March 21, 2008
An interesting read from Architect Magazine discusses the changing look and feel of today’s theaters.
Not long ago, the average American movie theater was big on square footage and short on personality. Cookie-cutter interiors made it difficult to distinguish one venue or chain from another. The introduction of stadium seating in the 1990s drew audiences with the promise of enhanced comfort (not aesthetics) and became the dominant trend in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Stadium seating “led to record attendance in 2002 and record box office in 2004,” says Patrick Corcoran of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), an industry group. But its novelty is wearing off, he says: “People are looking for something more.”
Lots more. Today, the industry is experiencing a burst in construction and renovation activity. Movie exhibitors around the country are tempting patrons with new, carefully designed theaters that cater to increasingly sophisticated desires. Parking lots, popcorn, and box-office lines are being replaced by valet parking, bars and restaurants, and online reserved seating. Companies ranging from industry giants Regal and AMC to the art-house Landmark hope to pull in bigger box offices through enhanced architecture.
“About every 11 years, there’s this spurt cycle where people reinvent what going to the movies is all about,” says veteran entertainment architect Mike Cummings, principal of TK Architects in Kansas City, Mo. Cummings believes the industry is now in the midst of one of these overhauls. “The [trend] before this, of course, was stadium seating and the big megaplex. But that’s not what we’re seeing anymore. There is a lot more attention to brand and to design.”
AUSTIN, TX — After the recent SXSW Festival, one blogger goes into great detail about how the Alamo Drafthouse caters to a dedicated audience.
I know, I know… I’m late to this party! The one big takeaway from my time in Austin at the SXSW Film Festival (aside from the hot indie rock girls, the parties, the great movies, and great food) was that I fell in love with the Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater.
I’ve been to movie theaters from coast to coast. I’ve been to The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Boston, the Castro in San Francisco, The Arclight in Los Angeles, and even the new Mark Cuban owned Landmark. The Alamo Drafthouse theater is by far the best movie theater I’ve ever been to. It’s the type of movie theater that makes me wish I lived in Texas, and here’s why…
Read more here.
According to this article in the St. Louis Business Journal, the 102-year-old Wehrenberg Theatre operation, the oldest family-owned theater chain in the United States, is being withdrawn from the market as available for sale. Apparently, no acceptable offers appeared to be forthcoming in the current economic climate.
As reported first in the St. Louis Business Journal in December, Wehrenberg, the country’s oldest family-owned and operated theater chain, was looking for a buyer for its 102-year-old theater operations. The company hired UBS Investment Bank to lead the search, but potential buyers were unable to make an offer that reflected the full value of Wehrenberg, Krueger said in a statement.
“I concluded the best action for our company is to be proactive to determine our own future,” Krueger said in a statement.
March 20, 2008
The Florida Times-Union named Cinema Treasures one of the best bets on the web.
March 17, 2008
With the consumer moving more and more to the internet for information, Regal might end newspaper listings for its theaters.
U.S. movie theater company Regal Entertainment Group is seeing diminishing returns from the millions of dollars it spends on movie listings in newspapers as people turn to the Internet for the information, Chief Executive Officer Michael Campbell said.
Theaters pay for listing their schedules in newspaper entertainment sections, but the largest U.S. theater chain has begun questioning the value.
Read the full story at Reuters.
March 14, 2008
There are arrangements to convert 10,000 more screens to 3-D.
Access Integrated Technologies Inc. said it had reached agreements with four studios — Disney, News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox, Viacom Inc.’s Paramount, and Universal Pictures, which is owned by General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal — to finance and equip the screens in the U.S. and Canada during the next three years.
The conversion will cost as much as $700 million, said Bud Mayo, chief executive of Access Integrated Technologies, which completed a first tranche of 3,700 digital conversions in October
For the full story, go to The Star.
(Thanks to zombophoto for providing the picture.)
March 13, 2008
An Associated Press piece suggests that there’s a correlation with a poor economy and high moviegoing numbers.
It was true during the Depression, when Americans managed to scrape together nickels and dimes for an escape to the movies. And as the prospect of another recession looms, studio executives say this time is no different.
Even as evidence mounts that people are tightening up on other expenses, movie attendance this year has been running ahead of 2007 numbers — welcome news at ShoWest, the annual convention of theater owners, which opens here Tuesday.
Domestic box-office revenues went up in five of the past seven recession years dating back to the 1960s, according to research compiled by the National Association of Theatre Owners.
March 7, 2008
Following in the steps of the Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera is presenting a program to theaters across the country.
SAN FRANCISCO Opera’s production of Puccini’s “La Rondine,” starring the gorgeous soprano Angela Gheorghiu, was a pretty big hit at War Memorial last November, but they’re wondering now how it will play in Peoria.
We’ll get a chance to find out Saturday afternoon when the Rave Grand Prairie 18 theater in Peoria, Ill. “” along with 120 movie theaters across the nation “” launches the first of four showings of the opera in an all-digital format with surround sound that is the very latest in cinema technology.
Here in the Bay Area, the closest showings are at the Livermore Cinemas 13 (which bills itself on its Web site as “the only all digital movie theater in the entire East Bay”) and the Cinema West-Fairfax in the North Bay. The Livermore showings are at 12:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 7:15 p.m. Monday, and regular ticket prices ($9.50, $7 for matinees) apply.
Read more at Contra Costa Times.
February 29, 2008
In what has been an ongoing trend these days, the Oscar telecast last weekend was the lowest rated ever. With no huge studio pictures up for the majors and a slew of little-known actors up as favorites in key categories, it was the perfect recipe for average moviegoer dissent.
Films about psychopaths, greedy oilmen and corrupt lawyers failed to click with moviegoers, and they proved a turnoff to U.S. television viewers as this year’s Oscars show hit record low ratings.
The 80th anniversary edition of the Academy Awards, dominated by European stars and films that played poorly at the box office, averaged 32 million viewers, entering the record books on Monday as the least watched Oscar telecast ever.
Read more in the Washington Post.
(Thanks to Grebo Guru for providing the photo.)
February 28, 2008 — Tim McGlynn’s, “Now Playing at Theater Near Me,” is a fantastic and tickling book that presents insights into teen culture during the seventies.
In 1975 the making of an 8mm movie turned disastrous for seventeen-year-old Tim McGlynn and friends. It was a Dog Day afternoon for the young autuers as local cops responded to a staged bank robbery. “Now Playing at a Theater Near Me” combines true-life coming-of-age antics with backstories and personal recollections of films and theaters of the seventies.
Today, teenagers cannot imagine life without DVDs, wireless phones, and the Internet. In Tim McGlynn’s new book, “Now Playing at a Theater Near Me,” readers are taken back thirty years when most entertainment was experienced at local drive-ins and single screen theaters.
Before information was easily accessible from home, America’s youth learned about life, sex and growing old at the movies. “Now Playing at a Theater Near Me” presents hilarious insights into the early seventies. Even movies could not keep up with the rapidly changing cultural issues of the time.