October 30, 2016
From Screen Crush: My friends, thank you all for coming here today to say goodbye. The Pavilion is gone.
The theater will be transformed into an arthouse by the owners of Williamsburg’s outstanding Nitehawk Cinema. Today was supposed to be its last day; as of lunchtime yesterday, the theater was still selling tickets for screenings on its website. Then, suddenly, all the screenings vanished. A moving truck showed up outside the theater. The building’s metal shutters were brought down. And just like that the Worst Theater Ever was no more. We never even got to say goodbye. (Or to tell them to correct the spelling of “MIDLLE SCHOOL.” [On both sides of the marquee.])
It was an anticlimactic end for a movie theater, but a fitting one in this case, for this was the Pavilion, a theater that somehow turned gross and persistent incompetence into a functioning business model for well over a decade. Alexander Pope famously wrote “to err is human, to forgive divine.” If that is true, then the Pavilion was the most human movie theater that ever existed, and its customer base was borderline godly.
A lot of you only knew the Pavilion after its health started failing. You should have seen it when it was younger. It was beautiful. It was born in 1996, the child of an old movie house, the Sanders, that lived and died on the same corner as the Pavilion, at 14th Street and Prospect Park West. In its youth, the Pavilion was a local favorite. Back then, no one in Park Slope had a bad thing to say about it.
Things took a turn after the Pavilion’s radical surgery in the mid-2000s. It was diagnosed with a terminal disease of not enough screens, so its three auditoriums were split into nine of varying size. Looking back now, that was the beginning of the end. The Pavilion soldiered on, but it was never the same again. Ownership changed and the new people in charge took less and less interest in the Pavilion’s upkeep. By the late 2000s the place was a shell of its former self. The people who loved it will tell you it was hard to watch.
There’s another old expression, this one not by Alexander Pope, that warns never to speak ill of the dead. And so it would be inappropriate of me to list some of the Pavilion’s many, many, many flaws, issues, and problems here. It would be wrong, for example, to go to the theater’s Yelp page, where it had the lowest rating of any theater in New York City, and pull excerpts from the hundreds (literally hundreds) of one-star reviews.
I choose to focus on the good times and not the bad, like the occasion where a customer was told their debit card was declined, while the clerk repeatedly charged them for snacks they never received.
That’s an honest mistake; it could happen to anyone. The same goes for the screens that were dirty, ripped, or broken, sometimes for years. A lot of movie theaters have screens that are cracked “as if someone punched it.”
The Pavilion got forgetful later in life. This is just what happens when you get older. I sometimes forget where I left my keys. The Pavilion forgot when it was showing movies. Or it would advertise showings that didn’t exist, or blame the screw-ups on ticketing websites like Fandango.
At the end it got so bad, the Pavilion even thought it had an IMAX screen. The poor thing was delusional.
Those of you with seniors in their lives know how rough those last days can get. The Pavilion lived so long, its body literally began to fall apart.
Temperature was always an issue. In the summer, it was too hot.
In the winter, it was too cold.
Or sometimes the heat worked, and no one bothered to turn it on.
The customers weren’t the only ones who froze; the movies froze too. (I personally witnessed this happen during a screening of The Other Guys.)
And when the popcorn machine worked, the water fountain didn’t.
There were other water troubles. When it rained outside, it rained inside.
At least we hoped that was rain:
Of course, you probably heard the complaints about bed bugs. Rumors and supposed sightings of the critters plagued the Pavilion all through its later years. To be honest, I always thought these were overblown; a lot of hearsay with little evidence.
There were definitely rats though.
It’s not all the Pavilion’s fault. Sometimes the customers were just absurdly demanding!
Just because you saw a rat (okay, two rats) you want your money back? You already watched 20 minutes of the movie! That’s almost a third! People can be such freeloaders.
At the very end, the Pavilion even lost control of its bowels. It was just ugly.
Euthanasia is illegal in this country. But I tell you this, my friends: Seeing what became of our Pavilion, I wished it wasn’t. Someone needed to put this poor suffering creature out of its misery.
The Pavilion was finally put out of its misery yesterday. It will no longer have to endure customers and their ridiculous complaints about the lack of air conditioning or heat or toilet stall doors. It won’t have to hear people demand their money back just because their seat was broken, or the floor was sticky, or there were absolutely no lights on in the auditorium before the movie began, forcing them to fumble in the dark with their iPhone flashlights, or the film projector was so caked in dust it looked like it hadn’t been serviced since Thomas Edison was alive. It won’t have to call the cops on a diabetic who tried to bring fruit in to the theater. Fruit! Can you believe it? What a world.
Yesterday, I wrote a consumer guide to good movie theater projection; what every theater should do to give their customers their money’s worth. It was 1500 words long, and included excerpts from a lengthy interview with an expert on theatrical presentation. If I wanted to save time, I could have just written “Look at the Pavilion, then do the opposite.” Back in 2012, I called it “the worst theater ever.” Some people thought I was being hyperbolic; surely, somewhere, they must be a worse movie theater than the Pavilion.
There wasn’t. If there is a hell, the Pavilion is now serving customers there. They won’t even have to get the air conditioner serviced.
Full story, with patron reviews: Remembering the Worst Movie Theater Ever | http://screencrush.com/rip-the-pavilion-the-worst-theater-ever/?trackback=tsmclip
October 27, 2016
From The Daily Star: A Halloween bash at the Oneonta Theatre on Friday will be the venue’s last event, at least for now, the owner said Wednesday.
Thomas Cormier, who has owned the Chestnut St. property for seven years, said, despite his best efforts, he cannot afford to keep the historic building open.
Living 45 minutes away from the venue and juggling a full-time job and a family, there’s not enough time and energy left over for all of the work that goes into operating and maintaining the theater on the side, booking shows and preparing for events, he said. And it’s expensive.
“Temperatures are dropping,” said Cormier, of Burlington Flats, “and, once you turn the heat on in this building, you just can’t sell enough tickets or beer to keep up.”
The 27,000-square-foot building is for sale for $925,000, but that price is flexible, Cormier said, and he’s encouraging area arts groups and nonprofits to contact him with ideas. The property is not listed with a real estate agency.
“Nothing is off the table right now. I’m open to anything, a long-term lease or, if the right group came to me, split and donate. Any way this beautiful old venue can stay a part of this community,” Cormier said. “I’ve tried keeping it open so I could find a group to come in and take over. But it’s been a long time and I haven’t found that. This is my passion, I just can’t do it by myself anymore.”
As the seller, Cormier has been approached by several interested groups. People “mean well, but nobody can really step up and take the reins,” he said.
“I had an offer a year-and-a-half ago, but I turned it down,” Cormier said. “I didn’t want to see the building knocked down. My main concern is to find a future for it.”
Phone messages left for the Friends of the Oneonta Theatre, a group formed in 2008 to preserve the historic site, were not returned by Wednesday night; Cormier said the group is defunct.
GOING OUTWITH A BANG
Cormier said the theater will go out the same way it came in under his management: with good, local entertainment.
Electro-rock group Jimkata, a nationally touring band whose members are from Oneonta, is headlining the show, which will kick off at 7 p.m. and run until midnight. Tickets cost $12 in advance and $15 at the door.
The band’s frontman, Evan Friedell, 30, told The Daily Star on Tuesday that he grew up visiting the venue with his mother, a makeup designer and actress. Friedell met bandmates Aaron Gorsch and Packy Lunn in middle school in Oneonta, he said.
“I have vivid memories of walking around while she was working on shows and other things there, going backstage and that kind of thing,” Friedell said. “The first time we came back to play there, it was kind of a trip. That was an early indicator for us that, if we could get this kind of a reaction in Oneonta, I think we could do this everywhere. And now we have fans across the U.S. who come to our shows and know all the words and are wearing our T-shirts.”
Friedell said he had no idea the theater was set to close, but it doesn’t surprise him.
“It’s a big venue in a small town,” he said. “It was built for another time, and trying to put 700 people in seats now is tough. It definitely reflects what’s going on nationally. We see clubs come and go all the time, some places that we really like. The whole industry is struggling with this. …We’ve played probably between six and 10 shows there. Oneonta is our hometown, ultimately, so it always feels pretty good — like coming home.”
A LOOK BACK
Cormier bought the building in July 2009, and a year later, he opened it for business. He was shopping for commercial property in Oneonta, and saw potential in the complex, he said.
After-purchase improvements included removing mold, fixing water problems, upgrading plumbing and electrical systems and bringing the building up to code, he said.
“A lot of treasure, blood, sweat and tears went into this,” Cormier said. “It still needs more restoration, but it’s safe now. It has all the proper fire safety.”
According to Otsego County Real Property Service, the property’s assessed value is $375,000.
The Oneonta Theatre was built in 1897 and hosted vaudeville acts, movies and other performances. The walls are decorated with curtain murals. The property is listed on the state and national registers of historic places.
For years, the theater screened first-run movies on a regular schedule, was the stage for Orpheus Theatre shows and more recently has presented musicians, holiday movies and film series. Decades ago, graduation ceremonies were held inside the cavernous venue.
The theater has presented hundreds of concerts and other performances, according to Cormier. Some of his favorite memories have been of Steve Earle, Jerry Jeff Walker, Blue Öyster Cult, Kansas, Little Feat, and The Radiators, he said.
The old building has seen “tons of icons,” Cormier said.
“Blue Öyster Cult in 2011 was a fantastic show. It did well all-around,” he said. “My personal favorite was Little Feat. And we’ve had many, many memorable plays, as well. ‘Always … Patsy Cline’ and ‘Frankenstein.’ Even just some of the local talent that’s gotten up there on the stages. … I’ve met thousands and thousands of people and watched them walk out of the place smiling. That has been very gratifying.”
October 10, 2016
From The Ledger: The Carmike Palm Cinema 3 meant much to the personal life of Brice Holley — his first job, a place to see friends and catch the latest movie, and where he met a cute employee who would eventually become his wife.
But it’s the end of an era for a place of diversion that was a big part of Holley’s life and the lives of thousands of other Polk County residents seeking a two-hour-or-more escape from reality. The Palm Cinema 3 staff has turned off the theaters' projectors for good, ending an 30-plus-year run that began when “Ghostbusters,” “Indiana Jones” and “Beverly Hills Cop” were just-released blockbusters. According to the website Flikr, the Palm Cinema 3 was opened by Floyd Theaters April 18, 1986, built on the site of the former Lakeland Drive-In.
Until its closing, it was second-oldest Polk County theater, after the Polk Theatre, which is still in operation.
“My wife, myself and a few friends still keep in touch and we all worked there back in the ‘80s. We had a reunion of sorts about four years ago. Seeing it in its current state is sad; when we were there it was still shiny and new,” said Holley, 46. who worked as a projectionist and usher from 1986 to 1989.
The Palm Cinema 3 was divided into three theaters: The Arts, which showed specialty films; The Variety, which showed discount-priced, second-run films; and Mugs and Movies, where beer and pub food were available.
Holley said the Mugs theater’s roof was giving way due to leaks and he was told it shut down Oct. 1.
According to its website, Carmike Cinemas, Inc., which is based in Columbus, Ga., is one of the United States' largest motion picture exhibitors, with 276 theaters and 2,954 screens in 41 states, with a focus on mid-sized communities.
The news of Palm Cinema 3’s closing was also bittersweet for another Lakeland family.
September 28, 2016
From KOLOTV.com: After Thursday, local movie goers will have one fewer choice of theatres. The Century 14 Theatre, a fixture in downtown Sparks' Victorian Square for 19 years, will be closing September 29, 2016.
The abrupt announcement was posted on the theatre doors just days before, as movie fans lined up for their tickets. Some were longtime patrons and to a person they were surprised by the news.
“Well, I’m disappointed because I love coming to this movie theatre,” said Barbara Livingston.
“It’s kind of a bummer,” said Kevin Thomas.“I mean, I’ve been coming to this theatre for almost 10 years now.”
It won’t stop these people from seeing movies. It will change their habits.
“We go to other theatres too, but we’re going to miss this one,” said Estela Cordova.
That was the story up and down Victorian Avenue. Justin Mummer, who owns Mummer’s Bar, says he doesn’t expect the closure to have a big impact on his business, but he’s puzzled by the move.
“With all the apartments opening up this place is about to get a lot more people living here so I think it would be a shame to see it go.”
September 19, 2016
From the South Bend Tribune:
The historic State theater, a proud and elegant entertainment anchor for downtown through much of the 20th century, again faces an uncertain future after it was “sold” for back taxes last month to a Chicago firm.
Still, the current owner insists he plans to keep the building, calling it, “a unique asset.”
First National Assets, specializing in municipal tax liens, purchased a lien on the property for $36,843.83 at a county tax sale on Aug. 26. That’s the same amount owner Banko Capital owes in back taxes, penalties and fees on the property, which anchors the 200 block of South Michigan Street downtown.
First National Assets did not return a call seeking comment Thursday, but the firm specializes in “purchasing and servicing delinquent taxes,” according to its website.
The building, with a significant downtown footprint, has had an up-and-down existence since first opening as a 1,500-seat vaudeville house called the Blackstone in 1920. According to Tribune archives, it transitioned into a movie house in the 1950s and was renamed The State. As movie theaters began to spring up in suburban shopping malls, The State struggled and eventually closed in 1977.
Following a $500,000 renovation, The State reopened in 1994 and has since served as a theater, concert venue and nightclub.
Banko bought the 41,865-square-foot theater out of foreclosure in 2011. It is currently on the market for about $1.2 million, down from about $1.5 million last year. Banko, which also owns the Wayne Place building downtown, has one year to redeem the property for 110 percent of the sale price plus any penalties or fees, or First National Assets may apply for ownership.
Until recently, the theater, which includes three active storefronts, had hosted infrequent events, including a live performance of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Its status now is not clear.
Signs taped to the front entrance Thursday read, “Maya Capital has taken over management of the State Theatre. Any person(s) entering the State Theatre without consent of Maya Capital will be trespassing.”
Assaf Dagan owns both Maya Capital and Banko Capital, which share an address on Main Street in Mishawaka, according to records on file with the Indiana secretary of state.
Dagan, who lives in Israel, said Thursday he was unaware of the tax sale, but intended to redeem the property as soon as possible.
“I definitely intend to pay the taxes and keep the State,” Dagan said. “We’re definitely going to move forward with events and do more activities as much as we can.”
Dagan blamed the situation on previous management, which he said failed to keep him informed of day-to-day and financial operations over a period of several years.
“Even I didn’t know about it, that the taxes were not even paid,” Dagan said. “That was a sign that I need to stop everything and freeze everything and change to a new management company.”
That new company is not Maya Capital, he said.
“That’s just a temporary solution until we can do our own checking about who is the best management company to run this kind of an asset, because we are aware that it is a unique asset,” he said.
And yet Dagan refused to invest in the property, said Jacqui Oberlin, the former manager, despite significant maintenance issues.
“I really didn’t get paid to run the theater,” Oberlin said. “In order for me to pay my bills, I not only had to run the theater, which took an exorbitant number of hours … I also had to work at other jobs.”
As a result, Oberlin said, she fell behind on the books.
And the delinquent property taxes?
“That was not ever my responsibility, that was his responsibility,” Oberlin said, noting she only began managing the theater last year while the tax issues date back several years. “Why that would even be assumed by anybody is crazy.”
As for when the theater will reopen, “Very soon,” Dagan said Thursday.
That’s little comfort to groups with upcoming events at the State.
“This has really put us in a bind,” said Jennifer Jacobs of BSR Paranormal, which had planned to host a conference and ghost hunt at the theater next month. “This is just a mess.”
Now, Jacobs added, “We’re looking for a new place to have it.”
September 8, 2016
From San Jose Inside: Downtown San Jose is losing its only first-run movie theater. Camera 12 Cinemas, San Jose’s largest independently owned movieplex, announced today that it will punch its final tickets this Friday, Sep. 9. Camera Cinemas’ two other theater complexes—Camera 3, located just blocks from Camera 12, and Camera 7 in Campbell—will remain open.
“I’m really sad—really sad,” said Jack NyBlom, a managing partner of Camera Cinemas. However, he added, the closure simply could not be avoided. “A decade’s loss of revenue from a promised growing residential market, that’s just now coming online, coupled with the staggering costs of maintaining a large, aging, poorly designed building has led us to this decision to close.”
Camera Cinema’s spokesman, Dan Orloff, said that years of accumulated debt posed a challenge to the local ownership group. The “straw that broke the camel’s back,” Orloff says, was the tenant’s obligation to maintain and repair the roofs, escalators and other building elements, which were in serious disrepair.
Camera 12 took over the taxpayer-subsidized cinderblock building next to the federal courthouse and Fairmont Hotel in July 2004, several years after United Artists moved out of the complex without notice in the middle of the night. The $11 million, 70,000-square-foot complex received $4.4 million in city redevelopment funds after another national chain, AMC, abandoned its plans for a 16-screen complex as part of the Pavilion, a Redevelopment-sponsored retail mall that was eventually converted into a computer server farm.
In December 2000, just four years after the theater was built, Redevelopment Agency director Susan Shick tried to knock it down. “The theater is obsolete,” Shick said. “It’s not a theater built to modern-day standards.” Things turned around after the Cameras leased the facility, and both private and public money was poured into maintaining the operation.
And yet it was not enough. According to NyBlom, after a tile fell from the cieling a few weeks back, it was discovered that the building had some serious plumbing issues. Plus, he added, the theater’s escalators were proving to be both a hazard and a money pit. “It’s just not a safe environment for our customers anymore,” he said.
NyBlom is pleased that Camera Cinemas’ other two locations, Camera 3 and Camera 7, will be able to keep showing films. But even though both theaters are doing well, he believes the loss of the independent Camera 12 represents a major blow to downtown San Jose culture.
For starters, Camera Cinemas has always made it a priority to work with the local community in ways larger theater chains might not. At Camera 7, for instance, on the first and third Wednesday of every month, there are special showings for parents with infants—the idea being, if everyone in the crowd is bringing a baby, no one will object to a little crying.
Camera 12 has also been a major hub for screenings during the Cinequest Film Festival. “We’re going to try to continue to work with Cinequest,” NyBlom said, noting that Camera 3 will remain available as will Camera 7. However, that does leave a big vacuum when it comes to downtown screenings. “We have a 27-year relationship with those guys. We’ll try to get them placed wherever we can.”
Camera Cinemas has also served as a force for good in sticking up for other independent theaters. After moving into the Camera 12 building in 2004, Camera Cinemas sued the national Century Theater chain over their practice of creating “clearance agreements” with movie studios. These agreements would guarantee Century had exclusive rights to screen certain movies for a certain period of time within a given region—sort of like the radius clauses live music venues make bands sign, preventing many acts from playing both San Francisco and San Jose in succession.
Their legal action proved fruitful—at least in San Jose—after then-Attorney General Bill Lockyer launched an antitrust investigation into the practice of clearance agreements. Though no legal action was taken, Century backed off and Camera Cinemas won the rights to screen first-run films at Camera 12, a major coup for the independent theater.
The suit may have also played a role in spurring other independent theaters to take fight clearance agreements in their regions.
See below for the full Camera Cinemas news release.
September 7, 2016
From the Salem News: Due to a number variables, the credits have rolled on the independent movie theater Hollywood Hits, which closed Monday night.
“We regret to inform you that we have closed,” the theater said on its website. “We thank all of our customers for their patronage over the past 17 years.”
Since 1999, the small, independent cinema at 7 Hutchinson Drive showed movies on the North Shore as a low-price alternative to seeing films in large multiplexes.
It was a place to catch both first-run movies and movies that appealed to the art crowd. Its concessions were also less expensive than those at the chains.
Reached by phone Tuesday, owner and Beverly resident Scott Przybycien confirmed the announcement.
“That is true,” he said. “We closed the doors last night.”
Przybycien said he was “heavy-hearted” having to close up the cinema building for the last time.
The theater, visible from Route 128 north, had been a corporate chain until 1999, when Loews left the location for a space in the Liberty Tree Mall, Przybycien said.
In 1999, Hollywood Hits started off as a discount theater, but changes in the industry saw it become an art house that also showed first-run films.
In recent years, Hollywood Hits was able to run the same mainstream blockbusters as the AMC Loews Liberty Tree Mall 20, and Przybycien said his theater was doing well with this product.
In May, “X-Men: Apocalypse” was the first movie that 20th Century Fox dropped clearances to allow both the chain theaters and the independents to run the same films at the same time, Przybycien said. That was good news.
But a number of factors conspired to keep Hollywood Hits from showing the hits well into the future.
August 29, 2016
From philly.com: The Pearl Theatre at Avenue North closed over the weekend, ending a decade-long run for the seven-screen movie house at Temple University’s North Philadelphia campus. It will be replaced by what Avenue North developer Bart Blatstein calls “the city’s first high-end” movie theater from AMC Theaters.
“It is a testimony for the support of this theater and how great the community around it is,” Blatstein said of the incoming AMC on Monday, adding that much of the Pearl’s business came from neighborhood residents.
AMC, which will convert the former Pearl into one of its own locations, currently offers a number of novel approaches to the moviegoing experience, including food service and alcoholic beverages in some areas. What amenities the coming theater at Avenue North will offer was not immediately clear.
August 1, 2016
From KY3.com: The curtain comes down Sunday on a 20-year run for a Springfield movie theater.
Wehrenberg’s Campbell 16 Theatre will close at the end of Sunday’s showings. The company announced earlier this summer that it would close the theater, saying it could not compete in a market with so many movie screens. There are two other complexes showing first-run movies with between 11 and 14 screens.
The theater will close with a little Hollywood fictional tie to the Ozarks. One of the last films showing is Jason Bourne, starring Matt Damon. The character’s back story in the series of films is that he was born in Nixa.
The theater will not stay closed for long. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema announced plans this month to renovate the theater and open next winter as a multiplex with a full service restaurant, bar and several movie screens.
From News12CT.com: Staff and supporters of a historic Bridgeport theater held a rally Sunday in an effort to keep the venue from shutting its doors for good next week.
The owners of the Bijou Theater on Fairfield Avenue say they can’t afford to keep the theater up and running.
Members of the group rallying say they are all deeply invested in the nonprofit community theater and are trying to raise $100,000…