East Providence Cinemas
60 Newport Avenue,
60 Newport Avenue,East Providence, RI 02916
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Worked there in the mid 80’s when it was The Four Seasons Cinemas. They had an arcade to the left that was always busy.
Does anyone have a more precise ownership timeline than what is given in the overview (and elsewhere online)? In particular, when did Esquire last own it, and in what year did it get renovated into its 10-screen configuration?
Demolished this week - https://www.golocalprov.com/news/photo-end-of-an-era-east-providence-cinemas-demolished?fbclid=IwAR1ujtlT2FPg4H1CTYMlo6iLx_IYNPMHOHYpGph3E9OrboRQ4lTIM2-2RYs
The building is fenced off with DEMO spray painted on the front.
Apparently they haven’t reopened, and the theater is now boarded up and padlocked. https://www.golocalprov.com/news/east-providence-cinemas-boarded-up-and-padlocked?fbclid=IwAR1EmST3XSHfrHk0-XNMdQy5n0Yj3fLCTKUfmuXo3qRRfR-oo8X7scYA1EQ
The theater was shut down Saturday by the City when the $9,250 check to renew their licenses bounced. They reopened today after paying with a cashier’s check.
I just saw Shazam! and Long Shot there tonight (Wednesday); tickets were $3.00, plus a small popcorn was free with each one (a special; weekly I believe). While it’s obviously seen better days, it’s clean and in decent shape (barring a bloc of about four seats missing from one of the theaters). Posters for movies from the past few years are still up, plus a more-than-life-sized cardboard cutout for 2016’s The Huntsman: Winter’s War by the entrance. Note that it’s set back from the main road, Newport Avenue, behind other buildings and off a side street (Narragansett Park Drive), though the marquee is on Newport.
The Four Seasons Cinemas were a fourplex being operated by Esquire Theaters of America in 1970, when the January 26 issue of Boxoffice reported that cinemas 5 and 6 were then under construction, slated for a March 5 opening date.
Esquire had two other projects underway; a second screen for the Paris Cinema in Providence, and a two-screen house for Boston, which ended up being the single screen Garden Theatre. The architect for the Garden was Burt W. Federman, and it seems likely that Esquire would have chosen the same architect for its other projects. Federman designed or remodeled theaters totaling over 1,000 screens between 1966 and 1983, according to a 1983 article in The New York Times.
Theater as of 1/17/2016, tickets are 3 dollars, 2 dollars Tuesdays and Thursdays, has digital projection and sound.
On a recent drive passing by I noticed after years, they fixed up the onstreet signage and bought new letters so they could complete the movie titles now. I was surprized because they are second run, they have 10 screens and the use of film is just about over with. Wondering what is in the plans with digital conversion. There’s no way they could convert 10 screens charging $2 a ticket.
Well my frined another theatre i relate to the four seasons i do rememebr larry as a manager along with Mr Joe Jarvis whom later in the eairly 80’s left to open jane picken in newport,, this was a nice looking theatre with the shandaler hanging in the bay window i might even have some picture of this place in the late 70’s/ eairly 80’s first run house i used to compete against for the union to get better picture faster
This is the same company that owned the one in Smithfield at the apple valley mall. They couldn’t pay the rent, the future for this company looks bleak.
Wrong – Prices rise .50 – still pretty cheap
It appears the new owners are keeping the same price policy for now
This cinema is now operated by cinema holdings group www.cinemaholdings.com Owned by Ben & Peter Kafash. They also own the Apple Valley Cinemas and two others in Florida.
Not a great movie going experience. While they had the surround speakers along the walls of the auditorium (screen #5), The sound only came from behind the screen. That in itself would not bother me too much as admission is only $2, but the projected image was way too dim and unfocused. To make matters worse; The Exit sign seemed overly bright and cast a red glow across about a third of the movie screen, Further washing out the image.
I was employed at this site after Patriot took it over from Hoyts. The Sr. Leadership team did a great job in converting it over, and although may not appear it, many repairs needed to be made. As a former Area Director at Hoyts, I can tell you maintaining facilities was not a high priority – just building them (one reason they went bankrupt). In the two years I was at the East Providence cinema, the Sr. Leadership of the company was consistently customer focused – they wanted lower costs, so they could keep the cost to the customers low. The projectors are the same make and model of the pre-90’s theatres of most major chains and features surround sound in a few of the Auditoriums, so the picture and sound quality is similar to many first run houses. Definitly the best deal going for seeing movies in RI or SE MA.
My father (Larry Johnson) managed the Four Seasons throughout most of the mid 70’s into early 80’s when it went to a second-run house. By then it had four screens, all decent size. The exterior looked far better than it does today. I’ll see if I have photos. In late 70’s they split 3 screens in half and added a game room. In my opinion that was the end of it being a decent place.
My dad also created much of the newspaper advertising for this and related Rhode Island theaters and drive-ins throughout the 70’s (including the one posted earlier here by Gerald DeLuca (do we know each other?).
To follow up to my previous post I saw “The Departed” today. The Theater held over 200, the seats were comfortable and the sound was great. Popcorn is reasonable and good. The outside is more pleasing on the eye than the photo suggests. For a buck on Tuesday definitely worth a try.
Don’t knock this place. $1.00 admission every “Super Tuesday”. Even at night.
This theater never operated under the Showcase name. As the Four Seasons, it was painted white, and it had multi-colored signage on the building faÃ§ade, which made it look a million times better than the gray bunker that it is now.
Newspaper ad for Esquire Theatres in Rhode Island on December 7, 1971.
This was an Entertainment and then Hoyts for a while…and it looks like the name was lazily changed from Hoyts to Patriot on the exterior…didn’t realize that it was Showcase before that?
Also, that remodeling and spiffing up of the theatre interior was done in 1993 by National Amusements (Showcase Cinemas), I am almost certain, when they took over the place for a time. The first movie I saw there after it was revamped was Dave with Kevin Kline. They wanted to create a comfy second run venue at reduced admission prices. They did the same when they acquired and re-opened the long-dormant Apple Valley Cinemas in Smithfield: new seats, low prices, second run. Showcase/National Amusements still runs Apple Valley Cinemas, but it was turned into first run by the end of the 1990s. On that re-opening day at Apple Valley under the second-run, low-prices policy, the admission was 50 cents! I went.
Yes, when they completely re-did the interior about 10-15 years ago (by “luxurious ambience,” I meant new seats, carpeting, etc.), it looked quite spiffy and still is OK from that point of view, even if the shoe-box auditoriums were and are cramped. All the early auditoriums were chopped into two or more. My complaints lie with the presentation, not with comfort of seats, general cleanliness, bathroom facilities, or the like. It has more comfortable surroundings now than, say, the Park in Cranston ever had after it was triplexed…to cite another bargain theatre.
In the mid-1960s, when the place was built as the Four Seasons, with two screens, I believe, perhaps more, one of the auditoriums was nice and large and wide and is where they occasonally did 70mm shows. I remember seeing films like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Great Race The Sand Pebbles, the 70mm Gone With the Wind. I remember the top-notch projection and sound. People from Providence would go out of their way to drive the half-hour it took to get here for the first run films, many of which weren’t playing elsewhere. I believe this was one of the suburban theatres, with lots of free parking, that sounded the death-knell for downtown Providence movie palaces, still in place at the time the Four Seasons opened. Now, whenever I go there (which isn’t real often), I think of its days of better presentation. I do think that has gone down.
And, while I’m at it, I also think of the characterful old single-screener, just up Newport Avenue in Pawtucket’s Darlington section, the Darlton. When that went, it broke my heart.