• June 25, 2010

    Belated Obit: Silent Film Pianist Viola Barton, 107

    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

    More voices weighing in on issue of theater ownership by studios

    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

    Ad revenue for movie theaters rises

    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

    Seventy-five silent films thought lost discovered in New Zealand

    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.

  • June 8, 2010

    Movie theater shares down after holiday weekend

    Despite the many popular sequels released, this past Memorial Day was a step down from last year.

    Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Eric Wold wrote in a client note that U.S. box office sales of $186.2 million were 12.1 percent higher than in the same period last year — but they were 14 percent lower than last year’s Memorial Day weekend. In 2009, Memorial Day fell a week earlier.

    That brings the total for the second quarter so far to $1.65 billion, a 3.7 percent decline from last year. The decline, along with overall market weakness, has weighed on shares of Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Holdings Inc. and Carmike Cinemas Inc.

    Read the full story from the Associated Press.

  • June 4, 2010

    Consolidated Theaters launching Titan XC big screen experiences

    HONOLULU, HI — Consolidated Theaters, which operates theaters under several names including Consolidated, Angelika Film Centers, and City Cinemas, is joining the list of the other theater chains in installing its own proprietary big screens. The First Titan XC screen has been installed in a renovated auditorium of the company’s Ward Stadium 16. The screen measures 66 feet by 35 feet. The auditorium also boasts Dolby 7.1 surround sound and an Xpand-D 3D projection system.

    One of the theater’s largest auditoriums was completely redesigned to create a world-class, theater atmosphere. Consolidated Theatres' new Titan Extreme Cinema will feature:

    Huge Screen: A newly-installed wall-to-wall screen, stretching more than 66 feet wide and 35 feet tall in Titan XC will be the largest commercial movie screen in the state of Hawai'i.

    Read the full story in theHonolulu Advertiser.

  • May 28, 2010

    AMC to sell nine cinemas to Regal to complete Kerasotes acquisition

    KANSAS CITY, MO — To comply with a Department of Justice ruling, AMC will divest itself of nine theaters it currently owns in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Denver to the Regal Entertainment Group in exchange for cash and two Regal theaters.

    Regal said in a release Monday that it had entered an agreement to acquire theaters in Indiana, Illinois and Colorado from AMC in exchange for cash and two Regal theaters. Terms of the deal were not released, other than that the exchange is expected to close during the second quarter.

    On Friday, the Justice Department said it was requiring Kansas City-based AMC to divest itself of the theaters as a condition for approving the $275 million acquisition of Kerasotes. Department officials said the purchase would decrease movie theater competition in Chicago, Denver and Indianapolis, leading to higher ticket prices.

    The full story is in Biz Journals.

  • AMC lowers 3-D prices

    NEW YORK, NY — Maybe it was an error or maybe they received so many complaints about it, but the bottom line is AMC is lowering it’s 3-D ticket prices in some NY theaters after they crossed the $20 mark last weekend.

    AMC, which offered the $20 tickets on sale online yesterday for IMAX 3-D showings of “Shrek” at several of its New York theaters, attributes it to an error. Theaters with $20 tickets on sale include AMC Kips Bay, AMC Loews 34, AMC Loews Lincoln Square and AMC Empire 42 Street.

    “Unfortunately, a limited number of theatres posted incorrect pricing for ‘Shrek Forever After,’ which we immediately corrected,” AMC spokesperson Justin Scott said in a statement today. “Any guest who purchased a ticket at the incorrect price can visit Guest Services for a refund.”

    Read more in the Wall Street Journal.

  • May 25, 2010

    Time to revisit the Paramount Consent Decree?

    Many readers here on Cinema Treasures are aware of the 1948 Paramount Consent Decree which, in a nutshell, forced the big Hollywood studios of the time to divest themselves of the theater chains they owned, based on the contention that the studios unfairly controlled film distribution. These chains included some, if not most, of the greatest movie palaces ever built.

    In a recent piece written for a blog at, commentator C. Robert Cargill argues that studios should once again be permitted to own theaters outright, pointing out that circumstances have radically changed since 1948 and that competition would now be enhanced not diminished if studios now had their own exhibition outlets.

    The idea of the studios not being able to own their own theater chains is an outdated concept that should be challenged and overturned, something producer Joe Roth opined at the Digital Hollywood Conference a few weeks back. Roth’s beef stems from a collective boycott by a number of theater chains against his film, the runaway hit Alice in Wonderland, because they were upset with the 12-week window between their scheduled release of the film and its appearance on Blu-ray and DVD. And while that time may look short on paper, remember that Alice in Wonderland appeared in theaters on March 5 and the DVD release is still a month away.

    The whole essay is here at

  • Indie theaters in UK struggle to meet the digital challenge

    LONDON, ENGLAND — Like many of their North American counterparts, independent cinemas in the UK are grappling with the seemingly relentless pressure by Hollywood to go digital. The expense of conversion may force a number of cinemas, especially in smaller towns, out of business, though the government is accelerating efforts to provide conversion assistance.

    “We are financially stretched,” said its manager, Gregory Lynn. “So many indie cinemas like us cannot afford to go digital, but we don’t really have a choice.”

    The movie house is among thousands of small cinemas — mostly in Europe — in danger of going bust unless they make the switch. The conversion costs may leave some small towns with no theaters, and fewer venues to screen movies may result in the shrinking of the European film industry, already concerned about the cultural dominance of Hollywood.

    Read the full story in Business Week.