September 24, 2002
CHEHALIS, WA — Lund Theaters, which owns and operates the historic Chehalis Theater, has taken over operation of the old Yard Birds Mall triplex in North Chehalis.
According to the Chronicle, the theater, which had been operated by the Regal Entertainment Group until last Thursday, is already being run by Lund who had planned to take over the theater at the end of the year. Regal now operates only one theater in all of Washington state, the Regal Capital Mall 4 in Olympia.
Daryl Lund, owner of Lund Theaters, plans to install new seats, curtains, a new sound system, and alter the auditoriums for stadium seating. He also plans to add five screens to the Yard Birds.
Despite these plans, Lund will continue operating the old Chehalis (former Pix) Theater which was erected in 1938 and still turns a tidy profit. Lund resurrected that theater in 1994 after it had been closed for a decade.
September 23, 2002
BALTIMORE, MD — The much heralded, newly restored print of David Lean’s masterpiece, “Lawrence of Arabia,” is now playing at the historic Senator Theatre in the ‘wide-gauge, 70mm format including a DTS digital soundtrack.’
The Senator joins the Music Box in Chicago, the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, and the Ziegfeld in New York in celebrating the 40th anniversary of this epic motion picture.
September 20, 2002
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Sprenger-Lang Foundation, which had previously put $450,000 down of the necessary $1.2 million to purchase the shuttered Atlas Theater, has now pledged another $2 million dollars to help bring the Atlas back to life, according to a report by WJLA-TV.
The planned restoration and renovation project will turn the John Zink-designed movie house into the Atlas Performing Arts Center and will “contain four theaters for both movies and live performances, as well as offices and restaurants.” $12 million more is needed to begin the project.
The 1000-seat Art Moderne Atlas opened in 1938 and has been closed since 1976. Theater organizers hope to bring the Atlas back to life in 2004.
In other Washington, D.C.-area news, Jennifer Kaplan of the Avalon Theater Project reports that a new Northwest Current article has been published entitled “Jemal Says Avalon To Reopen by Christmas.”
The ATP has been working tirelessly to bring the old twin movie house back to life which now seems scheduled to reopen by the end of 2002. The Avalon was previously closed by Loews Cineplex as part of their bankruptcy reorganization in April 2001.
The festival is an all-day celebration of poetry [which] will bring together several generations of world-class, eclectic poets from all across the country to read in a festival atmosphere from Noon until Midnight.
Readings will be interspersed with screenings of experimental films inspired by poetry, and with rare sound recordings of poets. Presses and literary magazines will feature works by the participants, and food and alcohol will be available.
Closed for the last 25 years, the 2,800-seat St. George is being brought back to life by the not-for-profit organization, The St. George Theatre Inc. and its volunteers.
(Thanks to Jean for the update.)
In other New York news, the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which has been battered by a number of movie theater closings over the past decade including the 68th Street Playhouse, the Baronet and Coronet, the Crown Gotham, and the Manhattan 1 & 2, has managed to retain its most recent loss, the New York Twin on 66th & 2nd.
The New York Twin, which has been closed since this past Spring, is reportedly being reopened by Crown Theatres on October 4th. This will be Crown’s first New York theater since the Crown Gotham was shuttered in 2001.
September 19, 2002
TORRINGTON, CT — The $7 million restoration of the Warner Theatre is nearly complete with theater officials announcing that the Art Deco movie palace will have its official reopening on November 23rd.
According to the Register-Citizen, when the Warner reopens in November, “surrounded by shiny black marble, blinding gold leafing and elegant, larger-than-life size murals, theatergoers will feel as if a door to the past has been permanently reopened.”
The official reopening ceremonies on November 23rd will be a formal, black tie gala complete with live big band music with guests arriving in vintage cars from the 1920’s and 30’s.
The theater attracted almost 75,000 guests during the 2001-2002 seasons while organizers were completing the year-long restoration. They expect even larger numbers to come.
Opened in 1931, the theater was rescued from demolition in 1980 and reopened as a performing arts center in 1983.
MIAMI, FL — In other restoration news, the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts will reopen on October 12th following a $1.8 million restoration to re-enhance the theater’s atmospheric interior and ceiling, remold the theater’s decorative ornaments, and install a new air conditioning unit in the auditorium.
According to the Miami Herald, more restoration work will follow next summer when new seating, end panels, and carpeting will be installed to match the theater’s original appearance. “New theatrical rigging and audio systems” will also be installed at that time.
September 17, 2002
GUTTENBERG, NJ — The Galaxy Theatre has announced its upcoming schedule for its “Big Screen Classics” series, beginning this Thursday, September 19th, featuring a wide array of classic films including everything from “The Godfather” to “Saturday Night Fever.”
The films will be presented in 35mm on the Galaxy’s 45-foot screen and highlights include:
September 19 – “West Side Story”
September 26 – “Saturday Night Fever"
October 3 – "13 Ghosts” PRESENTED IN ILLUSION-O!
October 31 – “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925) with live organ accompaniment by Jeff Barker on the Galaxy Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ!
November 4 – “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”
November 21 – “The Godfather"
December 5 – "From Here to Eternity”
(Thanks to Peter Apruzzese for the news.)
CHICAGO, IL — Rumors of the McClurg Court’s demise may have been premature as the aging Loews Cineplex movie house prepares to square off against a new 21-screen AMC megaplex opening nearby, according to a report in today’s Chicago Tribune.
A previously announced plan by another group to spend $5 million to convert the McClurg Court into a performing arts center seems to have fallen apart due to a lack of financing, and for the time being, the McClurg Court has remained open and still showing first-run movies.
According to the Tribune, Loews Cineplex currently has no immediate plans to shutter the 1970s theater which houses three auditoria including its popular 800-seat main screen.
AMC’s new complex has taken four years to bring to fruition, but the successful exhibitor, which weathered the exhibition collapse without filing for bankruptcy, has finally announced that November 1st will be the opening day of the new 21-screen AMC River East.
Let the games begin…
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft for the news!)
September 16, 2002
Another newly remastered version of David Lean’s epic film, “Lawrence of Arabia,” will debut at New York’s Ziegfeld Theatre and at the Cinerama Dome at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood on September 25th, and even earlier at Chicago’s Music Box on September 20th.
According to the New York Daily News, the film is being revamped again by Bob Harris, who originally restored the film in 1989 to great fanfare. The enormously succesful theatrical run of the remastered film in 1989 helped to fuel the burgeoning film preservation movement which continues in earnest today.
The new print, which will be shown next week, is a “digitally remastered and color-corrected version of the director’s 1962 masterpiece with 70 digital audio, rather than analog, with a magnetic stripe running down the edge of the film.”
According to Harris, “It’s state-of-the-art audio” with “each new 70-mm print of "Lawrence of Arabia” [weighing] about 1,000 pounds and [costing] $30,000."
The new theatrical run is in honor of the film’s 40th anniversary and will be shown for two weeks at the Music Box and 10 days each at both the Ziegfeld in midtown Manhattan and at the newly restored and reopened Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. If you can make it, this is an event not to be missed!
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — The Salt Lake Film Society, which currently operates the historic Tower Theatre, has signed a lease to begin operating the Tower’s main rival, the six-screen Broadway Film Centre beginning November 8, 2002.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the 3 ½ year-lease will enable the Tower’s operators to expand their operations, something the group had been looking to do for some time. The additional screens will expand the quantity and quality of independent and foreign films currently available in SLC under the film society’s guidance.
The new arrangement will follow the end of the one year lease signed last October by Starship Consolidated Theatres which took over the Broadway Film Centre following its closure by Loews Cineplex as part of that company’s bankruptcy reorganization.
Following a tepid attempt at showing commercial fare, the Broadway switched its schedule in June and is now being operated as an art house cinema by the Rocky Mountain Film Society. That group will now look for another venue to program.
What this means for the future of the Tower Theatre is now anyone’s guess and certainly depends on whether the Salt Lake Film Society re-signs their lease. Built in 1926, the Tower is the oldest operating movie theater in the city.
(Thanks to Grant Smith for the update.)