Sutton Theater

205 E. 57th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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Sutton Theatre exterior

The building, in New York’s posh Sutton Place neighborhood, was originally an intimate ‘legit’ playhouse called the Bandbox Theater. In 1917, it was converted into a bank. When the bank failed early in the Depression, the structure was re-built as a single screen, modern cinema, with Benjamin Schlanger as architect. In April, 1934 the Department of Buildings issued a Certificate of Occupancy for a 570 seat motion picture theatre.

In the summer of 1957 the Sutton Theater was leased to the British owned Rank Organisation, where they play their release “Reach For the Sky” starring Kenneth Moore, which ran for just under five weeks. In later years, the theater was twinned and the balcony was turned into a separate theater. This particular conversion was especially unfortunate, as the Sutton’s balcony was too small to yield proper sight lines. The result was an auditorium that placed the audience far too close to the screen.

The Sutton Theater was closed in the summer of 2004, and demolished in January 2005, replaced by a condominium tower.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 173 comments)

Movieholic on November 26, 2015 at 12:07 am

The only movie I saw here was the Shelley Long comedy Hello Again in 1987. I don’t remember much, other than it was a big single screen cinema with comfortable seating and a screen. My sister and I arrived late, just as the beginning credits were finished rolling. It was the day after Thanksgiving, I think, and we’d just seen Dirty Dancing, the second time for both of us, at the Quad Cinema in Greenwich Village. I wish time travel was possible. I’d go back to the days when theaters like this one were open and see anything that was playing.

vindanpar on December 25, 2015 at 6:59 am

Was in this theater in its latter days and found it hard to believe movies like The Blue Max and Gigi(after moving from the Royale reserved seat engagement) had prestigious runs here rather than in more spacious theaters in Times Square. Not only dumpy but too small for these kinds of films

The one movie I remember seeing here was a very strange little Isabelle Huppert number. She was in love with a too young hockey player and did unmentionable things to her body with a razorblade. Bad in the way only a French film can be bad.

moviebuff82 on October 13, 2018 at 6:46 pm

25 years ago today the nightmare before Xmas made its new york city debut here before expanding wide.

bigjoe59 on October 14, 2018 at 9:52 pm


the last several years of the theater’s life it ran as a twin. to which- what was the last film to play it as a single screen theater?

bigjoe59 on October 15, 2018 at 8:08 pm


to NYer thanks for the info.

also the Sutton wasn’t the only East Side “art house”
to host a roadshow engagement. the Coronet had The Taming
of the Shrew and the Fine Arts has three-A Man for All
Seasons, The Charge of the Light Brigade and The Trojan

DavidMorgan on September 13, 2019 at 1:50 pm

This is from Irwin Winkler’s book “A Life in Movies” (2019):

We opened in New York on November 13, 1980, at The Sutton on Fifty-Seventh Street. Marty and I stood in the back of the theater and were dismayed by the bad sound. I complained to the manager, who angrily informed me that he had bought six new speakers at $49 each at Radio Shack just for “Raging Bull.” We, of course, had spent about a million dollars to get the sound right.

vindanpar on September 13, 2019 at 6:28 pm

Didn’t Young Winston play reserved seats at the Columbia twin? Or was it reserved performances?

Pete Delaney
Pete Delaney on January 14, 2020 at 6:53 am

“The Last Remake of Beau Geste” (7-1-77) “High Anxiety” (1-4-78)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 17, 2020 at 4:12 am

Vindanpar, “YOUNG WINSTON” was real classic Roadshow reserved seats at the Columbia.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 2, 2020 at 4:23 am

“THE BLUE MAX” in the photo section.

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