• July 17, 2007

    Adult theater pioneer Jim Mitchell passes away

    We don’t usually report on adult film theater moguls, but thought that this was rather notable. As owner of the O'Farrell in San Francisco and many other throughout the west, he created quite an empire.

    Mitchell died Thursday night at his ranch near Petaluma, Calif. The cause of death was not immediately known, but foul play was not suspected, a spokesman for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department said. An autopsy was conducted Friday, but the results were not made available.

    The dramatic rise and flesh-and-blood fall of the Mitchell brothers has been chronicled in books, the Showtime movie “Rated X” and in countless newspaper and magazine articles.

    From their offices atop the O'Farrell Theatre in San Francisco, a combination movie and stage show emporium that opened in 1969 and was called the Carnegie Hall of Sex, the brothers built an empire that at one time included 11 movie theaters, including two in Southern California, as well as movie and video productions, The Times reported in 1991.

    Read the full story in the L.A. Times

  • Ed Mirvish dies at age 92

    The man who saved the Old Vic theatre in London, built the Princess of Wales Theatre and owned the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, died early Wednesday morning at the age of 92.

  • July 16, 2007

    Music Box Theatre enters distribution

    CHICAGO, IL — Reel Chicago reports that the owner of the Music Box Theatre is making a modest entrance into the realm of art film distribution, currently on his second of 5-8 releases this year. The films picked up so far are the foreign-language Tuya’s Wedding and O.S.S. 17 (via Chicagoist).

  • July 13, 2007

    Possible Hollywood strike

    The deadline is quickly approaching for writers in the entertainment to reach new contract agreements. The major dispute is over residuals writers receive from DVD sales.

    As screenwriters near the start of pivotal labor talks with film studios and TV networks next week, concerns about a possible strike are running high in Hollywood.

    Negotiations will begin next Monday on a new three-year contract between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Writers Guild of America.

    The idea of essentially deferring a battle over the greatest potential stumbling blocks in lieu of a major study of those issues was floated on Wednesday by several industry chiefs during a briefing.

    Read the full story at Reuters.

  • July 6, 2007

    Marquee tributes for DuciBella

    CHICAGO, IL — As mentioned in our article the other day, famous theater designer and historian Joseph DuciBella passed away last weekend. In honor of him, some Chicago theaters are using their marquees as tributes to him.

    Thanks to James A. Pierce for the pictures and the reporting.

  • 300 mph movie theater

    In South Korea, new trains have are testing KTX Cinema, an on-train high-def theater system.


  • July 5, 2007

    Record numbers of online ticket sales

    Not only are more movie tickets being sold this summer but a higher percentage of those are being sold online than ever before.

    Moviegoers are logging online more than ever to reserve a place in line for movie tickets, according to a study conducted by (, the world’s most powerful online movie ticketing provider. experienced an astounding 31% increase in overall online ticket sales for the first half of 2007(1) compared to the same time period in 2006, while overall box office receipts increased by nearly 3%(2).

    “Clearly online movie ticketing has become an integral part of consumers' lifestyles. Planning ahead and committing to the in-theater experience has gone from a ‘want’ to a ‘need’ in many parts of the country,” said Joel Cohen Executive Vice President and General Manager “And while e- commerce proliferation is a factor in our striking sales growth, we know that moviegoers are responding more and more to studio marketing campaigns to not only reserve their ticket for a must-see opening weekend film, but for all of their movie ticket buying.”

    Maybe people are starting to treat moviegoing as more of an event than before?

    Read the full story at CNN Money.

  • Opening night at the Eat-O-Plex

    A story looks into the current trend of building more upscale dinner/movie theaters. Claiming the theaters of Texas as a major influence, they delve into some of the problems that arise from such a setup.

    It’s Friday night at the Parkway Speakeasy Theater in Oakland, California, and we’re eating dinner while watching the movie Grindhouse. Yes, that’s right, dinner. Baba ghanoush, a burger, and beer delivered right to our seats on a lumpy old couch. Our fellow movie-goers are mostly tattooed twentysomethings, and it sort of feels like we’re in a friend’s living room.

    If a new trend born in Texas takes off, funky little cinema-eateries like the Parkway may become a thing of the past. Recently, a flashy new breed of combo restaurant-theaters where you can eat in your seat has emerged from the Lone Star State and may be coming soon to your hometown. These are multiscreen operations showing first-run films and offering food like that of the casual-dining restaurant chains popular throughout most of the country

    For more, go to

  • July 2, 2007

    Top theatre historian passes away

    Joseph R. DuciBella, ASID, of Chicago, arguably the most influential and prolific theatre historian in the United States, died Friday, June 29. He was 62.

    Known internationally for being a founding member (1969) and longtime Chicago-area director of Theatre Historical Society of America, DuciBella was an accomplished designer of theatre, office, residential and commercial interiors. A Chicago Academy of Fine Arts graduate, he operated an independent interior design firm for 24 years. During that time, he was the designer of choice for Classic Cinemas, of Downers Grove, Ill., an independent, family-owned company of more than 80 screens in the region. DuciBella led the renovations of two of Classic Cinemas' most historic theatres, the Tivoli Theatre, in Downers Grove, Ill., and the Lake Theatre, Oak Park, Ill.

    A passionate researcher and storyteller of Chicago history, he had the unique ability to weave with words the complex religious, ethnic, labor, political and architectural histories of Chicago into near-epic tales – neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, and theatre to theatre. He was most recently featured in the documentary film “Uptown: Portrait of a Palace,” which gave a glimpse of his knowledge about the challenges of historic theatre renovation and reuse.

    DuciBella was a frequent speaker and informed tour guide for events and symposia related to architecture and historic preservation – particularly theatre buildings. He rallied enthusiasm and anticipation for decades for his comprehensive book, “The Theatres of Chicago,” that has not yet been published. However, he published articles and lectured on theatre design history extensively for more than 30 years.

    A quiet but methodical activist, DuciBella worked steadily in many historic preservation efforts in Chicago, including support of the Wicker Park (neighborhood) historic district, the Chicago Theatre, the Oriental Theatre, the Uptown Theatre, the Congress Theatre and St. James Cathedral. He was a proud owner of a National Register home in Wicker Park, in which had been a tenant. He out-stayed the other boarders, bought the building and restored it over time to its original Victorian beauty.

  • June 25, 2007

    This summer at the movies

    Dan Glickman of the MPAA sounds off on the summer’s film business.

    It’s been just a few weeks since the official start of summer. As folks break out their summer whites, dive into the local swimming pool and fire up the grill, one additional seasonal pastime is off to a blazing start: it seems everyone is heading to the movies.

    Moviegoers today have plenty of choices for their entertainment — from television to video games to the beckoning outdoors. Yet the allure of air conditioning and fresh popcorn alone can hardly account for the movie-going masses visiting the theaters in such large numbers. From long-awaited summer sequels to smaller films that make us laugh, think, or both, the movies are enjoying a revival today.

    First out of the gate were a bevy of fan favorites — from Spider-man to Shrek to Pirates of the Caribbean. Independents like Waitress found a place in our hearts and continue to thrive at the box office. Knocked Up demonstrated a bull market for films that celebrate the humor of being, well, human. Fans came back to see the gang from Ocean’s and just last weekend Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer beat box office figures for the original which debuted in 2005.

    For more, read the Huffington Post.