Beloved Bronx movie theater shutters due to a ‘business decision:’ ‘It’s heartbreaking for the kids’

the bronx concourse plaza multiplex closes
the bronx concourse plaza multiplex closes

Apart from streaming movies on your sofa, it’s now near impossible to go to the movies in The Bronx.

On Tuesday, after more than three decades in business, the final credits rolled at the South Bronx’s Concourse Plaza Multiplex Cinemas, which represented one of only two operational movie theaters in the borough. Now, The Bronx — home to some 1.44 million people — has just one cinema within its borders.

“It has been our pleasure to serve the Bronx community with great movie-going for many years,”  the Concourse, which was one of 19 locations operated by the four-state theater chain Showcase Cinemas, posted on Facebook. “Due to a business decision, May 28, 2024 will be our last day of cinema operations. We thank you for your patronage and hope you have made wonderful movie memories at our cinema.”

Inside the recently shuttered Concourse Plaza Multiplex. Showcase Cinemas
Inside the recently shuttered Concourse Plaza Multiplex. Showcase Cinemas
The theater opened in 1991. William Miller
The theater opened in 1991. William Miller

Parent company National Amusements further articulated the “business decision” that led to the closure of the beloved local theater, which first started showing flicks in 1991. According to News12 – The Bronx, the East 161st Street multiplex — which had recently undergone renovations — failed to reach a lease agreement with the property’s landlord.

With this location now gone, the AMC Bay Plaza Cinema 13, located within Baychester’s Mall at Bay Plaza — about 10 miles away — is officially The Bronx’s last remaining movie theater.

In its wake, there’s a community now bereft.

“It created an experience for us,” longtime patron Ashley Williamson, whose grandmother had a home down the street, told The Post of the area the theater was in. “The pictures you took before you entered the gate, retail stores to try on the latest sneakers, the variety of options in the food court, stands where you purchased name chains … and finally the theater. Little things shape your childhood. It’s the memories you have forever.”

The community has mourned the loss of the theater. William Miller
The community has mourned the loss of the theater. William Miller
Now AMC Bay Plaza Cinema 13 is The Bronx’s only movie theater. R68Dtrain2500/Cinematreasures.org
Now AMC Bay Plaza Cinema 13 is The Bronx’s only movie theater. R68Dtrain2500/Cinematreasures.org

And others wanted to hand those memories off to others.

The theater “was a staple in my neighborhood. The local schools used to take us kids to the movies,” at a time when there wasn’t much else to do in that area, Christina Appolonia Castro-Collins told The Post, adding that, after she became a parent, “I took my children to this theater.”

The shuttering is not shocking, considering how many theaters have closed nationally in recent years (5% shut down between 2019 and 2022 alone, according to the National Cinema Foundation), with Queens’ quarter-century-old College Point Multiplex Cinemas dropping its final curtain just a few weeks ago.

Still, Bronx denizens were shocked by this closure.

“It’s heartbreaking for the kids,” Bronx resident and 25-year Concourse patron Cesar Ortiz told Gothamist. “It keeps people entertained. A little family night, you know. People need that.”

Many took to the comment section of Showcase’s Facebook post to grieve the theater’s loss.

“I just took my son to his first movie there. We can’t have [anything] here!” wrote David Roldan. “We need a cinema there.”