By Francis Sylvain Fokoue Nkoutche
Just this past October 29th, White Plains Cinema De Lux, once among the largest movie theaters in the Hudson valley, shut down. An inability to meet a lease agreement lead to their closing.
This highlights a larger change. The rise of streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Paramount+, and Disney + to name a few, caused movie theaters to have fewer ticket sales and smaller customer turnout. The thrill of seeing a movie on the big screen now has an alternative, sometimes more enticing form of entertainment: watching a film within the comfort of one's own home.
The COVID pandemic only further contributed to the struggles of theaters. Theaters that were already having trouble with ticket sales from the rise of streaming services had to completely shut down during lockdown. Those shutdowns only further hurt their already struggling finances. Mayor Tom Roach said, “I believe the closure was really a reflection of the broader changes in the entertainment industry and COVID kind of accelerated that.”
Large theaters like Cinema De Lux are starting to lose their appeal and may be too big in relation to the number of customers they are currently attracting. Fortunately, Mayor Roach says, “I think there’s room for smaller or mixed entertainment venues.” He then goes on to say, “If they have other reasons for people to come into the building, then I think perhaps it can work.”
Although theaters now have trouble attracting a crowd, a smaller movie theater with fewer screens with another form of entertainment to attract customers may have greater appeal to the public nowadays. The mayor is still hopeful in efforts to bring back a theater to our city, stating, “My hope is that we get another theater that meets the current needs.” The mayor goes on to say, “I think there’s a way to do movies that would be financially viable, and I think it's probably smaller theaters and fewer screens.” For those wondering where they can go watch a movie in the absence of White Plains’s theater, there remain hopes of a new company taking over the theater with the mayor currently participating in talks with new possible tenants.
Crnic, B. (2023, September 7). Movie Theater to permanently close in White Plains: “it has beenour pleasure.” White Plains Daily Voice. https://dailyvoice.com/new-york/whiteplains/movie-theater-to-permanently-close-in-white-plains-it-has-been-our-pleasure-n
Rivera, A. (2023, September 13). White Plains’ Cinema de Lux at City Center will close on Oct. 29. The Journal News. https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/white-plains/2023/09/07/white-plains-ny-cinema-de-lux-at-city-center-movie-theater-closing-in-october/70784871007