Franklin Zeotrope Theatre

34 E. Central Street,
Franklin, MA 02038

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Showing 1 - 25 of 28 comments

DavidZornig on April 9, 2020 at 9:04 pm

October 10, 1960 closing notice as Morse Theatre added courtesy William Wyllie.
Wendy L. Paradise owned it as Franklin Cinema 123 in the `80s.

rivest266 on July 26, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Reopened as the Zoetrope on July 12th, 1991.

James Fisher
James Fisher on June 8, 2013 at 7:09 am

no gcc didnt own it last owner were theatre develoment enterprize

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 20, 2010 at 6:47 pm

The 1927 Film Daily Yearbook lists one film venue for Franklin, the Opera House with 800 seats, open 5 days per week.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 14, 2010 at 4:01 am

I wouldn’t think the company that worked for GCC would have owned this theatre.

TLSLOEWS on June 13, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Thats too bad its closed look like a nice little theatre.

dave-bronx™ on April 5, 2010 at 8:17 am

Did General Cinema ever operate this theatre? In the linked photos, the neon “CINEMA” letters above the marquee are the same red serif-style letters that they used. In the photo of the lobby it shows the white Formica auditorium door with the off-center slit window, and white Formica candy stand with pendant lights which were also common in General Cinema houses of the 1960-70 era. In the mirror behind the stand you can see the blue vinyl wallpaper above the archways opposite. In those days it was not unheard of for them to go into a new market, buy or lease an older existing theatre, split it, do some limited renovations and change the signage.

LydiLouiKats on April 5, 2010 at 4:14 am

Yes, in fact unfortunately the Cinema has been torn down, too bad, they should not have rushed to do that. Other new buildings have been constructed, but they ran out of money, and then the economy got poor.
What a shame.
You may enjoy this link though!

View link

mistertopps on June 12, 2007 at 11:46 pm

I remember this theatre as having the most cheery and energetic of phone messages to get the times of the movies that played there.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 28, 2006 at 11:05 am

The status should be changed to “Closed/Demolished”, because I find this in a Google News search:

It’s curtains for the Zeotrope
MetroWest Daily News, MA – Jan 10, 2006

FRANKLIN — Small excavators yesterday whirred through what used to be a cinema, as demolition crews tore down the closed Zeotrope Theatre. …

A small photo of the demolition is on this page. You have to pay to read the full article.

James Fisher
James Fisher on November 7, 2005 at 1:26 am

O the name i know how it changed this cinema was taken over by well Theatre Development Enterprize how ever they replace the G.Manager and the new G.M changed the name cause he was now running several units and with fresh name and fresh blood ZEOTROPE became and the theaters were Attleboro,Dedham,Belmont,Norwood and then he took over Franklin Cinema and the name changed same with the Union it became know as Attleboro Movie House dba Zeotrobe i worked a short while under the new manament cause i opened a pizzaria and ended my days in the Cinema’s with Woonsocket Cinema Centra being my last ERA in Show Business

RobertR on September 16, 2005 at 10:45 am

Those articles are so sad, our whole movie past is disappearing.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 16, 2005 at 8:27 am

The Zeotrope has closed. Here are two articles from the Milford Daily News:

Zeotrope Theatre fades to black
Zeotrope takes a bow

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 10, 2005 at 10:43 am

According to the Globe newspaper ad, the theatre’s telephone answering machine, and this article, the Franklin Zeotrope will close permanently after the last shows on Thursday, September 15.

The final week’s films:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Fantastic Four
Herbie: Fully Loaded (Saturday and Sunday matinee only)
Must Love Dogs
The Skeleton Key

Tickets are $5.50 in the evening, $4.00 for Saturday and Sunday matinees.
Two for the price of one on Tuesday evening.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 25, 2005 at 6:05 pm

Ads from the 1970s list the theatre as the Franklin Cinema.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 20, 2005 at 12:32 am

Here’s one of those articles, from the Milford (MA) Daily News:

Zeotrope to close for good Sept. 11
By Andrew Lightman / Daily News Staff
Wednesday, August 3, 2005

FRANKLIN — Goodbye, popcorn and movie stars. So long, comedy, romance and the $4 matinee.

     The Franklin Zeotrope Theatre will reach the end of its reel Sept. 11 when the town’s local movie house closes its doors for good.

     John Marini, president of Franklin Center Commons, LLC, announced the theater’s closing yesterday, after theater owner Robert Aarons notified him he would break his lease and shut down.

     Marini’s Franklin Center Commons project aims to redevelop the Zeotrope Theatre and the rest of the block to revitalize the downtown area with new apartments and retail space.

     Marini said Aarons was invited to reopen the theater within the Franklin Center Commons project. Aarons was also told he could keep the Zeotrope open until construction began.

     But Marini said the theater was not making enough money to afford the $1,000 per month rent Aarons had been paying since he sold the building to Marini a year ago.

     "He just tried it out for the year and he called me (Monday),“ Marini said. "It’s just an economical situation. That’s all.”

     Reached for comment yesterday, Aarons said there just aren’t enough moviegoers to stay in business.

     "Well, it’s been a difficult environment to have the theater maintain a positive cash flow,“ Aarons said. "We just don’t have enough patrons to justify staying open.”

     Even with support for the Zeotrope appearing last week in the form of an online petition, Aarons said that enthusiasm never showed itself inside his near-empty theater.

     "You know, it takes more than a few hundred people to create a profitable business,“ Aarons said.

     Marini, meanwhile, stressed that Aarons was not pressured into the decision and the other tenants on the block are welcome to remain in the building until construction begins, which may take a couple years.

     Marini said he also plans to develop the area behind and across from the theater and adjacent shops, and give current tenants the opportunity to move into the new locations without losing shop space during the construction phase.

     Plans for the Franklin Center Commons are currently before the Planning Board, and Marini said he intends to file plans to redevelop the old Franklin Furniture building in the next few weeks.

     Marini’s legal counsel, James Vallee, who is also the area’s state representative, said while the closing of the Zeotrope Theatre will be disheartening to some, the eventual prospect of revitalizing the downtown is an exciting one.

     "As a multiple generation resident of Franklin, I have seen a vibrant, bustling downtown in the past,“ Vallee said. "I am happy to be a part of the revitalization effort to bring exciting new businesses and services to our downtown.”

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 19, 2005 at 3:19 pm

According to various newspaper articles that I find on Google News, the last day for the Zeotrope will be Sunday, September 11.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 13, 2005 at 6:39 pm

In perusing microfilm of The Woonsocket Call (this theatre is less than 25 minutes from that R.I. city), I noticed a January 1930 ad for the Morse when it was showing “Four Devils.” That was F. W. Murnau’s 1928 film for Fox and is reputed to be lost.

soxfan33 on April 30, 2005 at 7:48 pm

I am the author of that petition. We are still looking for more signatures before submitting it to the town planning board when they meet to discuss the prospects of its demolition. Any help is greatly appreciated!

soxfan33 on April 30, 2005 at 7:46 pm

I am the author of that petition. We are still looking for more signatures before submitting it to the town planning board when they meet to discuss the prospects of its demolition. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 7, 2005 at 5:37 pm

A couple of photos from October, 2002:
View link
View link

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 18, 2005 at 6:22 pm

I found this in the Boston Globe archives, December 2, 2004:

A developer who is hoping to demolish the Zeotrope block on East Central Street and replace it with a $25 million development with retail and residential space plans to discuss the idea Monday with the town’s Planning Board, said Ross Altobelli, the town planner. No formal plans have been filed, Altobelli said. The block includes the Franklin Zeotrope Theatre. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the town’s Municipal Building.

I don’t know what has happened since then. There is an online Save the Zeotrope petition, but I don’t know how old it is.

snorwood on February 22, 2005 at 4:53 pm

Rumor has it that this theatre will be closing “soon.”