By ERIN ROLL and LINDA MOSS
To the shock and dismay of many township residents, Bow Tie Cinemas’ last day of operation at the beloved Bellevue Theatre in Upper Montclair will be this Sunday, Nov. 12, a spokesman for the company said Thursday.
Jared Milgram, Bow Tie’s vice president for marketing, food and beverages, said in an email Thursday that the company’s lease on the theater had expired.
“However, we continue to serve our loyal customers in the greater Montclair area with a huge selection of movies and exceptional service in our Caldwell and Clairidge Cinemas,” he said in an emailed response to Montclair Local.
Reports of the 95-year-old theater’s possible closing began spreading over social media Wednesday after it was announced that the long-running screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” would be moved to another venue, and that ticket-selling websites were not showing any movie times for the Bellevue after Nov. 12.
The Tudor-style theater building is owned by Jesse Y. Sayegh of Coral Springs, Fla., according to records at the Township Tax Assessor’s Office.
On social media Thursday fans of the vintage theater, many of them local residents, were lamenting the venue’s closing. Some suggested that the theater’s patrons organize and mount an effort to save it. Many wondered if Montclair Film, which has held many of its festival events at the theater, could somehow swoop in and rescue the movie house.
Still others expressed hope that another movie chain or independent company will step up to lease the local landmark and keep it as a film theater.
On Change.org, a petition to save the theater, started by Montclair resident Lena Fine, had garnered at least 200 signatures as of Friday morning. “This space is iconic to Montclair and beloved by many, it would be a shame to let it waste away into another gentrified retail or office space,” the petition said.
This is a developing story. Follow Montclair Local for more information.