Boston niche nook shuts

Downtown left with two multiplexes

BOSTON — Indie and art film distribs who want a Boston playdate will find that it just became harder.

The Loews Copley Place 11-plex, which opened in 1984 and was the last downtown venue devoting any screens to off-Hollywood product, shuttered Sunday.

According to theater management, the decision was made by the landlord, who reportedly is eager to convert the space into a Barney’s clothing store.

This leaves Boston with but two downtown theaters, the 19-screen Loews Boston Common and the 13-screen AMC Fenway, both of which showcase mainstream Hollywood titles.

Far afield

Beantown moviegoers hungering for movies like “Finding Neverland,” “A Very Long Engagement” and the like will have to go to neighboring communities to see them, as neither downtown theater plans to change its booking policies.

Landmark’s nine-screen Kendall Square in Cambridge has become a major artpic venue since it opened in 1995, but it’s several blocks away from major retail or transit hubs.

Two other theaters have better locations but fewer booking opportunities: the one-screen Brattle in Cambridge and the three-screen Coolidge Corner in Brookline. The six-screen West Newton Theater is not accessible by the subway/trolley system but has developed a loyal arthouse audience among those who can drive there.

Boston has historically been considered underscreened, and it may get worse. National Amusements has the only other Boston theater, the six-screen Cleveland Circle that literally straddles the Boston/Brookline border. Unlike Fenway and Boston Common, it is an older theater without stadium-style seating. The company reportedly is considering selling the land to a developer for condominiums.

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