Paterson’s only movie theater expected to close March 31; owner seeks new buyer

After 14 years in business, the Fabian 8 Cinema inside the Center City Mall will be closing.

Amanda Eustice

Mar 29, 2024, 9:50 PM

Updated 24 days ago

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Popcorn fills the seats and floor of the Fabian 8 Cinema inside the Center City Mall in Paterson.
The movie theater is getting ready for another day of showings, but come Sunday, the screens will go dark one final time.
After 14 years in business, the theater will close, forcing moviegoers like James Swindell to have to travel to Clifton or Wayne to catch a flick.
"It's been a part of the community. It's somewhere to go to catch a nice movie for years. I mean decades. It's been a long time so it's really sad to see it's going," said Swindell.
The closing is bittersweet for theater manager Tom Arnold. He says the business never recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. With rising operating costs and a lack of attendance, the idea to close became the only option.
"I've worked at other theaters before, but this was actually the first time I was involved in actually building it. I hung doors with the construction crew, you know? During COVID I did some renovations myself when nobody else was allowed to come into the building. So yeah, I've put my blood and sweat into this place," said Arnold.
Edward Cruz is the owner of Center City Pizza, just a few stores down from the theater. Not only is he sad to see another business closing inside the mall, but when the theater hosted movie days for students, his business saw an increase in sales.
"We usually do schools when they used to do schools. We used to get a lot of business during school time. That's the good thing about that part. You know weekends, we used to get a nice crowd, but I don't know now," said Cruz.
Those who enter the theater now will see signs thanking moviegoers for supporting them over the years and letting them know the theater will be closing on March 31. There is an effort to find someone else to take over the theater and keep the business open.
"Quite frankly, it's situated downtown. A lot of people could take the bus or they can walk. It's accessible and we don't want to lose the Fabian. There's too much history there and there are too many memories that need to be made in the future," said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
The theater manager says there are several people who are interested in keeping the theater alive. Anyone else who may be interested can contact the Paterson Mayor's Office by emailing dtilos@patersonnj.gov or calling 973-321-1600.


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