Circle Cinemas

399 Chestnut Hill Avenue,
Brookline, MA 02146

Unfavorite 8 people favorited this theater

Cleveland Circle Cinemas

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in Brookline in the west of Boston. Given the impressive research and diligence on this site, the absence of the Circle Theatre is surprising. Now an unremarkable Showcase multiplex, in its heyday the single screen Circle Theatre rivaled the Charles Theatre as the best place to see a film in the Boston area and was, I believe, considered to be the crown jewel of the chain owned by Sumner Redstone.

The Circle Theatre was opened around 1940. It was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Mullins & Pinansky. The facade of the theatre sported two marquees, one on each side of the front of the building, although only the one on the right-hand side covered the entrance. Seating in the auditorium was provided in orchestra and balcony levels. Many films (a majority of which were Paramount releases) played the Circle Theatre exclusively in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “Paint Your Wagon”, “Love Story” (which ran for 26 weeks), “Chinatown” and “Three Days of the Condor”. I remember the print advertisements for the Circle Theatre always included the name of the theatre using the same font as the logo for the film then playing there.

After the theater was twinned in 1976 and renamed Circle Cinemas (additional screens were added in 1965), the Circle Cinemas no longer played films exclusively.

It was closed by National Amusements Inc. on September 7, 2008. The building still stands in 2013, but could soon be demolished.

Contributed by Erik Hestnes

Recent comments (view all 110 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 20, 2010 at 7:31 pm

More coverage of the proposed hotel development is at Brookline Patch: Part of New Cleveland Circle Hotel Would Fall on Brookline Land

rivest266
rivest266 on May 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Grand opening ads from October 7th, 1940 and November 24th, 1965 uploaded here.

orsonwellescinema
orsonwellescinema on May 23, 2013 at 2:02 am

FYI. The marquee on the theater says it’s “Now Hiring.” Seriously. Not a joke. Potentially very good news. I live near the theater and I’ve noticed lights on and work being done in the prior months.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 23, 2013 at 3:15 am

I thought this was being torn down for a new development?

orsonwellescinema
orsonwellescinema on May 26, 2013 at 12:18 am

Have been double checking on this. Word is, the theater was purchased a few weeks ago. Just added a photo of the marquee, taken yesterday … “Now Hiring” the “Showcase Superlux and Davios Cucina.”

br91975
br91975 on May 28, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I suspect the recent re-wording on the main marquee is in relation to the new movie theatre opening in Chestnut Hill. Meanwhile, the redevelopment of the Circle Cinemas site still appears to be proceeding: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/allston_brighton/2013/05/city_to_host_public_meeting_to.html

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm

One of the “Now Hiring” messages posted on the Circle’s marquee last month was for “Davio’s Cucina”.According to today’s Boston Herald, Davio’s Cucina opened yesterday in Chestnut Hill. It’s a 250-seat upscale eatery and is located right next to the new National Amusement’s Showcase SuperLux theater, and was opened in partnership with National Amusements. So, Davio’s is Not located in the Circle building.

longlivecirclecinema
longlivecirclecinema on June 19, 2013 at 6:56 am

Hello everyone, I’m writing here to announce a new project commemorating the Circle Cinema before the theater, and its iconic CIRCLE sign, meet the wrecking ball later this year. We are collecting memories, photos, and opinions of the sign (positive, negative, indifferent). Please connect with us either through our Facebook page, facebook.com/longlivecirclecinema, where you can read more about our project by clicking on “About,” or through email, .

We are also looking to interview folks with stories to tell. The Brighton Allston Historical Society has agreed to be the repository for whatever we collect.

Thank you!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 19, 2013 at 7:13 am

Is there some way the sign could be saved rather than wrecked with the building?

longlivecirclecinema
longlivecirclecinema on June 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm

We would love to see the sign saved. We have had some preliminary conversations with some interested parties, and right now the biggest challenge is to find a suitable home for the sign.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater