Jamaica Multiplex Cinemas: The End Of An Era

After serving moviegoers for more than two decades, the Jamaica Multiplex Cinemas has sadly announced its closure. The beloved theaters will shut its doors for the final time on April 30th, 2024. Despite the shock of this cinema’s closing, more shocking is the closing of other theaters in the region. The Linden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas has already closed, and the College Point Multiplex Cinemas is set to close May 7th, 2024. 

“I didn’t know that it wasn’t just the Jamaica location closing down. The news of College Point shutting down is so sad, so now I’m just really bummed out,” senior Allisha Sookanan said.

The news of all these theaters shutting down, one after the next has really affected our community. It signifies the end of an era for moviegoers in Jamaica Queens. Students have shown that the Jamaica Multiplex was more than just a place to watch movies. 

“The place holds a lot of nostalgia for me. Everytime I look at that place I just think about when my dad used to take me. I’m actually sad about it because now I feel like all those memories I had, like it won’t be there anymore,” Allisha Sookanan said.

The closure really is a tragedy, but this extends far beyond multiple movie theaters closing down. Many feel as though the entire community is shifting, with dozens of new businesses opening up, pushing older businesses out. 

“I think it’s changing a lot from what it used to be. I definitely think you can see gentrification coming to the Ave. The neighborhood is changing alot and it’s just sad because it’s taking away from the people who live in the community,” senior Nasiha Sultana said. 

Aside from the loss of the Jamaica Theater, we have seen the rise of more commercialized stores. Recently, stores like Shake Shack, Jollibee, Target, Burlington, and many more have opened locations on Jamaica Avenue. New stores are great and all, but I think many have overlooked what these stores have replaced. 

“It made me sad, cause like when I was a kid we would go there when I was like five six. It’s just sad cause if you think about it, so many businesses are closing down and they’ve been in the community for so long,” Nasiha Sultana said. 

The clear consensus is that the shopping district of Jamaica Avenue is no longer the same. The loss of the iconic Jamaica Multiplex Cinemas is a tragic one, but there are unfortunately some circumstances that have clearly led to its closure. 

“There were some movies that were in the pipeline that had already been made and were waiting for release. During that whole time there was no work being done on new movies, so that really put a hamper on not just once we reopened but having product to show when we were opened,” said Managing Director of Jamaica Multiplex Cinemas, John Spoljoric.

Managing Director of the Jamaica Multiplex expressed his feelings about the closure, mentioning the effects that the pandemic had on the business. He expressed that during Covid, the building was completely shut down, and even after it opened, foot traffic was reduced due to regulations on the maximum occupancy of the theater. 

“Another thing that kind of hurt the industry was the shutdown with the writer and actor strikes because you can’t make new movies when you physically can’t make the movie,” said John Spoljoric. 

Besides Covid, problems within Hollywood have seemed to make it harder for theaters everywhere. Between a decrease in customers, a decrease in film releases can be just as detrimental to the business. Aside from that, many attribute the rise of streaming services to the decline of the business.  

“I feel like only when there’s special big big movies, then people go to the movie theater. Maybe like marvel movies, people go to the movie theater. Now people are just waiting for them to be on illegal websites just to watch them, like SFlix, 123 movies, all of that,” Allisha Sookanan said.

Not only has streaming provided moviegoers with alternative ways to watch movies, it has proved to be far cheaper which is why so many people are drawn to it. Regardless of the competition, I think the movie industry will persevere. 

“I think movie studios are more inclined to release products in theaters than first release on streaming. I think streaming is a great tool, but I think movie studios are starting to see there’s still money to be made in theaters,” said John Spoljoric. 

The amount of money a movie makes on its opening weekend far rivals what a movie makes when it is released solely on streaming services. Streaming won’t be the death of movie theaters, many just think its the way product was delayed in the past couple of years. 

“The big movies do really well, but we just need more bigger movies it seems. There’s just not as many coming out right now,” said John Spoljoric. 

The closing of these theaters, specifically the Jamaica Multiplex is sad news for our community, but we can still enjoy the theaters through its last few days. I think everyone can agree that there’s something cultural about going to the theater with a group of people.  

“I think in 2025, things are gonna come back to a pre-covid normal of release schedules and people coming back to theaters,” said John Spoljoric. 

Regardless of the loss of movie theaters and the factors contributing to it, I personally don’t think the industry will ever die. I hope that the movies scheduled to release in the upcoming year get people back in theaters versus on their couch. The loss of the Jamaica Multiplex is clearly felt by many, including myself. Time will only tell what happens to the vacant location, and if another theater will ever come back to Jamaica Queens. 

Rameshwar Tilacknauth

Hi, my name is Rameshwar, and I am a senior at Thomas Edison High School. I’ve always been a very artsy person, and love creating new things, including writing. I draw, bake, enjoy pop-culture, and fashion. My favorite pastime is watching tv-shows and movies. I hope my writing can bring positivity your way!