The latest movie theater news and updates

  • Today

    Larchmont, NY – Larchmont Residents Rush to Save Theater

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    From The Wall Street Journal: Strolling to the Larchmont Playhouse to watch the latest films has been a tradition in Vicki Rosenstreich’s family for more than 30 years.

    Now she and other fans of the 83-year-old theater want future generations to have that same opportunity.

    The owner of the Larchmont Playhouse has put it up for sale, asking $1.5 million. Residents in Larchmont, a Westchester County village 13 miles northeast of Manhattan, fear the theater could close.

    A group of admirers are hoping to raise enough money to buy the theater and operate it as a nonprofit organization or form a partnership with another group interested in keeping the space as a movie house.

    “What we are hoping for is a stay of execution,” said Ms. Rosenstreich, 72 years old, a Larchmont resident of 36 years.

  • June 29, 2016

    Ann Arbor, MI – Renovation of Ann Arbor’s historic State Theatre would double screens

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    From Mlive: Plans for renovation of the historic State Theatre are in the hands of the city’s Historic Planning Commission.

    Part of the renovation calls for creating four separate theaters to screen movies, doubling the two screens currently available.

    The State Theatre is located at 225 S. State St.

    The theaters would have seating capacity of approximately 180, 150, 80 and 50 people respectively and will comply with the American Disabilities Act, according to Russ Collins, CEO of the Michigan Theater Foundation, the group which owns the State Theatre.

    “We need to make comfortable venues that are excellent in terms of a great place to go to the movies,” Collins said. “There’s going to be four theaters with very comfortable seats and it will be a great place to go to the movies.”

    The new theaters will have plenty of leg room and newly installed seats that will provide more comfort for a better viewing experience, Collins said.

    Previously, the ownership group announced plans to renovate the theater to restore the art deco theme to the building, including updating the marquee and the building’s exterior. In February, the Downtown Development Authority committed $200,000 toward the cost of renovating the marquee and the façade.

    Other planned improvements to the facility include the installation of an elevator to get patrons to the second floor of the building where the theaters are located and updates to the lobby areas, along with updates to the bathrooms.

    The Michigan Theater Foundation purchased the State Theater in October 2014 and announced plans to invest between $2 million to $3 million in the facility.

    While work on the facility cannot begin until plans have been completely approved by the city, Collins is hopeful to begin work later this fall.

    The goal is to unveil the renovations in 2017, which also is the 75th anniversary of the State Theatre.

  • Fairbury, NE – Bonham Theatre renovation to start next month

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    From the Beatrice Daily Sun – The Bonham Theatre Project, a nonprofit group dedicated to saving the theater, bought the building after it closed in 2012. Four years later the funds are in place, and officials broke ground Monday to commemorate the restoration’s start.

  • June 28, 2016

    South Pasadena, CA – South Pasadena’s historic Rialto Theatre sold to downtown developer

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    From the Los Angeles Times: zek Shomof, a prominent redeveloper of older buildings in downtown Los Angeles, has purchased the historic Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena and hopes to turn it into an entertainment venue that could include a bar and screenings of old movies.

    The 1,200-seat theater, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the last single-screen movie theaters in Southern California. The building was closed to the public in 2010 after a piece of the facade broke off and crashed onto the sidewalk.

    The deal was finalized last month, according to Matthew Dobson, a representative of NGKF Capital Markets, the brokerage firm handling the transaction. The sale price is undisclosed, and Shomof said he is still negotiating with potential tenants.

    Shomof’s pattern is to buy older buildings and put them back together. He’s helped redevelop several older buildings in downtown Los Angeles, and he’s leading a group of investors who want to transform the historic Sears Tower in Boyle Heights into shops, restaurants, apartments and creative space.

    “I like historical buildings, and I like to renovate them and make them how they used to be,” Shomof said. “That’s what I care about more than anything to start with.”

  • Baltimore, MD – Baltimore City considering plans to tear down the back of the Mayfair Theatre

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    From Virtual Heritage: In mid June, Baltimore City posted a emergency condemnation and demolition notice on the front of the Mayfair Theater at 506 North Howard Street. The city, which owns the ornately-detailed 1903 building, is considering a plan to tear down the back portion of the theater where the auditorium was located and retain the front facade and front house. In 1998, the auditorium roof collapsed into the basement and the back portion of the building has remained unsecured and exposed to the elements for nearly two decades since. In contrast, the Mayfair’s front house is about thirty-five feet deep and city engineers have concluded that its roof is tight and it is structurally solid.

  • June 27, 2016

    Clifton Forge, VA – Raising the curtain on Historic Masonic Theatre

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    From the Roanoke Times:
    The old stage had to go.

    Workers inside the Historic Masonic Theatre on Main Street in Clifton Forge pried up dry-rotted boards. At least 10 feet above them, pallets dangled from new rigging. The boxes on those pallets contained the new stage curtains, held in suspense until crews finished the unplanned replacement of the stage floor.

    Renovations tend to come with surprises. This one, though inconvenient, wasn’t going to keep the 110-year-old theater from being ready for its July 1 grand reopening.

    Seven years ago, a determined group of residents set up the Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation to restore the crumbling theater to life. This month, the $6.5 million construction project is nearly done.

    “It’s not an end. It’s just a beginning,” said John Hillert, the retiree from the insurance industry who started the push to save the theater.

    The grand reopening will include big-band music by the Sway Katz and Americana rock from the Scott Miller Trio, a screening of “The Wizard of Oz,” and tours of the theater, which promoters dub an “architectural treasure.”

    “It’s a remarkable project,” said theater executive director Jeff Stern. “You can feel the love, the desire from the community, in the building when you walk into it. It’s a meaningful part of Clifton Forge and the history of this region.”

    The reopening of the theater launches the most ambitious piece of a concerted effort to recast the 3,884-population town, once home to a major maintenance shop for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, as a hub for creativity and a picturesque destination for tourists. The theater is intended to serve as the crowning jewel of a small downtown with shops, restaurants and galleries all in walking distance.

    “We’re very proud of what’s happening up here,” said Clifton Forge town manager Darlene Burcham.

  • June 23, 2016

    Waterville, ME – Waterville Opera House celebrating 114th birthday Thursday

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    From centralmaine.com: When the Waterville Opera House opened on June 23, 1902, patrons were so eager to attend the dedication ceremony that they filled the 925-seat theater, lobby and stairs and spilled out onto Castonguay Square.

    Over the ensuing years, the grand theater on the second floor of City Hall would become a gathering place for all kinds of entertainment, including plays and musical performances, ballet, touring shows, community meetings, celebrations, and film.

    Thursday, on its 114th birthday, the 800-seat Opera House continues to serve those functions and provides space for children’s theater programs, broadcasts from the National Theatre in London, the Bolshoi Ballet and Metropolitan Opera, and hosts film screenings and receptions for the Maine International Film Festival.

    Diane Bryan, executive director of the Opera House for 12 years, is excited about what the future holds.

    “The Waterville Opera House has been the gathering place for arts, culture and community for 114 years,” Bryan said Wednesday. “As caretakers, we hope to position the Opera House to shine brightly for at least the next 114 years. We are so grateful that the community has embraced this grand space and that we are part of the exciting resurgence of downtown Waterville.”

    Nathan Towne, marketing manager for Waterville Creates!, which promotes arts and culture in the Waterville area, grew up in Waterville and performed as a teenager on the Opera House stage. He said he looks at that stage every day and it gives him a sense of hope and pride — “pride in what Waterville has managed to keep alive and vital over the last 20 years of change, as well as hope that what we are building here together in Waterville as part of the revitalization process will continue to delight and inspire future generations to greatness.”

  • June 22, 2016

    Benton, AR – City of Benton moves forward with renovation plans for Palace Theater

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    From KATV: Tuesday the Benton City Council held a special community meeting to discuss the future of the historic Palace Theater in downtown Benton.

    There were three different proposals given, lots of discussion from council members, and a final outcome to have the city finance committee review the plan.

    After three years of questions about the future of the theater, the council unanimously voted to approve the money for stabilization of the building through the finance committee. They decided to ask for $175,000 to renovate the theater.

    “It hasn’t been pleasant, but we’re finally getting back to common census prevailing,” David Mattingly, Mayor of Benton, said.

    All three proposals include the city investing in the asbestos abatement, fixing the roof and doing minor work on the mortar. The council voted to get that approved, and decided if that’s approved they will put the building up for auction once its deemed safe.

    “Maybe we can hold an auction before Christmas and we’ll have a little bit of party and a present for everybody,” Mattingly said.

    The new owner will be in charge of maintaining it and the rest of the cost.

  • June 21, 2016

    Duluth, MN – An old Duluth theater is finally getting a $30M makeover

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    From Bring Me The News: It’s been a long time coming, but next week marks the start of the highly-anticipated restoration of Duluth’s NorShor Theatre.

    The Duluth City Council announced Friday that the $30.5 million project restoring the 100-plus year old arts venue will get underway.

    The art-deco venue – which over its illustrious history has showcased artists including Charlie Chaplin and Duluth’s own “Trampled By Turtles” – will be revamped to “improve visitor experiences, accessibility, expand programs and sustain the theatre into its next century.”

    It marks the end of a 5-year saga to find funding for the project, with the pieces of the puzzle finally falling into place last September.

  • June 20, 2016

    Worcester, MA – Owner of former Paris Cinema wants to demolish building

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    From The Telegram: One of the buildings targeted for demolition by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority, as part of its Downtown Urban Revitalization Plan, could come down much sooner than envisioned.

    The owner of the former Paris Cinema, 66-70 Franklin St., has petitioned the Historical Commission for a waiver to the city’s demolition delay ordinance, which puts a one-year hold on tearing down historical buildings.

    In its application, Quincy-based Worcester Park Plaza LLC indicated that it wants to demolish the vacant 90-year-old, three-story brick and concrete building because of its “severe structural deterioration.”

    The building is said to have code violations, as well as health and safety issues.

    The Fire Department has placed an “X” sign on the front of the building, which has been closed since 2006, to warn firefighters that it is unsafe.

    Bolton & DiMartino Inc., local consulting structural engineers, said they have found the exterior brick of the building to be in poor condition and said it needs to be rebuilt at severely deteriorated areas because of a lack of maintenance for decades.

    It also found the interior of the building to be in poor condition, with significant deterioration from water infiltration and lack of maintenance.

    “Based on our limited review of the existing conditions, it is our professional opinion that the Paris Cinema is structurally compromised and presents safety concerns in its current condition,” wrote Christopher Tutlis, an engineer with the firm.

    “We recommend limiting access to the theater due to falling finishes, and concerns of the integrity of the floors, roof and stairs,” he added.

    As part of its application, the company indicated that one of the reasons it is seeking a demolition delay waiver is economic hardship.

    The Historical Commission is scheduled to take up the petition for a waiver at its meeting on June 30.

    Before then, representatives of the building owner are supposed to meet with staff from the city Division of Planning and Regulatory Services to provide additional information on the need for the waiver.

    Because the building is listed on the Massachusetts Cultural Resources Information System, it is subject to the demolition delay ordinance.

    The purpose of the ordinance is to delay demolition for up to 12 months so there could be additional time to explore alternative uses for a historic building or a new owner for it.

    The Historical Commission can waive the ordinance, however, if the owner is able to prove that a building’s demolition will not negatively impact the historical or architectural resources or the city, or that it would cause an undue economic hardship to keep the building up for another year.

    There are actually three buildings on the parcel at 66-70 Franklin St. – the former Paris Cinema and two brick buildings with frontage on Portland Street.

    While the movie theater portion of the building is three stories in height, the buildings with frontage on Portland Street are up to five stories tall. Those buildings will be left in place when the theater portion of the building is demolished.