Manville Cinema

S. Main Street,
Manville, NJ 08835

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Rustic Mall Cinema

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This has a confusing start and has a very interesting life. Rustic Mall’s very own 350-seat single-screener opened its doors on December 22, 1972 with Goldie Hawn in “Butterflies Are Free”, but the most confusing part of this theater is their format has a massive flip in January 1974. It was sold later that early-February. A report from the Courier-News later that March reported that the Rustic Mall Cinema “can’t even screen a single friendly film, even a single Mickey Mouse cartoon” due to the theater’s switcheroo for a stunt of X rated films. After a whole year of stunting, the theater flipped the table back again to first-run films, beginning on January 9, 1975 with Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown”. The following year in May 1976, the name was changed to “Manville Cinema”, still keeping the only single-screener in business. In 1977 however, many Manville residents flocked to Somerset County’s own borough council among others, but however it reports that the format has changed twice. Reports say that there’s not even a single X-rated film playing there for months. However, this majority of a revue not just belongs to the Manville Cinema, but the Liberty Theatre of Plainfield also took the meeting as well before closing in due to a fuel emergency. 7 months right after the Manville Cinema flipped back to first-run, Plainfield’s Liberty Theatre had tried to run back first-runs but failed and had a switch back to its X rated run including mixes of B and Z films as well.

This theater was notable for a boycott of 2 people, protesting over a lockout that occurred inside the Manville Cinema in June 1979. Like the Manville Cinema, the Westfield Cinema in Westfield had also once picketed, this time for the adult prices in December 1973.

Continuing into the most of the 1980’s, the single-screener is still in its position without even doubling or tripling the theater still under first-run, but it changed right before the decade pasts by, closing its doors for the final time in the Spring of 1989.

Apparently enough, hope involves that the theater would’ve returned to operation in January 1990, but apparently enough there’s no signs of hope.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES
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