Regal Fenway, which opened to the public in 2000 and is located along 401 Park Dr., is scheduled to close according to a new court filing from parent company Cineworld.
Cineworld, the world’s second-largest theater chain after AMC Theaters, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States and plans to reject the leases for 39 theaters nationwide on Feb. 15.
Mooky Greidinger, the company’s chief executive officer, said in the filing that there have been “enforced closure of cinemas and huge disruption to film schedules” during the pandemic.
“This latest process is part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen our financial position and is in pursuit of a de-leveraging that will create a more resilient capital structure and effective business,” Greidinger said in the press release.
Edward Moreno, a resident who moved to the Brookline area in 2014, said having a mainstream movie theater in the area was “very convenient.”
“I think losing the movie theater is going to be a big blow for movie enthusiasts in the area,” Moreno said. “Going to the movies is a quick release from work and then all the constant pressures of adult life.”
Jiya Lakhani, a Northeastern University sophomore, said she also liked the proximity of the theater from her dorm and even had a Regal Unlimited subscription pass.
“I come here a lot now that I have the Unlimited, but even before it was my go-to,” Lakhani said.
The AMC Theaters in Assembly Row and Boston Common are popular alternatives for Boston residents to watch wide-release movies.
Qian Hu, a master’s graduate student from Northeastern University, has had more spare time to go to the theaters since she graduated. Hu went to Regal Fenway often.
“If it is closed, I will need to go to the Boston Common [AMC], and that will be a little bit far for me to watch,” said Hu.
Price is a concern for people like Lakhani, but for Moreno, the distance coupled with the weather poses an issue.
“It will affect people and what they can do in their spare time, especially when it’s winter,” Moreno said.
Oscar Brookins, an economics professor from Northeastern University, said what streaming services like Amazon Prime or Netflix offer could derail the market for in-place cinema viewing in the long-term.
“I think it’s fairly clear the nature of the economy and business and people’s willingness, interest in shopping and so forth, has definitely changed,” Brookins said.
The price for movie tickets has risen since 2001 and, along with concessions, Brookins said he believes that the cost “doesn’t help” the movie industry in competing with streaming services.
“Spending $12 to go out and be one of the few people who are sitting in the theater is not very attractive as an option,” said Brookins.
Along with the planned closure of Regal Fenway, Marshalls on 126 Brookline Ave. permanently closed on Jan. 14.
“The market is only big enough to support some portion, so there are going to be closures,” said Brookins.
Brookins said with the change of attitudes and values, along with social welfare, there will be fewer people who would want to work, so the employment base has diminished.
After close to 22 years of operation, movie-goers in the Fenway area will miss the convenience and quality of Regal Fenway.
“Not sure what’s going to be done with the space,” said Moreno, “but it will be a shame if it doesn’t become a space where you either can see movies or catch some other leisurely activity.”
Lousy movies and too high a price. Good riddance
Developers rip the guts out of the Fenway, put up ugly office towers and hideous and hugely expensive condos, and yet many of the businesses continue to shut down. What we are left with is a laser surgery store, a pricey donut shop, and a juice place that no one goes to. Such great planning!