The Lower East Side’s popular Sunshine Cinema will hold its last screenings, Landmark Theatres confirmed Friday.
“Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema was a great addition to our company and has served the community well over the years,” JoAnne Pizzi, director of operations for Landmark Theatres, Sunshine’s parent company, said in an email sent to employees and obtained by amNewYork.
Citing “recent developments” as the cause of closure, Pizzi informed the staff of the Houston Street theater’s closure via email on Tuesday “so arrangements can be made to find new employment.”
The theater will close on Jan. 21, Landmark Theatres said in an emailed statement on Friday, which continued: “Landmark Theatres will continue showcasing our signature variety of quality films paired with a top-tier entertainment experience at our premiere West 57th location.”
Screenings are listed on the theater’s website through Jan. 20, and among your final options is, fittingly, cult classic “The Room.” Sunshine has been a staple for local cinephiles, offering a mix of new and past releases. The current roster also includes the Winston Churchill drama “Darkest Hour,” Al Pacino’s Brooklyn-set “Dog Day Afternoon” and the 1972, Gordon Parks Jr.-directed 1972 film “”Super Fly.”
“We’ve known it was coming,” Ted Mundorff, the CEO of Landmark Theatres, told Deadline of the looming closure. The shutdown will reportedly make way for a new retail development.
“While it’s not a landmark, [the building] has historic value,” Linda Levine, 67, of the Lower East Side, said on Friday afternoon, adding that Sunshine was a “wonderful” theater. “We are not people who are opposed to change, but some things should remain.”
Housed in a former Yiddish theater building constructed in 1898, the theater has shown new hits, indie cult flicks and more since 2001.
Local resident Edward Coppola, 60, who was seeing “Hostiles,” said he’d like to see the theater preserved. Anita Tendler, 20, of Brooklyn, agreed, adding that the theater had its own charm, “not like an AMC where it all looks the same.”
“I’m very disappointed,” theatergoer Dawn Esposito said before a showing of “In Between.” “It’s a place to see really interesting films … I recently moved down from the Upper West Side and one of the reasons that made me feel okay about moving to the Lower East Side was Sunshine,” the 68-year-old, a sociology teacher at St. John’s, added.
Patrons expecting the five-screen cinema to wrap up its nearly two-decade-long run with a special celebration will be sorely disappointed.
“There’s nothing to celebrate,” Mundorff said, confirming that no farewell screenings will be planned.
Employees “in good standing” were advised to seek employment at other Landmark Theatre locations, including its 57th Street location, which opened in August.
With Rajvi Desai