Movie Theater Left In The Dark

Long Beach Cinema 4 suddenly pulled its movie listings and locked its doors last Thursday.

Long Beach native and realtor Joe Ponte remembers when the city had four movie theaters.

Like other locals, Ponte wonders about the status of the city’s lone movie house, Long Beach Cinema 4, after the movie listings were cleared and the coming attraction posters were pulled down from the building at the corner of East Park Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard last week.

“As a realtor, I hope it is something internal and I’m hoping that there’s a new operator coming on board, a Loews or Sony,” said Ponte, a realtor with Prudential Douglas Elliman on West Park Avenue.

The theater was dark and the doors were locked last Thursday, but there have been no postings on the windows or exterior as to whether the owners have closed it for good or for renovations. A call to the theater is met with no answer or recorded messages. Philips International Realty, a Manhattan-based real estate agency that owns the building, did not return a call for comment on Monday afternoon.  

Scott Kemins, commissioner of the city’s building department, said that he hasn't heard anything about the status of the business.

“I know nothing about the movie theater other than it is closed,” he said on Sunday. “I tried to get some information on Friday, but I wasn’t able to get through to anyone. We don’t know why.”

The owner of the Smoke Shop store next door to the theater told Patch last Friday that the manager told him that the owner suddenly closed shop on Thursday.

West End resident George Ennis, who emailed Patch about the closing last Friday, was booked to host a pre-screening for his film festival at the theater on May 25. Each spring Ennis hosts the annual George Ennis Film Festival at the Cabana restaurant on West Beech Street, which will be held on June 5.

Long Beach Cinema 4 houses four screens at the site of the former Lido Theater. At one time, Long Beach had four movie theaters: Lido Theater, The Laurel on West Park Avenue (now CVS pharmacy), West End Movie House on West Beech Street, and The Crest, once located at the former Jackson Hotel on West Broadway at Edwards Boulevard.

“If it’s closed,” Ponte said about Long Beach's only theater, “it’s an end of an era to me.”

“I’m hoping that a new operator is going there because Long Beach really does need a theater,” he added. “I can’t say too much because we don’t know exactly what’s going on.”

The nearest movie theater to Long Beach is AMC Loews Fantasy 5 on North Park Avenue in Rockville Centre.

Lucy Centeno May 04, 2011 at 03:38 AM
Sal, your a moron. When Long Beach had those things, people were on leagues for bowling, kids had a great day at the boardwalk with the arcade and rides,and it was a great way to meet new people. Today, with all those things gone, all we have is an over crowded drunken mess in the west end, a BORING boardwalk loaded with mostly seniors, and a recreation that is NOT able to service all the community needs (competitions of all types). Yes . we have the summer concert series, WHOOPIE! They are at night and sometimes the weather is not so kind on those designated nights. We have the Boardwalk Fair 2 times in the summer. The city has made it so EXPENSIVE for locals or small business to rent a space, that we now have OVER PRICED venders from all over the TRI STATE area coming here to profit and run, instead of promoting local or Long Island businesses. My kids grew up in Chucky Cheese in Hicksville, Adventureland in Farmingdale, Woodmere Park in 5 Towns, Wantaugh Park, Coney Island in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway Beaches and Cantiaque (?) park, to name just a few. No park to barbeque in Long Beach, No place to have a Family Reunion with activities for kids and fields to play volleyball or baseball. No activities what-so-ever except the BEACH! Stuff it buddy. Because of people like you and Mr. White (passed away) we lost a beautiful theatre (Laurel) because you guys didn't want VAGABONS, NEER-DO-WELLS, GUIDOS, GANGSTERS, STEROID POPPERS and other VERMIN coming here. BIGOTS!
Lucy Centeno May 04, 2011 at 03:53 AM
Hold on a minute! My daughter was in a wheelchair and lived here all her life. There was NOT a thing she could do in Long Beach! OOOOOPS, sorry, she road around in her wheelchair on the boardwalk, got FLATS from the nails sticking up out of the planks, road mostly in the street because of BLOCKED or BROKEN curb cuts, couldn't get in ANY businesses EXCEPT WALDBAUMS because of steps or non-automatic doors. By the way, CITY HALL IS ONE PLACE SHE COULD NOT GET IN WITHOUT HAVING SOMEONE WITH HER. Pizza, bars and nail salons. AGAIN, NOTHING FOR CHILDREN, DISABLED, or the youth to do. Even my patients would tell me there is nothing here anymore.
Trying to Make Sense May 04, 2011 at 12:13 PM
It would be wonderful to have a movie theatre that offered independent, smaller budget cinema in that location, something similar to the Malverne or , better yet, the Huntington Cinema Arts Center. With a cafe including a meeting place for discussions of meaningful cinema, it would become a special attraction that would be a benefit to the community. Just dreaming out loud.
Jill Brennan Lessard May 05, 2011 at 02:50 PM
While I am saddened that the theater closed (if in fact it is "closed" for good), I am not terribly surprised. Though the theater was on the mark when selecting films to show,in my opinion it was lacking in many other areas. The sound system was mediocre at best (loud enough to hear dialogue = deafening during music / chase / etc.), the theaters were cramped, the lobby was dingy, they were understaffed, unorganized, over priced, etc. Overall my impression was "seedy", as opposed to "family". It seems the new owners did as little as possible (reconfigured the walls to turn two theaters into four, slapped on a few coats of paint, put down some new carpet) then threw the doors open for business. Note, that none of these things stopped me from going there on occasion simply for convenience sake, but when I had time to spare I took my kids to "nicer" theaters. It would be wonderful to see it reopen with more of an emphasis on community and family values, rather than a darkish dreary place put there just to take your money. AND if they would pop their corn fresh, that would be the icing on my cake.
Barbara DuBow Bernardino May 05, 2011 at 02:51 PM
The closing of the movie theatre is an indication of change of the times but it is also an opportunity for creativity. Somethng like the Huntington Arts Center is doable and, I believe, would be financially beneficial for its business investors. The site is large enough to house art work, workshops, theatre, small concerts, independent films, lectures, etc. Oganizations already doing great work in these areas , like the LB Library, AIP, West End Arts Council, LB Art League, Avanti, Historic/Landmark Associations, etc., would best be able to share with the business investors, just where the pulse of our community rests. I am excited about the opportunity we have , as a communuty, to custom design something wonderful. I hope I'm not disappointed.
Angela May 05, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Is it true that the movie theater is now going to be another Dollar Store?That's what I heard!!!!!Just what we need....
delete me May 05, 2011 at 03:43 PM
NOOOOOO!!!! seriously, if that even becomes an option I'm going to vomit.
delete me May 05, 2011 at 03:54 PM
good information!
Richard Boodman May 05, 2011 at 04:19 PM
Barbara Bernadino and Neal Monteko are right on target. Something like the Huntington Arts Center would give Long Beach the shot in the arm it needs to turn it into a first rate city rather than a beach community with lots of bars to get drunk in. It would be a boon for our local business as well as changing the image. These two should consider running for City Council in November and replace those who would prefer to make jobs for friends and family and demand pensions for themselves instead of reducing our taxes like they promised. They appear to have the kind of creative and original though that's sorely lacking in city Hall.
Jesse May 05, 2011 at 04:28 PM
When I hear about all the problems with presentation at this theatre I can't help but remember that the Projectionist Union was kicked out after the renovations....So you have a beautiful theatre, first run house, charging top dollar with a crappy product on screeen...doesn't sound like a winning formula for success.
Beth feuerstein May 05, 2011 at 06:23 PM
I was just there about 2 weeks ago and saw "Arthur"... there was only one other couple in the theater. My guess is the $12 a ticket price couldn't support the rent and people are turning to Netflix and Movies on Demand in the comfort of their own home(s). It is too bad indeed!!! I remember seeing The Sunshine Boys at the Laurel Theater way back in the late 1960's. I hope that Loew's or a Cineplex Odeon comes in OR a fine arts theater. Beth Rose
Jesse May 05, 2011 at 07:17 PM
Nobody wants to lose money...Loews and Cineplex are now a part of AMC .. AMC only wants 14 screens or more..they would dump the Fantasy if they could find a buyer Clearview would be the only one interested but the taxes, rents, utility bills, forced upgrades to digital equipment (no more film in a year or two) and payroll makes it an impossible dream...They are already losing money in other communities and are kept alive by Cablevision money who owns them. They should have left the old building and fixed it up so the taxes would be manageable.. More short sighted planning ... Thats what happens when people who don't know the movie business make decisions.
Long Beach Art League May 05, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Eddie May 05, 2011 at 11:36 PM
Lets see what their property taxes look like. County=$5370, Long Beach Schools=$34,945, City of Long Beach= $11,759. That's $52,074 a year without even counting the parking lots. So 83 people have to go to a $12 movie EACH WEEK OF THE YEAR to just pay their taxes. How could anyone be surprised they closed down?
The Truth May 06, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Barbara, What kind of traffic do you think your proposal will generate so the venture would be be financially beneficial? What kind of pricing structure will you have for art work, workshops, theatre, small concerts, independent films, lectures, etc.
Sal May 06, 2011 at 03:31 AM
Now people want an "Arts Center" for entertainment- wow! Another government subsidized complex that taxpayers will be on the hook for. Every "Arts Center" is supported by government grants and subsidies and ultimately the taxpayer. Usually run by well overpayed leftist hypocrites. Again, if you don't like the entertainment level of Long Beach then move away from the beach. For the short sided ogre who says the boardwalk is for seniors well you are wrong. Go up there and open your eyes. As far as the West End bars, well that has nothing to do with the topic. Complain to City Hall about the bars. They caused that problem. If you bring arcades back to the beach you will get far worst than the West End. Again, if you have such great ideas on businesses then put YOUR money up front and open it yourself. Don't ask the City to do it for you.
Thomas T May 06, 2011 at 10:07 AM
Sal, no one in Huntington government subsidizes the Arts Center there - it's strictly member-run, and individuals here are not necessarily advocating for LB City government to get involved at all, though grants and subsidies would facilitate the process. If you hate independent film and kids' programs, foriegn film and local art, that's fine. If you prefer to sit home and watch Glenn Beck on a 24-hour loop, no one is stopping you. You sound a trifle cranky. Have a prune martini and let the interested parties here discuss how to improve LB like reasonable adults, OK?
Trying to Make Sense May 06, 2011 at 11:46 AM
Gee Sal, who is asking for subsidies and where do you get the idea that "arts centers" are run by leftist hypocrits? The only subsidy I see implied in any post here is in what may be a suggestion to lower business taxes, if that is what Eddie's excellent info is intended to imply. That theatre's business plan was faulty, taxes are everyone's burden. They ran a seedy, unwelcoming, overpriced, ugly theatre. Some people are merely throwing out the idea that an "arthouse" theatre might do well in Long Beach and that its programs and who such programs attract would serve the community well. No gov't involvement. No demand that someone else do it. So no need to demand that people who share a thought "put their own money up". Eerry how paranoid and angry some of you self declared patriots behave in the midst of civil interaction. As a Huntington Cinema Arts member, I believe they may have some state grant money for certain programs they run, but we, the members, and the excellent fare that draws patrons islandwide, pay the bills. Indie houses like Malverne, Film Forum, Ifc, Sunshine are capitalist ventures that pay their taxes, make profits and provide wonderful cinema. Obviously, an entreprenuer would have to commit to make this happen in LB. I agree with your boardwalk/West End comments. Chill. These board are about discussing ideas, not slinging insults, as you pointed out to another contributor.
Anthony May 06, 2011 at 01:13 PM
I truly feel insults and politics should be kept out of this issue. This will get nothing done and only divide us, just like Congress. Keep keep in mind what is truly the best venue for Long Beach.
Lucy Centeno May 06, 2011 at 02:23 PM
May I just say, my comments weren't meant to divide. They were meant to show what we have lost and all the things that made Long Beach family friendly. It could be again. Focus MUST be on our youth. Keeping them busy and happy makes them want to be home with family and friends, not on a bus going away from that. Bars bring noise that disturbs people, fights, groups of drunks walking in the streets and public urination and empty cups or bottles on the street. The boardwalk is an attraction that lacks family fun. Our public officials are more worried about pleasing outsiders than making residents happy. CHANGE IT! Make this town enjoyable to be here again. Our kids education and family entertainment is key to a family friendly city. What is gone can be brought back in a greater and more constructive way. Knock what I say if you want to, but check out Long Beach back in the day. It was ALL about FAMILY, FRIENDS, MUSIC, MOVIES, BOWLING,SWIMMING, BIKING, FISHING, TALENT SHOWS,and FIREWORKS. Something for EVERYONE, not just the chosen few. The west end will always be the west end. I grew up there and patronized all of the bars there. I am not saying its the worst thing, but give the majority a choice. Thank you for allowing my input.
Anthony May 06, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Lucy, My comment was not for you, I agree with your let statement.
Trying to Make Sense May 06, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Lucy, I respectfully tell you that your view, your perspective, your statement of what Long Beach was, is, and should become, is merely yours. Just as mine is merely mine. That said, living here 28 years now (my wife and her extended family, lifelong Long Beachers, and I mention them because I know they largely share my view) I can say I have only seen Long Beach become better, the boardwalk and beach park , down town, West End, all of it better than what it was. Our boardwalk is a magnificent place, events central for surfing and fishing and volleyball leagues and running and biking and music and walking events and fireworks and festivals... I won't go on... but "nothing to do" is not what we see. Kids are prioritized like never before, junior lifeguarding, surf schools, great school and rec programs, excellent facilities, ball fields. That was not the scene in the early 80's when I got here. The boardwalk was less inviting, in areas, seedy. The downtowns central and west seemed to have less to offer for everyone. You reference "a chosen few". Might they merely be other people who don't share your tastes or see things as you do? We will need to disagree.
Trying to Make Sense May 06, 2011 at 08:35 PM
I would never want to see LB look backward to find "the good ole days" as the model for a better future. The free market will largely determine what we become, but I like the direction we've come, and look forward to changes that will reflect to underlying fact of this City: it is magnificent! Beautiful ocean beach an hour from the heart of mid town to boot. We live in a special place.
Thomas T May 06, 2011 at 08:43 PM
Neal and Lucy, it's possible that each of you has valid points - Long Beach is wonderful, and I've seen vast improvements over the past few years - the Farmer's Market is one, and the increased presence of the Historical Society is another. But as Lucy points out, there is room for some improvement... which is the purpose of a website like this. ( For example, I would like to see more concessions on the boardwalk, and the public bathrooms are disgraceful.) But it's clear that there is demand for a theater, and not necessarily a chain theater peddling Middle American tripe.
ira weinstein May 06, 2011 at 11:46 PM
just wanted to say I LOVE LONG BEACH
Lucy Centeno May 07, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Yes, my opinion is MY opinion. That is EXACTLY why I made a comment. To voice my opinion. I have NO problem taking my GRAND CHILDREN to another town for enjoyment. We love shell creek and the sprinklers, Woodmere park is delightful. I reside in Long Beach but do NOT advocate for Long Beach. More needs to be done to improve the quality for our youth. Sorry. And by the way, I don't have to move to enjoy other communities. My family is here and I will be where they are, whether you want my input or not. And thank you Thomas T.
Trying to Make Sense May 07, 2011 at 12:09 PM
I believe there is plenty of room for improvement too. I was hoping Lucy might explain exactly how the good ole days were better, or what it is that makes LB so lacking for young people, or why she refers to "a chosen few", or how she can say that the boardwalk is boring after I enumerated all that is going on there. Instead she suggests that I advocate (she resides), that I don't want her input(when I responded to her previous points) or that someone is suggesting she move. Long Beach is a dream come true for most kids and teens, yet she claims "more needs to be done..." without specifics and suggests she must take her family elsewhere for recreation. Whatever you say Lucy.
Jill Brennan Lessard May 09, 2011 at 02:10 PM
I live in the West End and don't get to the boardwalk that often; my children and I utilize the beach at the end of our block. So I can't speak to the current condition of the boardwalk itself. However, I can say that the last time we did use the boardwalk (last summer) to go bike riding I was pretty disappointed at the shape it was in. There were many loose/broken/rotting boards, as well as rusty nails sticking up from numerous locations. Not ideal conditions for biking with your kids. Or even just strolling along. As to the amenities available on the boardwalk - while not disagreeing with Mr. Monteko that there are many events that are organized around the boardwalk, I agree with Ms. Centeno that there is much more that could be done to enhance the experience. Repairing the damage would be an excellent starting point. Thomas T. also made valid points (in my opinion) regarding the lack of concessions and the condition of the existing bathroom facilities. I did not grow up in Long Beach, so I don't know what it was like pre-1998. However, I can still appreciate the fact that we have a jewel in the rough that could use some polish to bring out its full potential. Maybe we could look into forming some sort of committee (or find out if one already exists?) specifically targeted to boardwalk facilities/improvements/etc. AND, as this thread was originally about the movie theather closing I will end by saying I hope that we will not remain theaterless for long!
Lucy Centeno May 12, 2011 at 02:27 AM
JM June 13, 2011 at 05:42 PM
It's Back!


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