Cinema Center

450 W. Housatonic Street,
Pittsfield, MA 01201

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Functions: Storage

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Cinema Center

The Cinema Center holds the somewhat notorious distinction of being the theatre that drove Pittsfield’s remaining classic movie palaces out of business and eventually succumbed to “progress” itself. Opened on July 4, 1980, it was a prototypical strip mall cinema, the theatre consisted of seven shoe box auditoriums, expanded to eleven screen on December 21, 1984, that each seated in the 100-200 range. Also strip mall cinema typical, the decor was generic, with a red/white/blue color scheme, and the layout was purely functional in nature.

During it’s 1980’s heyday, the Cinema Center had no real competition, as the county’s only other theatres were decaying single screen palaces that had been in decline for decades. Business was such that the Cinema Center briefly opened a sister twin plex in the Berkshire Commons. This downtown satellite proved far less successful, as both the auditoriums were more like screening rooms and the venue was hidden in the complex’s basement. None the less, the primary Cinema Center stood as the sole movie going destination and teenage hangout of choice for a decade.

The Cinema Center’s demise came with the opening of the Berkshire Mall, and it’s Hoyts multiplex, in 1989. While the new theatre was barely a step up from the Cinema Center, it’s mall location and major chain muscle were enough to send the Cinema Center in to a sharp decline. After limping along for another ten years, the Cinema Center closed it’s doors it stood vacant since 2001. It is now used for storage.

Contributed by CT_Crouch

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

CTCrouch on March 22, 2007 at 1:43 am

A horrific side note to this theatre: In the early 90’s, a long term janitor for the theatre, Lewis Lent, was convicted of murdering a twelve year old boy (whom he had allegedly brought to the theatre, after hours, on several occassions) and suspected of being involved in several other abductions.

CTCrouch on March 17, 2019 at 12:58 am

After sitting vacant for over a decade the theate and adjoining strip mall were converted in to a UHaul rental/storage center.

rivest266 on March 17, 2019 at 4:05 pm

This opened on July 4th, 1980 with 7 screens and expanded to 11 screens on December 21st, 1984. Closed in 2001.

rivest266 on March 17, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Grand opening ad posted.

CTCrouch on September 8, 2023 at 10:09 am

Misc Information: The theatre had an L shaped layout. The lobby/concession stand/restrooms being at the right side of the entry, with the auditoriums down a hallway directly in-line with the entrance; resulting in most people heading straight to their auditorium and forgoing the concession stand. In an attempt to steer customers towards concession and improve sales, a stanchion roped pathway was put up in the mid 80’s; forcing patrons into an arching detour around the perimeter of the lobby as they entered.

The four auditoriums added on the left side of the hallway in 84 were constructed from a neighboring unit which had run as a swap meet for several years. The unit neighboring on the right side of the theatre housed the “Silver Screen” during the late 80’s/early 90’s; a loosely cinema themed restaurant (i.e. in addition to the business name, they hung up a few classic celebrity pictures and movie posters).

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