July 5, 2005
ELGIN, IL – The 82 year-old Crocker Theatre in downtown Elgin was razed last month to make way for condominiums and parking space, but its neo-classical style facade was removed prior to demolition, and will be partially reconstructed as a sort of screening wall separating a parking lot from public view along Grove Avenue.
At a cost of $60,000, a third of the price of the Crocker’s demolition cost, the facade was taken apart piece by piece and numbered and now sits in a storage building in the meantime. Not all of the facade will be used for the parking lot, but at this time it’s not known what will become of the rest of it.
June 24, 2005
CHICAGO, IL — This article from Crain’s Chicago Business takes a look at the effect the planned AMC-Loews Cineplex merger is likely to have on film exhibition in the Windy City.
June 23, 2005
KERRVILLE, TX — It was recently announced that Rio Entertainment, which already leases the Plaza 6 theater here, has started construction on a new state of the art 10 screen cinema with all stadium seating and digital sound. The target is December 2005 with a Christmas opening date.
Word is that the Plaza 6 would remain open once the new location opens and instead of showing first run films the Plaza, it would then run art films instead.
Texas Cinemas, out of San Marcos, Texas, which has two theaters there (The Showplace 3 and Starplex 12) also said they would begin construction on a new 12 screen theater to be called GateWay 12 with all staduim seating and digital sound. It will be located at the corner of Ih10 & Sidneybaker in a new shopping center project.
NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO, CANADA — The Cinema 180 Adventure Dome closed its doors forever on May 1, 2005 to make way for a new attraction called The Lego Bricks Adventure. Inside the classic movie dome you will find a 10,000 square feet Lego Land. This cinema was the very last of the Cinerama theatres in Canada. It will be missed by everyone who visited Niagara Falls, Ontario.
June 22, 2005
Recently, a New York Times article,), focusing in part on the IFC Center and Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema, took a look at the cult of midnight movies and the way the cult has both evolved and remained true to its roots over the years.
June 21, 2005
ALAMEDA, CA —– In a unaminous vote at its June 13 meeting, the Alameda Planning Board granted the Central Cinema a use permit, eliminating the possiblity for closure for the popular yet controversial boutique theater, to the applause of the vast majority of those attending.
There were several conditions for approval made, such as a minimum 15-minute increment between movies before 6 p.m. and a minimum 20-minute increment between movies after 6 p.m.; the cinema will also be required to offer a bike rack. The cinema’s compliance with various requirements will be reviewed in a year.
At the same meeting, the board also unanimously recommended approval of a related item: a zoning text amendment that will allow boutique theaters (theaters with audiences of 49 persons or less for live performances or for the screening of motion pictures where there is only one screen) to operate in a C-1 zoning district (neighborhood business district), and discussed a controversial plan to attatch a multiplex to the historic Alameda Theatre in hopes of revitalizing the long-closed landmark (which is not being further plexed in the project).
For a detailed story by Dmitry Kiper, read this.
June 17, 2005
ARANSAS PASS, TX — The Rialto Fine Arts Center is now operating in this old movie theater from 1937. A fine arts gallery is housed in what was the ticket and concession areas and a new exhibit gallery and six artist studios are under construction in part of the old auditorium and will be complete by July, 2005.
The Rialto Actors Theatre, a new community theatre group, will occupy the remaining auditorium space with 95 seats. This lively group, led by Artistic Director Trisha Sugarek, is busy designing the new stage and construction will start next week. Their first season opens with “Artichoke” on September 30, 2005.
June 16, 2005
There is an interesting article in yesterday’s (June 15) Wall Street Journal that has found a successful formula for drawing customers by emulating the movie palaces of the 1920s.
From the WSJ article:
[i]“They’re doing what needs to be done,” says Paul Dergarabedian, Exhibitor Relations' president. The industry needs to emphasize the difference between watching movies at a theater and at home. Muvico “does that by creating these incredible theaters,” he says. “It tells people, ‘I can’t do the same thing at home.’ ” National Amusements Inc. and Pacific Theatres Exhibition Corp. are two other chains with similar state-of-the-art theaters, he says.
“The industry is still going through changes,” Muvico’s Mr. Hashemi says. “With the shortening of the window between the DVD and the theatrical release we really have to create an event."
(rudy franchi, www.nostalgia.com))
A local eccentric owner painted huge letters on its flat, black roof saying “Welcome to Cleveland” when planes fly over it to Milwaukee’s airport a few blocks away. This has amused and startled more than a few flyers, and the story of it makes interesting reading.
Click on the link above, and when there, click on the photo to enlarge it and see what all the fuss is about. The marquee still hangs on the front of the theatre which has been Mr. Gubin’s photo studio and residence for many years now, and which has had its seats removed, but its new incarnation is probably a more suiteable usage than many others.
What will become of it when Mr. Gubin becomes too old to climb the steps to his balcony-home is anyone’s guess, but maybe the roof top joke will by then have long faded away, much to the delight of both cities. Maybe the author of the forthcoming sequel to “Milwaukee Movie Palaces,” Larry Widen, can get permission to copy this photo into the appendex of his new book: “Silver Screens” to appear in a year from now. He can hardly overlook this bit of trivia about the fates of our movie palaces!
June 15, 2005
ALBANY, NY — This summer will mark the return of movies to the historic Palace Theatre in downtown Albany for the first time in 36 years. When final installation of the new projection and sound equipment is complete, the Palace will feature the largest screen in the region and, more importantly, an amazing sound and visual presentation system.
From a programming perspective, the Palace will be paying homage to the independent movie houses of old. The selections will include a mix of classics, family friendly fare and contemporary films. Efforts are being made to have at least one notable traveling film festival make a stop in 2006. Also in the works is to honor the theatre’s history as a rock and roll palace with a series of some of the best Rock n Roll movies ever produced.
Additional themed sub-series will also be included in the first season. In addition to this mix the best new movies will be included when they leave the malls whenever possible.