Sun-Ray Cinema at risk of closure, addresses concerns over risk of losing 5-Points location

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An iconic Jacksonville Theater may close the curtain for good. The Sun-Ray Cinema posted on Facebook today about a campaign to help keep its door open – since there are talks it could be sold.


This theater is a staple in Five Points. Locals say they do not want to see these doors close. But the theater’s owners tell Action News Jax they lease this space and they don’t have control over what the landlords do with the property.

Moviegoers are not happy.

“I’m pretty bummed out,” local Douglas Manzone said. “I’ve grown up coming here seeing movies and stuff. And I just it sucks to see all the local things closing down.”

Sun-Ray Cinema offers discounted tickets on Tuesdays. For some, like locals Connor Davis and Joe Henderson, this is a weekly tradition.

“Kind of sad,” Davis said. “Really, really sad. This really bummed out my week.”

After Sun-Ray Cinema shared this Facebook post telling patrons about the ‘impending sale of the building.’

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“It’s nice to see that other people are having the same hard time as it as we are, but I don’t what’s going to happen though,” Sun-Ray Cinema co-owner Shana David-Massett said.

David-Massett said they’ve been trying to purchase the theater portion of the space for a few years now, but they’ve been unsuccessful.

“If Sun-Ray closes, it won’t be because we’re not bringing in enough customers, it won’t be because people aren’t going to the movies, it will be because our communities are able to be changed by people who do not necessarily get the privilege of living in them,” David-Massett said.

David-Massett says they only lease a portion of the building, but the landlord – Jack Shad of the Mike Shad Ford Dealership family - is trying to sell the entire space as one.

Now, a petition is spreading online to save Sun-Ray Cinema. It is asking the landlords to “either sell the theater to Sun-Ray or ensure that any buyer will still allow them to operate.”

“I do this sort of stuff for a living, but I rarely ever see a response, like what we got today, over 2000 people send a message to Jack telling him that we must save the cinema,” Save Sun-Ray Committee Chair Adam Guillette said.

Guillette says he believes a potential sale is outrageous.

“I mean, it’s incredibly disappointing,” Guillette said. “I don’t know why you would want to park at Five Points if it no longer had Sun-Ray.”

While there are reports that future developers could turn this into a parking garage or a virtual golf course, David-Massett says no plans have been finalized yet.

“This sale has been kicked back many times,” David-Massett said. “Everything is up in the air.”

Guillette wants this historical space to be preserved.

“It’s the only remaining historic independent cinema in Jacksonville,” Guillette said.

This space had originally been built to be a theater in 1927, but over the years the space was used for other forms of entertainment. It wasn’t until 2011 that Sun-Ray Cinema took over the space and made it what it is today.

“I feel like this has just been such an iconic spot for many people,” Henderson said.

Action News Jax has reached out to the landlords, but we are still waiting to hear back.

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