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Large weekend turnout boosts bid to save historic Forest Hills movie theater

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Cinemart has been collecting “powerful ammunition,” as the owner said, in its battle to remain open.

The almost century-old Forest Hills theater sold out most of its weekend showings of “American Sniper,” and owner Nicolas Nicolaou plans to use the high numbers in his bid to convince Hollywood movie companies to grant the theater first-run movies.

“We’re hoping this will allow us to see the executives of the film companies [so they will] give us the opportunity that this theater deserves: the opportunity to play upscale film,” Nicolaou said. “People in our community supported their local theater, somewhere that has history.”

After installing digital projectors, the theater gained the rights to play Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.” But Nicolaou said this is just a test run and the future of the theater depends on the sales of tickets for the new movie.

“It’s powerful ammunition,” Nicolaou said about the high customer turnout over the weekend. “They want to see the money? Well, here it is.”

Nicolaou will be setting up meetings with the New York City branches of major media companies to discuss the theater’s viability to show first-run movies.

“We have the tickets to prove it,” Nicolaou said. “And if we have to do more we will do more.”

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