Without Any Fanfare, Sony-Loews Janus Cinema Closes
The Sony-Loews Janus Cinema went out of business this past weekend, meeting with a demise as quiet as its reputation. The theater had its final viewing this Saturday evening, with the showing of the PG-13-rated film Without Limits.
The one-screen theater has been a part of the Cambridge community since 1975, changing owners in 1986 to become a Sony-Loews theater. The Hunneman Commercial Management Corporation owns the space that the theater occupied, located in the basement of the Galleria mall on JFK Street.
Hunneman Senior Area Manager Christine A. George said the theater's lease expired, and "[Sony-Loews] didn't want to renew."
Reasons for the closing are, as yet, difficult to determine. However, Kristin Sudholz, head of the Harvard Square Business Association, speculated that the theater was losing money for the moviehouse chain, which is based in New York City.
"My guess," Sudholz said, "is that [the Janus theater] was not one of the biggest money makers, as Loews goes."
Competition with the Brattle Theater and a five-screen Sony-Loews theater on Church Street were probably other important factors behind the decision to let the lease expire.
Loews officials were unavailable for comment.
The theater joins the popular ice cream shop Scoops and Beans on the list of Harvard Square businesses that have closed this fall. Sudholz said she has no concerns about a trend developing.
While some Harvard students may mourn the end of the Janus cinema, there still are plenty of ways to satiate movie-going cravings.
"Between what's on Church Street and Brattle Theater," said Sudholz, "there are still a lot of option that keep Harvard well-rounded....There is still absolutely something for everybody in the Square."
The fate of the theater space is as of yet unknown. "Hunneman is marketing the space," but keeping its options open, George said.
While Hunneman is looking at a wide range of prospective tenants, the company may have trouble finding a replacement for Janus because of the space's location.
"It's a difficult space," George said, "[being] in the basement."
Despite the difficulties ahead for Hunneman, Sudholz is optimistic about the future.
"Just because something closes doesn't mean that good is going away," she said.