Mar 28, 2024 - Culture

91-year-old Coolidge Corner Theater gets a facelift

a red theater interior

Photo: Mike Deehan/ Axios

The Coolidge Corner Theater may be known for its classic 1930s art deco decor, but a new $12.5 million expansion means the nearly century-old moviehouse will be ready for the 2030s and beyond.

Why it matters: Brookline's beloved cinema just completed a 14,000-square-foot expansion that added a new lobby, two new moviehouses and event space that will boost the nonprofit's arts and community programming.

  • The Coolidge cut the ribbon on the new digs yesterday.
  • The gorgeous new Moviehouse 5 has 145 seats and the 53-seat Moviehouse 6 will cater to smaller screenings.
  • Both new spaces feature new digital projectors.

Zoom in: That long line for the theater's drink stand will also be a thing of the past.

  • The new lobby opens into the parking lot off Centre Street.
  • The ample new concession counters are the most modern-feeling part of the new space.

What they're saying: "We want people to be in here, in person, being able to see this. We would prefer people to see all the movies on the biggest screens possible," programming and outreach coordinator Billy Thegenus told Axios during a recent visit to the expanded theater space.

  • He said he hopes the Coolidge will become more of a destination for local film lovers so they can see movies at a premier spot in their own city.

Upstairs, the new education and engagement center will be dedicated to lectures, seminars and other education programs open to film lovers throughout the Boston community.

As the person in charge of the theater's outreach, it's Thegenus' job to bring new crowds to the Coolidge.

  • "It'll be a place that will be welcoming to new audience members," he said.
  • Expect Coolidge to target high school and college students with a mix of mainstream, independent and foreign film programming and educational offerings.

The first features scheduled for the new theaters: "The Wizard of Oz" and "2001: A Space Odyssey."

The bottom line: The Coolidge Corner Theater remains the go-to cinema in the Boston area for big new releases, art house indies, midnight schlock and everything in-between.

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