Providence's Cable Car Cinema Will Close In May

Apr 27, 2018

After more than 40 years, Providence’s independent Cable Car Cinema will close its doors next month. One of the theater’s owners, Emily Steffian, is a member of the Community Advisory Board of Rhode Island Public Radio. She and co-owner Daniel Kamil said their decision wasn’t made lightly.

Kamil and Steffian said several factors went into the decision to close the Cable Car Cinema. Among them: the changing habits of media consumers, the phasing out of single screen cinemas, and the fact that Kamil and Steffian don’t own the building.

Kamil said there were talks with the landlord, the Rhode Island School of Design, for about a year, but nothing ever panned out. 

"But, when we look out to the 5 to 10 year horizon, we’ll have no equity in it and you know, we weren’t going to sink in a ton of money into something that wasn’t ours," he said.

Expanding the cinema into a second story was one of the options proposed, but ,Jack Silva, RISDI VP of Campus Services says it wasn’t feasible. Silva said, like the rest of the community, RISD is saddened and surprised by this decision.

"We intend to take this one day at a time and see what the future brings and we’re open to possibilities of reuse of the building, either as a cinema, or whatever comes next," Silva said.  

Silva said the Cable Car Cinema does have the option to stay for as long as a decade, under the current lease agreement. However, the owners said they plan to close down at the end next month.