BY JOHN DUNPHY
A week after it was closed because its floor was sinking, there remains no word on when Amboy Multiplex Cinema, Sayreville, may reopen.
The Dedham, Mass.-based owner of the movie theater at routes 9 and 35 announced its immediate closure last week after routine checks of the theater “disclosed some settling of the lobby floor in certain areas.”
The cause of the settling could not be determined without “a more thorough investigation of the areas in question,” according to a statement issued by the company, National Amusements Inc.
Prior to the theater’s opening in 1979, the Amboy Multiplex Cinema was home to a drive-in theater.
Jennifer Hanson, who handles media relations for National Amusements, confirmed yesterday that the theater will remain closed indefinitely. She said she could not elaborate on the situation.
“A timeline [for the closure] has not been attached,” she said.
Mayor Kennedy O’Brien lauded the voluntary closure by National Amusements, which operates more than 1,425 theaters in the United States, United Kingdom, Latin America and Russia.
“They did the right thing because their own internal maintenance people saw there could be a problem,” he said. “They closed on probably one of the busiest movie weekends of the year.”
Memorial Day weekend, which is largely considered the unofficial start of summer, is also traditionally the time when the “summer blockbuster” movies begin to be released.
“I want to give credit where it’s due to National Amuse-ments,” O’Brien added.
“The safety of our patrons and employees is always of primary concern,” Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements, said in the press statement. “We feel that closing the cinema for
further evaluations is the appropriate thing to do, and we apologize to our patrons for any inconvenience that this may cause them.”
Two major road projects have been taking place in the area recently, including work on the Victory Bridge and at the Victory Circle. Both fall under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Transportation.
Brendan Gill, a representative for the DOT, said that at this time the department is not claiming any potential responsibility for the reported settling at the theater.
“We don’t think any NJDOT project had anything to do with the sinking,” he said. “Obviously, though, we’re going to investigate and make sure that is the case.”
Gill said both projects are so close that construction nearly abuts the cinema property.
“Obviously we would take an investigation very seriously,” he added.
O’Brien said he expects that once the theater company has concluded testing, they will come to the borough for the permits necessary to begin work on rectifying the problem.
Only one employee remains at the theater to take calls from patrons who might have purchased advance tickets. She said she had been instructed not to speak to the press and deferred all questions to National Amusements’ district manager, Bruce Forshee, who was unavailable yesterday.