Assembly Square Cinemas
35 Middlesex Avenue,
35 Middlesex Avenue,Somerville, MA 02145
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It was first known as “Assembly Square 1-8” when Sack opened its doors on June 12, 1981. It was renamed “Assembly Square Cinema” for the heck of it after its expansion to 12 on December 9, 1983.
Sack operated the Assembly Square until January 12, 1986, when it was taken over by USA Cinemas. Finally on March 26, 1989, Loews took over the Assembly Square from USA Cinemas. At the time, the theater was renamed “Loews Somerville at Assembly Square”.
Both Loews and the later Loews Cineplex operated the theater for the longest period of time (with the exception of its short-lived Sony Theatres operation from December 1994-October 1996) until Loews went defunct in January 2006 by AMC, and at the time, the theater changed its name to “AMC Loews Assembly Square”, where it remain as its final theater name until closure on January 15, 2007
Demolition of this theatre finally started this week, over 7 ½ years after it closed. You can see photos of the demolition here:
The replacement for this theatre, the new AMC Assembly Row 12, officially opened today in Somerville according to AMC. They are showing movies listed starting today. Considering that they’re about six months from finishing everything over there, i’m surprised it has already opened – they don’t even officially list an address for the theater yet…
To my amazement, this is STILL sitting empty more than six years after it closed. I’ve heard of no development plans for this property yet. (It is not owned by Federal Realty, who are doing extensive redevelopment of other Assembly Square property.)
June 12th, 1981 grand opening ad uploaded here.
AMC will build a new 12-screen theatre in Assembly Square, according to today’s Boston Globe. Construction will start this year, and it may open by fall 2013.
Sack, then USACinemas, then Loews. But the ads just called it ‘Somerville’.
A.K.A.Loews Assembly Square?
And still empty now. I was over there today and it looks the same except the glassed in front was covered in plywood.
I wonder how the roof’s holding up? It was raining hard all day today.
Still sitting empty, more than three years after it closed.
Thanks. Why are so many cars parked in the lot?
Movies that I recall seeing at the Assembly Square Theatre, in Somerville, MA, include the following:
Spiderman I and Spiderman II
L. A. Confidential
and afew others.
I’m sad. I worked there 13yrs and have many happy memories of the place.
I agree it wasn’t in good shape, though. I don’t know why they don’t fix it up. It’s a good location.
ScottM and DBrenson:
I may sound a little bit like an old prude saying this, but I think there are more risks to walking through an unlocked door and through the interior of a dark, abandoned movie theatre than just simply being caught by the police, who might rail at you some a bit:
A) There’s the risk of a large chunk of heaven-knows-what falling down on somebody’s head who walks in there, whether it be alone or with someone else.
B) One never knows who may be hiding out in there—it’s possible to encounter a bullet, a switchblade, or to get beat up, assaulted, or worse. Imho-it’s not worth the risk of walking in there, whether one’s alone or accompanied.
I remember going to the Assembly Square AMC (then Lowes) cinema a number of times, even to late shows by myself. One day, about a year ago, when I was perusing the Arts/Movies section of the Boston Globe, I noticed that the Assembly Square Lowes Cinema wasn’t there anymore. Not long after that, I heard from somebody that AMC had bought that particular theatre and for whatever reason, didn’t want to keep it, and that there’d been some discussion of the possibility of building a new cinema to take its place. I’m sort of hoping, (though it’s just wishful thinking on my part), that, if it does get renovated into a new cinema, that it gets renovated into a movie theatre that plays independent film, and older classics, etc., as opposed to the schlock that most theatres play nowadays.
Yet, at the same time, that area could get kind of wierd. Audiences were often quite rude, and, yes, the theatre did start looking kind of grubby and run-down shortly before it closed. Since the mall pretty much closed down, it began to lose customers, I think, too.
Federal Realty’s plans for future Assembly Square development include a movie theatre. Federal’s land is between the current strip-mall and the Mystic River, and does not include the land occupied by this former cinema and its parking lot.
The nearest multiplex to Somerville is actually not in Fresh Pond. It’s the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, which has 5 screens. There’s also the Capitol Theatre in East Arlington, with 6 screens, and the AMC-Loews Harvard Square, with 5 screens.
Good riddance to a real rathole. I can corroborate br91979’s report: I stopped going there in the early 1990s after my brother reported a rat running over his foot during a movie.
If they ever properly re-develop the Assembly Square area, a brand new theater would be a big success in this location: Somerville is the most densely populated town in Massachusetts, and the nearest multiplex is all the way over in Fresh Pond. Maybe if the new IKEA ever gets built, someone will try again in Assembly Square.
If you have a chance to return, it might be neat to take photos of the big two-sided sign above the adjacent office building. This sign used to list all 12 movies being shown, for the benefit of drivers on I-93. Probably hard to get a good camera angle for it, though.
Was the left door still openable when you took these photos? Did you open it and go in?
Thanks for the information, Ron; interesting about the security situation. I am tempted to stop by and see if I can maybe explore the inside of the building at some point when I’m home during Christmas week, but I’d probably walk up to the unlocked front door, pull on it, open it, and then, after a moment’s hesitation walk away, afraid of being caught by the police; if I was with someone, I’d feel bold, but, on my own, in that kind of situation, not so much. All that being said, I do hope the building is secured before an act of vandalism, or worse, is committed.
The building is still standing and still empty. All of the signs still look exactly as I reported above on March 3.
When I walked by it three days ago, I was able to open the front glass door! There appeared to be no security whatsoever. Had I not been on my way somewhere else, I could probably have wandered in and walked around in there for hours.
Does anyone know if the Assembly Square Mall cinemas are still standing or if any definitive redevelopment plans have been announced? The last time I passed by, in late July, the theatre was in the same state Ron described in his posting on March 3rd, except the right glass entry doors were boarded up, due to a likely attempted break-in. (The left glass entry doors, as well as the box office, were untouched.)
Last month, I repeated a rumor from the Somerville News about a gym moving into the cinema building. It is not correct. The gym is moving into the office building next door.
I rode around the area this afternoon. You can still see inside the glass entrance doors, and there’s no obvious sign of any interior demolition. The word LOEWS has been removed from each of the building’s three LOEWS THEATRES signs, but the word THEATRES remains, as does the old Loews Cineplex “spotlights” logo.
The adjoining office building still has a large two-sided marquee visible to motorists on I-93. The word LOEWS has been painted over on each side, but again the word THEATRES remains. Of course, the 12 slots for movie titles are now blank, and the sign is no longer lit at night.
Is the landlord keeping these signs mostly intact in case some other chain wants to move in? I can’t imagine who would want to reopen it, but …
from yesterday’s Boston Globe City Weekly section:
[quote]The show will go on — but not for a while
Assembly Square theater closes
By Kristen Green, Globe Correspondent
When a movie theater at Assembly Square closed last month, it left a void at the development that probably won’t be filled for four or five years.
An AMC Entertainment Inc. spokesman said company officials chose not to renew the lease for AMC Loews Assembly Square 12 when it expired Jan. 15.
“Assembly Square was identified as an underperformer which no longer competed effectively in the marketplace,” said Andy DiOrio , a spokesman for the Missouri-based movie company.
He said that the company likes to “keep our theaters up-to-date” and that the Middlesex Avenue theater, built in 1981 and procured during the merger of AMC and Loews Cineplex Entertainment, retained an ‘80s look.
He declined to discuss AMC’s level of interest in locating a new theater complex at Assembly Square, where the developer, Federal Realty Investment Trust, has set aside 60,000 square feet for such a facility. “Obviously we’re evaluating it,” DiOrio said.
Federal officials said they’ve been approached by a number of major theater companies, but declined to discuss them. The theater project is planned for the second phase of the massive development along the Mystic River in Somerville. It will be located near the proposed Ikea location and probably won’t open until 2011 or 2012.
“The theater leaving really doesn’t accelerate our plans,” said Bob Walsh, Federal’s director of development.[/quote]