Nickelodeon Cinemas

24 Cummington Street,
Boston, MA 02215-2425

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Showing 1 - 25 of 28 comments

MPol on August 19, 2009 at 11:49 am

I remember the Nickolodean Cinema. So sad that another theatre went. It was right near BU, where I was attending school, too.

nkwoodward on December 11, 2007 at 8:40 am

Seen at the Nickelodeon: The Age of Innocence, Ed Wood, Clerks, and the 1992 re-issue of Blade Runner (Director’s Cut).

Roark on April 17, 2006 at 5:05 pm

The Rat is gone?!!! Oh my, the club that brought us “Roxanne” during “The Police"s first trip to the states is gone… I doubt I will even recognize the Back Bay of Beantown anymore. All in the name of progress. I hear there will be an Apple Store in some location that the historic community is complaining about. Yet they allow the Rat to get torn down for a Hotel… (lol) oh the humanity.

shaggycub on April 17, 2006 at 9:47 am

As to Narcissus (or Narsyphillus as we used to call it when I was at BU from 90-91) it was a complex. Back in the 80’s, I used to hear radio ads on WBCN for the big three, Lipstick, Celebration and Narcissus. I recall, a rumor for a time was that where Narcissus stood, was supposed to be turned into a movie theater-but then it was turned into a GAP, which I think is now a Bertucci’s. It looked impossibly sleazy, but I did regret never having ventured in ‘fore it was closed-just to at least see the place. Even The Palace was a sleazefest, but the couple of times I was there it had a certain charm. In any event, I truly miss the Nick. I saw many a great film there, including “Heathers” when it first opened (that was due to my being a huge Winnona Ryder fan at the time) and “The Last Days of Disco”. My best Nick memory though was their Comm Ave sign. Once, when they were playing “Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead”, the marquee read on one side, “Rosencrantz is dead” and on the other side, “So’s Gildenstern.”

Incidentally, I have to agree with Ligg’s posting about BU. Yes, the policies of BU were impossibly draconian at that time. In fact, my understanding was that BU was declared one of the top ten most promiscuous schools in the country by Playboy (but I could totally be wrong about this.) I was a student then too, and I found the dorm policies loathesome. In fact, I can recall voting for Silber for governor, to get him the hell outta BU.

Roark on December 3, 2005 at 2:25 pm

Actually it looks like Robert Redford made the mistake(as well as BU) in not scooping the Nick when he could have. Bring back the Sundance Art films back to a theater that used to make its living doing just that. Sad to see the corporate movie machine has all but killed one of the greatest movie audiences in the nation. Maybe its time for the little guy to bring the movies to the public instead of the corporate greedy bastards who are obviously the “pretenders” of the film exibitioners field. I doubt that 5% of em ever tore a ticket or scooped a bucket of popcorn in their life.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 18, 2005 at 1:15 am

The ‘Narcissus’ club was formerly called ‘Lucifer’. There were two other clubs in the same building, ‘K-K-K-Katy’s’ and ‘Yesterday’.

But these were not the only clubs in Kenmore Square, nor the last ones to operate. That honor goes to the ‘Rathskeller’ (almost always called the ‘Rat’) on the south side of the square. It was torn down, along with many other buildings, to make way for the Hotel Commonwealth.

Ligg on October 17, 2005 at 10:34 pm

I was looking for what was playing at the Nick because I am visiting Boston for the first time in five years and it was one of my favorite places in Boston. I went to BU College of Communications for one year 1990-1991 and I was miserable and I hated Boston. Before everyone jumps all over me, after growing up in NY and parent’s who trusted, to me Boston was a very provincial city at 18m and with the Gestapo housing rules instituted by John Silber at the height of his power, I had more freedom in my parents' house. I can put this is these terms. In 1988, Playboy voted BU one of the 10 best pary schools in the US, by 1990, having more than 5 people in your room led to party violation, housing demerits and a letter home to mom and dad. 3 of these violations, and your thown of of housing. This was only a small piece of the two year turnaround. You could get thrown out of poison for a hot pot. I arrived in the second year of this gestapo. For me this was not college living. At the time were were paying $22,000 a year tuition a bargain now, but BU was in the top ten in costs too, and I had curfews or could not check into a friends dorm after midnight? So with the NICK after a 9:30, the girl I was with, we would either have to run back to one of our dorms, or just kiss each other good night. This was not college, or a normal apartment, this was a minimum security prison.

I transfereed to NYU the following fall because BU and COM introduced me to filmmaking because of their “general curriculum” in COM the first year where you did a little of everything that was COM. I started out as a broadcast journalism major, but after switching to film, I thought, why live in Boston? My parents will pay for me to go live away from home, so I would be living in Manhattan, not outside, NYU has the best undergraduate program and for the record, I got into Tisch as a freshman but declined because I wanted to try something else. Thank god the accepted me a second time. It was a big changed living in the NYU dorms. You no longer live in fear!

I love NYC, a native and have lived in Euorope, Los Angles and other places but I am always homesick for New York. Not where my parent’s live or I grew up, but NYC. I will always think of Boston as a beautiful city, and though 2 out of every 5 people in the city are students, I was not happy there. The city closed early, you could not drink alcohol, etc, all the things that going to college is all about. NOw more settled, and exhausted by 11pm, I would move to Boston, if offered, but my business is based in NY and Los Angeles.

As for the Nick, it was escape for when I was miserable. It was more like the Angelica in NY. I saw many films Hamlet with Mel Gibson (I know), Metropolitan and the first NC-17 film, Henry and June, which my friends and I made sure we were there opening as did half of BU. The place was packed and sold out. I did not understand the rating. It was a beautiful movie, and it is a shame it was tarnished by the NC-17 rating. We were all waiting for something offensive but nothing happened.

I am surprised and not surprised that BU took down the buiding. Although a little not surprised. The three largest land owners in Boston, are the City, the State and BU. Same in New York, NYU owns Greenwich Village, even buildings that still operation what appears seperately from the university. But again the largest landowners in NYC, are the City, the State and NYU.

The Nick in Boston, I am sad is gone. It was not really a cinema treasure. It was a mondern brick structure and renovated inside and at all. There question online here about classes. Well I guess because BU owned the property, they made a deal with Loews that during the day and times without movies showing, BU held classes at the Nick. I know some of you said the Nick was 35mm and most films 16 mm, there was one class I do remember having a class at the Nick where a movie was shown. It was more of a recent films, and it could be the 35mm projector was used. But as an almost general rule, we could have a class in a movie theater but have to few the film in another room. I am not sure it was because of the equipment, it has to do with money. Just because you pay $35,000 to go there, does not mean you should have access to a projessor, just a TA, as well a showing films. Remember that projectionists a re unionized. With 16mm, it is easy for an overworked TA to set up a projectoer. But setting up 35 mm, which is not that easy to go on the big screen, You need a bonehead union guy, who at the most took a how to seminar to get certified.

Again, I am very sad at the Nick. It was the perfect location for BU students and it seemed the theater and the school too care of each other. With the Loews banruptcy, nothing should have changed, except instead of Loews paying for the rent, BU which already opened the theater should have stayed a nighttime theater and a daytime classroom. They should have Loew manage the theater but hire students. Students as usual pay BU probably $6,00 for internship credit and then these students rotate for a semester and learn about distribtution and running a theater learning from Loews. We have heard of teaching hospital, this should been a teaching theater.

The one good thing that BU did with its vast assets was buying the club Narcissus. The area around Kenmore Sq, and Landownes street was the club area. Kenmore Square was the worst between 1:30 and 3"30, when the clubs let out. Their were everything from industry and grudge clubs to gay clubs etc. They would leave and go to Kenmore SQ for a piece of pizza to catch the last T or catch a cab. BUt people did not say, “oh well the club is over, lets just go home” So everyone would hang out in Kenmore, every different minority, gay and lesbian and every kind of music lover drunks and put in the same place. Not good. Fights everywhere.

Any way as for Narcisis it was the trashiest, guido and guidette, big hair hangout. BU bought the building and got rid of the club thank God. I believe they did it for security. It was the only clib no on Landsdowne street but in Kenmore Square. I guess they figured keeping all the clubs someowhere. even a block aways, the patrons would be more apt to take another direction to a diner in the Fenway or get their car out of the lot near Fenways park.

But funniest things was we used to call Narcisis as Narsiphilus. Who knows what you could pick up from the people there.

Well I sure my grammar is bad. I am writing this at 4 AM, and can barely keep my eyes open. But I miss the Nick. I think BU made a huge mistake!

pudovkin on May 7, 2005 at 7:09 pm

I too saw Blue Velvet at the Nick, along with Betty Blue and a host of other independent and foreign films. I also saw Naked Gun there with director David Zucker on hand to introduce the movie and take questions afterward. Inside it was a typical multiplex, with small screens, but it was the programming that made it stand out: perfect for a college kid who needed a place to go on a date. It was the Nick or the Brattle or the Sack’s Theater near the Prudential Center for me. On a side note, Cummington in front of the Nick was about the only street that had no meters and no resident parking. I left my car there for about two months before I had to grudgingly give up the space. Sad that current and future BU students won’t have the Nickelodeon to enjoy.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 20, 2005 at 12:31 pm

The Nickelodeon closed on Monday, February 19, 2001, according to several newspaper articles published at the time. Loews had declared bankruptcy four days earlier, on Feburary 15, and this closure was an immediate result.

Crutnacker on February 19, 2005 at 10:21 pm

I am not aware of movies being shown for classes at BU in the Nick. Most of the films we watched were shown in an auditorium in the Communications building or elsewhere on campus. This could be because the films shown were primarily 16mm, which I doubt the Nick had. Plus, the equipment in the Nick was owned by Loew’s. I was there from 89 to 93.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 19, 2005 at 8:12 am

From an interview with former BU president John Silber, published in the BU student newspaper Daily Free Press on October 27, 2003:

“the Metcalf [Science] Center was a comprehensive renovation of three industrial buildings owned by Sonny Monosson. One of them had the former Nickelodeon Theatre in it, and we had to build a new building for the theater, which was also used as a classroom building, in order to persuade Monosson to sell us the building he had because he had a lease with the Nickelodeon. We did that, and then we — and that enabled us to build the Metcalf Center. Now, after two decades of dual use, [the second Nickelodeon has] been demolished in order to provide the ground space for the new Life Science Building which is going up on that site."

This page has a photo of the second Nickelodeon being demolished.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 19, 2005 at 7:28 am

Yep, I walked through this building a few months after it closed as a Loews theatre, and saw whiteboards or blackboards in front of all the movie screens.

But I’m curious whether BU ever used the projection booths and screens for its classes or other purposes after it was no longer a Loews theatre.

br91975 on February 19, 2005 at 7:11 am

Boston University did continue to use the Nickelodeon for classes after Loews pulled out, although for how long I cannot account for.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 19, 2005 at 5:50 am

Although this cinema was located on obscure Cummington Street, its publicly advertised address was 606 Commonwealth Avenue. A free-standing marquee was located there, advertising the current shows. A short walkway connected this sign to the actual theatre building.

The back of the theatre building faced the Massachusetts Turnpike, and was used as a billboard to advertise its location. No movie names on this sign, just the name Nickelodeon Cinemas.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 17, 2005 at 7:54 pm

Did Boston University continue to project film in these theatres for film classes after Loews closed it as a commercial cinema?

Crutnacker on February 17, 2005 at 7:22 pm

I have lots of great memories of this relatively mediocre theatre in Boston. As a Film Major at Boston University, I had a few classes in the main theatre in the building, which was known to have a few tiny full time rodent residents. Among the films I saw here were Bad Lieutenant, Reservoir Dogs, Wild At Heart, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, Crazy People (with an appearance by Tony Bill), and Cry Baby. It saddens me that it is gone.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 27, 2005 at 6:33 pm

USACinemas (which had formerly been called Sack Theatres) bought the Nickelodeon Cinemas in May 1986. After that transaction, USACinemas owned every movie screen in central Boston, with the exception of a few X-rated and martial-arts theatres in the Combat Zone.

Loews bought USACinemas in March 1988. Their Boston monopoly lasted until the General Cinema Fenway (now AMC Fenway) opened in June 2000.

debbi on November 18, 2004 at 11:41 am

I believe the Nickelodeon was still thriving when I had to move out of the area at the end of the summer of 1999, however as I mentioned before they were starting to book more mainstream product. Wasn’t it only the last two years of its life once the Kendall Square Cinemas as well as the AMC in the Fenway that it had to struggle?

I could be wrong on this though—I didn’t start to have a major interest in film until about three years ago. :)

micohen on November 18, 2004 at 6:36 am

I’m sad to read of the demise of the Nickelodion – this was THE great art-house in Boston in the mid 80s. Saw “Blue Velvet” and many others here during long Boston winters.
I heard it had become a mainstream theater in the 90s. It probably was doomed once it had to compete against the megaplexes.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 18, 2004 at 4:18 am

The (second) Nickelodeon Cinemas building was demolished in April 2003. Boston University is building a new Life Sciences and Engineering building on its site.

debbi on November 17, 2004 at 10:44 pm

Does anyone know what is currently in the Nickelodeon space?

I remember seeing occasional mainstream product on the marquee in the mid-90s—usually a Woody Allen film or a chick flick or the like.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 10, 2004 at 8:28 am

July 15, 1983, according to the Boston Globe archives.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 10, 2004 at 8:12 am

Ron, I would like to know when the old Abbey/Nickelodeon closed down and when the newer Nickelodeon opened. Do you have the dates?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 10, 2004 at 7:45 am

When the Nickelodeon first opened, it was an art house that often shared bookings with the Orson Welles Cinema across the river in Cambridge.

After Alan Friedberg’s USACinemas (formerly Sack Theatres) bought it, he talked of creating a chain of Nickelodeon Cinemas, and even put a “Nickelodeon” sign on the Harvard Square Theatre in Cambridge. But this plan never went anywhere, and the Nickelodeon gradually lost its distinctive art-house identity, especially after Loews acquired USACinemas. By the time the Nickelodeon closed, the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge had become the Boston area’s major art-house venue.

br91975 on August 10, 2004 at 8:49 pm

The newer, 5-auditorium/off-hour classroom Nickelodeon shut down in February of 2001 as a part of Loews Cineplex' bankruptcy reorganization – in advance of property owner Boston University’s plan to not renew the lease upon its forthcoming expiration – and was demolished in the spring of 2003.