Regal UA Multiplex Movie Theater in Downtown Bklyn Abruptly Closes; Residents Shocked - The Jewish Voice
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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Regal UA Multiplex Movie Theater in Downtown Bklyn Abruptly Closes; Residents Shocked

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By:  Hadassa Kalatizadeh

Last Sunday, Brooklyn’s ‘Shouting Back’ theater closed down abruptly, to the dismay of its regular patrons.

As reported by the NY Times, Twitter was immediately filled with posts by customers surprised by the closing.  Lincoln Restler, the newly elected councilman whose district includes Downtown Brooklyn, also shared a tweet, including a photo of a moving van parked outside. “For the shouting-back-at-action-movie experience,” he wrote, “there was no place better!”

“I’m an African-American man, so I speak plainly,” tweeted Cyrus McQueen, a stand-up comic and author who resides in the area. “It was a Black theater. You yelled at the screen, and folks would talk.”  The Regal Court Street multiplex, known for its rowdy crowds and recently showing movies including “Jackass Forever” and “American Underdog” has gone dark after more than two decades in service. “Everyone’s uptight. At Court Street, everyone was just relaxed,” said RJ Adams, an independent photographer from East New York, who repeated the popular sentiment that it was a rare space where people could just be themselves and cut loose.   “Was literally just talking about how I’ve never been to a movie here without the entire audience yelling their thoughts and/or fighting the whole time and for some reason I will miss it a lot?” another patron tweeted.

For the past 20 years, the modestly-maintained 13-story megaplex has been a cultural centerpiece of Downtown Brooklyn, and part of the shopping destination for the borough’s predominantly working-class black neighborhoods. People from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Flatbush and Brownsville would travel to the hotspot via trains, buses and dollar vans.  Of late though, the surrounding neighborhood was being transformed by developers who brought shiny luxury towers to the area, pushing out smaller businesses.

The theater’s closing came without explanation or prior warning.  It is still not clear if it succumbed to the pandemic, gentrification, or competition from streaming services.  A representative for the chain did not reply to numerous voice messages from the Times requesting comment.  A spokeswoman for Madison International Realty, the property owner, wrote that the company is “gathering more information” and that it shares “the community’s disappointment.”

Rendy Jones, a 23-year-old member of the Regal Crown Club rewards program, was perplexed. “I need to know what happened,” he said. “At least email me about it!”  A movie buff who became a successful movie critic for rotten tomatoes, he credits regal for getting him starting writing movie reviews and blogs. “I started going there before I could even walk, either with my mom or dad,” Jones said. “I still have my ticket stubs. I’m looking at them now.”

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