The latest movie theater news and updates

  • October 27, 2016

    Oregon, IL – New popcorn business could lead to theater re-opening in Oregon


    From The Ogle County Life: Ryan Hopper knows popcorn.

    Hopper, who recently opened Hopper’s Poppers in Oregon, said his family has been in the movie theater and popcorn business for decades. And he brought his successful popcorn formulas from Sycamore to Oregon to give locals a taste.

    And judging by opening day – Sept. 31 – he has another hit on his hands.

    “We had a line out the door waiting for us to open,” he said. “The building inspector was still in here inspecting.”

    That opening weekend – the weekend of Autumn on Parade – Hopper said they went through 150 pounds of popcorn.

    “Our supplier was surprised,” he said. “I was surprised.”

    Hopper has not only opened a new business in Oregon – selling popcorn, candy and other treats – he has purchased the building at 104 N. 4th St., which is next to the closed movie theater that currently houses an appliance repair shop, moved his family to town and is looking at the possibility of renovating and opening the theater. (see sidebar story).

    “I really see Oregon as being one of those up-and-coming towns,” he said “That is one of the reasons why we chose to move to Oregon.”

    Hopper started his business in Sycamore in 2012. His family has owned the Sycamore State Theater since 2000, and he started his business selling popcorn at the theater. From there he started selling at area farmer’s markets and business boomed.

    “It got so popular, I had to upgrade all of my equipment there, to larger equipment,” he said.

    Hopper said the secret to his success is how he makes and keeps his product.

    “We use high quality food,” he said. “We use coconut oil for our oil. I made my own recipe for the popcorn, so it’s not just generic run of the mill popcorn.”

    And once the popcorn is ready, it is held in crispers to keep it fresh. He said it won’t dry out and it won’t get too soft.

    And then there are the flavors. There are nine flavors on hand, but different flavors come in and out of the menu all the time. Hopper said he will always have cheddar, carmel, chocolate and cake popcorn. There is also kettle corn and a wide variety of cheese popcorn.

    The best seller?

    “Carmel is always the best, by far,” he said. “Everyone comes in to try the cake, though. Not everyone has cake popcorn.”

    To keep up on what is available, follow Hopper’s Poppers on Facebook.

  • October 26, 2016

    New York, NY – The haunted history of Broadway’s Palace Theatre


    From Curbed NY: The sightings of spirits, ghosts, and ghouls are a common occurrence in New York City buildings, and one such haunted spot is Times Square’s Palace Theatre. It’s said to be home to a variety of ghosts—both friendly and frightening—many of whom once graced its legendary stage.

    Located at Broadway at West 47th Street, the theater was built in 1913 by the Milwaukee-based architecture firm of Kirchoff & Rose. They were somewhat limited in their design potential, thanks to the fact that the theater was located within a ten-story office building and surrounded by existing buildings on each side. They designed a three-level auditorium with 16 parquet-style boxes arranged along the walls toward the stage, “under a graceful arch forming a stylized sunburst above them on either side.” Designed in the Neo-Classical style, the building featured “moldings of such as fruit festoons and bead-and-reel to outline the panels into which the walls and ceiling were divided.”

  • Lockport, IL – Historic Lockport theater may undergo renovations


    From The Chicago Tribune: An historic downtown Lockport theater could soon be getting a face-lift to help restore it to its former glory.

    City officials recently discussed awarding a $10,000 grant to the owner of the Roxy Theatre building to pay for some of the renovations.

    “I know we’re all excited to see it happen,” Mayor Steve Streit said during Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

    The grant would go toward helping with a facade improvement project costing more than $50,000. The project would include a new marquee sign with a design that had to be approved by the Heritage and Architecture Commission because the building is in the historic district.

  • Bridgeport, CT – New management keeps Bridgeport’s Bijou Theatre open


    From The Connecticut Post: The Bijou Theatre has not seen its final curtain call after all.

    In July, Christine Brown, president of the nonprofit that operated the theater, said it would close its doors on Aug. 7 because it didn’t work financially.

    “We’re really, really proud of what we’ve accomplished, but the economics have made it impossible for us to keep going,” Brown said at the time.

    But, according to developer Phil Kuchma, whose company owns the building, no one has taken any final bows. “It’s just under a new tenant,” he said.

    Kuchma said he never planned to close the theater, but potential visitors might have had a hard time learning this. Though the Bijou has a new website and Facebook page, the original site, the, still comes up in web searches and as of Monday featured a farewell message.

    “The Bijou Theatre thanks the people of Bridgeport, the local theater community and all of its past patrons for the privilege of serving them,” the message states.

    The theater’s former Facebook page comes up as unavailable.

  • October 25, 2016

    Kansas City, MO – AMC Issues $1.4 Billion in Debt to Pay for Carmike, Odeon Acquisitions


    From The Wrap: AMC Entertainment Holdings, the parent company of cinema chain AMC Theatres, announced in a Thursday filing that it would issue $1.4 billion in new debt to finance two billion-dollar acquisitions it has agreed on this year.

    In July, AMC — which is owned by Chinese entertainment giant Dalian Wanda Group — agreed to buy British theater chain Odeon & UCI in a deal valued at $1.2 billion. That same month, the board of Carmike Cinemas, the U.S.’ fourth-largest exhibitor, agreed to accept AMC’s second and sweetened offer for $1.2 billion.

    The Carmike acquisition would make AMC the country’s biggest theatrical exhibitor, passing current No. 1 Regal Cinemas. Combined, Odeon and Carmike control more than 5,000 screens, and completing both deals would make AMC parent Wanda — which also owns China’s biggest theater chain — the first exhibitor to manage more than 10,000 screens worldwide.

  • Bedford, NY – Bedford Playhouse Nears Fundraising Goal To Begin Construction


    From The Daily Voice: The folks trying to turn the Bedford Playhouse, one of northern Westchester’s oldest cultural institutions, into a nonprofit arts cinema and community center, are marking a fundraising milestone.

    Thanks to several recent large donations, the campaign has now raised $4.6 million of its $5.2 million needed to begin construction. Additional fundraising will ensure the Playhouse is operational in 2017.

    In the past six weeks alone, the effort has raked in $800,000. About $600,000 more is needed to begin construction.

    They also announced that a series of videos, touting different aspects of the project, have been, or will be, released on the theater’s website,

    They hope the six short promos, which were created by Jamie Edgar of Hound Dog Media, will rally their “final stretch” effort.

    Each video includes commentary by Bedford Playhouse president John Farr.

    The first two videos were posted earlier this month.

    In 2014, the playhouse was facing extinction after its previous tenant, Bow Tie Cinemas, decided not to renew its lease.

    Now there are plans for three state-of-the-art theaters, including a flex-use space for community events such as guest speakers and concerts, and an all-day café.

    A fundraiser and celebration of the movies and performing arts was held recently at the Harvey School’s Walker Center for the Arts in Katonah.

    The event featured a cocktail reception and show that included performances by Westchester residents Glenn Close and Paul Shaffer, Jeffrey Tambor, Chazz Palminteri, Terre Blair (Marvin Hamlisch’s widow), Marissa McGowan and Robert Klein.

    Bedford resident Chevy Chase had been scheduled to appear by had to bow out because of a professional commitment.

  • October 20, 2016

    Americus, GA – Rylander Theatre to showcase historic organ


    From WALB-TV 10: A historic theater is preparing to show off its rare organ.

    A year after it was damaged by lightning, the 1928 Moller organ at the Rylander Theatre in Americus is fully repaired.

    An organist from Atlanta will play it during a special showing of the silent movie classic “Phantom of the Opera.”

    “People just know this isn’t something you get to do everyday. This isn’t like going to see a scary movie at the Carmike, this is actually an experience more than just seeing a movie,” said Rylander Theatre Managing Director Heather Stanely.

    Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for students.

    The one time only showcase will be Friday, October 28th at 8 o'clock.

  • October 18, 2016

    Dunwoody, GA – When will the historic Brook Run theater in Dunwoody be demolished?


    From The Atlanta Journal Constitution:
    The 102-acre Brook Run Park in Dunwoody includes a dog park, a community garden, a skate park, a playground, a trail and even a zip line course.

    But one thing it soon will not include: a beloved 34,000-square-foot building built in 1966 that served as the “de facto town center for the Georgia Retardation Center for more than 30 years,” according to a July letter to city officials from the nonprofit support group, Brook Run Conservancy.

    Hundreds of people — including Rodney Mims Cook Jr., who is credited with saving the Fox theater in the 1970s — wanted the building to be saved.

  • Flint, MI – Historic finds uncovered as Capitol Theatre renovations continue


    From It’s a landmark that’s been around longer than most Flintstones.

    Yet, not even experts leading the restoration know all the hidden secrets the historic Capitol Theatre holds.

    “Very often on historic restoration projects, we hear about the conditions that you find that make things more complicated or add time or add money,” said Jarret Haynes, CEO of the Whiting Auditorium. “But sometimes, you find things that you say, ‘Wow, we didn’t know this was here, and we could refurbish this restore this and even more bring back the character of this lobby of what the original design intent was.’”

    Haynes said the latter has mostly been the case with the $32 million Capitol project, which began when The Whiting and Uptown Reinvestment Corp. acquired the building in July. The Whiting will manage operations at the Capitol.

  • Clarksville, TN – After Three Decades, Film Returns to the Roxy Regional Theatre


    From In 1980, after the last credit rolled off the big screen at the final showing, the Roxy movie theater closed it doors, reopening three years later as a live performance theatre.

    Now, over three decades later, Roxy Regional Theatre Executive Director Ryan Bowie is bringing film back to the corner of Franklin and First in historic downtown Clarksville with the “Planters Bank Presents…” film series.

    “After years of our box office fielding calls about what movies were being shown, and with the introduction of many new programs at the theatre this season, the timing was perfect to bring film back to the Roxy,” Bowie notes. “Our goal, moving forward, is to try to appeal to the needs and wants of the entire community. If Clarksville wants film back in this iconic theatre, then we are going to work that into our programming for the future.”

    Sponsored by Planters Bank, the series will feature vintage flicks and modern classics, presented on Sunday afternoons in the theatre’s 153-seat auditorium.

    “Planters Bank is thrilled to be involved with film being introduced back at the Roxy Theatre,” says Suzanne Langford, Middle Tennessee Senior Marketing Executive for Planters Bank. “There are many people who have fond memories of going to the movies at The Roxy and Capitol Theatres in downtown Clarksville so many years ago. The film series will provide a great way for family and friends to spend Sunday afternoons in downtown Clarksville, making new memories while enjoying the jewel that is our Roxy Theatre. Planters Bank is delighted to play a part in this exciting new endeavor.”

    In anticipation of Halloween, the inaugural showing in the series will be the 1993 comedy Hocus Pocus on Sunday, October 23, at 2:00pm.

    Originally purchased for a project through the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Creative Placemaking grant program, the equipment for screening the films is on permanent loan to the theatre from the Clarksville-Montgomery County Arts & Heritage Development Council.

    “The Arts & Heritage Development Council recently collaborated with the Roxy in airing a film series about Clarksville’s past, present and future. The series was produced through a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and funds from the grant purchased a projector and screen,” says Ellen Kanervo, Executive Director for the Clarksville-Montgomery County Art & Heritage Development Council. “We thought there could be no better way to continue the spirit of the grant than by bringing downtown Clarksville’s past — when locals gathered at the Roxy to see the latest "picture show” — into its present and future — when locals can again gather at the Roxy to see some of those same productions. We are pleased to offer the projector and screen to the Roxy to show movies once again in this historic venue."

    Admission to each film in the “Planters Bank Presents…” series is $5 (cash or check only). Tickets will only be available at the door one hour prior to showtime, and popcorn and bottled water will be available as concessions. Upcoming films include the following:

    HOCUS POCUS Sunday, October 23 @ 2:00pm

    Halloween night will never be the same after three 17th century witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy) are accidentally conjured up in present-day Salem, where they brew a hilarious cauldron of mischief and mayhem!

    Rating: PG
    Runtime: 95 minutes
    Release Year: 1993
    Director: Kenny Ortega


    Two hapless freight handlers (Bud Abbott and Lou Costello) find themselves encountering Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Frankenstein’s creature (Glenn Strange) and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.) in this 1948 American horror comedy classic.

    Rating: NR
    Runtime: 83 minutes
    Release Year: 1948
    Director: Charles Barton

    THE WIZARD OF OZ Sunday, November 6 @ 2:00pm

    In this much-loved musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic novel, Kansas girl Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are whisked by a tornado into the magical land of Oz, where they are joined by the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion on an adventure down the Yellow Brick Road to persuade the Wizard to help her find her way home.

    Rating: G
    Runtime: 101 minutes
    Release Year: 1939
    Director: Victor Fleming

    E.T. THE EXTRA TERRESTRIAL Sunday, November 13 @ 2:00pm

    Elliott, a lonely young boy, summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home-world in this classic sci-fi adventure which captures that strange moment in youth when the world is a place of mysterious possibilities, and the universe seems somehow separate from the one inhabited by grown-ups.

    Rating: PG Runtime: 115 minutes Release Year: 1982 Director: Steven Spielberg

    RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK Sunday, November 20 @ 2:00pm

    Archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis in this action-packed adventure, the first in the original trilogy cooked up by the dream team of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

    Rating: PG Runtime: 115 minutes Release Year: 1981 Director: Steven Spielberg

    IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE Sunday, November 27 @ 2:00pm

    In Frank Capra’s classic holiday comedy/drama, an angel (Henry Travers) helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

    Rating: PG Runtime: 129 minutes Release Year: 1946 Director: Frank Capra

    WHITE CHRISTMAS Sunday, December 4 @ 2:00pm

    A successful pair of nightclub entertainers (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) become romantically involved with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general in this musical romantic comedy featuring the songs of Irving Berlin.

    Rating: NR
    Runtime: 120 minutes
    Release Year: 1954
    Director: Michael Curtiz