The Legendary Paris Theatre Closes Its Doors After 71 Years in New York

The Paris Theatre, photo via The Paris Theatre Facebook page

It was a note printed and posted on the door that notified regulars of the bad news. After the closure of Ziegfeld Theatre in 2016, Paris Theatre, New York’s only single-screen theatre, closed its doors at the end of August because it could not renew its lease.

Opened by Pathé Cinéma in 1948 and inaugurated by actress Marlène Dietrich, the “Paris” was a cinema icon. For a long time, only one film a week was shown there without any advertising. “These models are difficult to maintain because the business is based on a single film,” explains Adeline Monzier, UniFrance‘s representative for the United States.

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Located near the Plaza Hotel and Central Park, a few steps from Fifth Avenue, the Paris was for a long time a real landmark, a place of meeting and exchange between amateurs of what France calls the seventh art, intellectuals and Hollywood stars. According to Monzier, “it was a theatre that had its success, its loyal partners, that worked with independent distributors and that showcased films by promising foreign, French, but also German and Italian creators.”

The 586-seat theatre was one of the oldest art cinemas in the United States. This closure, and the one of Lincoln Plaza Cinema in 2018, have a “real impact on this type of independent distributor,” notes Monzier. It is “the end of an ara in Midtown.”