May 5, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — It’s sort of a cross between a reincarnation and a re-opening, but there’s once again a functioning Marina Theater in San Francisco on Chestnut Street. This San Francisco Chronicle article describes the fight to save the theater space and keep it as a cinema, although only a portion of the exterior appears to be what remains of the original theater.
The Marina, 2149 Chestnut St., originally opened in 1928 – to see what it looked like in April 1956, check out the big black-and-white photo of it at Bechelli’s ‘50s-style diner next door to the Presidio – and eventually became the Cinema 21 in the 1960s and was bought by Century Cinemas. The theater seemed doomed when Century joined United Artists, Regal Cinemas and other corporations in dumping their single-screen neighborhood movie houses to focus on multiplexes.
Walgreens wanted the space, but met opposition from a Marina neighborhood association, Chestnut Street merchants and the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation headed by San Francisco Giants executives Alfonso Felder and Jack Bair. By 2004, a compromise was worked out between Walgreens, the community groups and property owner Ray Kaliski. The drugstore chain agreed to give up half of the building, and the rest would become the theater.
May 1, 2008
BURTON, MI and FLINT, MI — Both remaining drive-in theaters in the Flint, Michigan area are open this year. The US 23 Twin Drive-in Theatre just south of Flint will open for the season on May 2. It has been owned by the Warrington family since it first opened in 1951.
The Miracle Twin Drive-in Theatre, one of the last two remaining drive-in theaters operated by National Amusements, opened for the season on April 25. The other drive-in National Amusements still operates is the Kenwood Drive-in Theatre in Louisville, KY.
April 29, 2008
WATSONVILLE, CA — The 1923 Fox Theatre is set to reopen in Watsonville, CA.
This budget Landsburg-designed theatre has been closed since April 1, 2005.
After nearly three years of dark screens, the historic Fox Theatre marquee is lighting up again this week to announce a blockbuster, a children’s matinee and an independent film.
“It’s a good thing for downtown Watsonville,” said Ivan Chable, general manager of the Fox Theatre, who personally scrubbed many of the 600 upholstered seats to prepare the 85-year-old theater for its reopening and hired the new staff. “The people in Watsonville don’t have too many choices where to go and have some fun.”
Here is the full article from the Monterey County Herald.
April 28, 2008
ST. LOUIS, MO — Landmark Theatres is not renewing their lease on the Hi-Pointe Theatre, thus leaving the single-screen owners in search of a new company to run the theatre.
“Gone fishin'. See you soon,” says the marquee of the otherwise-empty Hi-Pointe Theatre.
But just how long the one-screen theater at 1005 McCausland Ave. stays dark is anybody’s guess.
Landmark Chief Executive Officer Ted Mundorff said the company decided not to renew its lease with building owners George W. and Georgia L. James because of a national trend against one-screen theaters.
Read more in the West County Journal.
(Thanks to Arbitrary.Marks for providing the photo.)
BARKHAMSTED, CT — The Pleasant Valley Drive-In re-opened April 25 for yet another season! The one-screen, 300-car theater is nestled just off State RT 44 between Harford and Winsted in Litchfield County, Connecticut. This drive-In always features two movies, most of which are first-run or recently released. For the first double-featured, the Pleasant Valley Drive-In is showing “Nims Island” and “Vantage Point”.
April 16, 2008
DAVENPORT, IA — Randy and Terri Lorenz will be opening “Reel to Reel” this summer. It’s been 20 years since the last drive-in in the Quad Cities closed.
A nostalgic summer pastime will be available in the Quad-Cities this summer.
Randy and Terri Lorenz and their grown son, Arron, found that a trip to the drive-in movies was a trip indeed — to such places as Maquoketa or Grandview, Iowa.
To bring the experience closer to home for Quad-Citians, they plan to open a two-screen drive-in theater at the west edge of Davenport, just off West Locust Street and north of West Lake Park.
Read the full story in the Quad-City Times.
April 15, 2008
PRESQUE ISLE, ME — With three screens and some slightly less mainstream fare, the Braden Theatre is back and appreciated by a new audience.
The Braden Theater has been vacant for quite some time now. Arlen Dow had an itch to invest in a new business. Chris Dow, the former 12 year assistant manager for FYE, was getting tired of waiting for a movie theater to open up in town. With Arlen’s drive for something new, and Chris’s drive to introduce some culture into Aroostook County, Presque Isle became blessed with a brand spankin' new theater.
The Braden has three classically styled viewing rooms. One holds 144 springy red cushioned seats, the other 161, and the largest holds 171. The theater has radiant heating.
“Having the floors heated makes it very comfortable in here. The floors are warm, so the seats are warm, and it saves on energy costs, too,” Dows said.
For more of the story, visit the University Times.
April 11, 2008
BRONX, NY — Tomorrow, Friday, April 11, Bow Tie Cinemas (Charley and Ben Moss, owners) will reopen the historic American Theater in the Parkchester section of The Bronx, NY! Designed by John and Drew Eberson in art deco style, Loew’s Theaters first opened The American in 1939-1940 as a 1400 seat theater. In its current configuration as a seven screen facility, the theater seats just over 1300. It closed on March 30th as the previous owner retired.
“Many improvements will be made in the coming months, including new seating, new concession stand (with hot food selection),online ticketing, and projection and sound improvements,” said Bow Tie C.O.O. Joe Masher.
Opening attractions will be “Prom Night”; “Street Kings”; “The Ruins”; “Under the Same Moon”; “Nim’s Island”; “21”; and “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns”.
March 5, 2008
WINTER GARDEN, FL — “Curtain Up” was the title of the Garden Theatre’s gala grand dedication weekend Feb. 29 through March 2. The weekend opened with a black tie event on Friday evening, with Florida’s Senator Bill Nelson present. On stage were the Garden Community Choir, the Bay Street Church of God in Christ gospel singers, a full orchestra, professional singers, ballet artists and puppets.
The history of the 1935 theatre was presented in live performances and film. Davis Gaines, of Phantom of the Opera fame was featured in the Friday performance. All events were almost filled to capacity. Tours of the facility were given all day Saturday, with film presentations between the tours. There were plenty of chill bumps and tears of joy as the community celebrated the return of its theatre after 45 years of neglect. Residents and friends are encouraged to continue to come and watch our Garden grow!
(Thanks to Irv Lipscomb for the photo.)
March 3, 2008
LOS ANGELES, CA — Following a long renovation process, the Million Dollar Theater is finally ready for its closeup again. A huge step forward for Broadway, the early stages were chronicled last year in a CT Interview.
For more than a year the red letters on the Million Dollar Theatre’s marquee have proclaimed “Coming Soon.” Last week, the static sign changed to “The Million Dollar Presenta,” ushering in a new era for the 1918 landmark as it reopened with a flurry of fanfare that included Aztec dancers, mariachis and other performers.
Following a yearlong renovation that cost more than $1 million, managing partner Robert Voskanian on Thursday welcomed a host of city and community leaders to the refurbished Spanish Baroque venue at 307 S. Broadway. Mexican singer and Latin Grammy winner Pepe Aguilar christened the theater’s massive stage, which has not seen a live performance in more than two decades.
With Broadway closed off to traffic, the theater’s glitzy debut was a snapshot of its past life, when it once drew throngs of patrons to watch the top entertainers and films of its day. The Million Dollar is only the third historic theater on Broadway to reopen for a regular slate of live concerts and events.
Read more in the L.A. Downtown News.
(Thanks to my hovercraft is full of eels for providing the photo.)