Circle Cinemas

399 Chestnut Hill Avenue,
Brookline, MA 02146

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: National Amusements, Paramount Pictures Inc.

Architects: W. Chester Browne, J. Frederick Krokyn

Firms: Krokyn & Browne

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Circle Theatre

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News About This Theater

Cleveland Circle Cinemas

Located in Brookline in the west of Boston. The Circle Theatre was opened on October 12, 1940 with Ronald Colman in “Lucky Partners” & Pat O'Brien in “Flowing Gold”. It was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Mullins & Pinansky (M. & P. Theatres). The fa├žade of the theatre sported two marquees, one on each side of the front of the building, although only the one on the right-hand side covered the entrance. Seating in the auditorium was provided in orchestra and balcony levels. Many films (a majority of which were Paramount releases) played the Circle Theatre exclusively in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “Paint Your Wagon”, “Love Story” (which ran for 26 weeks), “Chinatown” and “Three Days of the Condor”. I remember the print advertisements for the Circle Theatre always included the name of the theatre using the same font as the logo for the film then playing there.

After the theatre was twinned in 1976 and renamed Circle Cinemas (additional screens were added in 1965). It became an unremarkable Showcase multiplex and the Circle Cinemas no longer played films exclusively.

It was closed by National Amusements Inc. on September 7, 2008. Demolition of the building began in January 2016.

Contributed by Erik Hestnes

Recent comments (view all 114 comments)

orsonwellescinema on May 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Have been double checking on this. Word is, the theater was purchased a few weeks ago. Just added a photo of the marquee, taken yesterday … “Now Hiring” the “Showcase Superlux and Davios Cucina.”

br91975 on May 28, 2013 at 10:09 am

I suspect the recent re-wording on the main marquee is in relation to the new movie theatre opening in Chestnut Hill. Meanwhile, the redevelopment of the Circle Cinemas site still appears to be proceeding:

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 12, 2013 at 8:29 am

One of the “Now Hiring” messages posted on the Circle’s marquee last month was for “Davio’s Cucina”.According to today’s Boston Herald, Davio’s Cucina opened yesterday in Chestnut Hill. It’s a 250-seat upscale eatery and is located right next to the new National Amusement’s Showcase SuperLux theater, and was opened in partnership with National Amusements. So, Davio’s is Not located in the Circle building.

longlivecirclecinema on June 18, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Hello everyone, I’m writing here to announce a new project commemorating the Circle Cinema before the theater, and its iconic CIRCLE sign, meet the wrecking ball later this year. We are collecting memories, photos, and opinions of the sign (positive, negative, indifferent). Please connect with us either through our Facebook page,, where you can read more about our project by clicking on “About,” or through email, .

We are also looking to interview folks with stories to tell. The Brighton Allston Historical Society has agreed to be the repository for whatever we collect.

Thank you!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 18, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Is there some way the sign could be saved rather than wrecked with the building?

longlivecirclecinema on June 19, 2013 at 5:26 am

We would love to see the sign saved. We have had some preliminary conversations with some interested parties, and right now the biggest challenge is to find a suitable home for the sign.

spectrum on December 18, 2014 at 7:28 pm

As of September 2014, the Circle Cinema building is still standing.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 26, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Demolition began yesterday.

rivest266 on November 14, 2020 at 4:36 pm

opened October 11th, 1940

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