June 16, 2008
WICHITA, KS — The owner of the Old Town Theatre is looking for help from the city in order for the theatre to keep going.
Bill Warren is asking the Wichita City Council for a $6 million low-interest loan and a reduction of parking fees in order to keep his Old Town theater open.
According to an analysis by the city’s staff, “The Old Town Theatre is a popular destination in Old Town and serves as a major attraction to bring patrons to the Old Town area. However, its relatively small size, compared to norms in the movie theater industry, has created negative economies of scale that have resulted in significant financial losses during the theater’s first five years of operation.”
Read the full story in the Wichita Business Journal.
In this chronicle, MLive.com discusses the state of southwest Michigan drive-in theaters.
This is the first in a three-part series looking at Southwest Michigan’s drive-in theaters. This summer marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of the nation’s first drive-in theater in Camden, N.J. It’s also the 70th anniversary of the first Michigan drive-in theater, the Eastside Drive-In Theater in Harper Woods, which opened May 26, 1938, and closed in 1977. Today, there are nearly 400 theaters across the country and 10 permanent theaters in the state.
June 9, 2008
NOVATO, CA — The Novato Theatre has a party interested in reviving it but could it possibly be successful. This article discusses the current situation of this and other Northern California theaters.
Will Tallen and Keshen hand over the theater’s operations to a nonprofit organization, such as the one that runs the Rafael Theater in San Rafael?
Would Tallen and Keshen install tables and sell beer, wine and food so that moviegoers could have drinks and dinner?
How can Tallen and Keshen make a profit after buying the theater from the city and completing needed renovations, such as making the old building comply with Americans with Disabilities Act?
Read the full article in the Novato Advance.
June 6, 2008
This 69-year old movie theater is one of the last bastions of motion picture elegance, especially in this neck of the woods. This is no generic multiplex, but a true movie house. Its single screen is sized just short of a football field, and shows the pictures larger than life, which is how movies are meant to be seen, if you ask me.
The lobby is small and round, holding onto its faded elegance with due dignity. Past the concession stand lies the screening room: tall, wide, and comfortable. It’s as though you’ve come to sit in the great hall of a king’s palace. You would never expect it from the street, but when you take your choice of the 900 seats, it feels special.
What makes the Senator great, though, is not just the building. Buildings fade and crumble, after all. No, what makes the Senator great, what makes it an experience, is its character.
June 3, 2008
MURDO, SD — The Murdo Theater might reopen thanks to a dedicated community.
Kevin Moore, director of the Turner Youth Foundation in Jones County, said the group has been collecting money for three years to fix up the closed movie house. He said $36,000 has been raised for the effort, and volunteers hope to get about $86,000 to complete the project.
Moore says the theater, which was built in the early 1940s, was open for about three decades.
Since it closed, Murdo residents have driven about 55 miles to Pierre to see movies. More recently, they also have gone to Philip, which reopened its theater three years ago.
Read the full story in the Rapid City Journal.
June 2, 2008
CARBONDALE, IL — A partnership has been formed between two arts groups in Carbondale seeking to transform the former Varsity Theatre into a center for the arts. Carbondale Community Arts and The Stage Co. have joined up to bring the former movie house, closed by Kerasotes Theatres in 2003, back to life as the Varsity Center for the Arts.
The entire renovation project is supposed to cost about $3 million according to Jack Langowski, board chairman of the Stage Co. One auditorium and the lobby are expected to open by this fall, in time for The Stage’s 27th season’s kick-off. Another 300-to-400-seat theater, a gallery and intermission space should be completed by 2012, as funds become available.
The city of Carbondale has been trying to decide the best use for the building since November 2007, when Kerasotes announced it was donating the theater building to the city for community use.
Read more on this story in the article in The Southern.
May 31, 2008
PHILADELPHIA, PA: The following was sent in from Friends of the Boyd:
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia nominated the Boyd Theatre on May 28, 2008 for designation by the Philadelphia Historical Commission. Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter announced on May 29, 2008, his support for the nomination and pledged to work to preserve the building. Click here to read the Mayor’s statement.
The Historical Commission notified Boyd Theatre owner Live Nation and scheduled a hearing before its Designation Committee for July 16, 2008. Friends of the Boyd president Howard Haas asserted the Boyd Theatre long ago should have been designated. “It has a beautiful art deco exterior with many original decorative elements intact. It’s about time it was recognized as a landmark.” Inga Saffron reported the story in the May 30, 2008 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer and it also aired that day on KYW Radio.
May 30, 2008
Here’s an update on the Varsity Theatre in Martin Tennessee, which I covered in my blog, Marathon Pundit:
My Mississippi Manifest Destiny—The Varsity Theatre in Martin, Tennessee
(The photo I took myself, two weeks ago)
ST. LOUIS, MO — The Riverfront Times, the city’s alternative weekly newspaper, posted on Wednesday a photo slide show of several closed movie houses in the St. Louis area and two in Illinois. Most recently closed in the group is the Hi-Pointe Theatre in St. Louis, which is undergoing renovations and new management. The art-house theater’s marquee reads, “Gone Fishin' / See You Soon.” Moviegoers here are anxiously awaiting the opening of the theater, which had fallen into disrepair in recent years.
Photo slide show link
May 29, 2008
The Los Angeles Times has published a “best of” article profiling several L.A. area theatres.
We’re lucky. As blockbuster moviegoing season gets into full swing this Memorial Day weekend, we live in a place where it’s just as easy to see that new, hot indie as it is to see that old, familiar Indy (think crystal skulls). We get to do so in any one of dozens of unique theaters. And the price? Not so bad, considering the alternatives.
In Chicago, for example, the Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinema chain is slated to open a theater later this year that will charge an estimated $35 per ticket. That gets you reserved recliners in a 40-seat theater, food service brought to your seat, special parking and the latest in projection and sound innovations.
But a little intrepid researching around Southern California has revealed all those amenities and then some. Try signature cocktails. Leather couches. Refreshments from around the globe. Granted, they may not all be found at the same theater, but on the other hand, our admission prices top out at $15 — at the El Capitan, of all places.
View the rest of the article here.