• March 12, 2007

    Travolta steps up for film causes

    OCALA, FL — For the opening of his new film ‘WILD HOGS’ John Travolta wanted to do something to help his community. There were over 200 tickets sold to a VIP event at Club Blue adjacent to the Hollywood 16 theaters in Ocala, Florida. Proceeds went to the Florida Tornado Victims, The Historic Marion Theatre, and to the Film Commission of real Florida.

    John Travolta presented a check to Mayor Max Pullen, of Lady Lake Florida, for $15,000 from the event and to top it off he also matched it with a personal check for $15,000. Proceeds also went to help restore the historic Marion Theatre in downtown Ocala. The building has been under construction since October of 2006 and is slated to finish June of 2007. This was a wonderful event and it helped causes that the Travoltas are passionate about.

  • March 8, 2007

    Indie theater fights clearance

    WEST BOYLSTON, MA — Having to now wait almost half a year sometimes to get a popular studio film, one theater is fighting back to get the state senate to repeal the clearance measures that allow big chains to hold back certain product. Legislation will be presented to the state senate.

    Theater owners Kevin and Carrie Broderick would have liked to show the movie months ago, but a contentious industry practice known as “clearance” denied them the chance.

    Film distributors will allow exhibitors in a given region to claim exclusive rights to titles within competitive zones. For West Boylston, Showcase Cinemas North in Worcester has claimed those rights to most first-run features, according to the Brodericks. If Showcase is showing a film, they said, that theater will ask distributors not to give it to West Boylston.

    “It’s not fair competition,” Ms. Broderick said in a recent interview. “The consumer is not benefiting from us being left out of the ability to play first-run pictures. All we’re asking for is a level playing field.”

    For more, go to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette News.

  • February 28, 2007

    MoPix system could revolutionize theater experience for some

    FORT WAYNE, IN — A student at Indiana University has created a new in-theater system to assist those hearing and visually impaired. With components including a rear captioning system and headphones, it could completely change the way people see films.

    One component of MoPix is The Rear Window Captioning System, and it’s an amazingly simple concept. An LED screen mounted at the rear of an auditorium displays captions, but displays them backward.

    A patron who wants to make use of the system carries a transparent acrylic panel to their seats and mounts it in the cupholder or attaches it to the armrest.

    Another component of MoPix is DVS Theatrical which allows visually impaired patrons to access narration via headphones that describes what is happening on the screen without drowning out dialogue.

    For more, read the Journal Gazette.

  • February 16, 2007

    Screenvision lives at Clearview… for now

    Check this link out from Mediaweek regarding Screenvision’s renewal to show in-theater ads at the Clearview Cinemas chain.

    Screenvision announced Tuesday it had expanded its relationship with Clearview Cinemas, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp. Under the new long-term contract, Screenvision retains the exclusive rights to sell the advertising on Clearview’s 258 screens.

    The cinema rep firm also gains the rights to sell advertising on Clearview’s in-lobby plasma screens and in-lobby promotional programs. Screenvision will also install and operate its high-definition digital network on all Clearview screens.

    For more, go to Mediaweek.

  • February 14, 2007

    Larry King (of the blurbs)

    Ever notice how many movies Larry King seems to like? (His quotes have been appearing on a ton of movie trailers and posters.)

    Well, the Los Angeles Times has a funny piece about CNN host Larry King’s prolific movie reviews.

    King sees movies every week, often catching a noon flick before heading over to CNN to do his show. It must keep him young. At 73, he’s slim and trim, almost boyishly petite. His hair, once gray, is now a dry brown, like the trunk of a palm tree, with gray at the temples. He seems to see everything, describing the movies in blurb-like bursts, from “Letters From Iwo Jima” (“Loved every minute of it!”) to a film about Turkish genocide called “Screamers” (“Very well done!”).

    “I know they’re only looking for a catchphrase,” he explained the other day, ensconced at his favorite table at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, where he orders a spartan salad for lunch (“Don’t give me any eggs!”). “If I like the movie, I give ‘em a quote. If I don’t like something, I’m not gonna rap it. Sometimes they don’t even use it. I gave Clint a big rave for his movie and they didn’t even need it.”

    While King could probably take a break from reviewing movies for a while, the article mentions that the CNN anchor oftens sees a film before heading into the studio each day.

    And there’s a nice story about why movies mean so much to him.

  • February 8, 2007

    European cinema companies revolt over the Hollywood rush to DVD

    European theaters are revolting against American studios that insist on releasing DVD’s of recent films sooner and sooner. Chains protested by refusing to show “Eragon” and now they’re doing the same for the recent hit, “Night at the Museum.”

    The global dispute is about the future of a longstanding film distribution system in which movies are released in timed “windows” beginning with theaters, and then home videos, pay-per-view and, ultimately, television.

    In many cases, as in Germany and Britain, these rituals were based on informal agreements with Hollywood film distributors, although in France a law bans DVD sales until six months after the initial appearance in a theater.

    For more, go to the International Herald Tribune.

  • February 5, 2007

    Phantom of the Movies' VideoScope Magazine enters 15th Year

    Phantom of the Movies Magazine Enters 15th Year

    The movie-buff magazine THE PHANTOM OF THE MOVIES VIDEOSCOPE, launched as a newsletter in January 1993 and now an 80-page magazine, enters its 15th year of publishing with its new Winter 2007 issue.

    While we cover the entire DVD genre spectrum, from science fiction and horror to art-house and indies, we also focus on movie theaters in two ongoing columns: Editor Joe Kane’s Screen Savers, memoirs recounting his life and times as an inveterate moviegoer, and the rotating guest column “The First Picture Show,” where film writers recall their earliest movie-going epiphanies. Each issue features a new photo, by staff photographer Nancy Naglin, of a surviving or reviving single-screen theater (Bijous Redux) or a still-standing former theater (Bijous Gone By).

  • January 31, 2007

    Richard Crowther, Architect of Cooper/Indian Hills Theatres Has Died at 96

    I have recently learned that Richard Crowther, the architect of the Cooper/Indian Hills “hatbox” Cinerama movie theatres, has passed away. This means that the interview I filmed with him for my documentary, “Preserve Me a Seat” was perhaps the last onscreen interview the reclusive architect ever gave in his life. More information about Crowther’s work and life can be found in this link to an article in the Denver Post:

    Richard Crowther Obituary.

    And, if anyone is interested, the complete interview with Richard Crowther can be seen on the dvd of “Preserve Me a Seat,” my documentary about efforts to preserve historic movie theatres, which features both the Cooper and Indian Hills theatres. You can get the dvd here if you’re interested: Apartment 101 Films

    I’ll never forget how fascinating Mr. Crowther was to talk to about his theater designs, or how concerned he was about building structures that would not harm the environment. He was truly a visionary.

    Jim Fields
    Writer/Director, “Preserve Me a Seat”

  • January 30, 2007

    Canadian chain sells theater naming rights

    How would you like it if you walked up to your favorite theater next week to find it named the Washington Mutual 14 or the Best Buy Theatre @ Main Street? Some people in Canada are feeling that right now as Cineplex and Scotiabank form a partnership.

    Following the lead of our new opera house and almost every arena in professional sports, Cineplex Entertainment has entered into a five-year deal with Scotiabank to rebrand theatres in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Some attendees at last night’s soiree buzzed with concern at a corporate branding trend that continues to encroach upon significant and historic sites, while others pointed out that the former Paramount has always been tied to a brand.

    Gone are the familiar Paramount script and bold exterior signage, replaced with temporary signage more appropriate for the boards at a hockey arena. Even the antique bronze railing transplanted from New York’s historic Paramount Theater (shuttered in 1964) has been removed from the area above the escalators. Cineplex currently has a 3-D marquee in the works that is somewhat similar to the recently dismantled one.

    For more, go to the Torontoist.

  • Cinema Heritage Group newsletter

    Dear Cineaste,

    In November last year the Cinema Heritage Group (IRE) was formed by a number of cinema enthusiasts. Our main interest lies in cinema buildings, their architecture and the history of cinema-going in Dublin and Ireland.

    I have started issuing a small, free e-newsletter (monthly), featuring cinema news incl.:
    -developments re. historic cinema buildings and new multiplexes
    – related publications, events, exhibitions and tours
    – recommended reading and viewing + film news etc.
    “The Cinematograph” (featuring colour illustrations; now out in its third issue) is available as a PDF* e-mail attachment (only).