Manchester cinema closed; options on the table

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MANCHESTER — The Village Picture Shows cinema, which has screened films in Manchester Center since the 1960s, shut down Thursday.

Reached by phone Tuesday, owner Jeff Nyweide said the cinema's lease at 263 Depot St. in the Manchester Shopping Center ended on that date and that his team was happy to have served the community. He referred the Journal to a press release issued recently that announced the closure for further details.

"It has been our pleasure, and surely the pleasure of those who have come before us, to provide jobs to so many, for all these years and we wish to thank them all for their tireless efforts to serve our community," the release stated in part.

A representative of Crosspoint Associates, the property owner, did not return requests for comment Tuesday.

The release said that

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Nyweide and Michael and Carolina Ellenbogen, who founded stART Space, an art gallery located in the same shopping center, "are looking at all options in Manchester Center to continue to bring movies to the community in a facility that can provide a unique cinema experience that moviegoers expect today and allow us to offer more programming than the current two-screen configuration and concession options beyond popcorn, candy and soda."

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Michael Ellenbogen, who has handled the cinema's operations for the past four years, said that the group has begun looking at vacant commercial spaces and land that could be purchased or developed as a new cinema. Ideally, the complex would be built from scratch, Ellenbogen said, because of the rather distinctive specifications they require, such as high, unobstructed ceilings.

The new, prospective cinema might offer dining options that patrons could enjoy before or after the film, Ellenbogen said. The cinema might also allow moviegoers to drink beer or wine inside its theaters.

Whether this vision comes to fruition will depend on the degree to which people believe in it, Ellenbogen said. If a group of angel investors, for instance, were to support the effort in exchange for having their names adorn the cinema's theaters, he said, then perhaps the project could advance quickly.

People interested in staying up to date on the cinema's potential future can sign up for its newsletter at www.villagepictureshows.com.

Contact Luke Nathan at lnathan@benningtonbanner.com.


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