The latest movie theater news and updates

  • February 19, 2017

    Cape Charles, VA – Cape Charles' Palace Theatre to celebrate 75th birthday

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    From delmarvanow.com: Cape Charles’ Palace Theatre is turning 75 and a birthday bash has been planned to mark the occasion.

    The Palace, built to be a gem of the mid-Atlantic, began as a thriving endeavor in a booming railroad town but fell into disrepair and disuse in the mid-1960s when Bayshore Concrete completed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel project and the trucking industry overtook rail freight transport.

    Today, amid swirling rumors of sales and foreclosures, the theater and the nonprofit housed within its walls serve as a testament to the changing times and the undeterred resilience of the town’s artistic soul and future potential.

    The Palace Theatre, opened on March 18, 1942, was designed by Alfred Lublin, a Norfolk-based architect, for $75,000, and more than 30 architectural firms were involved in the construction. William Carroll Parsons, a local entrepreneur, footed the bill for the land and the building with the intention of owning the largest, most modern theater between Norfolk and Philadelphia.

  • Oklahoma City, OK – Historic Tower Theatre Reopens On 23rd Street

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    From News9.com: The historic Tower Theatre on NW 23rd Street held its grand reopening Saturday after falling into years of disrepair. New owners now hope to capture the theater’s glory days. The beacon of NW 23rd Street is shining brightly once more, but while the iconic marquee reflects the rich history of the NW 23rd Street strip, the Tower Theatre has a whole new vibe.

    Hip-hop beats reverberated through the near-century old entertainment hall Saturday.

    The starting line-up of rappers was headlined by Oklahoma City-native Jabee, whose dream of seeing his name on Tower’s marquee started as a child.

    “My mom brought me here to Sound Warehouse when I was 10 to buy a cassette tape, and the cassette tape was Jackson 5,“ he said. "On the way back home, I saw the (Tower) sign and I was asking her about it, and she was telling me it was a theater, and I was like man I’ve got to get in there.”

    The Pivot Group bought the building two years ago, when the strip’s revitalization was just getting underway. The developers strived to recreate the essence of the original theater, adding era-influenced elements from floor to ceiling.

    “They came back in and inlaid original floor to match the time period, that Art Deco feel,” described the facility operator Scott Marsh of Levelland Productions. “They had a custom fixture put in to match that. The ceiling on the theater itself is stair-stepped and is back to its original glory; things that we put in like a special velour curtain both for aesthetics and sound.”

    “You walk in, you feel like you’re taking a step back into the 30s, 40s, 50s. You’re going to be able to expect a great room that changes, that molds itself to what the show is,” Marsh said.

  • Billings, MT – What to do with the Babcock?

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    From the Billings Gazette: With a March 15 deadline looming for the city of Billings to take over ownership of the Babcock Theater, an advisory committee has four recommendations for what can be done with the 110-year-old downtown landmark.

    Meeting Monday, the Babcock Ad-Hoc Advisory Committee approved a report drafted by City Administrator Tina Volek that includes four possible courses the Billings City Council will hear during its Feb. 21 work session:

    -Ask the committee, which includes four city council representatives, to continue exploring options for the use of the theater, which is at Second Avenue North and N. Broadway. -Ask the committee to negotiate with Kim Olsen, who currently manages the theater for Babcock LLC, to continue managing the theater for a year, while seeking a nonprofit organization to ultimately take over theater operations. -Instruct city staff to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the sale of the theater. -Instruct city staff to issue an RFP for an outside organization to manage the facility for five or more years.

  • Theater Group President: No, Netflix Isn’t Killing the Multiplex

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    From The Hollywood Reporter: New technology is shaking up the entertainment business, but John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, argues that box office is thriving even as TV and home video take a hit and streaming services up their investments. “Three-fourths of (those) interviewed are spending more evenings at home now. Slightly more than half are going to the movies less often, although formerly they were confirmed and in most cases very heavy moviegoers.” — U.S. News & World Report

    New technology has upended the movie theater industry, disrupting production and distribution; movie theaters are dying.

    You’d be forgiven if you thought I was talking about today, the internet and movie streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. The report above actually is from 1955, the disruptive technology was television, and the disruption was real. There were other factors, such as the Paramount Consent Decrees, which forced studios to divest their movie theater properties, but the body blow to theaters that television represented was a complete revolution in the entertainment ecosystem. Theaters no longer held a monopoly on recorded audio-visual entertainment, and box-office revenue hit bottom at $875 million in 1962, down 48 percent from 1946, with admissions off 78.5 percent. The box office would not return to 1946 levels until 1974.

    But what about today? Have the internet and movie streaming to the home caused a fresh disruption in the theater industry?

    Despite a fairly constant drumbeat of impending doom and decline facing the cinema industry, the reality is otherwise. Since 2004 — following two rather anomalous years that peaked at over 1.5 billion admissions — movie admissions have moved up and down over a fairly narrow range, from 1.27 billion to 1.48 billion annually. Some of that fluctuation is a reflection of the movies in the marketplace, and some is surely because of increased competition from the home market.

  • Canon City, CO – Show must go on: Historic Skyline Theater has been pleasing audiences since 1916

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    From The Pueblo Chieftain: From Davy Crockett’s “Old Betsy” to temporary closures and war taxes, the historic Skyline Theater has withstood a roller coaster of ups and downs in its 100-year history.

    In September 1917, L.A. Jones, proprietor of the Busy Corner Store announced that he intended to build a state-of-the-art theater in downtown Canon City, the likes of which would cost an estimated $20,000 investment, according to newspaper accounts of the time.

    By December that year, the Canon City Daily Record was touting the soon-to-be-completed theater as a “new, modern moving picture theater” on which “a great deal of money is being spent to make this the finest cinema theater in any small town in the west.”

  • Sewickley, PA – Tull Family Theater caters to arthouse movie lovers outside of Pittsburgh

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    From NextPittsburgh.com: Cinephiles living in Pittsburgh can usually get their movie fix at one of the city’s many independent theaters, whether it’s at the historic Harris Theater Downtown or the Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville. But for those living outside the region, being able to enjoy the latest limited release or award-winning film may be too far out of reach. The new Tull Family Theater in Sewickley hopes to change that.

    After five years in development, the Tull Family Theater officially opens this week in Sewickley, making it the first movie theater to operate there in more than three decades. The 12,000-square-foot venue includes two screening rooms—the 77-seat Huntington Bank screening room and a yet unnamed room that fits 166 people—as well as the Esmark and Bouchard Family Community Room performance and events space.

    Tull Family Theater executive director Carolina Pais-Barreto Beyers says the nonprofit arthouse theater was created to strengthen cultural, educational and entertainment experiences in the region northwest of Pittsburgh.

    “This is truly a grassroots effort that started with community leaders who looked around and realized that Pittsburgh’s cultural vibrancy did not extend beyond the city,” says Beyers.

    The theater was made possible through efforts by the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development, the Allegheny County Regional Asset District (RAD) and the Borough of Sewickley, as well as a combined $1.5 million donated by 400 families. One of the largest contributors was Pittsburgh resident and former Legendary Entertainment head Thomas Tull, who gave $500,000 for naming rights to the theater, which was formerly called the Vanguard Theater.

  • Baltimore, MD – CineBistro dinner-and-movie theater to open Feb. 24 at the Rotunda

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    From The Baltimore Sun: The concept of dinner and a movie should take on new meaning next week with the opening of Baltimore’s newest movie theater, and the only one to offer fine dining with your film.

    CineBistro, which will offer full meals combined with first-run movies at its seven-screen theater, will open Feb. 24 at the Rotunda in Hampden. The movies scheduled for that opening day are “Collide,” “The Great Wall,” “Fifty Shades Darker,” “Fist Fight,” “La La Land” and “John Wick: Chapter Two.”

    Before (and possibly during, if the patron prefers) the movies, dining possibilities will include a full range of appetizers, main courses and desserts — everything from “custom-blended burgers to prime beef, fresh seafood, and more,” according to a news release announcing the opening.

    Guests will need to arrive at least 30 minutes before the movie begins to take full advantage of the dining options. Admission will be restricted to people 21 and older.

  • February 13, 2017

    Sonoma County, CA – Drive-in movie theaters gone but not forgotten in Sonoma County

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    From the Press-Democrat: Looking back, as any social scientist (or grandparent) will tell you, can be instructive. And it can also be comforting in those moments when we need comfort.

    Last month we went to the circus. Today, let’s pack up our snacks, put the kids in their “jammies” and go to the drive-in.

    Those who are old enough to have made a trip or two to the drive-in movies may not be able to remember what film they saw, but they are sure to come forth with a carload of nostalgia.

    We have to be careful about nostalgia. It isn’t history.

    It is wistful, sentimental, a longing to retrieve some aspect of one’s past.

    History is far more complex. It is, in its simplest form, chronology, a record of past events, a study of a people or an institution, often including a theory or interpretation of those events.

    History is more trustworthy by far. Memory is too often pushed off the truth track by emotions, by sentiment if you prefer.

    So we save the nostalgia for now. And start with the history. Consider it a hook on which to hang your hatful of memories.

    The whole notion of outdoor movies is as quirky as any accidental invention. It was a man named Richard Hollingshead, an auto parts salesman in Camden, New Jersey, who “invented” the drive-in, according to a 2008 article in Smithsonian magazine. The story quoted the head of the United Drive-In Theatre Owners, who told it like this:

    “His (Hollingshead’s) mother was — how should I say it? — rather large for indoor theater seats, so he stuck her in a car, put a 1928 projector on the hood and tied two sheets to trees in his yard.”

    In 1933 Hollingshead opened the first drive-in theater, but his brilliant idea didn’t really take hold until in-car speakers were developed in the 1940s. And, in the early ’50s, with the war over and at least one car in every garage, the drive-in became a way of life in suburban and rural America, where there was space to work with.

    By 1958 there were 4,063 drive-in theaters in the nation. Two were located in Sonoma County, with three more to come and go. The quintet, in order:

  • Harmony, MN – New owners running Harmony’s classic movie theater

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    From the Post-Bulletin: “One of the last few one-screen, family-owned movie theaters in the U.S.” now is operating under new ownership.

    Michelle Haugerud announced last week that her family sold the JEM Movie Theatre at 14 Main Ave. N in Harmony to another local family.

    “The new owners, Amber and Dana Coaty and their four children are excited to keep the JEM Movie Theatre going for many more years. I hope you all continue to support the only movie theater in Fillmore County and one of the last few one-screen, family-owned movie theaters in the U.S.,” Haugerud wrote on the theater’s website on Jan. 31.

    Michelle and Paul Haugerud bought the classic single-screen theater in 2002. In 2012, Paul Haugerud unexpectedly died and the community rallied around Michelle Haugerud, their six children and the movie theater.

    Michelle Haugerud continued to run the theater until last week.

    “Thank you to everyone who has supported my family and the JEM for the last 14-plus years! … We have enjoyed owning the JEM and watching everyone come and enjoy a movie, birthday parties, live music and all those special events. Also, thank you to all the people who have helped me at the JEM,” she wrote in Tuesday’s posting.

    Now under the Coatys' leadership, the small-town movie theater is continuing to show first-run movies as well as classics.

    Tonight, Saturday and Sunday, the theater is showing the PG-rated “Monster Trucks” movie at 7:30 p.m.

    The Jem is showing a free matinee of the animated “The Peanuts” movie at 4 p.m. Saturday. The showing is sponsored by Thrivent Financial. The first 40 people will receive a free popcorn.

    On Valentine’s Day next Tuesday, the theater is offering a free showing of “a true movie classic,” “The Princess Bride,” at 7:30 p.m.

  • Washington, NC – New Washington movie theater opens

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    From WITN.com: An eastern Carolina movie theater that shut down last year is back open under a new name and new management.

    A new independent group called ‘Golden Ticket Cinemas’ purchased the old Carmike 7 in Washington after it suddenly closed in December.

    Golden Ticket officially re-opened Friday with 7-theaters renovated with new screens and surround sound speakers.

    The first customer in line for a 12:00 p.m. showing was given a free year-long movie pass and Golden Ticket GM Stoney Crouse says the company is thrilled to continue providing the area with the latest movies at the lowest prices.

    Crouse says, “We plan on doing the same good customer service, if not better, definitely a lot of different choices when you’re coming in and absolutely better prices.”

    Scott Askew was the first customer and says, “My first movie here was Pippi Longstocking as a class when I was in kindergarten and that would be 1979 and so we’ve lived here all our lives and I’ve seen every big movie, every Star Wars I saw here, so we’ve been here all our lives so it’s great.”