• 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).

  • January 26, 2007

    AMC lets teachers in for free

    An interesting promotion to tie in with the new film, “Freedom Writers”, AMC is allowing teachers in for free for the next week to see the picture.

    The offer is good from Friday through Feb. 1 for teachers in grades kindergarten through 12th who show a valid school identification or pay stub.

    “We hope this will help express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for all that they do, often with very little thanks' in return,” the Kansas City-based exhibitor said in a news release.

    To read more, go to AZ Central.

  • January 25, 2007

    Changes to rating system coming

    After years of secrecy, the MPAA is finally making some changes and allowing more information on their ratings system to be available to the public. Possibly because of the popular 2006 documentary, “This Film is Not Yet Rated”, the association will start disclosing the identities of its senior members and enlarge their appeals board.

    The secretive movie ratings system—the bane of Hollywood filmmakers, who often complain that its judgments are inconsistent—is about to get an overhaul.

    For the first time in its 38-year history, the group that operates the system plans to make its ratings rules and regulations public. It will also describe the standards for each rating, and detail the appeal process.

    For more, go to

  • January 24, 2007

    Suzuki FLix debuts at auto show

    Sure to be the dream car of many here, Suzuki showed off their new movie theater car at a recent auto show.

    One of the concept vehicles at NAIAS which somehow seemed to slip below the radar was the silver-screen-inspired XL7 Flix concept. The Flix concept offers film enthusiasts the ultimate mobile movie experience, being outfitted with an in-vehicle movie system. After parking at the optimal film-viewing destination, Flix’s clamshell roof can be opened, revealing a maximum-size moonroof that serves as a 40-inch movie screen.

    Additionally, the XL7 concept’s front roof panel vents, giving way to a high-density digital projection system to display a family’s movie of choice.

    To read more, go to Business Week.

  • January 22, 2007

    Muvico founder to offer movies — and much more

    Out to compete with the growing number of luxury brands, Hamid Hashemi, former Muvico founder is taking the standard one step further with a new one-stop entertainment destination in his new venture, IPic Entertainment.

    IPic Entertainment aims to attract young professionals with a concept that combines a luxury movie theater, with a sit-down restaurant, high-end bowling alley, full-service bar and live entertainment. The first location will open this summer in a Milwaukee suburb, with longer-term plans in the works for South Florida.

    “People still want to go out, but they want to know they’re getting value and entertainment for their dollar,‘” said Hashemi, founder and chief executive of the Fort Lauderdale-based IPic. “When you go to this facility it’s not going to be just to see a movie, it’s going to be to spend the night. It’s a total entertainment destination. The theater is a small part of it.”

    To read more, go to the Miami Herald.

    CORRECTION 1/23: Please note that this project is not affiliated with Muvico. Our apologies for not highlighting that originally.

  • January 17, 2007

    Art House chains show improvement

    LOS ANGELES, CA — No longer just a niche product, art house theaters are now sprouting up as the backbone of shopping centers. With the Laemmle and Landmark chains leading the pack in L.A., the independent film market is becoming a more profitable sector.

    But lately, Laemmle Theatres has been going uptown. The chain has been attracting a new group of fans — community planners, developers and powerful homeowner associations — that has taken art houses from dusty afterthoughts to project anchors.

    The theaters are in demand, not only for their highbrow offerings, but because they also attract an upscale, generally well-behaved crowd that can help set the tone for business developments.

    For more, go to the Los Angeles Times.

  • January 15, 2007

    Time to book a trip to Bangkok!

    I have just returned from Bangkok – with of course cinema visits at every opportunity —I could not find any ‘older cinemas’ but there are countless brand new multi-screens.

    I came upon three special screens in the Paragon Multiplex – this cinema on the sixth/seventh floor of a massive shopping complex has 14 ordinary screens, an IMAX and these three specials [sponsored by Nokia]. The normal ticket price was 140/150 bhat [ £2/2.10p – so low??] but these screens charged 500 bhat [£6.50] – the chairs give back and leg massage and are supplied with blankets and pillows!! – see the photos – I am supprised the UK/US chains don’t copy!??