Another NJ independent movie theater closes for good in 2020
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — A Monmouth County movie theater announced Sunday it was closing for good, just shy of a century in business.
Atlantic Cinemas owner Fred Rast shared an emotional post on the theater's Facebook page, saying the decision was "due to greedy film companies, Netflix and others showing films too early or sometimes immediately after release, regulations and fees imposed by the state of New Jersey, including $15 an hour minimum wage and mandatory vacation pay, added into closing for over 7 months imposed by the New Jersey Governor due to Coronavirus."
In June, the Asbury Park Press reported that Rast had put the building, located at 87 First Avenue, up for sale, as part of retirement planning, with a plan to become a renter from a hopeful new owner.
Rast continued in his Facebook post on Sunday "We have spent tens of thousands of dollars just to keep theater equipment and buildings maintained, just to spend thousands more to just be open between October 15th and November 15th. Unfortunately, we have spent almost another $10,000 to pay expenses such as, insurance, salaries, property taxes, mortgage and utilities for less that $1000 coming in to the theater for business."
"It has become a staple in our town, but unfortunately we are left with no choice," Rast said.
Among its events, Atlantic Cinemas hosted NJ-raised filmmaker Kevin Smith in 2018 for a screening and question and answer session that drew a packed house of fans.
The movie theater industry in NJ already bas been feeling the combined financial fallout of both an increase in at-home entertainment competition and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this fall, another Monmouth County independent theater shut its doors for good, citing pandemic restrictions.
ShowRoom Cinema had first opened in Asbury Park in 2009 and launched a second location in Bradley Beach just last year, before announcing both would stay closed in late September.
In Sussex County, the NewVision Theatre in Sparta has remained closed since March. The company announced it was closing up shop this past summer, but AMC won the right to re-acquire the location as of August, according to Variety.