Pavilion not yet ready for close-up: Debut screening at theater canceled, but reps say it will still open this year

It’s lit-erature! Artists adorn Pavilion Theater’s marquee with movie-inspired poems
Nitehawk Cinema

Park Slope cinephiles will need to wait a bit longer to get their first peek inside the newly restored Pavilion Theater, after Nitehawk Cinema bigwigs quietly canceled the debut November screening set for the ancient movie house they are currently restoring, and moved it to the company’s Williamsburg location instead.

Nitehawk brass relocated the Nov. 12 event that will close its forthcoming seven-day short-film series, the Nitehawk Short Festival, from the Prospect Park West flick palace to their Metropolitan Avenue flagship, but a spokeswoman provided few details on what led to the move, other than that owners are “waiting on a few finishing touches” before revealing the revamped theater to the public.

Bigwigs at Nitehawk began their gut renovation of the beleaguered Pavilion, once the rumored home of a blockbuster bed-bug infestation, after leasing it from a group of investors that in 2016 bought the 90-year-old movie house — which opened as the Sanders Theater in 1928 — for $28 million from developer Hidrock Properties.

The developer sold the site after abandoning a Landmarks Preservation Commission–approved plan to turn the theater, which sits in the protected Park Slope Historic District Extension, into a condo building.

Nitehawk owner Matthew Viragh originally touted an early 2018 premier for the new Pavilion, which he is renaming Nitehawk Prospect Park, but later pushed the opening date to the end of this year after workers uncovered long-lost architectural elements from the theater’s original incarnation amid their renovation.

Earlier this month, Nitehawk spokeswoman Deanna Noke claimed the movie house was on track for a late October or early November opening.

And when asked about that timeline following the sudden change of location for the Nov. 12 screening, she said ongoing construction led brass to relocate the event, which she claimed “was never a sure thing,” and that the theater is set to open before the end of the year.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixs[email protected]glocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
A view to the past: Workers discovered this original balcony hidden between the first and second stories of the Pavilion Theater during demolition work at the historic cinema.