Coming soon to Park Slope’s Pavilion Cinema: “Renovation II — The Sequel.”
The rundown multiplex on Prospect Park West — which hasn’t been refurbished since its original grand reopening in 1996 — is finally getting a makeover, and theatergoers are relieved that the rumored bedbug haven will soon have functional seats.
“We used to come here a lot,” said Dan Kluger of South Slope. “But I’ve found the place has gotten really rundown.”
This winter hasn’t been easy for the old theater, which opened as the Sanders in 1928, closed in 1978, and was reborn as the Pavilion 14 years ago. Inconsistent heating, broken seats and unsubstantiated bedbug rumors have increasingly plagued the film house.
This year, the disrepair became so egregious that General Manager Ross Brunetti issued an apology to the neighborhood in February, writing, “It pains us every day to see how much it [the theater] has deteriorated.”
In the same letter, Brunetti dispelled the bedbug rumor, writing that “there is no evidence that we have bedbugs,” but quickly adding, “If bedbugs were ever to be discovered in the theater, we would not sit idly by.”
Sure enough, two weeks ago, the Pavilion’s corporate owner, Cinedigm, approved a renovation, and “things are underway,” said Brunetti. “I’m really excited.”
The first priority is seating.
Five of the nine theaters have chairs dating back to the original renovation — and look it. In theater seven, for example, six of the 70 chairs are missing seatbacks or seats themselves, while at least a dozen more have rips or stains marring the purple cloth upholstery.
Repairs can’t be made because the Italian manufacturer went out of business.
“People come to the movies to sit next to each other,” said maintenance man Gary Hans, gesturing to the unusable chairs pockmarking the rows. “Here, they can’t.”
Brunetti declined to reveal specific plans for the new seats. And he refused us access to his binder of fabric swatches.
“Choosing the color scheme is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” said 23-year-old Brunetti, who later admitted that lime green and magenta are out.
On Presidents’ Day, many “Gnomeo and Juliet”–bound families welcomed the proposed changes.
“It’s expensive to go to the movies,” said Lilia Mead of Williamsburg. “So it would be nice if it were clean and upscale. I’d be more likely to come here.”