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Sayville Cinemas reopens on Nov. 19 after being closed for nearly two years

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Lights, camera, action: Sayville Cinemas is back in business. 

After a 20-month shutdown with zero film screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the beloved independently owned movie theater is less than six days from hosting its grand reopening. The movie theater kicks off its reemergence Friday, Nov. 19, with a 1 p.m. screening of the new film, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.”

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony conducted by the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce will follow at 5:30 p.m.  

Sayville Cinemas first opened at 107 Railroad Avenue in 1951 and was taken over by the current owner, Matt Latten, in November of 2006. In recent years, movie goers came to love the theater become for its $5 ticket prices, hometown charm and delicious popcorn. 

“Sayville Cinemas is thrilled to reopen its doors to a very supportive and patient community of movie lovers,” Latten said in a statement provided by the chamber. “We’ve missed you.” 

Eileen Tyznar, president of the chamber, said she is “ecstatic” to see Sayville Cinemas reopen. It makes the town feel complete again.

Sayville Cinemas became a go-to spot for birthday parties, first dates, day matinees, and more, Tyznar said. It has been incredibly missed by the community, she said. 

Over the decades, big-name movie stars have graced the screens of Sayville Cinemas, including Marlon Brando and James Dean who both resided in Sayville for some time while jumpstarting their careers.

The theater plays a major part in Sayville’s history and as one of the few remaining, indie cinemas on Long Island, Tyznar insisted that it’s important to keep it alive. 

“It felt like there was an emptiness on Railroad Avenue that nothing could ever fulfill,” she said. “Especially in a town like Sayville, you like to have a nostalgic, hometown feel for people who grew up here, people who come back after they get married and have their own children — the Sayville Theater has that feel.”  

The building runs four screens and when packed at full capacity, it houses about 550 people. 

Returning filmgoers can expect to see a few renovations to the space, including some new backsplashes, countertop, new posters, and decorations to brighten it up, Tyznar added. 

The chamber president said at the height of the pandemic, the goal was to try to economically support the local businesses and chamber. 

In May 2020, when Tyznar announced the chamber would be hosting a drive-in movie event in town, social media went bonkers with an outpouring of excitement from people across Long Island.

Eventually, the chamber hosted a drive-in movie in the summer of 2020 at the Islip Grange that benefitted the Greater Sayville Small Business Relief Fund.

When a mishap happened with the blow-up movie screen at the event, it was Latten who swooped in and said “the show must go on.” He provided a 60-foot screen from a friend and donated popcorn and buckets for the event. 

And now, it’s Latten and Sayville Cinemas’s turn to be celebrated.

“It didn’t feel complete when one couldn’t open, it broke my heart because one felt like a million with the movie theater,” Tzynar said, through tears. “It felt bittersweet to celebrate everyone reopening, and one that I considered the soul of this town was not able to … Matt allowed us to have the honor of being the first to post it and I knew once it was up it, it was gonna blow — and boy did it blow!” 

Continue to follow greatersayville.com for updates on Sayville Cinemas.

Above photo: Google Maps