ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — In danger of permanent closure, a near century-old movie theater is getting a new lease on life, literally, thanks to borough residents who plan to spruce up the space and keep it a vibrant part of the community.

Tony and Susanne Zertuche have signed a two-year lease of Atlantic Cinemas, according to the Asbury Park Press, and plan to rename the property the Atlantic Movie House.

Owner Fred Rast previously announced the theater's closure in November 2020, owing to a then-seven-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plus maintenance fees, "greedy film companies," and New Jersey's phasing in of a $15 minimum wage.

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In a post on the public "ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ" Facebook page, Tony Zertuche said moviegoers can count on "a bit of a new look, expanded film fare, private events, and maybe some fresh ideas with concessions."

Zertuche is aiming for a late June or early July reopening.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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