Residents fight to save 95-year-old movie theater

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UPPER MONTCLAIR -

Essex County residents are rallying together in an effort to save a movie theater that is nearly a century old.

The Bellevue Theater has been a staple in downtown Upper Montclair for 95 years.

The theater is well-known for its periodic showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” as well as its wide selection of current movies. The Montclair Film Festival holds screenings there each spring.

Bowtie Cinemas, which runs the theater, says that its lease has expired and no new deal was struck. The theater is expected to show its final film Sunday and close for good Monday.

Montclair residents say that they are stunned, especially because the theater was recently renovated and always seems to have a large crowd inside.

“It’s just a very nice slice of something different,” says Montclair resident Charles DePiero. “The theater has been around for almost a century.”

Local business owners say that they will be sad to see the theater close.

“People come before and after the movie, but I just love having it in the neighborhood and it brings vibrancy to the businesses here,” says Little Daisy Bake Shop owner Jennifer Snyder.

A petition has been started at Change.org rallying to keep the theater opened. It has over 1,500 signatures as of Friday evening.

Residents tell News 12 New Jersey that if the theater must close, they hope that the building is preserved and another movie theater company moves in.

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