Former Towne 3 in San Jose becomes BIG Cinemas San Jose

posted by CSWalczak on January 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

SAN JOSE, CA — Reliance/BIG Cinemas, which specializes in Bollywood films, has purchased and renovated the Towne 3 Theatre on the Alameda in San Jose. Opened as the Hester in 1926, the cinema was most recently known as the India Film Center 6 (although it had three screens). It had been previously both a porn and art theater over the years.

Paletta was joined by Uday Kumar, North America business head for Reliance/BIG Cinemas, and Chris Gehring, district manager for Phoenix BIG Cinemas Management, at the launch of the theater — California’s first theater to receive a top-to-bottom renovation as part of Reliance’s ambitious move to take over dozens of outdated, second-run American theaters and convert them to Indian movie palaces.

The Reliance team was quick to recognize the years of hard work by Raman Sanchula, Lalit Chopra and Lu Muvva, who ran the IMC6 and made the theater a center for South Indian movie buffs.

Read about the changeover in the India Times.

Theaters in this post

Comments (2)

terrywade
terrywade on January 4, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Great News for San Jose. We hope the new Tower has a few English language art films sometimes as the San Jose area is short many times in the booking of special art films. I’d like to check out the remodel job. If anyone goes please report If they have curtains in the large house and how the stereo surround sounds,and the neon marquee looks,Thanks

John Fink  (www.johnfinkfilms.com)
John Fink (www.johnfinkfilms.com) on January 4, 2010 at 5:30 pm

I think we should get concerned about integration like this again – remember what happened in the 50’s when studios were forced to divest themselves of theater chains. Cablevision and Reliance/Adlabs are good examples of why this system can’t work. They are both distributers and exhibitors owning complexes that pretty much exclusively show their films: Cablevision runs the IFC Center where standards are slipping, Reliance/Adlabs runs Big Cinemas, which is aiming to create Indian only movie houses, buying others from independent operators. While I’m all for more access to Bollywood films, the standards at one Big Cinemas location I recently visited to see a Bollywood film at were awful: the projection required reframing (I couldn’t see the subtitles) and I had to walk down two escalators (they weren’t working) to tell the guy at the snack bar about the issue, and walk back up two escalators to the theater.

I must have lost about 5 minutes of the beginning of the movie right there! As a customer this is unacceptable, if this is what the future of Bollywood is – a chain that doesn’t pride themselves on proper projection of their product no less (Reliance distributes films through AdLabs in USA), and there are no alternatives, this is a grim for the industry. IFC Center also does the same thing, projecting the films they distribute through IFC Films, from world class directors on cheap projectors in small theaters – sadly its the only place to see some of this work, unless you rent it on demand from Cablevision. It’s not so much an issue of price, it’s the issue of quality that’s at stake here with Big Cinemas and IFC Center, if they’re the only game in town for this stuff then your stuck.

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