Arts and Entertainment

Circle Cinemas calls it quits

By Denebola
Published: September 2008

By Naveen Sridhar

After 43 years of providing big-screen movie experiences, National Amusements, Inc. shut down Brookline’s Circle Cinemas on September 7.

Though a hub for blockbusters, ranging from such hits as The Dark Knight to Iron Man, the movie theatre was “no longer financially viable according to a press release by National Amusements.

The theatre originally opened in November, 1965 with only one screen and had since expanded to house seven screens.

In a period of prosperity for DVDs and home theatre systems, movie theatres are having trouble keeping up.

Just last year, nearly $25 billion were made in DVD sales and rentals, a sharp contrast to the $9.6 billion racked up by the Hollywood box office.

Circle Cinemas was not the only movie theatre to close recently, either. Showcase Cinemas 1-6 in Lawrence, also owned by National Amusements, was closed on September 1.

A contributing factor in the theatre’s decline was its mouse infestation in 2005. Theatre-goers reportedly put their feet on the back of chairs in front of them in order to avoid the rodents.

Circle Cinemas’ competition with other movie theatres also presented a problem in the past. Junior Abby Shuster said that while Circle Cinemas was a part of her movie- watching life, the Chestnut Hill AMC has always been her first choice.

“The Chestnut Hill [theatre] usually has four movies I like playing, but then I can go to the Circle Cinemas, Shuster said. “It was nice to have options.

Student and community reactions to the news have been mixed. 20 years ago, when the Coolidge Corner Theatre was threatened with demolition, a grassroots community campaign saved the landmark and made it into the unique non-profit institution it is today. However, there’s been no such campaign for Circle Cinemas.

“It was designed to make more money than it does, junior Ari Svartsman said. “There’s a concession stand up on the balcony, but there’s never anyone there.

Unfortunately, one repercussion of the theatre closing is that its 21 employees will be out of jobs.

“Our employees are very important to us, and this is not a decision we make lightly, Wanda Whitson, company spokesperson, said. “We are making every effort to find these employees other opportunities within our company. We also wish to thank our loyal patrons who have shared great movies and memories with us over the years.

Ultimately, this loss results in fewer opportunities for entertainment and fewer options for movie-lovers.

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