The latest movie theater news and updates

  • February 7, 2017

    Columbus, IN – Awaiting an encore

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    From The Republic: Caretakers of the historic Crump Theatre, the iconic structure that has been mothballed for three years, continue to hold out hope that the right investor will arrive with a plan, a sustainable vision and an eye for restoration to bring the 127-year-old downtown theater back to life.

    “What I hope to find — how can I say this? — is a Crump angel,” said Hutch Schumaker, who leads the Columbus Capital Foundation.

    The foundation owns the building and works with the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County to keep it in stable condition while waiting for an investor who isn’t afraid of investing in basic mechanical upgrades and cosmetic work.

    “It’s one of those gems that if we allow it to go away, we’re never going to get something like that back,” Schumaker said.

  • February 3, 2017

    Kalamazoo, MI – Movie theater closing doors

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    From grbj.com: A movie theater in the region featuring more than 30 draft beers has announced it will close.

    Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kalamazoo, at 180 Portage St., announced this week it plans to close on April 3.

    Alamo representative Steve Phillips says the property on which the theater sits was sold, and the new owner plans to terminate Alamo’s lease, according to a Jan. 31 notice filed with the State of Michigan and Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell.

    Phillips, senior director of people at Alamo, says this will result in a permanent shutdown of the theater and across-the-board layoffs.

    “Some Alamo employees whose Kalamazoo positions will be eliminated may receive offers to transfer to different Alamo locations. However, like all other Kalamazoo employees, any employees who receive but reject an offer to transfer to a different location will no longer work for Alamo after their Kalamazoo position is eliminated,” Phillips says.

    On Facebook, a message by the theater thanks long-time patrons.

    “We want to thank everyone who has visited this theater over the years, and we hope you will continue to support cinema long after our departure,” the post says.

    “All gift cards and advance tickets will be honored through April 3rd. If you have purchased an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema gift card and would like a refund, please visit the box office.”

  • Redmond, OR – Historic movie theater coming to downtown Redmond

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    From bendbulletin.com: For a glimpse of the future of downtown Redmond’s entertainment options just look back to the 1930s.

    That’s what Ted Eady’s doing. Eady, who owns several properties in downtown Redmond, has historic designs for the slender, two-story brick building on 349 SW Sixth St.: Return it to its former theatrical glory.

    Over the past year, Eady and his son, Evan, have been working to restore the movie theater, which opened in the 1930s, he said. Currently the building is an under-construction maze of century-old brick, exposed insulation and creaky wooden stairs.

    “We call this the mineshaft,” said Evan Eady, 26, descending into the ancient basement.

    The duo have a vision of something more complete.

    “We’re in this auditorium right now,” said Ted Eady, 58, leaning over a set of blueprints. “This is the pub area on the other side of the wall. We’re going to have 17 seats in the pub and 40 seats in each of the two auditoriums, with stadium seating for the back two rows.”

    The Eadys have decided to call the theater Odem Theater Pub after the building’s former owner — historic Redmond planner, civil servant and theater mogul Milton Odem. It is scheduled for a summer opening. And even though there’s still some work to do — soundproofing, sheet rock, roofing, electrical — the Eadys are confident.

    “I suspect I’m a bit manic,” Ted Eady said. “I’m not a manic depressive because I don’t get too bummed out, but I’m definitely a glass half full kind of guy.”

    The renovations will try to keep a bit of the former Odem flavor, Eady said, pointing to a 90-year-old wooden stage that will be a part of a bar in a few months. Leaning against the wood were four letters — O D E M — that he found in the basement of the building.

    “We don’t know what the original sign from the ’30s looked like because we haven’t found any pictures of it, but finding these in the basement spelling what they spell in an art deco style that was popular in the ’30s — I’m beginning to suspect this was part of it,” he said, adding that he’s going to try to restore the old marquee sign that’s on the front of the building.

    And while the building itself might pay tribute to the past, the theater’s future programming and food offerings have a more modern feel. Eady said that he’s drawing on theater chains that are popular these days for inspiration — Alamo Drafthouse and Portland’s Living Room Theaters chain, for instance. He envisions a place where people can come and have dinner and drinks while watching original programming and films you won’t typically find at corporate cinema chains.

    “We want to show films that will be in contention for best picture, not necessarily the newest Marvel superhero movies,” he said. “We’ll show art house films, for sure, but we’ll show anything that we think is good that we can get our hands on.”

    Adding in the fact that he also owns the vacant lot next to the building and has plans to turn that into an open-air music venue with expanded pub seating, and the future of entertainment in Redmond sounds like it could have potential.

    “Redmond’s not as cool as Bend, I don’t know if you’ve heard,” Eady said. “So, we would like to do something they don’t have in Bend. It’s such a small place and so elaborate, and it has the history. It was a movie theater for a long time in the community, so it just seems right.”

  • Skowhegan, ME – Skowhegan Savings Bank gives $30,000 toward Augusta theater project

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    From CentralMaine.com: Skowhegan Savings Bank announced Monday it was donating $30,000 toward the restoration and expansion project at the Colonial Theatre in Augusta.

    In a statement released by the bank, Senior Vice President of Customer Relations Dan Tilton said when completed, “we feel that the theatre will be a great asset to the community of Greater Augusta and we’re proud to be able to be a part of that.”

    Richard Parkhurst, co-chair of the capital campaign to restore the Colonial, said in the release that they were grateful for the bank’s contribution.

    “It is truly a gift to the community,” he said.

    Located on 139 Water St. in downtown Augusta, the Colonial Theatre was opened in 1913, according to its website. Bill Williamson, whose grandfather founded the Colonial, is co-chairing the campaign. He said the Colonial has been an important gathering place for the community for over 50 years, and this campaign re-imagines it with a plan “that will culturally enrich and drive economic growth for the region.”

    “We are very appreciative for Skowhegan Savings Bank’s support and recognition of the importance of the campaign,” Williamson said.

    According to the release, once opened, the Colonial will be a cultural venue for film, live performances, digital programming, space for community groups and corporate meetings, and for other charitable events and educational purposes.

    Renovations for the theater are expected to take about two years and cost about $8.5 million in total. The building has been vacant since 1969.

  • Winchester, KY – Historic theater’s renovations uncovered film reels from the 1920s

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    From the Lexington Herald-Leader: After having suffered from deferred maintenance for several years, the historic theater in Winchester is getting a touch-up.

    The Leeds Center for the Arts is closed for the next couple of months while the historic theater gets renovations that include new plaster and paint. The work started in December.

    Tracey Miller, president of Winchester Council for the Arts, a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to save the theater after it temporarily closed because of lack of attendance and cost of upkeep, said a leaky roof, crumbling walls and water damage were some of the major problems with the approximately 400-seat theater.

    The roof has been repaired, and now new toilets, paint, a curtain and carpet are on the list to spruce up or replace.

    A $100,000 anonymous private donation and a $50,000 donation from the Clark County Community Foundation made the renovations possible.

    “Winchester is a very generous community,” Miller said.

    The deadline for completion of renovations is April 15, when the Kentucky native and cellist Ben Sollee is scheduled to perform.

    The theater, at 37 North Main Street, has had more than 18,000 visitors over the past two years, Miller said. He called it a “true theater” for the community, hosting theatrical productions, community gatherings and other performances.

  • February 1, 2017

    Highland, IN – Town Council cancels Town Theatre renovation

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    From nwitimes.com:
    The final curtain went down on the Town Theatre on Monday when the Town Council voted against a renovation of the long vacant building.

    A divided council voted 3-2 to reject a proposal, first made in 2014, to renovate and reopen the 71 year-old theater that was bought by the town in a county tax sale several years ago.

    Voting against the renovation were councilmen Mark Herak, I-2nd; Konnie Kuiper, D-2nd; and Council Vice president Steve Wagner, D-4th.

    Voting in favor were Councilman Bernie Zemen, D-1st and Council President Dan Vassar, D-3rd.

    The vote took place before a packed house of supporters and opponents.

    Because the proposal will never reach the drawing board, the historic building could soon face the wrecking ball because of its unsafe condition.

    The council’s vote instructed the Redevelopment Commission to cease all renovation efforts and seek contractor quotes to preserve the theater’s famous marquee and ticket booth.

    “The Town Theatre was not just about the theater,” Redevelopment Director Cecile Petro said. “It was to develop a district.”

  • Rochester, NY – East Rochester apartments were once a booming theater

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    From the Democrat & Chronicle: The Capri Apartments in East Rochester once housed the biggest movie theater between Rochester and Syracuse.

    Completed in 1918, the Rialto Theatre was the first of several cinemas across Western New York that Harold P. Dygert would own as part of his Associated Theatres company. The building was designed by W.A. Campbell, the architect behind John Marshall and Charlotte high schools as well as the Brighton Presbyterian Church.

  • January 31, 2017

    Boston, MA – BC students look to revitalize historic Hyde Park theater

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    From The Boston Globe: City Councilor Tim McCarthy remembers as a young kid seeing the original “Star Wars” film at the Everett Square Theatre, back when it was called the Nu-Pixie Cinema.

    He also recalls sneaking into the now-shuttered building to snag a seat in the balcony’s front row — the best seat in the house, he claims — so he could watch “Stripes,” starring Bill Murray. (But please, don’t tell his parents about that.)

  • Troy, NY – Troy gets state funds to aid project at historic downtown theater

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    From the Troy Record: The city of Troy was awarded more than $775,000 from a state revitalization program to aid in rehabilitating a historic downtown theater.

    Mayor Patrick Madden said in a late Friday news release the city was chosen to receive $778,205 through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Restore New York Communities Initiative. That money would help fund a planned $3 million project to restore the former American Theater on River Street and reopen it as a first-run theater.

    “The preservation of cultural assets like the American Theater is critically important to ensure the continued prosperity of the Collar City,” Madden said in the news release. “The restoration of this landmark space will not only attract new visitors and investment to our city’s thriving downtown, [but] it also supports the city’s long-term Riverwalk expansion effort.”

    The theater has been shuttered for more than a decade, last open as the Cinema Art theater, showing adult films until it was shut down by the city in 2006 amid allegations that patrons were engaging in sex acts in the theater. Bonacio Construction and Bow Tie Cinemas — which operates theaters in Schenectady and Saratoga Springs — are working together on the project, with the city offering its support by backing the application for state funding last fall.

  • Barberton, OH – Barberton’s once-abandoned West Theater reopens on its 70th birthday

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    From Ohio.com: Mark Anderson wanted the abandoned West Theater building for the space beneath it, behind it and on both sides of it. Since purchasing the building from the bank for $58,000 cash in 2012, that’s exactly the space he put to use. Storage rental units in the 8,000-square-foot basement. U-Haul trucks in the parking lot. Retail tenants on bookend storefronts. The 1947 theater whose screen last flickered in 2008? Well, that dark and cavernous space that Anderson would visit with a flashlight turned into a hobby. Since the rest of the property was paying the bills, Anderson was in no hurry. A bout of boredom would send the skilled handyman to the theater every once in a while to swap a few torn seat cushion fabrics here or fix some plumbing there. He found new curtains to hang on the stage, rigged a conference room projector from the ceiling, even found some parts to build a tankless water heater for warming the old theater’s bones. Then late last year, when he figured the theater was ready for a little action, a friend of a friend introduced him to another Mark. Mark Budnick, who had spent most of his adult life managing movie theaters, eagerly accepted the challenge of trying to turn a local nostalgic treasure into a productive business. Budnick said he remembers when he drove by the West after it had been sold, thinking: “Here we go again. Another old theater gutted.” He had no idea it had always been the buyer’s intent to someday get the old screen flickering again and that he would become part of the process. Helping to restore an old movie house “has always been a dream,” said Budnick, now the newly opened West’s manager and creative director. To be sure, the theater is not the epitome of luxury. The original 1947 seats have three different styles of red fabric coverings, the floor is gray concrete except for carpeted aisles, and the old water-damaged screen was replaced with a smaller but affordable alternative. Anderson said his shoestring budget was the result of failing to inspire any local banks or foundations to invest in his project, so he had to do what he could using his own skills and his credit cards. Canadian credit cards at that, said the Toronto native who followed his American wife to Barberton in 1984 and stayed. “Yeah, Canadian money helped do this,” he laughed as he looked around the empty theater. Anderson and Budnick are hoping nostalgia will bring curious locals in for a peek, and the diverse entertainment schedule will keep them coming back. “I’m not from here but I’m told people have a lot of memories of this place,” Anderson said. The past couple of weekends, the West has shown a Charlie Chaplin film festival and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.