Paris Cinema

291 Weybosset Street,
Providence, RI 02903

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Paris Cinema

This twin cinema with two very small auditoriums opened around 1970. It showed ocasional first run movies then went to art house revivals and finally gay porno flicks by 1976 until it closed in the 1980’s. The theatre has since been razed and an expanding parking lot has replaced it. It was located across from historic Beneficent Church.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 13, 2005 at 12:46 pm

The 1973 Providence Journal Almanac gives the seating capacity for Cinema 1 as 175, Cinema 2 as 190. Owner: Esquire Theatres, Inc.; Carmine Montiquilla, owner.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 27, 2005 at 12:07 pm

The address for the Paris Cinema(s) was 291 Weybosset Street.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 13, 2005 at 2:48 am

The Paris Cinema opened as a single screen theatre on Wednesday, November 26, 1969. I went to the movie on opening day, The Madwoman of Chaillot with Katherine Hepburn, billed as an exclusive engagement. Screenings were continuous from 12 noon. The cinema was advertised as “The First New Theatre in Downtown Providence in Over 25 Years!” The place subsequently had two screens, but it was not the case of a large auditorium being twinned, just that the second of the side-by-side auditoriums was not ready yet or had not been added yet at the time of opening.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 16, 2005 at 1:39 am

Although the cinema had two screens, the place was always known as the Paris Cinema (not “Cinemas”) throughout its life. Here is an ad announcing the opening day of the Paris Cinema in 1969. It includes a representation of the cinema front.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 16, 2005 at 2:14 am

When it was a porno house, the Paris Cinema was managed by William Ikenberry, who was later to manage the relatively short-lived VIP Luxury Cinema on Westminster Mall across from Grace Church.

moviesmovies on August 16, 2005 at 2:24 am

O C Smith sang a lovely tune called ‘Suddenly, It’s All Tomorrow'
for the Preminger film 'Such Good Friends’ composed by R. Brittan, R and Thomas Z. Shepard.
It anyone wants to hear on MP3 I’d gladly send it.

melbedewy on February 10, 2007 at 9:28 am

For years this place ran a sleazy ad in the Journal showing a teenage boy naked from the waist up with the banner “Providence’s Gayest Place”.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 9, 2007 at 12:15 pm

A Providence Journal article of 6-2-07 wrote of Richard Rose, federal prosecutor in the case that sent major Vincent “Buddy” Cianci to prison on a racketeering conviction:

[i]When Rose was 16, he was a truant who spent a lot of time hanging out in downtown Providence, then a wasteland of dying department stores, adult bookshops and X-rated movie theaters. When the Paris Cinema, where Rose liked to watch kung fu movies and films like Superfly, also switched to porn movies, in the spring of 1975, Rose and a friend collected 1,500 signatures on a petition.

The dynamic new mayor, Buddy Cianci, who had visions of transforming downtown, was appearing on a television broadcast in Burnside Park, in front of the federal courthouse where Rose would prosecute Cianci years later. Rose went downtown, and tried to present the mayor with his petition, but was unable to.

The young Rose told a Providence Journal reporter at the time: “The mayor is trying to get people into the city. These movies aren’t helping.”[/i]

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 11, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Esquire Theaters of America was the original operator of the Paris Cinema, according to Boxoffice of January 26, 1970. The Paris Cinema 2 was under construction at that time, with a projected opening date of February 16.

It was one of three projects Esquire had underway, including an expansion of the chain’s multiplex in East Providence and the Garden Theatre in Boston. The Architect for the Garden Theatre was Burt W. Federman, so it seems likely Esquire would have had him design their other projects as well.

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