Tag Archives: theater

Large weekend turnout boosts bid to save historic Forest Hills movie theater

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Cinemart has been collecting “powerful ammunition,” as the owner said, in its battle to remain open.

The almost century-old Forest Hills theater sold out most of its weekend showings of “American Sniper,” and owner Nicolas Nicolaou plans to use the high numbers in his bid to convince Hollywood movie companies to grant the theater first-run movies.

“We’re hoping this will allow us to see the executives of the film companies [so they will] give us the opportunity that this theater deserves: the opportunity to play upscale film,” Nicolaou said. “People in our community supported their local theater, somewhere that has history.”

After installing digital projectors, the theater gained the rights to play Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.” But Nicolaou said this is just a test run and the future of the theater depends on the sales of tickets for the new movie.

“It’s powerful ammunition,” Nicolaou said about the high customer turnout over the weekend. “They want to see the money? Well, here it is.”

Nicolaou will be setting up meetings with the New York City branches of major media companies to discuss the theater’s viability to show first-run movies.

“We have the tickets to prove it,” Nicolaou said. “And if we have to do more we will do more.”


Ticket sales at historic Forest Hills movie theater skyrocket in bid for survival

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Cinemart’s sales and its future are looking up.

The almost century-old Forest Hills theater sold out most of its showings of “American Sniper” on Thursday night — the start of a crucial weekend for sales that will be used to determine if the theater should get first-run films and remain in business.

“I came home and saw all these ticket sales and I almost started crying,” owner Nicolas Nicolaou said. “The people of Forest Hills are telling Hollywood that we will not just die.”

And Nicolaou expects the sales to continue throughout the weekend.

“Yesterday was fantastic,” he said. “And we’re almost home free.”

Nicolaou is fighting for the survival of his theater, Cinemart.

The Cinemart opened in 1927 and Thursday’s high volume of ticket sales represents a turning point for the theater. The last several years were marked with disappointment and a severe loss of business because the theater didn’t have the rights to screen any first-run movies. The Cinemart’s last first-run movie was “Sex and the City” in 2008.

Movie-goers during a matinee viewing of "American Sniper."

Moviegoers during a matinee viewing of “American Sniper.”

But with the recent installation of digital projectors and an outpouring of community support, Nicolaou is now running “American Sniper” in a bid to become a first-run movie theater again and ensure the independent theater’s survival.

Movie studios will be using the Cinemart’s ticket sales this weekend for “American Sniper” to determine if the theater should continue to receive first-run films.

“For so many years we were quietly struggling and now it looks like we’re going to make it,” Nicolaou said.


Hollywood gives historic Forest Hills movie theater last chance

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

More than 85 years of Forest HIlls history hangs on the success of one weekend.

The Cinemart Theater opened in 1927, and for the last eight years, owner Nicolas Nicolaou spent thousands of dollars operating an obsolete theater that didn’t have the technology to feature first-run films.

But after making a $300,000 investment to add digital projection — the industry standard — to the theater, Nicolaou is getting a second shot from Hollywood to feature the industry’s latest movies.

“After all these years I was ready to throw in the towel, but I was finally able to get another chance for the theater,” said Nicolaou, whose family has owned the place since the 1960s.

On Friday, the historic theater will be featuring Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” and if Nicolaou sells enough tickets, the future of the theater will be ensured for another 85 years, the owner said.

But if the movie doesn’t draw a large enough audience, Nicolaou may have no choice but to close his five-screen theater since Hollywood studios will likely issue him no other first-run films.

“This movie will make or break this theater,” he said as the 11th hour approached. “I hope at the end of the day we will be there and the community has supported us overwhelmingly.”

For the past few weeks, Nicolaou has been caught up in a flurry of activity as he prepares the theater and reaches out to the community to increase ticket sales. When the dust settles next week, he will know if the movie made enough money to become a first-run theater again.

Nicolaou attempted to save the theater in the early 2000s by renovating the theater and creating the Theater Café with a bar, cozy fireplace and sidewalk café. But the renovations and cafe weren’t enough as the industry shifted to digital and the theater lost its right to screen new movies.

Forest Hills and Rego Park have witnessed the closure of the Trylon, the Forest Hills, the Drake and the Continental (UA Brandon), according to reports.


In Spider-Man’s hometown, Queens residents flock to theater

| brennison@queenscourier.com


“The Amazing Spider-Man” swung into theaters at midnight and Queens moviegoers flocked to the film in the character’s hometown.

Lines formed outside the Midway movie theater in Forest Hills — where Spider-Man hails from — to be among the first to see the superhero flick.
“In all the Spidey movies, [Spider-Man] cried too much. This will be different. It looks like ‘The Dark Knight’ in a kind of way,” said Andrew Arevalo, 21, of Corona, as he waited for a 3:40 p.m. showing.

Fans leaving the theater thought the reboot outdid the original.

“It was great, it was the best one,” said Joe Lazauskas, 66.

Forest Hills resident, Daniel L., 30, agreed.

“It was the best ‘Spider-Man.’ [Andrew Garfield] was good and fit the role better than Tobey [Maguire].”

The Hollywood Reporter estimated an opening of at least $125m, which would place it second behind “The Avengers” in 2012.

Overseas, the Marc Webb-directed film is already breaking records overseas, according to reports.

The other Spider-Man films all earned at least $750 million at the box office, with the third installment, which hit theaters just five years ago, earning nearly $900 million.

 -Additional reporting by Philip Hertling & Greg Giaconelli