The Quad Cinema, the Greenwich Village theater that was New York City’s first multiplex, will reopen in April with upgrades and renovations to its facilities, tech, seats and branding.
The four-screen venue, which opened in 1972 and has been closed since 2015, has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation under the ownership of Charles S. Cohen, the film-loving real estate developer who is also the head of Cohen Media Group. The updates to the facility include a new modern design; the capability to screen films in 35mm, 16mm, 4K digital and 3D formats; and a wine bar adjacent to the lobby.
Also on board are two new programming execs, with Christopher Wells, formerly of the IFC Center, serving as director of repertory programming, and Gavin Smith, the former editor of Film Comment, tapped as senior programmer. The duo will devote one screen entirely to repertory programming, alongside three screens dedicated to first-run fare.
A retrospective of the work of Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmuller will coincide with the relaunch of the Quad, where inaugural first-run titles will include Terence Davies’ “A Quiet Passion,” Katell Quillevere’s “Heal the Living” and “Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back,” Maura Axelrod’s documentary about a conceptual artist.
Programmers also have on the docket a Bertrand Tavernier retrospective timed to the upcoming first-run engagement of the French filmmaker’s latest, “Journey Through French Cinema.” The repertory screen will also show titles that are featured in the documentary.
“The first-run and repertory elements of the theater can talk to each other, and we’ll be able to screen the older films referenced in other movies,” said Wells. “It’s a great opportunity to present almost an instant film school on early films.”
In the overhaul, the venue’s seating capacity will downsize from 560 seats to 430, divided among four theaters meant to have the intimate feel of private screening rooms with improved sightlines and seats. The theater’s rebranding also includes a new logo, pictured above, with a custom font designed by Pentagram.
The new Quad notably eschews the dine-in model that has caught hold both in New York City, where an outpost of the Alamo Drafthouse has recently opened and a new Nitehawk Cinema is on the way, and in other parts of the country including Nashville. “We considered dine-in for about a minute, but to me, a first class moviegoing experience is not one where the person next to you is eating a steak,” said Cohen, who is president of Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation.
The Quad’s dedication to year-round repertory programming overlaps with Cohen Media Group’s restoration activities. Last year, the company restored and distributed Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust” in honor of that film’s 25th anniversary. Last year, the company also partnered with Amazon on the domestic distribution of “The Salesman,” Asghar Farhadi’s newly minted Oscar winner.
The Quad will reopen for business April 14.