• November 10, 2010

    New technology enables the movie screen to watch you

    HORSHAM, WEST SUSSEX, ENGLAND — A technology company here has received a grant to further develop an infra-red system behind movie screens to record audience facial expressions and other behavior in 3-D in reaction to films and ads. Supposedly being developed in the name of market research, concerns are already being raised about privacy concerns and the impact it could have on what films get made and distributed.

    We’re not talking about a dumb clapometer-style system, either. The intention is to produce rich data that can measure the details of an individual’s face. Aralia will leverage 3-D face recognition technology that the university is already developing. When you sit in the audience of a theater with their system, you’ll be illuminated with an infra-red beam, and three or more cameras will continually monitor the crowd to create stereoscopic images—just like the 3-D digital cameras that are now launching on the consumer markets.

    The full story is at Fast Company.

  • November 1, 2010

    Why did Kerasotes bail so quickly?

    I have a chain question that no one has seemed to answer. Why did Kerasotes Theaters bail so quickly out of the Chicagoland market? It seems they were doing a great job, building good new theatres and renovating others. For instance, they did a great job rehabbing the Webster Place Theatre. That theatre used to be so run down but it became a good cinema again.

    Kerasotes seemed to do a great job managing its cinemas. They seemed genuinely interested in the movie-going experience. Their Five Buck Club Card was a great idea (being able to see any movie that was out for more than two weeks for only $5.00).

    What happened? Why did they sell to AMC?

  • October 25, 2010

    AMC profit rises from 3-D movies despite looming attendance decline

    According to The Star , AMC Entertainment, Inc.’s profit is being lifted by high-prices for 3-D movies. This despite that fact that attendance could suffer in the future due to the struggling economy as the second largest theater chain in North America is preparing to return to the stock market this year and expand its relationship with IMAX to the film company’s home base of Canada.

  • October 22, 2010

    AMC Theaters now to show Chinese films

    BAYSIDE, NY — Our theater the AMC Bay Terrace 6 currently shows Korean films occasionally. The Korean film “Man From Nowhere” is playing there. One of the ushers I’m friendly with tells me a Chinese film is coming and I found this link which shows AMC theaters signing a deal with China Lion Film Distribution for up to 15 films a year. The first of these to be released here will be “Aftershock” on October 29. It will be released simultaneously in a number of other theaters in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Washington D.C., Toronto and Ottawa.

    CEO Barlow said, “We are delighted to partner with such a U.S. theatrical powerhouse as AMC. After a long absence, Chinese, Asian and European audiences will have access to the very best of Chinese theatrical releases in most cases screening day and date with China. We are honored that major Chinese producer Huayi Bros have placed their faith in us to present director Feng Xiaogang’s epic story of the 1976 Tangshan earthquake. While our core target audience will be the 2 million plus Chinese residents in our primary screening markets I believe these films will quickly find accord with mainstream American audiences. Throughout the last few years in Australia and New Zealand many of these pictures have been the No. 1 or No. 2 picture in the opening week at the multiplexes where they have screened and we expect the same profile in North America.”

    Read the press release here.

  • October 15, 2010

    Warner Bros. cancels 3D release of “Harry Potter” film

    LONDON, ENGLAND — Citing an inability “to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality” in time for its announced November 19 scheduled release in both the US and UK, Warner Brothers has pulled the plug on the 3D release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part I”. The 3D release of Part II is still on track for July, 2011.

    “We do not want to disappoint fans who have long anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey.

    “We, in alignment with our filmmakers, believe this is the best course to take in order to ensure that our audiences enjoy the consummate Harry Potter experience.”

    The BBC reported the story here.

  • October 12, 2010

    Sam Coston, 1923-2010. Theatre Operator, Chicago. October 8th, 2010.

    Sam Coston, retired Warner Brothers Manager, Coston Enterprises Executive, World War II Marine, Mason, long time south side Chicago resident, died suddenly while traveling with his wife, Demetra, in Europe. Sam was 87, and he was the nephew of theatre pioneer James E. (Jimmy) Coston. Sam was also the Operations Manager for Plitt Theatres in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. His son Nick is an advertising executive and filmmaker, and his eldest son, Jim, is an attorney and transportation specialist in Chicago. Funeral arrangements will be announce in The Chicago Tribune later this week.

  • October 6, 2010

    CT member Dave Grau passes away

    Cinema Treasures has lost a friend. Dave “Norelco” Grau passed away recently in Nashville, Tennessee. Dave grew up in the theater business, helping out at his father’s small drive-in near Hummelstown PA, the Midway. Dave’s younger years were spent working the booths at very nearly every theater in Harrisburg, PA and South Central Pennsylvania; large and small, first-run and neighborhood, indoor and outdoor.

    He later manned the booths at theaters in the Pittsburgh area. The observations of this former projectionist were informative, sometimes pithy, often amusing, and always illuminating. Dave Grau’s obituary appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot-News on Sunday, October 10th, and can be found at here and searching by last name.

    Take a moment to sign the guest book. I’m sure his family would appreciate the thoughts of Dave’s many Cinema Treasures friends.

    John Simmers,
    York, PA


  • September 28, 2010

    Balaban and Katz return

    David Balaban grandson of one of the original owners of Balaban and Katz (David Balaban) has reopened Balaban and Katz as Balaban and Katz Theatres LLC.

    The new organization be involved in historic preservation, offer reproductions of original B and K materials such as Balaban and Katz Magazines. It is also producing traveling silent movie shows at public libraries beginning this fall. Balaban says, we will attempt to recreate the feeling of going to a Balaban and Katz theatres in the 1920’s. Jesse crawford organ music will play during intermission on wind up victrolas. We may even have ushers in tuxedos we will have to see. The first two libraries to sign on to The Balaban and Katz shows are the Belleville New Jersey Library ( three shows in November) and the Bloomfield New Jersey Library ( three shows in January). The new company also operates a news site here.

    For more information please email .

  • September 22, 2010

    Left in the Dark: Portraits of San Francisco Movie Theatres

    Book Release and Events:
    Photographs by R.A. McBride
    Edited by Julie Lindow
    Literary essays by: Rebecca Solnit, Katherine Petrin, Melinda Stone, Eddie Muller, Liz Keim, D. Scot Miller, Gary Meyer with Laura Horak, Elisabeth Houseman with Joshua Grannell, Sergio de la Mora, Chi-hui Yang, and Sam Sharkey.

    Available now at for $39.95. The book will be available for purchase at bookstores in September 2010. Published by Charta Art Books, distributed by D.A.P. (Distributed Art Publishers). 10 x 8 cardstock cover, 59 photographs, 168 pages, 11 chapters

  • September 20, 2010

    Theaters to be required to post calorie counts

    NEW YORK, NY – As if the prices at the snack bar are not enough to scare you these days, the FDA is finalizing new requirements that would require chains of more than twenty theaters to post the caloric content of the food and snacks they serve.

    The expansion stems from provisions in the health-care overhaul enacted in March. The government wants calorie listings posted to make it easier for consumers to select healthier options, and the restaurant industry backed the move so it could avoid a patchwork of local ordinances that are developing.

    So far, the expansion of the calorie counts beyond restaurants has drawn praise from nutrition advocates but push-back from industries that say the original legislation was never intended to hit them.

    There is more in the Wall Street Journal.