Updated writethru 7:03PM after 5:05PM post: Deadline has confirmed that New York’s upper west side movie theater, the Landmark at 57 West, is closing after the venue’s circuit couldn’t come to terms with its landlord, the Durst Corporation.
The arthouse luxury eight-plex which opened in the fall of 2017, which was located at the cross streets of 11th Avenue and the West Side Highway, was a bit of a challenge in regard to foot traffic as it wasn’t located near subway stop (Columbus Circle was the closest and a hefty hike), this despite the fact that it was located in an upscale, older demo neighborhood. The Landmark at 57 West hosted awards season films, complete with talent Q&A, and featured a swanky bar with posh cocktails and munchies. The cinema was the highest grossing cinema in the country for Magnolia’s $14M-grossing RBG documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
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Some distribution sources say that the Landmark at 57 West was financially challenged before COVID-19, and that the venue faced a steep lease. Landmark Theatres COO Paul Serwitz confirms this tonight, “It was a troubled theater as beautiful as it was. When I got there, we inherited a tough theater that proved really not financially viable because of its rental obligation. Fast forward to these days when the pressure is on everybody, and it was too problematic.”
Despite the nice neighborhood, the 57th was also shortchanged per Serwitz because “buses don’t go to theater. There’s a neighborhood that’s seen incremental growth, but is still limited in scope.”
“We’re exploring other uptown options,” added Serwitz.
While the 57th Theater is shuttering close to its third anniversary, the lease for the space was for much longer.
That said, once movie theaters reopen in Manhattan, “there will be opportunities” according to one source with serious intel about the Landmark at 57 West. The location is a new-movie theater in Manhattan, and it’s possible the 57 West could be resurrected — just by a different company. Unfortunately there will be an attrition of cinemas due to the pandemic. But just because one closes, doesn’t mean it’s completely gone. This is a lease game in exhibition, and someone can always take it over, or try their hand at renegotiating better terms.
When it comes to arthouses on the West Side, there’s only Film at Lincoln Center. Arthouse fare also plays at AMC’s Lincoln Square 13 and Broadway & 68th Street, but must battle for marquee space with big studio titles.
Those arthouse cinemas left in Manhattan include the Landmark’s Quad Cinemas, the IFC Center, Film Forum, Cinema Village, the Metrograph, and the Angelika.
Indiewire first had the story about Landmark at 57 shuttering.
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