The Middlebrook Galleria Cinemas in Ocean Township are closed, but the 10-screen theater complex at Middlebrook Plaza could be back in business as early as this weekend.
The theaters, operated by Connecticut-based Bow Tie Cinemas, closed following the last show on Sunday October 26, according to Robert Silverstein whose family owns the Route 35 Middlebrook Plaza. Asked about the sudden closing, Silverstein said it had been in the works for some time.
“It’s very simple, their lease was up and they chose not to renew.”
Silverstein said a new theater management company is taking over and hopes to re-open the theaters quickly, possibly by this weekend, but he declined to name the new company.
Bow Tie Cinemas acquired the Middlebrook complex when it purchased the theaters from Clearview Cinemas in May of 2013.
Silverstein said that over the next several months, the new company will be making improvements and changes and spending the money necessary to bring the 20-year old theaters into the digital age, a necessary investment to remain competitive and to be able to show current releases. On Tues., Nov. 4, employees of Bow Tie Cinemas were at the theater clearing out their offices but said they were uncertain of their own futures with the company.
Jared Milgram, Vice President of Marketing for Bow Tie Cinemas, acknowledged that the company was not renewing the Middlebrook lease, but said Bow Tie will continue to have a presence in the area with its two-screen theater in Red Bank. Bow Tie Cinemas is based in Ridgefield, Conn. and is one of the oldest theater companies in the country. Founded by B. S. Moss, it remains family-owned with the fourth generation now running the company. With nearly 400 screens in six states, Bow Tie Cinemas will be celebrating its 115th anniversary in 2015.