters to show a director’s cut of Luc Besson’s “The Big Blue”.

The theatre closed in late-2003, but reopened in July of 2004 as the 300-seat ImaginAsian Theatre, featuring first-run Asian films, live events, satellite-fed broadcasts (such as sporting events), and exhibitions. The theatre not only offered the traditional popcorn, but had a cafe serving Asian snacks, beverages, as well as internet access. The theatre’s first offering after reopening was hosting the 27th Asian-American International Film Festival.

By 2010, it had been renamed Big Cinemas Manhattan, and was operated by Phoenix Big Cinemas. It was closed in January 2014.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 78 comments)

RobertR
RobertR on March 27, 2014 at 2:59 pm

The East side used to be a BOOMING movie area. Other then the 3 films playing at Cinema 1-2-3 couldn’t this theatre have its pick of releases?

RobertR
RobertR on July 16, 2014 at 8:44 am

Anything going on here? I keep hoping it reopens hate to see it closed

RobertR
RobertR on September 18, 2014 at 8:03 am

The marquee is lit up with a for lease sign but I guess this is going to go retail :(

RobertR
RobertR on February 5, 2015 at 10:27 am

Come on the theatre could get big bookings with all the other cinemas closed

David_Schneider
David_Schneider on March 29, 2016 at 2:24 pm

The other ImaginAsian was in Los Angeles with its own page on Cinema Treasures, now as the Downtown Independent, but still has its cool looking exterior.

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on September 9, 2017 at 11:44 am

The old theater is now the Tracy Anderson Group Classes Cafe. A photo taken on August 14, 2017 has been added.

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on August 25, 2019 at 9:09 pm

I think it should be titles either 59th Street East when it was Clearview Cinemas and Cineplex Odeon that renamed it (the last name before it went to Big Cinemas) or D.W. Griiffith when it was Cinema 5

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 25, 2019 at 9:13 pm

Why would you think that if you thought the historic Strand should be renamed for it’s last incarnation?

robboehm
robboehm on August 26, 2019 at 9:00 am

Al I thought the CT policy was supposed to be last incarnation.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 26, 2019 at 9:23 am

There were some exceptions including the Strand and the Rivoli (United Artists Twin).

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