One East India Square,
Salem, MA 01970

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Interior view at CinemaSalem

This theatre opened in 1982 as a Sack Cinema. Sack became USACinemas in 1985 and was bought by Loews in 1988. Loews closed it in 1995, but it reopened later that year as the independent Salem Flick. Later it became part of the local Patriot Cinemas chain, but Patriot closed it in October, 2005.

It reopened once more as the locally-owned CinemaSalem on June 2, 2006 and a fourth screen was added.

It was closed on March 16, 2020 due to the mandatory closing of all movie theatre during the Covid-109 Pandemic. It was announced on June 3, 2020 that the CinemaSalem would be permanently closed.

Contributed by CinemaJunkie, Ron Newman

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

vanness on March 26, 2006 at 6:14 pm

Curtain will rise again at downtown theater

Friday, March 24, 2006

CinemaSalem, a new independent movie theater, will open later this spring in the Museum Place Mall. The theater will occupy the space formerly occupied by Patriot Cinema.
The new owners are planning a major renovation and, for now, are targeting June 1 as opening day.
“We’re redoing the space to create a more friendly, contemporary atmosphere,” said Paul Van Ness of Beverly who, along with Bill Collins of Gloucester, will operate the new cinema. “It’s rare to find a great theater in the middle of a vibrant downtown like Salem, and we want to take full advantage of that by creating a fun, community-oriented experience."
As an independent movie theater, CinemaSalem will have the freedom to offer creative film programming.
"We’re going to show a wide variety of quality films,” said Van Ness. “We’ll always want to be playing a great family film, an innovative art film, and a quality film out of Hollywood."
The new owners heard about the opportunity from Salem Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rinus Oosthoek.
"I’d worked with Rinus at Beverly Main Streets and Film North,” said Van Ness, “and we were one of the groups he called when the theater became available."
Van Ness and Collins are principals of Van Ness Creative Group in Beverly, the former as director of photography, the latter as editor.
"We hadn’t been looking for opportunity to run a theater, but when Rinus let us know it was available, it started to excite us,” said Van Ness. “It’s not a different line of work as much as an adjacency because we’re into independent filmmaking."
Van Ness and Collins are encouraging Salem and North Shore film-lovers to help them shape the theater’s direction over the next couple of months.
"We’re really excited about being a community theater,” said Van Ness, “so we want to get to know people, have them get to know us, and tell us what they want their theater to be like."
Toward that end, the theater’s Web site, features a survey to allow community members to contribute ideas and suggestions for CinemaSalem.
"As far as we’ve been able to determine, this is the first time this movie theater has been operated independently, by local residents,” said Collins. “This gives us a great opportunity to create a theater that’s a popular meeting place for the community.
"After all,” he added, “for most people in Salem, Beverly, Marblehead and Swampscott, it’s easier to get to this theater than the cineplex."
CinemaSalem is upgrading the projectors and installing brand new surround-sound systems in each theater, enhancing the visual and audio aspects of the movie-going experience.
Van Ness and Collins have worked in related industries throughout their careers, the former in film and video production, and the latter in video broadcast engineering.
"There’s nothing like watching a great movie on the big screen with your family or a bunch of friends,” said Collins. “That' s what CinemaSalem is all about.”

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 26, 2006 at 7:58 pm

Wow! This is great news!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 3, 2006 at 5:36 am

This theatre reopened last night, according to news reports and the theatre’s web site. The following information should be changed:

Name –> CinemaSalem
Status –> Open
Function –> Movies!
Address –> One East India Square, Salem MA 01970
Phone –> 978 744-1400
Official Website –>

The first week’s features: The Break-up, Over the Hedge, and a revival of The Wizard of Oz. Also, an independent documentary, Hand of God, will be shown next Thursday only.

PNRNetworks on July 31, 2008 at 7:12 am

I just want to say that while we haven’t had a chance to visit CinemaSalem yet to review it for our site’s ongoing MetroBoston CinemaTour, their weekly newsletter is a scream! Paul Van Ness does a fantastic job of talking up each week’s fare, and he’s absolutely hilarious much of the time. I’ve had some e-mail contact with him as well, and he’s truly a cinema lover, so lets hope CS can continue on and on from this point on…

chitchatjf on May 25, 2009 at 3:44 pm

They now have 4 screens

nspunx4 on April 11, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Cinema Salem has 3 screens. Always have and always will (unless the mall does a major remodel or the theatre is torn down) and I should know I installed the 35mm projection and sound equipment for Cinema Salem when they reopened it.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 21, 2010 at 12:24 am

The website says it has 4 screens, and lists 4 films starting at times between 7 and 8 pm.

BUT, one of the films is listed as “Presented in our intimate 18-seat screening room”.

CSWalczak on December 6, 2012 at 3:48 am

As is the case with so many small, independent theaters, this theater’s survival is threatened by the need to convert to digital and has launched a fund-raising drive: View article

da_Bunnyman on March 8, 2018 at 10:29 pm

Sack Theaters opened this triple with a fairly big arcade next door. The arcade was never kept up to date and looked fairly run down after a few years. Not sure when it closed but the space was converted to another store by the mall.

PNRNetworks on June 3, 2020 at 11:04 am

CinemaSalem has announced it’s closure – Owner Paul Van Ness sent the following out in an email this morning:

On June 2, 2006, CinemaSalem opened its doors for the first time for a special free screening of The Wizard of Oz. After exactly 14 years of showing movies, launching film festivals, promoting cultural conversation, and popping tons of popcorn, CinemaSalem is closing. (Of course, we’ve actually been closed since March 16 when the state’s efforts to restrict the spread of the coronavirus required movie theaters to shutter.)

We have been working hard over the past six months to recruit new operators for the theater, and we succeeded in finding two well-qualified parties with creative business plans and community-oriented visions. But once the pandemic hit, neither believed they could find a way to make the numbers add up to a sustainable business.

Though the closing is sad, the time we’ve spent running CinemaSalem has been sweet as an opportunity to personally get to know hundreds of great people in the North Shore community and become much more aware of the richness of the local arts and culture scene. It’s been a profoundly joyful experience. We want to acknowledge the contributions made by many people and organizations around Salem, especially the Salem Film Fest organization, and Rinus Oosthoek and the Salem Chamber of Commerce.

And we are deeply grateful to the large number of amazing people who worked at CinemaSalem over our colorful history. They were hard-working, entertaining, diverse, intelligent, quirky, hilarious and dedicated. We especially want to express appreciation to our incomparable long-time managers, Kereth, Shanna, and Peter.

Finally, we want to acknowledge the CinemaSalem community, the 829,741 people who bought tickets to movies and live events at our independent downtown movie theater over the past 14 years. You made it such a fun and vibrant place!

Thank you.

Paul Van Ness

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