MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The closing credits are rolling for a neighborhood cinema in New Jersey.
The Bellevue Theatre has been showing movies for nearly a century. And as CBS2’s Marc Liverman reported, some residents are hoping there is still time for a sequel.
Old photographs and generations of Montclair memories on Bloomfield Avenue have been replaced by a blank marquee.
“I was just walking down there and my heart sank to see the blank up there, and that there is nothing there anymore,” said Michael O’Leary.
O’Leary is one of thousands of residents devastated by the Bellevue Theatre’s announcement that it will close its doors at the end of the month. Bow Tie Cinemas had been renting the space since 2013.
The building is a landmark filled with close to one hundred years of film history.
“Because of the Tudor architecture — I think it’s from 1910 — I think it’s really fitting with some of the Upper Montclair architecture,” said Kate Tuttle of Montclair.
The building owner’s attorney said Bow Tie Cinemas was given the option to extend their lease and chose not to, but he wouldn’t say why.
In a statement, Bow Tie Cinemas told CBS2: “Our lease of the Bellevue Cinema has expired, and our last day of operations was Sunday, November 13. However, we continue to serve our loyal customers in the greater Montclair area with a huge selection of movies and exceptional service in our Caldwell and Clairidge Cinemas.”
“You would know the ushers and it was cozy,” said Anna Katarina of Montclair. “It was just a place to come home to.”
“This is a landmark this is where I used to take my kids to go see movies,” another patron said.
A Change.org petition titled “Keep the Bellevue Cinema Open” now has nearly 5,000 signatures. Residents like O’Leary hope it is enough to keep the building’s history alive.
The building owner’s attorney says so far, there has been interest from educational institutions and nonprofits.