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Pause! Billyburg cinema won’t open till fall • Brooklyn Paper

Pause! Billyburg cinema won’t open till fall

Delayed: The Williamsburg Cinemas, which were supposed to open this summer, are now expected to open sometime this fall.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Williamsburg’s first new multiplex cinema has missed the summer season, and a premiere night is not in sight.

Months after the new Williamsburg Cinemas was slated to open, the moviehouse is sitting unfinished on the corner of Grand Street and Driggs Avenue as developers struggle to fit all of its seven viewing rooms into the corner lot.

“Fitting seven auditoriums on an 8,500-square-foot site is difficult,” said Robert McCall of Philadelphia-based JKR Partners, which is the architect on the project.

McCall said he is confident the theater will open before the lucrative holiday movie season, but wouldn’t pinpoint a date.

The Williamsburg Cinemas is owned by the same people who run the successful Cobble Hill Cinemas on Court Street between Butler and Douglass streets, and are expected to host the same mix of mainstream and indie films.

It will be the first major moviehouse in the neighborhood. The only other movie theater in Williamsburg is the boutique Nitehawk, which only shows two movies at a time. That theater-residential complex opened last year, after a previous theater project slated for the same space — called the Cassandra Cinemas and Metropolitan Cinemas — went bust in 2008 after the developer could not secure financing.

Neighborhood movie lovers said the delay is disappointing. Organizers at the Williamsburg International Film Festival, which runs from Sept. 20 through 23, had hoped to show some of this year’s films at the cinema, but had to switch its gaze to other venues.

“We were supposed to partner with them this year, but they just weren’t ready,” said Willifest director Michael Helman.

Reach Danielle Furfaro at (718) 260-2511 or at DFurfaro@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DanielleFurfaro.

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