April 8, 2009
GIBSON CITY, IL — Want to save some money in today’s economy running your theater? How about operating your theater on wind like the Harvest Moon.?
When its season opened two weekends ago, the Harvest Moon blew in with the wind literally as the world’s first and only turbine-powered movie theater.
“Indoor or out,” said Onarga-based owner Mike Harroun, who has operated the twin-screen drive-in since 1989.
The only similar venue, he said, is the Color House Theatre, a live children’s stage in Merton Abby Mills, England.
Read more in the Chicago Tribune.
A once dilapidated shipyard is being transformed into commercial retail with a new theater from Patriot Cinemas.
Beautiful wasn’t the first word that came to mind when describing the shipyard site in the past.
While the waterfront bustled with as many as 26,000 workers building ships for the Navy at record-setting pace during World War II, activity on the 130-acre site on the Weymouth-Hingham line quickly declined when the war ended. For decades, all that was there were a few low-rent businesses, dilapidated warehouses, and parking for the commuter boat.
In 1996, a local company bought the site and unveiled plans for a massive residential, commercial, and retail development. Thirteen years later, the old buildings are gone, new ones have gone up, and work continues with a consortium of developers on a 1.2-million-square-foot plan.
Read more at the Boston Globe.
April 6, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, IL — The operations of the Boardman’s Art Theatre could be moving soon to another local venue due to rising costs.
In March, Boardman sent an e-mail to some area residents acknowledging rumors that he was looking into other locations for his movie theater. Attempts to reach Boardman, who lives in California, were unsuccessful.
Boardman’s lease at the Art Theatre expires at the end of this year, said David Kraft, who owns the building. Kraft said he would like to see the building continue to house a movie theater, but at the current rental rate, “I can barely cover my expenses,” he said. Kraft has listed the building at $1.14 million.
Read more at the News Gazette.
April 2, 2009
WINTER GARDEN, FL — This is a computer generated “painting” of the Garden Theatre on gala opening night as rendered by Jim Lether of Salt Lake City, Utah. The 1935 movie house reopened in 2008 as a performing arts center after the theatre had been closed for more than 40 years. It was restored and is operated by the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation.
March 31, 2009
PASADENA, CA — Here’s some praise from local Pasadena City College for the Academy Cinemas, Regency Theatres' Pasadena discount theatre. Once a single screen gem, it was cut into six screens long ago. While not the most inviting inside these days, the selection and prices are unheard of in the Los Angeles market.
It’s 7 p.m. on a weeknight at Academy Cinemas, the dollar theater five blocks from PCC. Middle-aged hipsters huddle outside discussing the prospective merits of their film choice within earshot of a cardboard cutout of Charlie Chaplin. The Little Tramp purses his lips and stares quizzically, silently inviting patrons to step up and pay their three bucks (two for the matinee).
Walk farther into the theater and you’ll find PCC student Ali Rodriguez, 19, manning a concession stand where hot dogs go for a whopping $1. She’s been working at the Academy after school and on the weekends for four months. It’s a choice job, since it’s long been her favorite movie
Read the full story at the PCC Courier.
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.