The history of Bow Tie Cinemas begins back in the year 1900, in the era of the Nickelodeon, when B.S. Moss began his long and illustrious career providing popular entertainment to the public. The business of operating street front Nickelodeons quickly gave way to Vaudeville, which was the heart of B.S. Moss Theaters until the 1930s when B.S. Moss sold his last Vaudeville theater and dedicated himself fully to building and operating motion picture theaters.
B.S. Moss’ Theaters were the springboard of many famous vaudevillians. The former Colony Theater on Broadway was home to premieres and exclusive engagements of early Walt Disney films. The cartoon that launched Mickey Mouse to the world, Steamboat Willie, had its first showing here. The Colony also premiered Disney’s Fantasia, followed by an exclusive run of that film for more than a year in “Fantasound” a revolutionary sound process for the time.
In 1936, B.S. Moss opened the Criterion Theater, known then as The Theater of Tomorrow, on Broadway in the ‘bow tie’ of Times Square. The Criterion was the first motion picture theater built exclusively for the exhibition of talking motion pictures. It operated continuously for 63 years and was the home of several major New York film premiers including Sleeping Beauty, My Fair Lady, Funny Girl, Lawrence of Arabia and Alien. Throughout the 20th Century, B.S. Moss Theaters provided entertainment to many, becoming what was then the largest independently-owned theater circuit in the New York Metropolitan Area.
BOW TIE CINEMAS TODAY
Today, Bow Tie Cinemas, now a four generation family-owned company, is dedicated to “Bringing Style and Elegance Back to the Movie Going Experience®” . In each of its 50 locations and close to 400 screens, Bow Tie Cinemas provides the best possible presentation and service to its patrons, continuing in the tradition of its founder. In November, 2004 stylish movie going returned to Downtown New Haven, CT, with the grand opening of the Criterion Cinemas®. Twice expanded, the Criterion now boasts nine screens of first class entertainment in a classic 1936 building. In 2006, Bow Tie Cinemas expanded again with the purchase of twelve theater locations in Connecticut and Maryland, and in the spring of 2007, first-run movies returned to Downtown Schenectady, NY with the opening of Movieland.
Richmond had its first new movie theater in more than forty years when Movieland at Boulevard Square opened in early 2009. Featuring seventeen stadium-seated auditoriums, Movieland is a themed adaptive reuse of a 19th Century former locomotive assembly plant. In 2012 the company debuted the newly rebuilt Marquis 16 in Trumbull, CT and newly rebuilt Reston Town Center Cinemas in Reston, VA. Each theater features 100% stadium seating and contains one of the company’s BTX: Bow Tie Xtreme – The Ultimate Digital Cinema large-format auditoriums. Next, in December, 2012, Bow Tie Cinemas opened Criterion Cinemas® at Movieland, a deluxe art cinema with special focus on design and comfort in Richmond, VA.
In June, 2013, Bow Tie Cinemas welcomed 42 new locations from Clearview Cinemas. Later. in October, 2013, Bow Tie Cinemas opened the deluxe new Criterion Cinemas® 11 & BTX in Downtown Saratoga Springs, NY, marking the first time a first-run movie theater has operated in the downtown area in almost 40 years! Just one week later, the company opened the new Wilton Mall 8 & BTX in Wilton, NY.
In the Fall and Winter of 2016, the company introduced Bow Tie Ultimate, its newest innovation in providing the optimal movie going experience. Complete with reserved electric reclining chairs, full food and beverage service, Bow Tie Cinemas has reinvented the way our guests see movies!
Stay tuned for more announcements as Bow Tie Cinemas continues to grow!