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.
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.
March 16, 2009
BLUEFIELD, WV — The Colonial Theatre, 1916 vaudeville palace and silent movie theatre did lose its art deco lobby and marquee as the Matz-Milner hotel came crashing down – but so far it has not destroyed the theatre itself..only the lobby. The theatre is housed in a separate building.
The owner of the Colonial has not given up on trying to save the theatre. We are all holding our breath – waiting to see if the demolition of the remains of the Matz hotel will further damage the Colonial.
March 13, 2009
SDI Entertainment proudly presents “Tower of Love”, the story of the Historic Park Theatre and the fight to save it. In this documentary we’re going to take you on a journey, both past and present, through the history of this beautiful movie theatre. Built in 1913, the Historic Park Theatre is oldest operating movie theatre west of the Mississippi and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2006, Tower of Love premiered to packed crowd at the 1st Annual Estes Park Film Festival. A portion of the DVD sales will go to the Park Theatre Preservation Fund which was established by the Estes Park Film Festival (a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic cinematic landmarks thoughout Colorado and the USA).
For more info visit:
(Purchase the “Tower of Love” DVD) Create Space.
March 12, 2009
STREATOR, IL — The Majestic Theatre is trying new ways to generate revenue but the local public as well as the times are making it hard to stay afloat.
Kyle Mitchell is struggling to keep the curtain from coming down on Streator’s Majestic Theatre.
“From day one it’s been tough making a go of it,” Mitchell, who runs the theater, said Tuesday in noting the theater was already facing difficulty before the downturn in the nation’s economy.
“January turned out better than a lot of months and February was OK, but March has been weak. We made some changes and the community has responded, which along with a decent flow of films has somewhat been turning things around this year. However, we still have a long way to go.”
Read the full story at the Times.
March 10, 2009
NEWTON, KS — The projectionist at the Chisholm Trail 8 recounts his experiences from behind the window.
Matt Neufeld has been a projectionist at the Chisholm Trail 8 for seven years. And in that time, he hasn’t really been able to watch many movies.
“I see them in bits and pieces and piece them together later,” Neufeld said.
Throw out the stereotype — Neufeld doesn’t sit and watch a movie over and over again.
Read more in the Newton Kansan.
March 9, 2009
Ross Melnick of Cinema Treasures & Karen Noonan of Theatre Historical Society advised Moving Pictures magazine on the best ten movie theaters in America.
Last summer, The Dark Knight opened on 4,300 American movie theater screens, approximately 20 percent of the 26,000 screens available in the United States, according to National Association of Theater Owners (NATO). It’s quite possible that you enjoyed the movie’s majestic, panoramic visuals in a theater boasting state-of-the-art projection and sound, but it’s just as likely that you saw the film in a tiny box with a postage stamp-sized screen. Not every silver screen in America is golden, after all. That said, the below-listed screens are among the ten best in the nation, according to Moving Pictures with help from Ross Melnick of Cinema Treasures, a website devoted to classic movie theaters, and Karen Colizzi Noonan, president of Theatre Historical Society of America.
See the list at Moving Pictures.
Also check out a similar piece from Travel and Leisure.