23 Comment

  • Weird/inconvenient location and uncomfortably small theater. Plus all the new competition coming in a couple years. I’m sad but not surprised.

    • I agree. I would also add to the list of reasons for the theater’s failure that fact that many independent movies are now showing in bigger, more commercial venues. Although I’m sorry to hear that this theater will be closing, I’m glad “small” movies now have more homes on larger screens and in nicer venues. And better distribution online.

  • VERY disappointing! I went there all the time and they seemed to have a sell out crowd for each showing. Cool, little theater that will be missed.

    • For all the growth of the cultural side of DC in the last couple decades we still have a tough time supporting theaters that show independent films here. One after another has closed. Thank God for E Street Cinema and The Avalon, but really, is that all this major world capital can do?

      • There’s also the Angelika.

      • I think there will be a small increase in the number of independent theaters as cultural growth continues, but with theater attendance down significantly over the last 20 years and the rise of home theaters and streaming services, I don’t suspect there will be a boom in independent cinemas here in DC any time soon. DC’s influence as a major world capital is economic and political. That’s not per se a bad thing, but if one is looking for a lot of independent cinemas then this is not the place to be, and unlikely will ever be. If one is looking for a lot of live theatre and museums, then DC is a great place to be.

        • For what it’s worth, DC is actually a great town for independent cinema… as evidence, both E Street and Bethesda Row are top performers for the Landmark circuit. The reason small theaters like the West End suffer is because the rent is too damn high and, more importantly, the larger operators try to keep them from getting the best films. That said, DC is about to go through a sizable theater boom (with at least 4 new theaters) with the addition of no fewer than two new, sizable art houses including the new 6 screen Landmark next to the 9:30 Club — which opens this summer — and the 8 screen Angelika at Union Market.

      • The E Street theater is a lot more mainstream/less art-house now than it was when it first opened.
        I didn’t like this theater (West End) when it was Loews Cineplex Odeon Inner Circle, and I never actually went to it when it was West End, even though I liked their selection — I just bristle at the idea of paying full price to see a movie on such a small screen.
        It’s a shame to lose one of the options for off-the-beaten-path cinema, though.

  • Red Panda

    Oh no! I’ve seen so many amazing movies here over the past few years! It’s only a few blocks from my office and I love popping in after work. It will be missed.

  • Wow – this is very sad news. I absolutely love this unique and funky theater. It was like watching a movie in a friend’s basement, in a good way. I will really miss this place!

  • The staff could not be sweeter, and I will miss the Belgian chocolate covered marshmallows with sea salt. But West End had all the ambiance and comfort of watching a DVD in a classroom. It was not my choice unless the film wasn’t playing anywhere else.

    • Smilla

      My feelings exactly. The seats were so uncomfortable — padded metal classroom chairs that you have to sit up straight in — and you never had a good line of sight to the screen. I go to the movies quite often (at least 2/month) and I wanted this place to succeed, because its location was convenient. But the seats were a dealbreaker.

  • SouthwestDC

    I unabashedly love my selfie stick. But if they’re going to ban tripods (which I also love for more serious photography) I guess it’s only fair to ban them too.

  • I’m not happy it’s closed, but it’s not surprising. I saw a movie there and never went back because the sound system was bad and the screen size was comparable to some people’s home televisions. I don’t think this is some referendum on whether DC can support indie movie theaters. It’s just that if you’re going to pay movie ticket prices, it has to be an upgrade over your home theater set-up.

  • O would have gone more often, but they often had non-exclusive films which made the location and the awkward cinemas easy to pass-up.

  • The location was good for me–I could easily stop off after work. Given the closures over the years to the theater on Florida Avenue and the ones in Dupont Circle (not to mention the previous theater at this same location), this may also be the closest one to where I live The staff was friendly and their choice of movies was terrific. I also liked their beer selection and their popcorn. But I also agree the screens were tiny, the folding-chair seats were not particularly comfortable, and the layout of the main theater was awkward. Whenever I was at an unpopular time for a showing, I would be one of only a half-dozen or so people in the theater, so I can see how survival would be difficult for them. Given the locations of the new alternatives mentioned in the Post article, I’ll have to decide how much I’m willing to travel farther to see similar films in places with more amenities vs. waiting until they’re available for streaming or Netflix DVD rental. I wish the staff and owners well in their new endeavors.

  • This is very sad for a number of reasons. My wife and I had our first date there. (We weren’t married at the time.) We went back many times. The theater and its staff will be missed.

  • Damn. Loved that place.

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