NYC's Ziegfeld Theatre facing money woes

July 8, 2012 at 5:38 PM

NEW YORK, July 8 (UPI) -- New York City's famous Ziegfeld Theatre may close its doors because of recent financial woes, the New York Post reported Sunday.

The Ziegfeld Theatre -- one of New York's most famed single-screen movie theaters -- has in recent months been closed more and more frequently, even during the busier summer movie season. Industry officials with knowledge of the situation estimate the theater is losing about $1 million annually.

Cablevision, which owns Clearview Cinemas chain, including the Ziegfeld, said in May it was putting the chain up for sale. But the company issued a statement Sunday saying, "We have no plans to close the Ziegfeld Theatre."

A Clearview representative declined to comment on the Ziegfeld's financial situation, but said recent special events at the theater included premieres of films, as well as a series of concert films and showing sporting events.

"In addition to showing the latest blockbuster films, Clearview's Ziegfeld Theatre is a landmark location for movie premieres and special events," Clearview said in a brief statement. "It is normal course of business for the theater to be closed at certain times to accommodate these unique marquee activities."

Ross Melnick, a movie theater historian with CinemaTreasures.com, said a takeover by Disney, which in recent years has held successful premieres at the Ziegfeld, might be a "best possible outcome."

However, a Disney spokesman said the company has "no present interest'' in the theater.

The Ziegfeld Theatre, which originally opened its doors in 1927, now shares a skyscraper on Sixth Avenue with Alliance Bernstein, which freelance film programmer Shade Rupe said may be worth more to the city as a hotel.

"The real estate is so valuable, the city would probably just as soon have another hotel on the site than a really special place to see movies like the Ziegfeld," Rupe said.

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