• April 4, 2008

    Tiny cinema awaits giant’s arrival

    ALAMEDA, CA — With a capacity of under 50, this converted mortuary, the Central Cinema, has found ways to be successful.

    With a capacity of just 49 – the theater’s seating is a hodgepodge of couches and easy chairs found on Craigslist – Haskett says his Central Cinema is the smallest commercial movie theater in the United States. He fought local government attempts to shutter the theater when it opened three years ago, and now operates with the city’s blessing. His next challenge comes later this year, when a multiplex opens down the street.

    Currently the only movie house in Alameda, Haskett’s boutique theater raises immediate questions: How does it make money? Why do the studios let him play first-run movies? How can he compete with bigger theaters? But Haskett, 38, who grew up working in movie houses near Atlanta, says his business model makes even more sense than the much larger stadium-seating theaters in Emeryville and in Oakland’s Jack London Square. After getting a small amount of financing, Haskett says he has made a profit since the theater opened in 2004.

    The full story is in the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • March 19, 2008

    New Regal given new life

    CHICAGO, IL — Last year it was revealed that this atmospheric would reopen in October but no more news followed and the new website remained static. The delay was caused by an amount of $1.9 million which was owed to the city. City officials have now waived this debt which has allowed the new owners to purchase the theatre for $2.36 million. The new owners have already spent $400,000 on refurbishment,so can expect the theatre will reopen sometime soon.

    With a big assist from City Hall, investors have purchased the New Regal Theater with plans to revive the South Side landmark as a showcase for live entertainment.

    A venture run by Regina Evans, a former Chicago Police lieutenant who owns a limousine service, this week closed on a $2.36 million acquisition of the theater at 1641 E. 79th St. The deal has been pending for months and was made possible by an agreement from city officials to forgive $1.9 million in public loans and grants attached to the property.

    Full story in the Sun Times.

  • March 12, 2008

    Local projectionist shares memories

    DAGSBORO, DE — Charles W. Thorns has been showing films for over fifty years and as resident projectionist at the Clayton Theatre, he’s shared his passion as well.

    Sitting in the little projectionist booth at the Clayton Theatre — and more than 10 others over the years — he has virtually memorized the dialog for hundreds of films.

    It’s a dying art, he said, because while other larger theaters run a platter system — meaning a projectionist flips a switch to start the movie — he learns the films while he is watching. His attention is necessary as a little dot in the left hand corner of every film signals him to change projectors in moments.

    For more, go to the Daily Times.

  • March 6, 2008

    Alex gets by for now

    GLENDALE, CA — Despite a growing number of programs and events, the Alex Theatre reported a loss last year. While the yearly money from the city makes up for that, the theatre’s future, after they stop receiving a yearly stipend in seven years, remains in doubt.

    Second-quarter financial data released Friday for the Alex Theatre reflected signs of a strengthening client base, a key indicator of how successful its role as an independent venue will be seven years from now when city subsidies dry up, officials said.

    While its year-to-date loss had increased $42,000 to more than $247,700 over the same period last year, activity at the landmark theater had increased nearly 24%, bumping attendance up 4.8%, according to the report.

    Read more at the Glendale News Press.

    (Thanks to DonnaGrayson for providing the photo.)

  • March 5, 2008

    Airline Magazine by Ross Melnick features Historic Movie Theaters

    The current Southwest Airlines onboard magazine features a two page article entitled Classic Movie Theaters, by this site’s own Ross Melnick. A beautiful photo of the facade of the Grand Lake of Oakland, CA, with the roof sign lit, and an equally gorgeous photo of the atmospheric Tampa Theatre facing the proscenium arch of the auditorium, are included.

    Other theaters included are the Seattle Cinerama and the Music Box Theatre, Chicago, IL.

    Thanks Ross for your outstanding advocacy of cinema treasures!

  • March 3, 2008

    Landmark Theatres takes over Gateway

    COLUMBUS, OH — After only two years, the Drexel Gateway is changing hands.

    It’s already time for a sequel at the two-year-old movie theater at South Campus Gateway.

    Campus Partners announced last Tuesday that Drexel Theatres Group will no longer operate the Gateway Theater, as of March 1. Then came word Friday about the future management of the eight-screen multiplex: It will be run by the art-house chain Landmark Theatres.

    Read the full story in the Columbus Dispatch.

  • February 29, 2008

    Norwalk Theatre success

    NORWALK, OH — There was lots of old fashioned laughter on Saturday, the 23rd of February as old cartoons and Three Stooges were shown on the large screen at the Norwalk Theatre. Two showings entertained fun lovers of all ages.

  • February 26, 2008

    “Semi-Pro” holds gala premiere at the film’s setting.

    FLINT, MI — Hollywood came back to Flint Thursday night at the National Amusements Showcase Cinemas Flint West when the director of the new film “Semi-Pro“ Kent Alterman returned to town to speak and to take in the gala premiere of the film which played on two screens of the megaplex. While the film’s star Will Ferrell couldn’t make it, he did appear in a recorded greeting. The film opens nationally on Friday, February 29.

    Most of the film was shot on location in Michigan including scenes filmed at the Capitol Theatre.

    News coverage of the premiere can be found from the Flint Journal, FJ #2, FJ #3 as well as from WJRT including videos.

    Additional news with video from WNEM.

  • February 22, 2008

    Landmark celebrates 80 years

    SYRACUSE, NY — The historic Landmark Theatre is having its 80th anniversary this month, as strong as ever.

    Gladly, much has changed for the glitzy, golden-plastered showplace at 362 S. Salina St., but not without a lot of struggle, negotiations, volunteer hours and last-gasp efforts to save the movie palace that was built in 1928. Once surrounded by at least seven similarly ornate moviehouses, the former Loew’s State Theatre is the remaining Syracuse vestige of a bygone era. Few today would argue for its demolition. But three decades ago, a wrecking ball sat on the stage, its operator anticipating the order to get smashing.

    Now the Landmark’s future looks bright with the recent purchase of vacant Clinton Street buildings that surround the venue. Once the stage is expanded outward, the theater can stake its claim as the premier traveling Broadway venue in Central New York. Think of seeing Spamalot, The Lion King and Wicked without the passport hassles of traveling to Toronto.

    Read more at the Syracuse News Times.

  • February 21, 2008

    Future in doubt for Star-Vu

    COSTA MESA, CA — After an exciting first year, plans are still up in the air for the return of the Star-Vu Drive-In.

    Orange County’s drive-in renaissance is going through a bit of a dark age.

    It’s been two months since the Star-Vu Drive-In at the county fairgrounds closed down, and it’ll be at least a couple more months until the outdoor movie theater reopens.

    Find out more at the OC Register.