The latest movie theater news and updates
February 10, 2017
From the Kansas City Business Journal: The new owners of Shawnee’s Aztec Theatre — one of the oldest movie theaters in Kansas — plan to bring it back to life, the Shawnee Dispatch reports.
It last saw life as a movie house in 1975, according to Cinema Treasures.
From AL.com: The restoration of the historic Carver Theatre is moving forward just weeks after portions of the 4th Avenue Business District was included in the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument.
Last year, the Birmingham City Council approved spending $4.3 million on capital improvements to the city-owned structure. The process hadn’t moved forward, though, until this week when leadership of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, which operates the facility, met with city leaders to go over the budget for the planned work.
Bishop Jim Lowe, president of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame board of directors, said he hopes renovations will be complete in 12 to 18 months.
That timeline, though, may be too optimistic as the project hasn’t went out to bid yet, and the allotted city funds likely won’t pay for all of the improvements on the board’s wish list.
The historic Carver Theatre, owned by the city of Birmingham since 1990, is a non-profit multi-use community-based theater, which houses the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame museum.
Hundreds of internationally recognized artists have performed at the Carver Theatre, and each year, more than 100 area school children receive tuition free jazz instruction and performance opportunities at the venue.
The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame now wants to restore the aging theater to its 1940s grandeur and capitalize on the 4th Avenue Business District’s inclusion into the National Park system.
From The Greeneville Sun: A downtown landmark will soon get a bit of a facelift.
Work to repair the Capitol Theatre’s marquee is likely to get underway soon, along with other planned upgrades to the theater’s facade.
Earlier this week, the Historic Zoning Commission approved plans for the South Main Street landmark that include repairs to the marquee and its lights, enclosure of the existing ticket booth and installation of granite and tile on the lower portion of the building’s facade.
From WSET.com: Doomsday doesn’t mean the end for a Chatham building. Danville Resident, Steve Delgiorno and his business partner will present their plans to the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors on Monday night. If approved, Delgiorno hopes to turn what was once a movie theater (Ed: Chatham Theater) into the new headquarters for Doomsday Tackle Company, a fishing company. The County has owned the building for about 30 years, and currently uses it for storage.
From the Silver Spring Patch: A commercial real estate investment company Rock Creek Property Group announced they broke ground on restoration of the historic Takoma Theatre Wednesday. The former theatre—just a five minute drive from Silver Spring—will be preserved while simultaneously converted into a commercial building.
Takoma Theatre was build in the 1920s by architect John Jacob Zink, and was one of the first theaters in the area to feature “talkies,” or sound films, in 1929. Zink went on to design more than 200 theaters around the country.
Due to the theater’s significant history, Rock Creek Property Group plans to restore the original exterior of the theater, while building the interior to meet the needs of businesses and apartment tenants.
Podcast from KFGO.com: l Michels, the owner of “The Scenic” Theater in beautiful Lisbon North Dakota. The Scenic opened in 1911 with the showing of “Nemo,” a 10-minute black-and-white movie.
From the High Plains Observer Perryton: An effort is underway to revive the Ellis Theater in Perryton, which closed down in the last few months.
Ray Broadbent, his wife Eileen and their family are spearheading the effort. Ray recently shared what exactly will need to be done, how much it is going to cost and what their plans are if they succeed in reopening the theater.
“The first thing we are forming a board and a non-profit organization to run the theater,” Broadbent said. “We do have plans for many other things, but need to get the basics taken care of first.”
He said the roof will need to be replaced and extensive remodeling will need to be done where there has been water damage in the building.
Between the estimate for the roof repair, which will be about $87,000, plus the down payment for the theater itself and the remodeling repairs, Broadbent said they need to raise about $200,000. “We just need 2,000 people to donate $100,” Broadbent said.
They have an account set up at Perryton National Bank if you would like to donate. They also have a dodge ball tournament and volleyball tournament set to raise money as well as bake sales and auctions. You can find out more online when you search for the Save the Ellis Theater Facebook page.
February 7, 2017
From the Post-Gazette: Three 18-wheeler tractor-trailer trucks pulled into the Strip District in October, carrying the weight of the history of commercial movie theaters in America — a history that began in Pittsburgh in 1905.
The Theatre Historical Society of America that was founded in 1969 to celebrate and document America’s movie theaters had outgrown its home in the circa-1924 York Theatre — now a multiplex — in a suburb of Chicago. In 2009, the society had to take on additional storage space for an archive that is now 100,000 items and growing.
The society waited until the archive was settled into its new home, the ninth floor of the Heinz History Center’s Museum Conservation Center at 1221 Penn Ave., Strip District, before making an official announcement. Proposals from 38 cities were considered before deciding on Pittsburgh, where for now the archive remains as the nation’s largest research and preservation resources for items pertaining to movie theaters and their social and historical significance.
Looking ahead, there may be showcases for the public to see some of the society’s treasures. There have been talks about partnering on exhibitions here, “but ultimately the bigger goal is to have some exhibition space or maybe even a larger facility with an operational theater where we are displaying materials and there is educational programming,” executive director Richard Fosbrink said, one of three staff members who moved here with the archive. His hope is to eventually fill out the staff to five.
The search for a new home had been centered in the Chicago area until Mr. Fosbrink came onboard and said, “If we have to move everything anyway, why not expand the search?”
Pittsburgh first sold itself when society members came here in 2014 for their annual theater tour of an American city, with the Downtown theaters of the Benedum Center, Heinz Hall and Byham as well as the Palace Theatre in Greensburg among their stops.
Mr. Fosbrink, a Connellsville native who attended Seton Hill University and taught at Central Catholic High School, was speaking with Pittsburgh Cultural Trust leader Kevin McMahon while preparing the tour and mentioned that the society was in need of new digs.
“You should move to Pittsburgh,” Mr. McMahon said.
From FoxNews: Movie-goers in Nashville are in for a unique experience as plans have been unveiled for an indoor drive-in with a 1960s feel, Fox 17 reports.
The “August Moon Drive-In” is slated to open at the intersection of James Robertson Parkway and Interstate 24 in 2018.
But this is not your typical drive-in.
The environment in the 40,000 square-foot space with an air-supported dome will be complete with 50 classic cars, full-sized trees, hammocks, a starry night with an August “sailor’s moon” and even fireflies. It also boasts the largest non-IMAX movie screen in the North America.
“The August Moon Drive-In will be the first of its kind and an attraction that dramatically enhances the way people experience movies,” a news release sent to Fox 17 News said.
The drive-in will operate daily, with an initial schedule of 18 showings a week.
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.