The Castle Cinema Slated To Close?

posted by Ross Melnick on April 12, 2004 at 11:28 am

PROVIDENCE, RI — The following email was sent in by Gregg Anderson and is courtesy of the Castle Cinema Cafe:

“After 80 years in operation, The Castle Cinema, one of the last remaining independently owned and operated movie houses left in Rhode Island, is in jeopardy of closing its doors forever.

Starting next week, The Castle will reduce operating hours to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only. This is a further reduction from a schedule that already has it closed on Mondays. Final performances and closing of the theater will take place on Saturday, April 24, 2004.

Purchased and renovated by the Gemma family in 2001, a concept new to Rhode Island was launched. Dining in each of the three theaters is combined with movie viewing. The Gemmas were hopeful that the concept would allow the Castle to remain viable, not only as a neighborhood theater, but as incubator for film and performing arts.

The Castle shows later run movies with an emphasis on independent and art films. Additionally, a diverse mix of live entertainment, televised sports events, independent film premieres and film festivals are regularly offered at the three screen theater, as well as special events for civic, school and community groups.

In September of 2003, Crazy Burger Caf of Narragansett was brought in to lend its operational management expertise, and creative menu to The Castle operation. Although the Crazy Burger management team has done a remarkable job, and despite the fact that attendance last year was over 40,000, expenses and overhead incurred running a 80 year old building, continue to outpace revenue. The giant megaplexes have made it impossible for community based theaters to compete. Says co-owner Larry Gemma.

Gemma is now reaching out to the theater arts community and the Mayors office in a final attempt to form strategic partnerships to more fully utilize the facility and to save the theater from the wrecking ball. He is welcoming any and all interested parties. Gemma is also appealing to the Castles community of patrons to support the Castle with their attendance to keep the theater alive. Re-defining itself as a non-profit organization is also under consideration.

For more information or to contact the Castle visit

If you love the Castle as we do If you are here for the first time and want the opportunity to come back If you believe that community based theaters are vital to the culture of the city. If you enjoy all that the Castle has to offer


Join us as often as you can over the next 3 weeks.
Tell your friends, and ask them to tell other friends.
Call the Mayors office. Call your City Councilman.
Give us your ideas.

Please Help Us Save The Castle

If you want to join the Save The Castle Campaign,
please contact Joni, Matt or Len at 401-751-9200 Ext. 0"

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Comments (3)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on April 12, 2004 at 1:50 pm

I’m surprised to see the Castle is having trouble. I thought the cinema cafe concept was a good one, even though Providence also has the Cable Car Cinema & Cafe. The Castle NEVER should have stopped showing the Rocky Horror Picture Show which they dropped last year after a long run.

tbarbounis on April 25, 2004 at 8:52 pm

The Castle is now officially closed and awaiting its fate.

I have started a “Save The Castle” organization in an attempt to build city and state support to save the theater. We will be launching a website in the next few days to help spread the word.

In the meantime, the organization can be reached via email at

Terry Barbounis, Founder Save The Castle Organization

ILUVEMMA on January 17, 2005 at 2:15 pm

Emma and “Tom” should split up becuase. I don’t know yet, but “Tom” has an egg head and Emma has bright wavy golden hair, and “Tom” is good at being a snot nosed brat and that doesn’t tell you anything good.

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