• August 5, 2008

    Uptown letter from new owner

    CHICAGO, IL — With the deal on the Uptown all but done, one of the new owners, Jerry Mickelson of UTA II and JAM Productions speaks out to the Uptown family.

    It’s only been one day (now going on two) since the foreclosure sale occurred. You should know there was only one bidder who showed up on July 29 to purchase the Uptown Theatre and that was UTA II, a company whose members include but are not limited to Arny Granat and myself. While initially being surprised that we were the lone bidders, we fully understand why others did not show up. The fact of the matter is that the Uptown Theatre is a daunting project that faces many challenges for it to re-open. Not only will this be a very expensive project, it will take an incredible amount of time and effort to put the pieces of this intricate puzzle together in order to ensure the Uptown Theatre’s future.

    We don’t have all the answers today about how all of this will come together but we do know a couple of things; (1) the Uptown Theatre now has owners who truly care about saving and preserving this architectural gem; and (2) we will reach out to all of you at the proper time to have you hopefully join with us in our effort. The Uptown Theatre would not still be here today if it wasn’t for you and Alderman Smith and probably won’t be here in the future without you and the Alderman.

    Read the full letter at Uptown Chicago History.

  • August 1, 2008

    Beach shows off old town charm

    ST. PETERSBURG BEACH, FL — Fighting against the neighboring multiplexes, the Beach Theatre separates itself from its competition with promotions and film selection.

    One local spot that’s doing things a little differently these days is the Beach Theatre, the vintage St. Pete venue purchased last year by screenwriter Michael France. You’ll find pretty much all the expected bases covered at the Beach, from ubiquitous indies like Flight of the Red Balloon to The Dark Knight, but you’ll also discover some surprising movies and film-related activities that give this theater a refreshingly unique personality. Even when this place indulges in the expected, it does it with style, from the Cosmopolitans offered in the lobby bar for Sex and the City to the shark sandwiches that were served during Jaws.

    Read the full story in Creative Loafing.

  • July 29, 2008

    Uptown Theater sold to Jam Productions

    CHICAGO, IL — The auction announced last week happened and a buyer stepped up. In what will hopefully be good news for the future of the Uptown Theater, Jam Productions purchased the property for $3.2 million.

    Without any drama, a venture led by concert promoter Jam Productions Ltd. bought the historic Uptown Theatre on Tuesday for $3.2 million in a court-ordered foreclosure sale.

    Jam principal Jerry Mickelson was the only bidder for the long-vacant theater at 4816 N. Broadway. The sale price was essentially a “credit bid” that covers repayment of about $1.8 million owed on a first mortgage and $1.4 million owed on a second mortgage that’s held by Mr. Mickelson’s group.

    Mr. Mickelson, who has said he plans to restore the Uptown, declined comment on the sale.

    Read the full story in Chicago Real Estate Daily.

    UPDATE 7/30: Read more for Uptown Advisor story.

  • Artcraft packs ‘em in with the classics

    FRANKLIN, IN — The 86 year-old local institution, the Artcraft Theatre, manages to be successful with a slate of classic films and some old-fashioned service.

    “If you talk to anybody who’s lived here for any period of time, they have memories from the Artcraft Theatre,” said Tricia Bechman, executive director of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, who often can be glimpsed in the box office, selling old-fashioned roll tickets.

    “It’s a throwback. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you feel like a kid again.”

    In an age of corporate chains of multiplexes splashing the newest movies on screen every week, the Artcraft thrives by playing old movies — and brings out audiences in astonishing numbers. Several hundred people typically buy tickets on alternate weekends, paying $5 a head to see films that they could easily rent on DVD.

    Read the full story at the Indianapolis Star.

  • July 25, 2008

    Uptown Theater to be auctioned

    CHICAGO, IL — It has come to the attention of the Balaban and Katz Historical Foundation that the Uptown Theater building at 4816 North Broadway in Chicago will be auctioned publicly on July 29th at 10:30 am at the offices of the Judicial Sales Corporation. The address is 1 South Wacker Drive (24th floor) in Chicago.

    The Judicial Sales Corporation has a website. The law firm involved in the case is Noonan and Lieberman LTD. located at 105 West Adams Street Chicago. The Balaban and Katz Historical Foundation’s website is here. Our email is The most recent interior pictures of the theater may be viewed at

    (Thanks to chrisjuno for providing the photo.)

  • July 24, 2008

    Another new theater in the works in the Bronx

    BRONX, NY — Here we go again…Monday’s NY Daily News reported that a 14 screen theater is planned for a mixed use development in “The HUB” shopping area on a vacant lot located at East 149th Street at Brook and Bergen Avenues.

    The theater chain was not revealed, but I am hoping for somebody other then National Amusements or Regal. Nothing against either of those two chains. It would just be refreshing for another chain not in this area to open up. The developer is Related Properties who have also announced a theater for their Kingsbridge Armory development site on Jerome Avenue, just above Fordham Road.

  • July 23, 2008

    Dark Knight promotion at Orpheum

    HILLSBORO, IL —Showmanship is alive and well at the Orpheum Theatre. This is the newspaper coverage of the Dark Knight promo which took place this past weekend.

    The bat call could be seen lighting up the sky in downtown Hillsboro as the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, opened at midnight on Friday morning, July 18, at the Orpheum Theatre.

    Theatre owner Jeff Eisentraut said the show was sold out for the midnight showing, as well as the regular show on Friday evening.

    Movie patrons were delighted when both Batman and the Joker made an appearance prior to each of those two shows.

    Read more in the Journal News.

  • July 21, 2008

    Port Theater’s rebirth in Corona del Mar

    CORONA DEL MAR CA — The Port Theater was built in 1950 in a distinct 50’s style. It remained opened as a single screen theater until 1998 when a combination of newly built multiplexes nearby and a lack of public parking on a busy thoroughfare finally proved fatal.

    The theater has remained closed for a decade and suffered both the threat of city approved demolition permits and a later proposed remodel for use as offices and shops. The present owner has surprisingly reversed his original plans for the remodel and has announced he will revive the theater.

    An article about the Port Theater’s rebirth can be found at the OC Register.

  • July 16, 2008

    Overland Park success

    BOISE, ID — This article raves about how the Overland Park Cinema is the best in Boise.

    For a mere $4 you can get a bag of popcorn and a soda and sit down to enjoy a second-run, but first-class flick. Families can enjoy a real movie night-out for minor coin. Skip the popcorn, and a kid gets in for just $2. The theater also boasts $1 Tuesday movies and daily matinees.

    The movie house, with its three cinemas, is practically hidden in the middle of the Overland Park Shopping Center. But plenty of nearby parking makes up for the lack of a huge marquee. Theater owners upgraded seating and sound in recent years.

    Owner Mike Lehosit credits the theater’s success to low profit margins and a family orientation.

    Read more in the Idaho Statesman.

  • July 15, 2008

    Circle Cinema turns 80

    TULSA, OK — It has had its ups and downs but 80 years later, the Circle Cinema is still going strong.

    Sitting on 12th and Lewis, Circle Cinema celebrates its 80th birthday today and the staff looks forward to renovating the theater for the future while also appreciating its history.

    “We are the only remaining historic movie theater left in Tulsa – everything has become a parking lot,” said Stephanie LaFevers, executive director of Circle Cinema Foundation.
    Circle Cinema opened its doors on July 15, 1928, and is in Tulsa’s first suburban shopping center, according to information compiled by Leigh Ann Zielger, executive director for the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture. The theater went through an evolution of showing serial films in the 1950s to even venturing into adult films in the late 1970s. But from the 1990s to early 2000s the theater sat nearly empty and vacant.

    Read the full story in the Journal Record.