Niantic Cinema Temporarily Shuts Down After 72 Years

The impact and change of a town staple


The Niantic Cinema has been a town staple for a near century, but after raising the curtain for 72 years straight, they’re having a brief intermission.

Niantic Cinema is a classic, welcoming, and iconic place, but as COVID hit and the popularity of streaming services began to rise, business dropped and struggled. They shut their doors Sept. 15 and plan to reopen in December.

The movie theater that you know and love today began nearly a century ago. Back in the 1940s, the current owner’s grandfather wanted to open a movie theater. In September of 1950, Niantic Cinema was born. Back then, movie theaters were all the rage. Even though Niantic Cinema was just a one-screen theater while many other theaters were expanding, it drew customers in. As years passed, the cinema expanded to five screens and ownership was transferred to the current owner, his grandson, Peter Mitchell. Recently, though, movie theaters have gotten less popular with the rise in streaming services.

“I knew it was coming because business had been so slow, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so sudden,” senior and former Niantic Cinema employee and Zavier Caporale said.

The closing of the cinema was unexpected, but it was due to a lack of new quality films.

“What seemed to happen in September was the volume of decent movies just kind of dropped,” owner Mr. Mitchell said.

He thinks there will be new, better movies in December. There have been a lot of emotions from the residents of EL since the shutdown. The cinema is a nostalgic place for people who have lived in EL for a long time.

“I’ve gotten calls and texts from people saying ‘Is the cinema reopening?’ and asking all these questions, hoping it’s going to come back,” Caporale said.

Former employee ELHS senior Avery Gallo and Mitchell both said that they remember going there often as a kid and that the place really means a lot to them.

“It’s always been there and it’s a very welcoming and comfortable place,” Gallo said.

Niantic Cinema is like home with nostalgic memories for many. Loved by all, the theater is a classic part of our little town.