‘Lights’, ‘Camera’ … Belmont’s Studio Cinema Returning to ‘Action’

Photo: The Studio Cinema in Belmont.

The interior lobby just got a recent coat of gray paint. The concession counter has a new top. There are LDC billboards hung on the wall displaying ticket prices and show times. And there are posters proclaiming coming attractions such as the 2015 Academy Awards winning film “Whiplash.”

Belmont’s 96-year-old movie palace, the venerable Studio Cinema, is ready for her latest close-up.

After closing just before the New Year and after months of speculation, owner Jim Bramante said the landmark on Trapelo Road will soon be back in business.

“I’m very close to being back in operation, in about a week or two,” Bramante told the Belmontonian on Wednesday, March 18.

For the past two-and-a-half months, the future of the building at 376 Trapelo Rd. was in doubt as Bramante and a handful of Belmont town departments including fire and inspectional services sought to resolve existing structural and safety issues at the century old building. In mid-January, the outlook for one of the few remaining single-screen movie houses in the country appeared bleak as the two sides came to an apparent impasse.

But Bramante said an agreement was reached in February and work has been progressing to allow the Studio to reopen.

“I’m waiting for another final inspection,” Bramante said, saying there had been a delay in getting the operation going “as there has not been a lot of coordinating within town departments.”

While the cinema is returning, the same can not be said for Cafe Burrito, Bramante’s Mexican-inspired storefront next door to the theater that opened in September 2012 serving “Mission-style” burritos and espresso drinks.

“After a great opening, business got slower and slower until the first of the year, I decided to just shut the door,” Bramante said, noting the business climate “has been one of the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Bramante has not yet decided what to do with the site.