Royal Theater

614 Bloomfield Avenue,
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cineplex Odeon, RKO Century, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Nearby Theaters

Royal Theater

Built in the early-1920’s as Stern’s Royal Theater, this was one of the most popular theaters along the “Bloomfield Avenue Route” out of Newark. One of the most elaborate ceilings in the Rococco style, the building also boasted a block-long lobby with a white granite floor, to boot. 1,700 seats on one floor (no balcony) and one of the largest screens in the area coupled by precision point projection made for a great movie going experience.

Sadly, the great size of the building made heating and air conditioning prohibitively expensive, and on March 31, 1978 the building was twinned (boxed in) and the effect was neither pleasant nor profitable. The Royal Theater was last operated by RKO Century Warner and it was torn down in the late-1990’s. A sad end to a once proud building!

Contributed by jim thatcher

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

teecee on October 21, 2005 at 9:12 am

Full text from my May 19th post:

The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), July 26, 1998 p039
Curtain closes on theater in Bloomfield; Gone are glory days, as audiences dwindle in town landmark. (ESSEX)

Byline: Caryl R. Lucas

Rocco Sinopoli remembers Bloomfield’s Royal Theater in its heyday.

Red carpets, chandeliers and mirrors were part of the charm of the old movie theater that people in surrounding towns filled on the weekends, said Sinopoli, a longtime downtown merchant.

In recent years the single-screen theater became a twin that showed mostly films depicting urban life. Then, two weeks ago, it closed its doors. The message on the gold marquee, at 614 Bloomfield Ave., now reads: “Closed. Thanks for your patronage.”

``It’s sad. This theater is a township landmark,“ said Sinopoli, who has owned Lou Rocco’s Shoe Store, opposite the theater, for the past four decades. Once a popular venue for township families, the beige and brown movie house with its ornate architecture and single screen featured Western, family-oriented films that attracted large audiences from town and neighboring communities.

Officials at Cineplex Odeon, which is listed on the township tax rolls as the current owner, failed to return phone calls last week to discuss the theater.

``We don’t know what’s going on,“ said Bloomfield Mayor James Norton, who would like to see a new tenant join officials and merchants in a move to revitalize the theater as part of the redevelopment of the center.

The theater’s closing leaves only one movie house in the township. The Center Theater, about three blocks away, runs Indian films, some with English subtitles, exclusively.

Richard Bzdek, president of the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce, said he was uncertain why Cineplex Odeon – which merged with Sony Loews 90 days ago – had closed its theater.

But the news came as no surprise.

Norton said attendance, as well as the quality of the films shown, had declined in recent years.

In recent years, the theater had presented some action- adventure movies. It was known for showing black action or comedy films depicting urban lifestyles such as “How to be a Player,” “Friday,” and “Menace II Society.” Other recent headliners were “He Got Game,” “Deep Impact” and “Caught Up.”

``Some of the films shown were not conducive to the quality of life we desire,“ said Norton, who added the theater attracted more out-of-town teens than residents.

``I stopped going a few years ago because I didn’t feel comfortable anymore,“ said Neil McGinniss, a township resident. "The clientele got rowdy.”

``It needs some personal attention and a facelift,“ said Sinopoli, who leases space for parking from the cinema group.


  1. Rocco Sinopoli has owned a shoe store opposite Bloomfield’s Royal Theater for four decades, and he called the now-closed theater a town landmark.


Article CJ81692291

pbubny on December 2, 2005 at 7:53 am

Fisrt movie theatre I ever went to; I must have been about four years old. The movie was something or the other about Santa Claus vs. Satan(!). Sad to see the old place is now a parking lot; I still pass through town occasionally and subconsciously look for the marquee of a theatre that’s been gone for five years now. One of the few subdivided theatres I’ve seen that still offered decent-sized auditoriums and screens after twinning, even though you were always aware that the place had been divided. One look up at the ceiling and you saw HALF of the elaborate designs—clumsily divided with a plasterboard wall down the middle of the original auditorium.

BobFurmanek on September 14, 2007 at 4:16 pm

I stopped by the theater during demolition. The drop ceiling had fallen and the original proscenium and organ chambers were once again visible. They were in pretty good condition and quite ornate. It’s a shame the town let this one go.

The above article from 2000 has an ironic quote from a city council member. He claimed that demolishing the theater would help to “re-invent” downtown Bloomfield. You know what’s there now? An empty parking lot.

So much for progress.

markp on February 26, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Its funny, but in the late 90’s, when cineplex odeon was getting rid of some small non profitable theatres, they sold the Cranford, Union, and Millburn twins. All three of these theatre had problems ranging from leaky roofs to you name it. But the Royal was in almost mint condition. So what happens? The Cranford became a 5 screener, the Millburn was quaded by Jimmy Dolan and his band of pencil pushers, and the Union became a 7-plex. The Royal, the best of the bunch (and nicest) was left to rot, and as stated above become an ashpalt field, otherwise known as a parking lot.

headwaiter on July 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I remember seeing The Godfather, Gone With The Wind & Saturday Night Fever for the first time at the movie theatre. I also remember going to see a Judd Nelson movie back in the mid to late 1980’s and sitting in the movie theatre by myself. The theatre was already sub-divided at this point. It saddens me to think that the theatre was eventually demolished. I wish the powers that be at the time had the forsight to appreciate the theatre and restore it to it’s former glory.

kamerachimera on November 27, 2014 at 4:51 am

The usher in the newspaper article was correct. You need to hold onto unique features if you want to attract people. Some chain drugstore will not attract anyone. And you can locate a drugstore in many other places. There was nothing unique to the site that says “drugstore.”

rivest266 on July 13, 2018 at 5:27 pm

This became a twin on March 31st, 1978. Ad in the photo section.

moviebuff82 on March 8, 2020 at 2:27 pm

Was that judd nelson movie The Breakfast Club?

ridethectrain on February 25, 2024 at 11:33 pm

It closed under RKO Century Warner, please update

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