• August 19, 2009

    Israel’s aspiring ‘film capital’ is losing its movie theaters

    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL — Despite recent enthusiasm for the film market there, Jerusalem has been losing its theaters.

    Ever since Nir Barkat won the mayoral race in Jerusalem in November, the new administration under his helm has gone out of its way to prove the city is vital and has much to offer young people. Barkat spoke of Jerusalem as a “film capital” and hosted Hollywood producers to persuade them to shoot movies there.

    But even if this dream comes true, Jerusalemites may soon be forced to go elsewhere to watch these movies. The capital is turning into the periphery, culturally speaking, in the number of functioning movie screens. In just three months, six screening halls in the Malha shopping mall will close to make way for the H&M clothing chain. And a serious threat of closure hangs over the Lev Smadar, a historic and much-loved institution, active as movie house for the last 81 years in the German Colony.

    Read more at Haaretz.

  • Capitol Theatre Building gets high profile tenant

    FLINT, MI — Television station WJRT reports at that the Spencer Agency, an advertising agency presently in Mundy Township, is renovating a storefront space next to the iconic Capitol Theatre/ downtown. Owner Joshua Spencer is excited to be a part of the revitalization of downtown Flint. The agency plans on moving to the theater building in the fall.

  • August 18, 2009

    New operators for NY theaters

    NEW YORK, NY — I was just told by staff there that the Paris and the Beekman (Formerly NY 1 + 2) Theaters have been leased to City Cinemas, and to look for a lot of changes…

  • UC Theater eyed for concert use

    BERKELEY, CA — Closed since 2001, the UC Theater may become a live entertainment site.

    B.B. King is coming to town—or might soon if Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board approves a new concert venue at the abandoned historic UC Theater on 2036 University Ave.

    The proposed project would restore the dilapidated 21,000-square-foot UC Theater—designed in 1917 by noted local architect James Plachek—into an elegant three-tiered seating facility capable of holding 1,440 guests.

    The city’s oldest surviving single-screen movie theater and a Berkeley landmark, the 1,350-seat UC theater is part of a 31,200-square-foot mixed-use building, which also includes five retail storefronts and 20 residential units on the second floor.

    Read the full story in the Berkeley Daily Planet.

  • August 17, 2009

    The struggling of the Praise Cathedral

    TAMPA, FL — The recent problems of the former Seminole Theater are set out in this report in the local press. Long in use as a church, serious money is needed for repairs.

    For years, Hall has scraped by with little money and a desire to hold the church together, spiritually. Meanwhile, she has plugged roof leaks, replaced the church sign and done whatever else was needed to satisfy code enforcement inspectors.

    The word “condemned,” Hall says, is overly harsh and inaccurate. She prefers “damaged.”

    She has had offers to sell but each time has said no.

    Read the full story at Tampa Bay Online.

  • August 14, 2009

    US 23 Drive-in adds third screen

    FLINT, MI — After months of planning, the third screen of the US 23 Drive-in Theatre became operational last Saturday with the double feature of “G-Force” with “Harry Potter.” While the two other screens fabricated by Selby Industries (40' x 80' each) were derived from the old South Dort DI’s ) 60' x 120' screen tower, the new screen measures 30' x 60' and is supported by used shipping containers.

    Details can be found in the Flint Journal and WJRT.

    The drive-in’s Facebook page shows construction photos.

  • August 11, 2009

    Landmark status sought for Shore Theater at Coney Island

    BROOKLYN, NY — Both the interior and exterior of the Shore Theater (formerly Loew’s Coney Island, built in 1925) have been nominated for landmark status. Preservationists hope that the attainment of this status will eventually lead to the theater’s restoration.

    Preservationists nominated the fa├žade and interior of the 1920s vaudeville playhouse on Surf Avenue for protective status in 2005, but Mayor Bloomberg’s vast redevelopment plan for Coney Island, which the City Council approved last week, jumpstarted the lingering review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    “The architectural quality is every bit as wonderful as Broadway theaters that have received landmarking,” said Dick Zigun of Coney Island USA, the group that made the request. “The city let us know they’re sympathetic to our request.”

    Read more in the Brooklyn Paper.

  • August 3, 2009

    Mann Festival closes

    LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles Times discusses the quickly fading theaters of Westwood, as the Mann Festival closed Thursday.

    Moviegoers in the 1960s and ‘70s flocked to Westwood Village, where they had their pick of first-run films on nearly 20 screens. With parking scarce, patrons stashed their cars at the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard and took shuttles into the village. A-list celebrities turned out for frequent splashy openings.

    The occasional premiere still brings red carpets and klieg lights, but the neighborhood near UCLA is no longer the movie hub it once was. Nearby multiplexes have lured away most of the crowds, who favor comfortable stadium seating, state-of-the-art sound systems and other modern amenities.

  • July 28, 2009

    Theater plan moves to center stage in Fremont

    FREMONT, CA — After locals came together to save the Center Theater, the city is now supporting it again.

    For a community group that wants to turn the Center Theater into a performing arts center, the message from City Hall is clear: “Break a leg, but don’t break the bank.”

    City leaders have committed to acquiring the 1940s theater in the Centerville district and working with the Centerville Theater Preservation Group to turn it into a community theater that would support nonprofit performing arts groups.

    But for that to happen, the community group first must build a $3 million endowment so that the city won’t be stuck paying for theater operations.

    Read the full story in the Oakland Tribune.

  • July 24, 2009

    Uptown stands alone as best in Washington

    WASHINGTON, DC — This post in the Examiner salutes the Uptown Theater and calls it Washington’s best.

    For a native Washingtonian, this one’s a real no-brainer. As any local film connoisseur can tell you, the best place to see a movie in this area is the Uptown Theater located in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

    There are many qualities that distinguish the Uptown, but the main attraction is the huge curved screen that stands 32 feet tall by 70 feet wide. The 840-seat capacity also boasts a large old-fashioned balcony. (In fact, the single best seat to see a movie in this area is middle of the front row in the Uptown balcony.)

    Read more at Film 101.