• August 23, 2006

    Music Box Theatre replicated by organist Mark Noller

    CHICAGO, IL — The Music Box Theatre’s resident organist, Mark Noller has recreated the theater’s auditorium in his garage, with a similar Allen Organ at its center. Read more in the Chicago Reader.

  • Arizona theater rivalries

    TEMPE, AZ — With more and more megaplexes opening in close proximity to each other, this Arizona County is in the midst of a theater chain war.

    Blockbuster competition isn’t limited to Talladega Nights vs. World Trade Center.

    The country’s largest theater operators are going head-to-head with Scottsdale-based Harkins Theatres by building multimillion-dollar cineplexes closer together than ever, just a mile or two apart in Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa and other parts of the Valley.

    In the theater world, that’s close enough to be considered neighbors, but not friendly ones.

    For more, read the full story in the Arizona Republic.

  • State Theatre receives donation

    CULPEPER, VA — The State Theatre received a large donation to help it reopen as an arts center.

    The fire in Atlanta, Ga. – as portrayed in the movie – really burned the city to the ground in 1864. But like the post-Civil War south, the Pitts Theatre – renamed State in 1973 – will rise again.

    And the Smoot family – longtime proprietors of Cherry Street Building Supply on Orange Road – is helping to hoist it with a $50,000 donation.

    For more, read the full story in the Culpepper Star-Exponent.

  • August 17, 2006

    Brattle Theatre in trouble

    CAMBRIDGE, MA — The Brattle Theatre is currently in financial trouble due to art-house competition as well as the DVD market.

    Six months ago, the Brattle Theatre, the landmark, single-screen art house movie theater in Harvard Square, announced that unless it raised $500,000 in 2006, it would have to close its doors.

    The good news is that about halfway to its deadline, the theater has raised about half the money ($270,000). The bad news is that the Brattle’s financial challenges aren’t likely to go away, even if they hit their target.

    For more, read the full story in The Somerville Journal.

  • August 16, 2006

    Downtown Marshalltown built around Orpheum

    MARSHALLTOWN, IA — In Marshalltown, the downtown is being revitalized with a primary emphasis on the Orpheum Theatre at the center.

    <blockquoteThe renovation of the Orpheum Theater in downtown Marshalltown may be one of the first steps in the city’s pursuit of the Marshalltown City Center Plan.

    The Orpheum proposal has been joined with the Iowa Valley Community College District bond referendum coming this September.

    For more, read the full story in the Times-Republican.

  • August 10, 2006

    Des Plaines Theatre restoration at standstill

    DES PLAINES, IL — In 2003, when brothers Dhitu and Dharmesh Bhagwakar purchased the Des Plaines Theatre in downtown Des Plaines, from a bank which planned to raze the historic landmark in this Chicago suburb and build a drive-thru bank on the site, there was great relief and optimism for the former movie palace.

    The Des Plaines Theatre Preservation Society partnered with the building’s new owners, who allowed the group to hold classic film screenings and special events in the twinned theater, while Bollywood features also were screened at the theater. In return for free rent, the Society did volunteer repair work on the old theater, including restoring the Art Deco marquee, plasterwork, and fixing seats, tiles and the restrooms.

    As of around six months ago, the Bhagwakars told the Society it would have to start paying rent to continue using the theater, and when the Society declined to pay rent, its repairs and use of the theater began to end.

  • August 9, 2006

    New Life at the State Theatre

    SOUTH BEND, IN — The State Theatre has been purchased and is currently being renovated to become a cultural arts center for concerts, conferences, performances and more.

    The new owner, Lester Sumrall, grandson of the late television evangelist Dr. Lester Sumrall is at the forefront of the endeavor. Updates, photos and information can be viewed on the State’s website.

  • August 8, 2006

    Showbox Theater fire

    SEATTLE, WA — According to Seattle tv stations KOMO-TV4, KING-TV5, KIRO-TV7, and KCPQ-TV13, the Showbox Theater in Seattle had a fire break out this morning at 5:00 AM. The fire department states the fire originated on the roof in an electrical device, probably an HVAC unit. By the time the fire department had arrived, the sprinkler system had been activated. Damage is limited to a 15 foot section of the roof.

  • August 7, 2006

    In-seat complaint button being tested

    ANTIOCH, CA — In one Bay Area theater, Regal is testing out a an in-seat device to alert theater employees of a disturbance within the theater:

    Loud talking, chair kicking and other movie-theater annoyances may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new device similar to the flight attendant call button on airplanes.

    Moviegoers at the Regal Deer Valley Cinema complex are testing devices that will alert a theater employee when a fellow patron is behaving badly.

    For more, visit the full story on the CBS5 website.

    (Thanks to _e.t. for the image)

  • August 4, 2006

    Rethinking downtown projects

    ITHACA, NY — Officials are currently discussing how the profitability of one movie theater affects the planning of the city:

    As an elected official who has not endorsed any aspect of the Cayuga Green project, including the seizure of property through eminent domain to advance project goals, the original multiplex theater plans, and the plan to remove the helix to accommodate the preferred developer’s (Bloomfield, Schon & Partners) requests, it may come as no surprise that I plan to vote no, once again, tonight at City Council.

    Last year, the operators of Seventh Art (Cinemapolis and Fall Creek Pictures) made a compelling case that a first-run movie theatre might also show those art films which would eat substantially into their profits.

    For more, visit the Full Story in the Ithaca Journal.