Bow-Tie Criterion Cinemas

86 Temple Street,
New Haven, CT 06510

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Showing 1 - 25 of 38 comments

joemasher on January 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm

The Criterion has had 9 screens for about 3 years now.

shoeshoe14 on September 14, 2007 at 6:30 pm

This was mentioned in the New Haven Advocate’s Annual Manual.

“Beautifully designed modern movie palace. Every city of decent size ought to have a movie theater that shows buzzed-about current art-house/indie film hits right in the middle of downtown, and this is the one we’ve got. (It happens to throw in its share of blockbusters, too.) Seven theaters. Discounted parking is available across the street at the Temple Street garage.

joemasher on May 6, 2007 at 4:09 am

Yes…the Criterion Cinemas at Blue Back Square in W.Hartford is set to open 11/2/07. We are opening our new Movieland Cinemas in Downtown Schenectady, NY on 5/17/07. We’re also going to continue operations at the Cinema City in Hartford, which we acquired on 11/17/06. It was supposed to close this August under the last operator.

shoeshoe14 on March 22, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Joe, is the Criterion in West Hartford going to be in the Blue Back Square Sprawl Development?

joemasher on March 22, 2007 at 5:22 am

Thanks for the wonderful comments! To your comment that we need more theaters like the Criterion, we are opening another Criterion in West Hartford, CT in November, and are opening a similar theater in Downtown Schenectady, NY next month. Look at our Plaza Cinemas in Greenwich, CT to start featuring the Criterion style soon!
By the way…May is “Joan Crawford Month”, with some of her ‘best’! On Mother’s Day, we’ll again feature a screening of “Mommie Dearest” with ‘New Haven’s Own Joan Crawford, and her 'daughter’, Christina' in attendance, and signing autographs after the show!

ZARDOZ on March 8, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Criterion Cinema is still TERRIFIC! (No, I am not an employee, thank you.) Although I recently moved to Long Island, I come to Connecticut often and try to get to the Criterion whenever I can. Although the awesome breakfast place across the street is now closed, nothing beats having a nice breakfast at a Mom and Pop place somewhere in the New Haven area, then checking out a vintage film at the Criterion at 11 am on Sunday mornings. Last weekend, my wife and two of her friends joined me to see the Criterion’s screening of the 1945 film, “Mildred Pierce,” a film I would otherwise pass up on television. The film was very good, and the print was surprisingly very good as well. Spread the word: we need more theaters like the Criterion. Support it. Go to a movie at the Criterion!

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 8, 2006 at 5:47 pm

This should be updated to 7 screens.

shoeshoe14 on November 25, 2006 at 9:40 pm

Hey Joe, i stopped by to see if you were working last week but they said you weren’t there. Some other time perhaps.

joemasher on November 25, 2006 at 5:39 am

On 11/17/06, Bow Tie Cinemas has completed its purchase of all of the Connecticut and Maryland locations of Crown Theatres. We now have 11 locations in CT, 2 in MD, and 1 in CO. Three more are currently under construction – Movieland Schenectady, a 6-plex next to Proctor’s in downtown Sch'dy, NY (Spring ‘07); Criterion Cinemas at Blue Back Square, a 6-plex in W. Hartford, CT (Fall '07); and Movieland Richmond, a 16-screener in Richmond, VA (Spring '08). Look for the former Crown locations to be re-branded as “Bow Tie Cinemas” in the coming months.

fred1 on September 20, 2006 at 11:48 pm

The Criterion Cinemas is a fine example of what CT is all about

shoeshoe14 on September 20, 2006 at 4:54 pm

Katz’s Deli? Wow. 2 years already! Congrats, Joe. I’ll stop by soon and say hi.

joemasher on September 19, 2006 at 2:46 pm

We opened our two new screens and expanded ladies room officially last Friday, 9/15!
Our seat count is now just under 1200. The new houses look much the same as the existing five, which will aleady turn two years old on 11/12! Stop by and check it out—-and be sure to say ‘hi’! Also, Katz’s Deli just opened across the street—excellent food.

joemasher on March 4, 2006 at 11:08 am

Criterion to add 2 movie screens
Andy Bromage , Register Staff

NEW HAVEN â€" Criterion Cinemas is expanding from five screens to seven, city building records show, quelling some doubt about the viability of a downtown movie theater.
Cinema developer Bow-Tie Partners of New York pulled a demolition permit recently to knock down walls, a dome and an elevator shaft at 80 Temple St., a vacant restaurant space adjacent to the theater.

Cinema manager Joe Masher declined to comment on the expansion, but said a press conference on the project will take place March 31. Bow-Tie Partners executives Charley and Ben Moss, a father-and-son development team, did not return phone calls seeking details of the plan.

Criterion Cinemas opened in November 2004 to rave reviews and some doubts about how a downtown theater would fare. Built inside the old United Illuminating building, dubbed Temple Square, the cinema started out showing mostly art-house films before securing rights to show first-run movies.

Scott Healy, Town Green Special Services District director, said two more screens will expand Criterion’s film offerings that much more.

“The theater has been so successful that it has basically made it to the next level of theater,” Healy said.

Originally, Bow-Tie Partners had sought to anchor the theater with two restaurants, one on either side. Healy said that with all the restaurants opening across Temple Street, among them Diner 21 and Bella’s, Criterion opted instead to expand its theater.

Building records indicate demolition work on the ground and basement floors of 80 Temple St., on the corner of George Street. The price of the job is $20,000, records show. Sounds of heavy equipment inside the space on a recent day indicate that work has begun.

The cinema’s current capacity is 900 seats in five theaters, though it is unclear how many seats the expansion will add. The second, third and fourth floors of Temple Square house 44 luxury apartments.

“It is so exciting to see the theater doing so well in such a short time,” said Tony Bialecki, the city’s deputy development administrator. “And, I think, when many people had doubts about a contemporary theater opening downtown.”

Criterion’s swift rise to stardom follows years of farewells to classic Greater New Haven movie houses like the Forest Theater and Bowl Drive-In in West Haven and York Square Cinemas on Broadway.

“It’s exciting to watch Temple Street come alive at night,” Bialecki said. “It used to be dark and boarded up and cold. Now it’s just the opposite.”

Criterion has dished up trendy new offerings in recent months. On Fridays and Saturdays at 11:30 p.m., night owls can catch modern classics like “The Matrix” and “Full Metal Jacket” for $5 as part of Criterion’s Insomnia Theater series. Sunday mornings, Movies and Mimosas presents classics like “Cabaret” and “The Sound of Music” for $5, and drinks for $2.

ZARDOZ on October 3, 2005 at 12:51 pm

Just can’t say enough about this terrific place. What a gem. I joined the membership club and go there quite regularly. Parking is super-convenient, and get this — there is a brand new gourmet restaurant directly across the street that serves arguably the best breakfast in Connecticut. (100% maple syrup, etc.) Want a fab Sunday? Check out the breakfast at 10 am, then walk across the street to the Criterion to see a classic film at 11 am. Did this recently, and saw Hitchcock’s The Birds. The place was packed! This place is G R E A T !!

shoeshoe14 on July 27, 2005 at 4:41 am

I went to Criterion yesterday to see March of the Penguins. What a great moviegoing experience and the real butter was amazing. In front of the theater they were grilling tons of veggie and hot dogs, had potato salad, salad and condiments for people going to see “Bad News Bears” and actually for anyone who wanted some. They seem to be doing some good outreach. Joining the Criterion Club will also save you lots of money. There are 5 screens. On the left is the small ticket line which seems like it could fill too quick. Big concession stand with food and beer/wine, to the left a lounge area with tables and chairs. Straight ahead at the back wall is a windowed room with film reels and other gadgets that are working live. To the left are 2 theaters and to the right 3 theaters. To the left are the bathrooms and on either side of the men’s and women’s is a control panel of gauges that don’t work and the plaque says this was found while renovating the building from the old utility building. The key word was “Frankenstein-esque”. The bathrooms were spacious and nice and the sinks had stainless steel bottoms and they were deep! The seats in the theater didn’t recline but they were good for the back and firm, but soft, giving you some sort of posture you don’t receive anywhere else. Save for the 25 8-year olds who wouldn’t shut up or stop climbing seats, it was a good flick, just too long at 80 minutes.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 3, 2005 at 2:19 am

The Cinestudio is different from all the above mentioned places (Criterion, Cinema City, etc.) in that it programs a large number of revivals and re-issues of older films, including 70mm, interspersed with newer releases as well as thematic festivals. That’s what makes Cinestudio so special.

John Fink
John Fink on June 2, 2005 at 7:44 pm

I got confused, I got that information from this montage of old news ads that used to sit in the loby of Cinema City, thanks for correcting that. I ought to add Cinema City, despite the fact I hate it (such a weird place to put an art theatre). That montage isn’t in the loby since they repainted the walls (the only renovation Crown did at Cinema City!).

Criterion Cinemas at Blue Back Square will do well, even though its sad, West Hartford gets all of the devolopment while Hartford suffers in poverty. I wonder how this new cinema will effect Real Art Ways (which shows most of the same pictures as the Criterion Temple Square). I know they won’t touch Cinestudio, which has a loyal following (and is quite often one of only two second run houses in the Greater Hartford area). Hell, anything is better than Cinema City. And the Criterion has got amazing popcorn.

joemasher on June 2, 2005 at 7:19 pm

The announcement is out—Bow Tie Cinemas has signed a lease to open “Criterion Cinemas at Blue Back Square” in West Hartford. Last week, we announced another new theater in dowtown Schenectady, NY. I will try to find the time to submit a news story about both to CT tomorrow.
Incidentally, Hartford’s Cinema City was never a B.S. Moss Theater. It was built and opened by SBC Theaters, which was later purchased by Hoyt’s. Crown bought it from Hoyt’s.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on June 1, 2005 at 4:00 am

Yes. There operator is in place. An announcement will be made tomorrow (June 2), I’ve heard.

John Fink
John Fink on May 31, 2005 at 6:29 pm

Any word on who’s going to be opperating that new theatre (in Blue Back Square, right?)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on May 31, 2005 at 6:26 pm

Personally I hate stadium seating and find it hard to watch a movie without becoming sore in it. They are also usually far away. I refuse to sit in stadium seats. In a theatre that has them I’ll sit in the front rows that have normal seating. The Criterion does not use stadium seating due to low ceilings (although the second floor ended up being removed). Also, they attract a large number of seniors during the day who do not want to have to climb up steps.

As for Cinema City I don’t think it will last too much longer as a new competitor is opening up nearby in 2007.

John Fink
John Fink on May 31, 2005 at 6:11 pm

It’s just weird seeing a new theatre (a great theatre- amazing popcorn, comfortable seating and good customer service) without stadium seating, but I suppose when you’re dealing with exculsive bookings like they have here its good just to see them in a comfortable environment (unlike NY’s Quad Cinema- which has no leg room at all).

I do stop by whenever I’m in the area. Interestingly enough too BS Moss Company once owned Hartford’s Cinema City (a terrably rundown art house, don’t get me going on that one), ofcoarse this was a generation or so ago. Now a Crown Theatre, Cinema City and Criterion are pretty much competitors in the art film market in CT, Hartford is losing out though, and a lot of those prints are now being shown in the New Haven market first as New Haven is over-screened. (Criterion, Temple Square, and Showcase Cinemas Orange show art films verses Cinema City, Real Art Ways, and Cinestudio in Hartford- aprox. 8-9 screens vs. 6.)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 29, 2005 at 3:45 pm

I am sure I stand alone on this, but for me “stadium seating” is an over-rated amenity. Sure, it ensures you can see the screen from wherever you are seated, but there are other ways to achieve that—-by a proper rake and a properly positioned screen. In most theatres with stadium seating you have to enter from the side, move all the way to near the front, then climb steps back up to the best seating area. I prefer walking into a theatre from the rear toward the front and not having to deal with unnecessary steps. Of course the balconies of old movie palaces were by their very nature “stadium seating.”

John Fink
John Fink on May 29, 2005 at 3:16 pm

Two small little weird things about the Criterion Cinema, this is the only “new” movie theatre I’ve been to without stadium seating, and secondly, the large drink doesn’t fit in their cup holders. Other than that, this place is great, the popcorn reminds me of the old days of movie going and the film selection often rivials that of Hartford’s three art cinemas.

jventor on May 6, 2005 at 7:12 pm

Tried the new theatre – all I can say is Wow!! It is comfortable, stylish, and has a great staff. The real butter on the popcorn is quite a treat. They also had a great variety of specialty items at the concession stand a selection of wines and a tasty snack called s'nuts, well worth trying when you go.

They need to get a few more mainstream movies to compliment the art fare.