From The Washington Times: Brent McKinley recalls it well – watching Willie Nelson in “Honeysuckle Rose” on the Doric Theatre’s big screen.
The 1980 movie “probably wasn’t very good,” he said with a chuckle.
But it would be the last movie the then-10-year-old McKinley would recall watching on the Doric’s screen before Morton County’s only theater went dark a short time later.
The theater was turned into apartments for a while before becoming a deteriorating storage building. McKinley, who tried to lead a revival of the theater last decade, didn’t figure it would ever flicker on again, due to the expensive price tag.
Now, the 35-year intermission has ended. The popcorn is popping again. The movies are rolling.
At the age of 98, there is a breath of new life in the Doric.
From Triblive: A second grand reopening of the renovated historic Lamp Theatre is planned for Saturday, about three years after major renovations were started on the former Main Street movie house.
“The goal has been to entertain the community. It has been mission No. 1, and it has been a great response. We keep exceeding expectations,” said John Gdula, president of the Lamp Theatre Corp. board of directors, which oversees the multi-use performance center. Irwin turned over ownership of the structure to the theater corporation in August 2015.
In the past year, the Lamp has attracted more than 10,000 patrons to watch a variety of performances, including concerts, comedies and musical theater, said John Cassandro, general manager of the Lamp and president of Irwin Borough Council.
“Our gate receipts are really good,” Gdula said.
With a year of operations under their belt, managers have a better idea of how to operate the facility, Gdula said.
“It was a learning curve. We’re evaluating the market and seeing how the community is responding” to the kind of acts that are being booked, Gdula said.
Those theatergoers flowing into downtown Irwin have benefited the restaurants and has given the community more vibrancy, said Lois Woleslagle, president of the Irwin Business and Professional Association, a volunteer group that promotes Main Street activities.
“Some businesses are profiting from what is going on,” Gdula said.
For the grand opening, a VIP reception will be at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for donors, business owners and those who played key roles in its revitalization. The evening will feature the Beatles tribute band Hard Day’s Night.
The night’s festivities “will be able to show those people who so kindly donated their time and money exactly what has been done with both,” said Bill Elder, operations manager. “We can show everyone where the theater started, where we stand now and where we plan to be in the future.”
The Lamp closed in 2004, a victim of changing times, when movie buffs were opting for multi-screen theaters in shopping malls and plazas. Downtown theaters in places such as Greensburg, Charleroi and Monessen became a relic of the past, although the Lamp hung on longer than most.
The Westmoreland Cultural Trust, a Greensburg-based foundation that owned and renovated the city’s Palace Theatre, assumed ownership of the Lamp in January 2007. But progress toward reopening suffered a setback in March 2009 when a fire in the abutting Irwin Hotel damaged the theater. When the proposed renovations for the theater came in at $250,000 over estimates in July 2012, the project again stalled.
Irwin took ownership of the building in May 2013 and began exterior renovations. Officials hoped to have it opened by fall 2014, in time for the 150th anniversary of Irwin’s founding.
“It was a little bit daunting at first,” Gdula said of the necessary renovations.
To get the point where it was viable again and worthy of a grand opening, backers had to raise sufficient money to save the 79-year-old theater. It was the beneficiary of about $600,000 in county and state grants and another $150,000 of in-kind contributions. The renovations that relit the Lamp could not have been completed with the money that was available were it not for an estimated 3,000 hours of volunteer work from more than 300 people, Gdula said.
Gdula said he was “amazed” by the community’s response to rebuild the Lamp.
“The whole community got invested into it,” Woleslagle said.
The rebirth of the Lamp is proof “there’s a phenomenal group of people in that town,” said Irwin native Christine Orosz, executive director of Stage Right!, a Greensburg-based theater company that put on children’s and adult performances at the renovated Lamp.
“It’s a nice-sized place. People are as happy to be at the Lamp as we are,” Orosz said.
Orosz remembers going to see movies at the Lamp as a youngster. Now, it’s fun to see the students they have taken to Irwin for performances enjoying the town as she and her brother, Anthony Marino, artistic director for Stage Right!, did years ago.
For the next 12 months, Gdula said, the theater board will focus on two initiatives that will require fundraising — obtaining a digital projector that costs an estimated $50,000 and extending the theater into a proposed courtyard with a walled-in area and a concessions section, a project estimated to cost $100,000.
So many of the patrons have asked management, “ ‘When can we start seeing movies again?‘ ” Gdula said.
August 3, 2016
From readability.com: Fine dining and luxury seating come to a new movie theater opening in Bergen County this Friday. iPic, a chain of dine-in movie theaters, is unveiling its fourteenth location, iPic Hudson Lights, on August 5 in Fort Lee.
The theater features over-sized, extra-cushioned leather seats, a menu designed by Chef Sherry Yard, as well as an assortment of “classic candies” and “custom treats,” according to iPic’s website.
Food is delivered to your seat while you’re watching the movie and the waitstaff is trained as “ninja waiters,” so as not to disturb the viewing experience for any customers, iPic president and CEO Hamid Hashemi told northjersey.com.
There will also be a restaurant on-site called City Perch Kitchen + Bar, which will serve “abundant appetizers, just-picked vegetables, generous salads and outstanding main courses from spit-roasted chickens to char-broiled steak,“ according to iPic’s website.
Ticket prices range from $12-25, depending on the seat. Tickets for the 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. screenings of “Bad Moms” on August 5 are already sold out. Also screening for the opening weekend: “Jason Bourne,” “Nine Lines” and “Suicide Squad.” Grab your tickets at the iPic website.
August 1, 2016
From the Indiana Gazette: Equipped with an added piece of expensive technology, the Palace Gardens Drive-in Theater finally opened for the summer Friday evening.
But the technological upgrade wasn’t made just for the sake of becoming more modern. To the contrary, theater owners Clarine Beatty and husband Mike Hudzick made a significant financial investment in Palace Gardens to help preserve much of the 66-year-old drive-in’s tradition and nostalgia.
Making its debut at dusk Friday at the drive-in along Indian Springs Road in White Township was a 2007 model Christie digital movie projector. The addition of a digital projector means Palace Gardens will be able to continue showing new-release movies. About three years ago, movie studios started phasing out 35 mm film prints and began a switch to an all-digital distribution system. Theater owners who choose not to change with the times and acquire a digital projector will eventually be forced to screen only old movies that exist on celluloid.
The change to an all-digital distribution format left the future of Palace Gardens uncertain for the past few years. Beatty said the cost of a new digital projector approaches six figures — a hefty outlay for a business that only operates on weekends during the summer.
Because of the unavailability of movies on 35 mm film, Palace Gardens did not open this Memorial Day weekend as it has for decades. Beatty announced then that the drive-in might open later in the summer if she and Hudzick could “find a digital projection option that works for us.”
“This has been quite an endeavor,” Beatty said this week while preparing for opening night. She started early in 2016 — making a lot of phone calls, contacting other drive-in theater owners and her other movie business contacts — trying to locate a suitable projector.
“We’re a two-person business. … This is not the only thing we do,” Beatty said. She is a schoolteacher and Hudzick’s day job is as a contractor.
The search was complicated by the fact that Beatty and Hudzick not only needed a used projector, but a big one that could cast an image large enough to fill all of Palace Garden’s 92-foot-wide screen, one of the larger screens in the drive-in industry.
July 28, 2016
“The Secret Life of Pets,” “Bad Moms,” and “Jason Bourne” will be the first digital movies to be shown at the Williams Center. The movie theaters will re-open this Friday, July 29, equipped with new digital projectors courtesy of a community fundraiser.
The reopening of the cinemas to first-run movies comes just over a year after the center stopped showing new movies. Community members and Board of Trustee members launched an effort to purchase digital projection equipment necessary to bring new titles back to the Rutherford theater, as trustees said obtaining first-run movies on its outdated technology was cost-prohibitive.
The Williams Center is operated by a non-profit board of trustees and the building is owned by Bergen County.
The concession stand and common areas have been revamped by volunteers and professionals, said Board Vice President Evelyn Spath-Mercado. Rug cleaning, painters and other touches are being done to make the cinemas “look fresh.”
“Of course we had the professional installers put in all three digital projectors, they are up and running,” Spath-Mercado. “It’s going to look pretty darn good.”
Over the past year, volunteers have kept the Williams Center active – hosting classic and second-run movie nights, a comic convention and other events – all with the goal of raising money to fund the digital upgrade. Can collections, a GoFundMe page, fundraising events held at the center, t-shirt sales, a municipal donation and donation by BCB Bank were some of the ways the community pitched in.
“Everyone who contributed from just a quarter, up to the big donation [from BCB Bank], are involved in the opening,” said Spath-Mercado. “Just the cans alone raised $1,100. It truly was a community effort.”
Center officials crossed the $22,500 threshold needed to make a first payment on the three, previously-owned projectors last month. Spath-Mercado said she is confident that the funds needed for the next $22,500 payment will be made, given the new revenue source.
Ticket prices will be $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens and children. Weekend matinees will also be $8.
July 23, 2016
From Richmond Biz Sense: Inspired partly by the closure of a West End movie theater, two Richmonders plan to open a film center in a recently redeveloped downtown property.
James Parrish and Terry Rea plan to open in August the Bijou Film Center at 304 E. Broad St. The pair have a short-term lease for the 1,400-square-foot space on the ground floor of the three-story building.
“We wanted to bring movies back to Broad Street,” Parrish said. “We see it as a starter home. We’re going to start with folding chairs.”
The Bijou Film Center will show movies and sell beer, wine, coffee, popcorn and other food. The August opening won’t be for a fully realized Bijou, but the single-screen film center will have limited screenings until the building is fully built out later this year.
July 12, 2016
From Curbed New York: Bjarke Ingels’s so-called “courtscraper” on Manhattan’s far west side—recently named the best tall building in the Americas—is getting a big addition: The Durst Organization, the developer of the ballyhooed building, announced today that Landmark Theatres will bring an eight-screen theater to the development. It’s expected to open early next year.
It’ll be more than just a screening room, though—the new theater will apparently have a private bar where Q&A’s and special events can be held, along with “unique design elements” like a video wall and a special light display. As is de rigueur for movie theaters these days, the theaters themselves will be equipped with plush leather recliners, plenty of concessions, and laser projection screens. Fancy!
Landmark’s only other New York City theater is the Sunshine Cinema on Houston Street on the Lower East Side. As of last year, that particular cinema was possibly being marketed for sale, though it’s still operating as of now.
July 8, 2016
From MLive.com: Harbor Cinema is back open for business.
Less than two months after the charming movie theater in Muskegon’s Lakeside District announced it would be closing its doors, owner Dan Taylor-Tubergen has made the decision to reopen. He said it was a change in policy by one of the film industry’s leaders that provoked the change of heart.
“We decided to reopen because (21st Century) Fox has dropped the issue of clearances which is what was stopping us from showing their first run films along with the Carousel before,” Taylor-Tubergen said. “So now we will be able to show some first run movies.”
The Harbor Cinema, 1937 Lakeshore Drive, has had a long up-and-down history in Muskegon. It has operated under several owners and names over the years. The theater had been closed since May 8 with owners citing “unwelcomed theater competition in the community by another corporate theater chain.”
June 3, 2016
From Washington City Paper: In early May, single-screen art-house theater Suns Cinema opened in Mt. Pleasant—the latest addition to D.C.’s recent movie theater boom. But a couple weeks earlier, another small movie theater quietly opened, this one on Barracks Row: The Miracle Theatre.
The building that houses The Miracle Theatre, which had its soft opening on April 22, hosted movies and vaudeville shows in a previous life as Meader’s Theater, which opened in 1909. Miracle, which is owned by the National Community Church, is intent on celebrating that history. “We knew we wanted to revive that history for the community,” says Miracle Theatre manager Juliet Main. When the NCC purchased the building in 2011, she says they begin researching its history and decided to furnish and decorate it like a 1920s movie theater.
In addition to showing second runs of new movies, Main says the theater will also host special film series, repertory cinema, and will be used as a live performance venue. “Since we’re setup with a stage, we want to do special events,” she says.
May 20, 2016
From Nebraska.tv: In what could be a Hollywood manuscript, a community has come together to revive a historic theater that’s been family-run for generations.
Central City moviegoers were eager to see the inaugural showing of “Zootopia” four years after the marquee lights shut off.
The State Theater Foundation formed a year ago and began the process of restoring the nearly 60-year-old landmark. It now has a digital projection system, a new screen, and an updated concession area.
“I’ve been so excited of this first night!” exclaimed long time theater patron Rhonda Schulze. “I was a regular before when the original owners were here and I’ve been missing it. Like I said, there’s nothing like the big screen, popcorn, there’s nothing better than theater popcorn. Yeah, I’m just really excited!”
“It’s a good feeling because I just want people to come in and see it,” said State Theater Foundation’s Kasey Blodgett. “And like I said, it gives them something to do so it’s, I’m excited for tonight. I don’t know how to put it into words.”
The foundation hosted a ribbon cutting on Thursday evening prior to the theater’s opening. Show times will be Fridays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m.