BTM Criterion Cinemas

86 Temple Street,
New Haven, CT 06510

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Bow Tie Cinemas, Criterion Luxury Theatres

Architects: Rich Furman

Previous Names: Bow Tie Criterion Cinemas

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News About This Theater

BTM Criterion Cinemas

The centerpiece of Temple Square, located in the United Illuminating Building, Criterion Cinemas ushered in a new era in the presentation of first run art films in the city of New Haven when it opened in November 2004.

Criterion Cinemas' unique blend of luxury, state-of-the-art film presentation, dazzling glass marquee, stunning lobby, premium beer and wine bar and specially designed comfortable theater seating set a new standard for the cinema going experience.

Criterion Cinemas is designed to continue the tradition of style, luxury and elegance started by B.S. Moss at the original Criterion Theater in Times Square, known at its 1936 opening as “The Theater of Tomorrow”.

The Criterion expanded from five screens to seven, then and around 2010 another two screens were added. The theater featured hot foods and a full bar. It was closed on October 12, 2023.

Contributed by Greg Mouning

Recent comments (view all 41 comments)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 8, 2006 at 5:47 pm

This should be updated to 7 screens.

ZARDOZ on March 8, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Criterion Cinema is still TERRIFIC! (No, I am not an employee, thank you.) Although I recently moved to Long Island, I come to Connecticut often and try to get to the Criterion whenever I can. Although the awesome breakfast place across the street is now closed, nothing beats having a nice breakfast at a Mom and Pop place somewhere in the New Haven area, then checking out a vintage film at the Criterion at 11 am on Sunday mornings. Last weekend, my wife and two of her friends joined me to see the Criterion’s screening of the 1945 film, “Mildred Pierce,” a film I would otherwise pass up on television. The film was very good, and the print was surprisingly very good as well. Spread the word: we need more theaters like the Criterion. Support it. Go to a movie at the Criterion!

joemasher on March 22, 2007 at 5:22 am

Thanks for the wonderful comments! To your comment that we need more theaters like the Criterion, we are opening another Criterion in West Hartford, CT in November, and are opening a similar theater in Downtown Schenectady, NY next month. Look at our Plaza Cinemas in Greenwich, CT to start featuring the Criterion style soon!
By the way…May is “Joan Crawford Month”, with some of her ‘best’! On Mother’s Day, we’ll again feature a screening of “Mommie Dearest” with ‘New Haven’s Own Joan Crawford, and her 'daughter’, Christina' in attendance, and signing autographs after the show!

shoeshoe14 on March 22, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Joe, is the Criterion in West Hartford going to be in the Blue Back Square Sprawl Development?

joemasher on May 6, 2007 at 4:09 am

Yes…the Criterion Cinemas at Blue Back Square in W.Hartford is set to open 11/2/07. We are opening our new Movieland Cinemas in Downtown Schenectady, NY on 5/17/07. We’re also going to continue operations at the Cinema City in Hartford, which we acquired on 11/17/06. It was supposed to close this August under the last operator.

shoeshoe14 on September 14, 2007 at 6:30 pm

This was mentioned in the New Haven Advocate’s Annual Manual.

“Beautifully designed modern movie palace. Every city of decent size ought to have a movie theater that shows buzzed-about current art-house/indie film hits right in the middle of downtown, and this is the one we’ve got. (It happens to throw in its share of blockbusters, too.) Seven theaters. Discounted parking is available across the street at the Temple Street garage.

joemasher on January 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm

The Criterion has had 9 screens for about 3 years now.

Joshua Bilmes
Joshua Bilmes on September 27, 2023 at 9:47 am

closing in two weeks

ridethectrain on September 27, 2023 at 4:57 pm

It’s Curtains: Criterion Cinemas Closes For Good After Last Oct. Show Bow Tie Partners: “COVID-19 caused dramatic changes to movie theater business in markets like New Haven, the business is no longer viable.” Ellyn Santiago’s profile picture Ellyn Santiago, Patch Staff Verified Patch Staff Badge Posted Tue, Sep 26, 2023 at 10:30 am ET | Updated Tue, Sep 26, 2023 at 5:24 pm ET

NEW HAVEN, CT — The owner of Bow Tie Criterion Cinemas on Temple Street downtown said the final film screening on Oct. 12 will be the theater’s last.

Bow Tie Partners, owner of Temple Square, at 80 Temple Street in downtown New Haven, said it’s “pursuing a redevelopment” of the space.

“Criterion Cinemas will permanently close after its evening shows on Thursday, Oct. 12,” the announcement reads. “Criterion Cinemas opened in 2004 and has proudly entertained the people of New Haven for almost 20 years.”

The pandemic is blamed for the shuttering.

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic caused dramatic changes to the movie theater business in markets such as New Haven, and as a result, the business is no longer viable,” Bow Tie Partners wrote in a news release. “Bow Tie Partners plans to remain part of the downtown New Haven community and is currently evaluating multiple scenarios for redevelopment of the movie theater space, several of which include new entertainment offerings,” the release reads. “Temple Square Apartments will continue to operate unchanged and may benefit from conversion of portions of the former movie theater space into additional amenities.”

Ben Moss, CEO of Bow Tie Partners, said “loyal customers” have seen more than 2,000 films there.

“We offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to all of our loyal customers,” Moss said. “We are very much looking forward to remaining a part of the vibrant and exciting downtown New Haven business community and look forward to announcing our future plans when we have finished our analysis of alternative uses.”

btmeacham on October 12, 2023 at 1:11 pm

The BTM Criterion Cinemas, as it is now known, shows its last film later this evening, October 12, 2023. After the loss of the Ciné 4 in 2022, the closure of BTM Criterion leaves New Haven without a first-run cinema.

Films screening on its last day were The Exorcist: Believer, The Royal Hotel, Saw X, The Creator, Flora and Son, Stop Making Sense, A Haunting in Venice, Dumb Money, and Bottoms.

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