Former employee wants Toler Cinema reopened
posted by Michael Zoldessy on December 13, 2011 at 10:50 am
BENTON, IL — A passionate former employee is trying to save the Toler Cinema. The theatre that AMC recently shut down, has meant so much to the area as a source of entertainment for the residents as well as the soldiers stationed nearby.
Read more in the Benton Evening News.
AMC will probably not permit if it its within 15-miles of one of one of their venues. The problem is as the article mentioned that digital will become the standard, and if the owner can’t pull together the financing to convert, they can only operate it in the short term. I’m wondering what sort of opportunities will arise as a result of major chains fleeing smaller and less profitable houses (AMC is apparently hemorrhaging money – I read they are trying to sell of their Canadian megaplexes, in some areas they’ve reduced screen count and/or are not booking all their screens). There are excellent smaller chains that could stand to grow, but many haven’t full committed to digital beyond a few screens for 3D – perhaps individual economic development agencies might have grant money operators can hustle, especially if a theater is viewed as a pillar in a downtown community.
If AMC owned the building then they would likely put a proviso in the sale that movies could never again be shown on the property. If, however, AMC had only leased the building, then no such proviso would be there and movies could be shown there.
Don’t rule out the possibly that the Toler will reopen. The Paris Theater @ Paris, IL will reopen this Friday after being closed by AMC. It’s now has a new owner. The Will Rogers Theater @ Charleston, IL, also closed by AMC is now under new ownership. It will also will be reopening. After some restore work has been done on it. So keep the faith !
I have faith these theaters can reopen – and I think it’s a really bad thing when a community looses access to first run films. Digital can be a good thing – with lower cost of distribution hopefully studios will loosen up on some requirements and allow the small town indie operator to show a family picture in the afternoon and more adult friendly film at night – allowing them to offer more variety. But the reality is digital installs are growing and it looks likely they’ll be a cut-off point where exhibitors have to digital or close. I should note – some small town exhibitors have indeed found the resources to go digital, so it can happen – it just has to be part of the long term business plan.