March 27, 2009
HARTFORD, CT — An era is over for the Webster Theatre as it falls upon new ownership.
More than 70 years of family ownership has ended with the sale of the Webster Theatre in Hartford to a Massachusetts concert promoter.
Justine Robertson, whose family built the Barry Square movie house in 1937, has sold the venue for an undisclosed price to John Peters, who takes control of the 1,250-capacity rock club, the largest in Connecticut. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Read more at the Hartford Courant.
March 26, 2009
RIDGEWOOD, QUEENS, NY — It looks like the fight for the Ridgewood Theatre ended in success with plans to reopen it.
An encore is planned this summer for a former vaudeville theater in Queens.
Its new owners say the Ridgewood Theatre will reopen in July with a three-screen cinema and shops.
Read more at Newsday.
UPDATE 3/28: New York Times mention.
March 24, 2009
OAKLAND, CA — The 1926 Parkway Theatre closed this past weekend.
In the age of faceless multiplexes and $12 movie tickets, the Parkway movie theater provided low-cost entertainment that extended far beyond Hollywood celluloid. The 1926 theater showed classic films, TV extravaganzas like the inauguration, the Oscars and the Super Bowl, film festivals ranging from educational porn to the African diaspora, midnight showings of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and a full spectrum of vintage slasher, noir, monster and horror flicks.
But the best part, patrons say, was not just the $5 tickets for shows – it was that that the Parkway served beer, wine and pizza, which the staff delivered to your seat during the movie. And the seats were couches and lounge chairs, each accompanied by a coffee table perfect for resting one’s feet.
Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle.
(Thanks to marymactavish for providing the photo.)
SANTA MONICA, CA — According to an article in Friday’s Santa Monica Daily Press, the famous NuWilshire Theatre, which has been closed since November 2007, is going to become home to several retail stores. The article even has images of the interior of the space and already things are starting to change.
Due to the poor economic crisis, the theatre has been untouched for more than a year, and now, things are starting to change. The front of the theatre is going to be somewhat the same, and the marquee is now going to host the name of the various companies inside. The owner, Max Netty of Soundview Investment Partners, voiced his opinion on how important the renovation of the theatre is, despite the fact that he prevented the front of the building to be restored by the Landmarks Commission. According to the Santa Monica Daily Press, “The owner did file an appeal to the landmarks designation, subsequently withdrawing the challenge, according to the commission’s meeting minutes from July 2008.” (SMDP, Issue 116).
As of now, the theatre is undergoing an interior renovation in addition to exterior. Updates regarding the threat will be on here.
March 23, 2009
KANNAPOLIS, NC — The “Making a Difference” segment on March 19th’s “NBC Nightly News” featured Kannapolis, North Carolina’s historic Gem Theatre. Its “Recession Buster” movie screenings, which made local headlines in the Cabarrus County area, are now national news.
The shows, scheduled on Wednesday evenings, routinely sell out the theatre’s 900 seats with free admission and sharply-discounted concessions prices. According to the feature story, textile mills closed several years ago, resulting in a local unemployment rate as high as 10%. The Gem’s General Manager, Steve Morris, says it’s his way of giving back to a community that has supported the historic theatre for many years, through good times and bad.
The Depression-era, Art Deco showplace dates back to 1936, when movie entertainment routinely served as an inexpensive means of “escapism” during troubled economic times.
HOOPESTON, IL — Lorraine Theatre owner Joshua Caudle followed his dream and moved to the midwest to manage a local theatre. Even with these hard times, he’s still finding ways to attract the community.
The small group came along with the new owner because they agree with his philosophy that it’s the only way to do a renovation: You’ve got to be there to see what needs to be done, that it gets done and know what people want. All of the transplants have been active in the actual renovations.
“I always thought I was really bad with names, but now that there’s not so many people and you see a lot of the same people regularly, it’s not so hard to call people by name and the people here are just so friendly,” Caudle said. “Now, I’m concentrating on presentation, redefining, representing the theater to these people and the whole region.”
Read the full story at the News Gazette.
March 19, 2009
BLACKFOOT, ID — After some hard times following an extensive renovation, the end may be near for the Plaza Twin.
Bingham County’s last first-run movie theater could close their doors if business continues to be slow.
A new owner of the Plaza Twin Movie Theater, took over a year ago. He has completely renovated the inside, but a warning from a major movie supplier has him worried about his business' future.
Read the full story at KPVI.
March 18, 2009
FLUSHING, QUEENS, NY — Flushing’s Landmark RKO Keith’s Theatre is once again in the spotlight, an amazing, 23 years after its closure. This is the result of a bursting of the real estate bubble and the formation of a grassroots organization “Friends of the RKO Keith’s Flushing,” which managed to gather an also amazing 1,000+ membership in the first week of its conception.
Formed one short month ago, on the initiative of former Flushing resident and RKO neighbor, Ed Tracey. The group has tapped into a wellspring of interest, extending beyond Flushing’s boundaries, to include former residents and many others, who have attended graduations, dance classes, concerts or saw classic films at the theatre, in addition to current residents who see the potential of this venue. All this suggesting that the former show palace represents something much more than just another inert landmark.
The building located at 135-27 Northern Boulevard, Flushing Queens is now for sale again after the failure by the current owner to develop the site as a 19 story luxury condominium. Faced with the reality of a lasting and depressed real estate market, the survival of any developer is questionable and the sale of this property at a profit is extremely unlikely. Flushing may be left holding a foreclosed property, with little to show for those 23 years of vacancy.
March 17, 2009
CHARLESTON, SC — Terrace Cinemas Charleston announced today they have acquired a long term lease on the old IMAX Theater Downtown Charleston. The new theater will be called Terrace Hippodrome Widescreen.
The new theater will boast Charleston’s largest motion picture screen. The theatre’s format will be first run blockbusters and will have a new Wine and Beer lounge. The target date for the new Hippodrome is May 09 after renovation. The new facility will have state of the art digital sound as well as Charleston’s most beautiful waterfront view.
Michael Furlinger and John Brieger will bring Charleston’s best movie going experience to downtown as they have to James Island.
BALTIMORE, MD — With a possible foreclosure around the corner, there is talk of who might be the next owner of the Senator Theatre.
James “Buzz” Cusack, who runs the Charles theater with his nephew, John Standiford, said he expected to be among the bidders.
Developer David Cordish, while saying he had no plans to bid on the theater, said he would be interested in operating it as a nonprofit.
Read more in the Baltimore Sun.
Senator stops showing first-run movies. Read more in the Examiner.