The lights are coming back on at Long Beach Cinemas, which is set to reopen on June 10, more than a month after the theater abruptly shut its doors and sparked an outcry from the community and fueled a slew of rumors over the theater’s closure.
On April 27, the theater, located at 179 E. Park Ave., abruptly closed its doors and its marquee sign, coming attraction posters and movie listings were removed, and the lights inside the building were off. Long Beach Cinemas was the only remaining movie theater in Long Beach — which once boasted four.
The theater, which has four screens, is on the former site of the Lido Theater, which was built in the early 1920s, according to Carole Shahda Geraci of the Long Beach Historical and Preservation Society.
On Friday, however, Seth Pilevsky, managing director of Philips International, the company that bought the property in 2000 and built the theater that now stands, said that his firm abandoned plans to rent the space to a large retailer following an outcry from residents over the theater’s closure.
“The reaction from the Long Beach community was immediate and it prompted us very early on to rethink what we were doing,” Pilevsky said.
Pilevsky said that they closed the theater abruptly because Philips International received a “generous” offer from a “big” retailer in April to operate on the prime corner of East Park Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard.
Pilevsky would not name the retailer or say how much Philips International was offered for the lease, but said that plans called for a major renovation of the building to accommodate the new business. However, before the lease was finalized, Pilevsky said the concerns of the community made them rethink their decision to lease the theater to a new tenant, and decided instead to renovate and re-open the theater.