July 23, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In the 1970’s, repertory theaters reached a peak, but now there are much fewer of them and they struggle to get 35mm prints of films. But the survivors are increasingly succeeding by promoting themed film festivals, and programmers are creating new festivals that, as temporary events, use a variety of venues.
At the Roxie, for example, a sampling includes the Anti-Corporate Film Festival, the Irish Film Festival and Another Hole in the Head horror festival. Mr. Leggat sees the growth in number and variety of festivals as part of a larger picture.
“American culture is moving from mass entertainment to more specific niche entertainment,” he said.
This recent article in the New York Times took a look at this trend in the San Francisco Bay area.
July 20, 2010
Like Opera in the U.S., live theatre is coming to British cinemas and has been rather successful.
When the National Theatre unveiled plans to film productions and relay them live by satellite to cinemas in Britain and 21 other countries, I was sceptical. I feared the results would seem excessively stagy and lack the excitement of watching actors in the flesh.
How wrong I was. The Esher Odeon was almost packed, and the performance of Dion Boucicault’s hilarious 19th-century comedy London Assurance was as entertaining on screen as it had been in the theatre. What’s more, there was a real sense of the live event about it. The cinema audience actually clapped at the end, and there was a sense of shared laughter and genuine community one rarely experiences at the flicks.
Read more in the Telegraph
July 9, 2010
In 1995, WHYY produced a documentary titled Remember When? It included a segment on drive-in theaters. This segment is now posted on YouTube.
July 7, 2010
An article in the July 5, 2010 print edition of The New York Times (“Old Movie Houses Find Audience in the Plains”) describes local efforts to sustain historic Main Street storefront cinemas as focal points for their rural communities in the Great Plains region.
In an age of streaming videos and DVDs, the small town Main Street movie theater is thriving in North Dakota, the result of a grass-roots movement to keep storefront movie houses, with their jewel-like marquees and facades of careworn utility, at the center of community life.
Perhaps it’s a sign of a broader trend as well.
The revival is not confined to North Dakota; Main Street movie houses like the [Alamo](/theaters/909/) in Bucksport, Me., the [Luna](/theaters/8801/) in Clayton, N.M., and the [Strand](/theaters/12682/) in Old Forge, N.Y., are flourishing as well. But in the Great Plains, where stop signs can be 50 miles apart and the nearest multiplex is 200 miles round trip, the town theater -- one screen, one show a night, weekends only -- is an anchoring force, especially for families.
June 30, 2010
SANTA ANA, CA — Famed Theatre Designer and Showman Joseph J. Musil Jr. died at age 74 last night after a long illness. He will be mostly remembered by his greatest work, the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood as well as the Majestic Crest in Westwood.
You can find more information about this genius at Cinema Sightlines along with a tribute.
June 29, 2010
NEW YORK, NY — The IMAX Corp. has announced plans to build and deploy portable theaters to serve areas of the U.S. and China. The first will be unveiled in September, and apparently will resemble inflatable tennis bubbles.
IMAX hopes to unveil its first portable theater at an event in New York this September, said IMAX spokeswoman Sarah Gormley. The theaters, which the company likens to a tennis bubble, have inflatable exterior walls and come with full seating for an audience of about 450 people. Gormley says the interior walls and ceiling come acoustically treated to ensure the sound quality of a normal IMAX film.
There is more in the Wall Street Journal.
June 25, 2010
Viola Barton, former silent film pianist, died in Glendale, California January 30, 2010. She was 107, born March 11, 1902, just five weeks shy of her 108th birthday. This likely went unnoticed nationwide although she was a favorite of the local press. Unlike Rosa Rio and Bob Mitchell who were still actively playing for silent films, Mrs. Barton played privately for herself and friends at the retirement home where she lived.
She played piano for silents in South Dakota throughout the 1920s. She also taught music and gave concerts. The deaths of Mitchell, Barton and Rio all within the past year seem to close the final and remarkable chapter of accompanists who lived to advanced ages.
June 17, 2010
HOLLYWOOD, CA — It is probably too early to call it a movement, but more is appearing in print on the issue of studios once again operating their own theater circuits, as reported here on CT previously. Key points in the growing discussion include who gets to control the length of the theatrical distribution window, the effects of the explosion of technology that is seriously eroding the DVD market, and whether current market conditions warrant revisitation of the issues raised in 1948 Supreme Court decision that limited the ability of studios to operate movie theaters.
There is more in Variety.(reg rqr’d)
June 16, 2010
Despite the economy, last year actually ended up as a positive year for movie theater advertising.
There were disparate results, however, by geography. Regional and national movie theater ads rose 5.4 percent compared with 2008, but local movie theater ads fell 9.6 percent compared with the previous year.
Because regional and national ads account for almost 80 percent of the industry total, the large decline in local ad revenue did not drag down the entire category.
Read more in the New York Times.
June 14, 2010
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – A treasure trove of seventy-five silent films, many thought lost forever, has been discovered in the New Zealand Film Archive vault and are being returned to the United States for restoration and eventual exhibition. Among them is a very early John Ford-directed film called “Upstream” and films starring Mabel Normand and Clara Bow.
“These important films will be preserved and made available to both U.S. and New Zealand audiences to enjoy,” he told The New Zealand Herald newspaper Tuesday.
Film Archive corporate services manager Steve Russell said the films were discovered when American preservationist Brian Meacham visited last year.
Here’s the story as reported by the Associated Press.