The latest movie theater news and updates

  • January 11, 2017

    Westerly, RI – Team transforming Westerly theater into arts ‘epicenter’

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    From The Day: After making significant investments in Watch Hill and downtown Westerly, Charles “Chuck” Royce is now part of a team focusing on the transformation of the old United Theater into a culture and arts education center where students will be able to learn, artists will display their work or perform and the public will come to be entertained. “Of all my downtown projects, this is real and symbolic. It’s smack in the middle,” Royce said in an interview. The newly named Ocean Community United Theatre at 5 Canal St. was acquired in 2006 by the Westerly Land Trust as part of its urban initiative and is now the centerpiece of the estimated $15 million arts and education center. The onetime vaudeville theater, opened in 1926 and later converted to a single-screen cinema, was closed in 1986 and shuttered for two decades before it was acquired by the land trust. Three years after buying the theater, the land trust bought the former Montgomery Ward building next door, and the two structures will be married together for the project that will include a music school, spaces for rehearsals, workshops and master classes, and studios for teaching and producing film and video, live performances and fine arts. There will also be a performing arts center, cinema and art gallery — all with a focus on educating and entertaining. Royce and others on the United Theatre board, who have been meeting monthly to move the multimillion-dollar project forward, foresee the arts complex as a downtown magnet that will draw artists and performers, students and audiences for the shows, concerts, exhibits and classes. “We believe it will be an epicenter of entertainment,” said Bill McKendree, president of the board. “Our vision is not just that it will be a facility, but that it will be a regional mechanism to facilitate the arts.” McKendree said the group envisions year-round classes, events and activities, and maybe a Spoleto-like festival similar to the famed 17-day event held in Charleston, S.C., each spring. Spoleto packs crowds into performance spaces around the city to see and hear both well-known and lesser-known performers doing everything from dance and opera to symphony and jazz music. “Our picture is bigger than the building itself,” he said. “Like could we have an opera festival or taste of Italy for the month of June?”

  • January 7, 2017

    Jersey City, NJ – An Inside Look At The Stanley Theater’s Celestial Restoration

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    From Jersey Digs: When it opened in 1928, The Stanley Theater in Journal Square was one of the greatest old movie palaces and the second-largest on the East Coast, next to Radio City. Presenting both orchestral and stage shows plus Hollywood new releases, it quickly became a cultural hub in the bustling Journal Square neighborhood.

    “This was a refuge for the people of Jersey City,” notes historian Richard Polton. Designed by architect Fred Wesley Wentworth in a grand Venetian theme, the theater continued to thrive into the 1960s, with entertainers ranging from The Three Stooges, Jimmy Durante, Tony Bennett, Janis Joplin and Dolly Parton, to The Grateful Dead. By the 1970s, however, the theater, like many of its kind, suffered from disrepair and became a grindhouse.

  • Buffalo, NY – Dear Turner Classic Movies: Buffalo is the answer to your prayers

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    From The Buffalo News:

    Wanted: A city of movie buffs. Must be rich in history, have Hollywood ties and be worthy of shining in the spotlight. A functioning movie palace of yesteryear is a must. Contact Turner Classic Movies.

    Found: Buffalo, N.Y.

    When TCM reached out recently to its Backlot fan club members for recommendations of a city to host a big event, it was exciting to see Buffalo met its requirements.

    We are more than chicken wings and walls of snow. We are home of the 1901 Pan-Am Exposition and Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces; the birthplace of famous entertainers and two presidents and location for hundreds of movies. And that one historic movie palace you need? We have six grand and glorious options for you – all still operating, all built between 1920 and 1926 and all ready to welcome a full house of movie fans, local celebrities and athletes (we’re looking at you, Bills' fan Ben Mankiewicz) and TCM hosts to share a love of classic films.

    or more than a century, hundreds of movies have used the Buffalo area as a location, from early Edison short films made here between 1896 and 1904; to battle scenes re-created at Curtiss-Wright Corp. for John Wayne’s “Flying Tigers”; and in more recent years, scenes for “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” “Best Friends,” “Bruce Almighty” and “The Savages.” The wondrous Niagara Falls has roared to life alongside such co-stars as Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten in the thriller “Niagara,” Christopher Reeve in “Superman II” and even the “Sharknado” gang.

  • Douglaston, Queens, NY – Douglaston Macy’s and movie theater to move out, Lowe’s Home Improvement looking to move in

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    From QNS.com: There are some big retail changes coming to Douglaston in the new year.

    Douglaston Plaza shopping center, located at 242-02 61st Ave. at the intersection of the Long Island Expressway and the Cross Island Parkway, is losing its Macy’s department store and the MovieWorld movie theater, but gaining a big box home improvement retailer.

  • January 5, 2017

    San Francisco, CA – Richmond district’s historic 4-Star Theatre, still without a buyer, offered for sale on Craigslist

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    From SFGate.com: The Richmond district’s 4-Star Theatre, a longtime San Francisco movie theater built in 1913, has been on the market since June 2015 without a serious buyer. At the time, it was being offered for $2.8 million, but now, over a year and a half later, a listing for it has been posted to Craigslist in hopes of attracting anyone who will continue to operate the two-screened establishment as a theater, or else develop it into “a church, school, event space, fitness center – subject to conditional use approval.” The Craigslist posting currently does not list a price, but advises interested parties to call for more information.

  • Richmond, VA – Westhampton Theater building being demolished now to make way for project

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    From The Richmond Times-Dispatch: The Westhampton Theater in Richmond’s West End is coming down. So far, about half of the old building at 5706 Grove Ave. has been demolished to make way for Westhampton on Grove, a hotly debated retail, office and residential development that the Richmond City Council unanimously approved in late July. Construction is expected to start in February or March with a planned completion in January 2018, developer Jason Guillot said. Westhampton on Grove will house retail on the first floor, offices on the second floor and as many as 12 apartments on the third floor. The first floor was to be occupied by a Long & Foster location, a Mango Salon, a Tazza Kitchen restaurant and Taste Unlimited, a Hampton Roads-based gourmet market chain. However, Tazza Kitchen has pulled out. The other commercial tenants still plan to come and will occupy their spaces in spring or summer of 2018, Guillot said. Taste Unlimited is looking at a mid-summer 2018 opening. “The goal for Tazza was to open in 2017, but because of the time to get city approvals, they have since moved on,” Guillot said. The restaurant is working on opening a location in Scott’s Addition.

  • Franklin, IN – Franklin Movie Theatre Honoring Elvis with Showing of Jailhouse Rock

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    From WIBC.com: The Historic Artcraft Theatre in downtown Franklin is showing the classic movie Jailhouse Rock this weekend in honor of Elvis Presley’s birthday.

    Elvis would have been 82 on Sunday, Jan. 8.

    “The fact that he talent as a musician, but he [also] could act. He had acting chops. And so that’s why he did as many movies as he did because he was a natural at it,” says Rob Shilts, the Executive Director of Franklin Heritage, Inc. and the Historic Artcraft Theatre.

    Jailhouse Rock was Elvis’s third film and one of his most notable. The movie was released in Nov. 1957 and features Judy Tyler as Elvis’s love interest. Tyler was killed in a car accident just weeks after filming was completed. Her death had upset Elvis to the point where he did not attend the premiere and may have never watched the film in its entirety during his lifetime. The movie was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2004.

    The movie is showing at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6 and Saturday, Jan. 7 Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 55 and older, as well as college students and military personnel with ID. Tickets for children under 12 are $3.

    For more information, as well as a full schedule of upcoming films visit historicartcraftheatre.org.

  • Canby, MN – With hundreds pitching in, western Minnesota residents bring the Canby Theatre back to life

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    From the Star-Tribune: It’s a plotline straight out of a Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland flick from the 1930s: “Hey, kids! Let’s fix up the old barn and put on a show!”

    And that’s what they did, hundreds of people in and around this western Minnesota city of 1,800. They came from Dawson and Minneota, from Marshall and Porter. They pitched in and brought back to life the Canby Theatre, opened in 1939 as a grand movie palace and closed in 2012 as a tired mess. Electricians and plumbers donated their skills. The mayor hung drywall and acoustical tile.

    Across the area, even over the nearby border with South Dakota, cities and civic groups raised money through bake sales, burger fries, music shows and cruise nights. They sold calendars and $200 sponsorships for the theater’s 210 seats. They put jars on store counters and dropped in their spare change. Local businesses donated money and bought ads.

    Out here in the heart of the Minnesota prairie, the people raised $300,000 from their own pockets to buy the theater and renovate it for the 21st century with digital projectors and reclining seats — and, more important, to send the world a signal that their town is still going strong.

  • January 4, 2017

    New book on the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, published by Theatre Historical Society of America.

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    On September 7, 1929 the Loew’s Kings Theatre in Brooklyn opened its doors to the public for the first time. Less than 50 years later they were shut, seemingly for good. Designed by the Rapp & Rapp architecture firm in the French Baroque style, the Kings is not only an architecturally important piece of Brooklyn history, but from community standpoint as well. Many Brooklynites had their first date at the theater, or walked across the stage during their high school graduation. Now, after almost 40 years of darkness, the curtain is beginning to rise.

    When it reopened in 2015, the Kings became the largest indoor theater in Brooklyn and the third largest in New York City. It is a place for the community to gather once again, hosting everything from Broadway shows to concerts. Take a trip through the history of the Kings via photographs and artifacts spanning the theater’s heyday through its renovation. Watch the theater return to its original splendor and learn for yourself why it’s called Brooklyn’s “Wonder Theater.”

    This new book by Matt Lambros contains never before seen historic and modern photographs of the Kings, as well as a complete history of the theater. There are a limited supply available online at Amazon.

  • Houston, TX – In the Age of Streaming, How Houston’s Cinemas Keep You Going to the Movies

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    From the Houston Press: In July 1999, the River Oaks Theatre had the honor of exclusively hosting The Blair Witch Project for two weeks. Lines snaked around the building for an endless stream of sold-out shows. People began trying to sneak their friends in through the exit. With too many people and not enough seats, a minor riot ensued.

    Then-general manager Rob Arcos and the rest of the staff ended up barricaded in the office while the cops escorted people out. Artisan Entertainment eventually sent the various Landmark Theatres staff T-shirts saying “I survived The Blair Witch Project,” as thanks for handling the two weeks of insanity.

    Ah, those heady days when going to the movies was still a must-do experience. Nowadays, confronted with streaming entertainment and digital piracy, Houston theaters are finding new best strategies as they try to hold onto their share of the market and remain relevant.

    For instance, he really isn’t a ghoul, but when Robert Saucedo of Alamo Drafthouse finds out a celebrity actor has died, he springs into action, operating on the premise that when someone you love dies, you go to that person’s funeral. When an actor you love dies, you go to the movies.