• July 9, 2010

    Drive-In Theater documentary segment on YouTube

    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

    Keeping the neon lit on Main Streets of the Great Plains

    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.

    The entire article (with a brief slide show, mostly of Langdon, ND’s Roxy) is here at

  • June 30, 2010

    Joesph Musil passes away quietly

    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

    IMAX to deploy portable theaters in the U.S. and China

    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

    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.