New Theatre

4120 Laguna Street,
Coral Gables, FL 33134

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Originally opened as the Cinema Take One in 1978. It went through a couple of name changes before it opened as Astor Cinema in February of 1992 with “Cinema Paradiso”. Located in Coral Gable’s tony design district, the theater’s highly successful booking policy featured independent, avant garde, foreign, and high quality commercial move-overs played on a split schedule (separate admission for each show).

Proprietor Lorenzo L. Rodriguez brought back to his South Florida roots the benefits of having managed two of Greenwich Villages most famous movie theaters: the Bleecker Street Cinemas and the Angelika Film Center.

The Astor Cinema did quite well despite brutal competition from two nearby multiplexes in what has traditionally been an under performing market for specialty pictures. Mr. Rodriguez transferred the lease to his successor who continued the winning formula for another ten years. Eventually, the Astor Cinema became the New Theatre, a live theater.

Contributed by Lorenzo L. Rodriguez

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

moviesmovies on July 13, 2005 at 4:15 pm

I believe this was aka as ‘The Arcadia’. Saw screenings of The Miami Film Festival here that were held for press members and very many films during it’s normal operation. It was very appreciated for all the art/foreign programming.
Its sister theatre was also in Coral Gables a few miles away called ‘The Cinematheque’, also showing art/foreign films.
This same owner opened another same film type house on the uppermost level of an intimate outdoor mall in the heart of Coconut Grove, Fl.
I don’t recall the name. It was not a success for very long and closed. Several Miami Film Festival pre-screenings were also held here.

moviesmovies on July 24, 2005 at 4:22 am

After it was called ‘The Arcadia’ it became known as ‘The Absinthe’.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 24, 2005 at 4:43 am

I like the name “Absinthe” for a theatre. Wonderfully decadent.

bornjaded on July 24, 2005 at 5:38 am

Are you sure you’re not confusing this theater with another? There was the Grove Cinematheque on Alcazar Avenue, which closed in the late ‘80s/early '90s and reopened in the late '90s, under new ownership, as the Alcazar Cinematheque, which later became the Absinthe House Cinematheque, which has since closed and become a venue exclusively for live theatre (much like the Astor Cinema).

sporridge on March 19, 2006 at 4:08 am

If memory serves, here’s the succession order:

Cinema Take One (early 80s)

Arcadia (mid 80s, along with the Cinematheque in Coral Gables and the short-lived Grove Harbour in Coconut Grove, run by Miami Film Festival founder Nat Chediak: he had a tiny framed quote in the lobby that gave the literary source for “Arcadia,” sorry, I’ve forgotten)

Lumiere Cinema (late 80s, early 90s)

Astor Cinema

New Theatre (due to move in 2006, due to pending redevelopment)

The New Theatre (they’re used to moving, but still hope for a permanent home) will now relocate to Coconut Grove… and if memory gives a second helping, I think to the former Grove Harbour space!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 28, 2006 at 2:54 am

I saw Pasolini’s SALO, 100 DAYS OF SODOM at the Arcadia, the most offensive movie I have seen to date, and was shocked the place wasn’t getting closed down.

The Grove Cinema (Intermedia) on Virginia Street was first in the tiny arthouse cycle and it then moved around the corner to Grand operated by the Fabulous Flying Fendleman Brothers.

The Cinematheque (Merry Go Round, Alcazar, Absinthe House ) followed, operated by Nat Chediak.

Of course, the Wometco Mayfair, Parkway and Sunset predated all these as Florida’s premier arthouses.

I have now entered the Absinthe House.

LorenzoRodriguez on August 6, 2007 at 11:42 pm

I opened the Astor in 1990 and returned to NYC in 1992.
Also, for the record, I chose the name Astor so it would appear above nearby Bakery Center and Cocowalk at the top of the Miami Herald’s movie clock.
Best, Lorenzo (Hialeah High, Class of 1980)

TLSLOEWS on February 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Maybe it should be called the Not New Theatre!

Ripshin on February 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm

OK, please explain. How long has this place actually been around? I’m sure that I saw films there in the early 80s.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm

It opened as the Cinema Take one in 1978.

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