Big Cinemas Manhattan
239 E. 59th Street,
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Previous Names: Cine Malibu, D.W. Griffith Theatre, 59th Street East Cinema, ImaginAsian Theatre
Opened on July 16, 1969 as the Cine Malibu with Daniele Gaubert in “Camille 2000”, it was an art house theatre located in Midtown East, Manhattan. It belonged to a cluster of single, twin, and triplex movie theatres; 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 theatre’s 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 café 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.
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