The latest movie theater news and updates

  • October 10, 2016

    Newport Beach, CA – Newport council to weigh $1 million sale of Balboa Theater for renovation

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    From The Los Angeles Times: The Balboa Theater, a longtime community fixture on the Balboa Peninsula, would be sold to a Costa Mesa developer for $1 million under a proposal the Newport Beach City Council will consider Tuesday night.

    The council voted in April to enter a nine-month exclusive negotiating agreement to work with Lab Holding LLC, the company behind The Lab and The Camp in Costa Mesa, on a proposal to rejuvenate the 88-year-old theater building, which has been vacant for years.

    The agreement was intended to give the city and Lab Holding time to finalize a plan and negotiate a sale of the city-owned property to Lab, which proposes to update the Balboa Boulevard venue and maintain it as a theater.

    Lab Holding is proposing to restore the theater’s original architecture, including the marquee, which likely would reflect the 1920s wrought-iron style. The venue is proposed to have a cafe that would open to the street, a small stage for live music and a second stage for private events. The live-music stage would have an indoor pub but no seating. The theater likely would not show films, according to preliminary plans.

    “We are excited by the opportunity to resurrect this community amenity for Balboa Village,” Lab Holding founder Shaheen Sadeghi wrote in his proposal to the city.

  • Lakeland, FL – Palm Cinema 3 screens go dark after 3 decades

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    From The Ledger: The Carmike Palm Cinema 3 meant much to the personal life of Brice Holley — his first job, a place to see friends and catch the latest movie, and where he met a cute employee who would eventually become his wife.

    But it’s the end of an era for a place of diversion that was a big part of Holley’s life and the lives of thousands of other Polk County residents seeking a two-hour-or-more escape from reality. The Palm Cinema 3 staff has turned off the theaters' projectors for good, ending an 30-plus-year run that began when “Ghostbusters,” “Indiana Jones” and “Beverly Hills Cop” were just-released blockbusters. According to the website Flikr, the Palm Cinema 3 was opened by Floyd Theaters April 18, 1986, built on the site of the former Lakeland Drive-In.

    Until its closing, it was second-oldest Polk County theater, after the Polk Theatre, which is still in operation.

    “My wife, myself and a few friends still keep in touch and we all worked there back in the ‘80s. We had a reunion of sorts about four years ago. Seeing it in its current state is sad; when we were there it was still shiny and new,” said Holley, 46. who worked as a projectionist and usher from 1986 to 1989.

    The Palm Cinema 3 was divided into three theaters: The Arts, which showed specialty films; The Variety, which showed discount-priced, second-run films; and Mugs and Movies, where beer and pub food were available.

    Holley said the Mugs theater’s roof was giving way due to leaks and he was told it shut down Oct. 1.

    According to its website, Carmike Cinemas, Inc., which is based in Columbus, Ga., is one of the United States' largest motion picture exhibitors, with 276 theaters and 2,954 screens in 41 states, with a focus on mid-sized communities.

    The news of Palm Cinema 3’s closing was also bittersweet for another Lakeland family.

  • October 6, 2016

    Birmingham, AL – Alabama Theatre announces 2016 Christmas movie schedule

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    From AL.com: Halloween is still more than three weeks away, but it’s not too early to start making your Christmas plans at the Alabama Theatre.

    Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today, Oct., 6, for the Alabama’s 2016 Holiday Film Series, and if you want to make sure to get tickets to see some of your favorite Christmas movies, you might want to go ahead and buy your tickets now.

    Last Christmas season, a record 29,281 people attended the Holiday Film Series, and 12 of the 18 screenings were sold out, according to Brant Beene, executive director of Birmingham Landmarks, which owns and operates the Alabama Theatre.

    “These are so popular,” Beene said. “People even plan their holidays around them.”

    Tickets to this year’s movies are $8, with the exception of the two screenings of “The Polar Express.” Those tickets are $12, with proceeds benefiting Kid One Transport.

    Order tickets online at Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. There is an additional charge for online purchases.

    Here is the 2016 Holiday Film Series schedule:

    Dec. 9, Friday, 7 p.m. — “White Christmas.”

    Dec. 10, Saturday, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. — “The Polar Express.”

    Dec. 10, Saturday, 7 p.m. — “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

    Dec. 11, Sunday, 2 p.m. — “Miracle on 34th Street.”

    Dec. 11, Sunday, 7 p.m. — “Elf.”

    Dec. 12, Monday, 7 p.m. — “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

    Dec. 13, Tuesday, 7 p.m. — “Home Alone.”

    Dec. 14, Wednesday, 7 p.m. — “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

    Dec. 15, Thursday, 7 p.m. — “Elf.”

    Dec. 16, Friday, 7 p.m. — “A Christmas Story.”

    Dec. 17, Saturday, 2 p.m. — Christmas Cartoon Matinee: “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

    Dec. 17, Saturday, 7 p.m. — “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

    Dec. 18, Sunday, 2 p.m. — “White Christmas.”

    Dec. 18, Sunday, 7 p.m. — “Home Alone.”

    Dec. 19, Monday, 2 p.m. — “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

    Dec. 19, Monday, 7 p.m. — “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

    Dec. 20, Tuesday, 2 p.m. — “White Christmas.”

    Dec. 20, Tuesday, 7 p.m. — “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

    Dec. 21, Wednesday, 2 p.m. — “A Christmas Story.”

    Dec. 21, Wednesday, 7 p.m. — “Elf.”

    Dec. 22, Thursday, 2 p.m. — Christmas Cartoon Matinee: “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

    Dec. 22, Thursday, 7 p.m. — “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

    The Alabama Theatre is at 1817 Third Ave. North in downtown Birmingham.

  • New York, NY – This luxe dine-in movie theater serves only quiet food

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    From the New York Post: New Yorkers who get their first look at — and taste of — the city’s first iPic cinema complex at the South Street Seaport on Friday might be awed if they’ve never been to one of iPic Entertainment’s 14 other destinations around the US.

    Realty Check got a sneak peek at iPic in the landmark Fulton Market Building, which boasts eight screens and 501 seats. It opens to the public on Oct. 7 with showings of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “The Birth of a Nation” and the much-anticipated “The Girl on the Train.”

    Plush, reclining seats similar to those in a first-class airline cabin and food prepared by an award-winning chef that’s served as you watch a film, are far more upscale than even the fanciest of other cinemas in New York.

    Via iPic.com and a dedicated app, customers can easily book showings — not only the movie and time but also exactly which seats. There are two seating options, Premium and Premium Plus. The former includes regular or chaise lounge seats; customers can bring food from an iPic Express counter to the seats.

    Premium Plus means reclining leather seats built into pods with pillows, blankets and “unlimited free popcorn.” They’re arrayed in pairs separated by aisles, so customers can have pre-ordered meals and cocktails delivered to seats by “Ninja” servers who don’t block anyone’s view of the screen.

    Membership programs both free and paid entitle users to various discounts, priority reservations and other benefits. Seats cost $14 to $29 depending on which level of service is chosen, as well as the day and time; weekends are more expensive.

  • Waterbury, CT – Tour given of historic Waterbury theater

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    From TownTimesNews.com:
    Friday, October 15, is a chance to learn some of what makes the magic happen behind the curtain along with the history and lore steeped in 95 years as an entertainment venue during the Waterbury Palace Theater’s upcoming monthly tour from 11a.m. to 12:30p.m.

    For information, visit www.palacetheaterct.org, call 203-346-2000, or in person at the Box Office, 100 East Main Street, Waterbury. Groups larger than 10 people are asked to contact the Box Office to book their reservations in advance.

    During the tour, attendees are led through nine decades of the theater viewing and hearing facts and lore, about the stunning architecture and backstage magic related to the Palace’s rich history. In addition to exploring the many spaces within the theater, patrons also have the opportunity to visit hidden areas not seen by the general public, like the green room, wig room and star dressing rooms, you can even stop to take a selfie at the stage door. Tour takers will also be able to experience the thrill of walking across the stage and viewing the venue’s hidden backstage murals featuring show motifs painted and signed by past performers and Broadway touring company cast members. Guests will also browse a collection of the theater’s pre-restoration photos, in addition to viewing elements from the Palace’s Tenth Anniversary History Exhibit, which include a visual timeline of historic milestones dating back to 1922, as well as original theater seats from the 1920s.

    Each tour is approximately 90 minutes and is led by a team of engaging volunteers well-versed in the theater’s rich history, architectural design and entertaining anecdotal information. The walking tour covers five floors of history and architecture, including grand staircases from the 1920s. While elevator access is available, guests with walking disabilities or health concerns are asked to inform the Box Office ahead of time, so that the tour guides can make accommodations in advance to insure a pleasurable experience for all.  

    For general information about the venue, visit www.palacetheaterct.org.

  • October 5, 2016

    St. Paul, MN – Take a look inside St. Paul’s Palace Theatre overhaul, soon to be a major concert destination

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    From the Star Tribune: The Palace Theatre in downtown St. Paul looks to be in ruins right now. And that’s a good thing.

    After three years of financial and governmental wrangling, renovations on the 100-year-old former vaudeville and movie house are well underway — 32 years after its marquee went dark over what’s now the 7th Place walking plaza between Wabasha and St. Peter streets.

  • Hollywood, CA – Followup: Vendor Carts Removed From Front of Historic TCL Chinese Theatre Following Social Media Controversy

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    From The Hollywood Reporter: A rep for TCL declines to comment, but known Los Angeles documentarian Alison Martino celebrates a victory for Hollywood preservationists: “Power to the people. Social media is an incredible force.”

    A slew of souvenir carts and kiosks have been removed from the sidewalk in front of Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre, where the structures were blocking access to historic handprints, footprints and signatures of beloved stars such as Jean Harlow, Bette Davis and Lana Turner.

    The removal comes after a dust-up on social media kick-started by noted Hollywood documentarian Alison Martino and her Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page, which posted a photo on Sept. 30 taken by Brian Donnelly. The image showed a retail structure selling inexpensive hats and T-shirts while covering iconic cement blocks lining Hollywood Boulevard in front of the theater. “How incredibly disrespectful,” the post reads, as seen below. “If Lucy and Ethel were to try and steal John Wayne’s footprints today, they couldn’t even find it! This is not a pretty sight TCL Chinese Theatres!”

    The post generated more than 750 comments and 530 shares and was enough to launch a Change.org petition requesting the removal of the vendor carts from the forecourt, as well as a news story on Curbed Los Angeles. The petition, signed by more than 2,600 supporters as of Monday afternoon, called for the removal of the carts out of respect for Hollywood history and the millions of tourists who flock to the block each year.

    “Capsules of Hollywood history, the cement blocks are precious to film enthusiasts all around the globe, many of whom travel a great distance to visit the forecourt and have the opportunity to see their favorites’ blocks,” the petition reads. “The current situation of the vending carts directly on top of the blocks reduces all citizens’ enjoyment of the forecourt, and does not even allow many visitors to see some of the blocks, being entirely covered by carts.… Please don’t allow commerciality to overshadow the history contained there.”

    While it can be assumed that TCL opted to move the retail structures following the controversy, it’s not confirmed, because a rep for TCL Chinese Theatre declined to comment. It remains unclear where the vendor carts will go, though a source indicated they may be relocated to the nearby Hollywood & Highland mall.

    Martino offered to talk, telling The Hollywood Reporter that she drove to the block on Monday once she heard that the carts were no longer in place. “It’s unbelievable — power to the people,” she said, crediting Donnelly with the original image and Elena Parker for launching the petition. “I’ve been operating the Vintage Los Angeles page for five years and I’ve never seen a reaction like this. The outcry and outrage grew really fast. My VLA community really took it to heart. It was their passion and perseverance that drove this. Social media is an incredible force.”

  • Abingdon, VA – New owner brings new life for Moonlite Drive-In

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    From the Bristol Herald Courier:
    Local residents will soon be able to enjoy movies under the stars once again, courtesy of the historic Moonlite Drive-in.

    After seeing it idle for three years, new owner Kyle Blevins is breathing life back into the Moonlite, which is off Lee Highway between Abingdon and Bristol.

    Blevins, a UPS driver from Bristol, Tennessee, went to the Moonlite for more than 40 years before it closed. He said he’s always wanted to own the theater and recently he came to an agreement with William Booker, who has been trying to sell the property. Under the agreement, Blevins said he is owner and president while Booker remains a co-owner.

    “I never dreamed that I would be able to do it,” Blevins said.

    He declined to give the cost of the sale. In March 2015, the asking price was $1.75 million.

    The drive-in opened in 1949 and closed in 2013 after many studios made the switch to digital, making many new release movies incompatible with the old projector.

    The Moonlite was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007, and is one of only three drive-ins in the nation to be there, according to Blevins.

    Its long history is one of the things that makes Blevins happy to revive it. He plans to restore the property to its original 1950s style.

    “It’s not just coming to watch a movie. You’re going to be transformed into a different time,” said Blevins, who added that he also plans to alter the decor to fully immerse customers in the movie experience.

    The upcoming changes were brought to the attention of many who pass by when the number 16 showed up Sept. 15 on the marquee and the Facebook page. He wanted to spark interest so he decided to conduct a countdown until his announcement of the reopening today.

    But even he admits he was shocked at the attention he got.

    The real motivation to reopening is the way people in the community still talk about it, Blevins said.

    “It’s got a lot of history that comes from everybody in the community. A lot of people have a story about it,” he said.

    Blevins hopes to get support from the community, both in preparing for the reopening and keeping the theater open. Abingdon-based CPA firm Hicok, Fern & Company has agreed to assist Blevins in overseeing financial contributions and expenditures.

    “The needs are extensive and community involvement is going to be crucial to meeting those needs,” he said in a news release.

    Blevins has scheduled a community work day for Saturday, Oct. 8, beginning at 8 a.m. He invites anyone who’s willing to help with the start of the renovation.

    His plan is to try to get the drive-in ready for at least one show around the middle of October, but there’s a lot to be done before that can happen. An official reopening is planned for next spring.

    Blevins is ready to do what it takes to get the drive-in up and running, but notes that it isn’t just for himself or his family.

    “It doesn’t belong to me,” he said. “It belongs to the community. It belongs to everybody. I just happen to be lucky enough to be able to do it.”

  • Sayre, PA – Historic Sayre Theater Installs New Marquee

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    From MyTwinTiers.com: The long wait has finally come to an end for members of the Sayre community. Their local theater received its new marquee after raising nearly 200,000 dollars from the community.

    “We’ve had many many different donations from lumber companies and hardware stores and all over,” Board Member of the Bradford County Regional Arts Council, Jeff Paul said. “I mean, it’s just a very big thank you to everybody to get us to where we are today.”

    What began as an old opera house built during world war one, has evolved into a hot spot for movie enthusiasts.

    “We see about $300,000 of revenue from the movies with the concession included,” Executive Director of the Bradford County Regional Arts Council, Elaine Poost said. “I would say around about 70,000 people see a movie each year here at the Sayre.”

    “It is a hot spot,” Paul said. “It’s incredible. When I look at the numbers every month of how many people come here to the Sayre Theater and watch movies or the different shows that we have, it’s important because we are right across from the hospital and many times people will be visiting and they may come over just to watch a movie in between time.”

    The Arts Council also feels that its new marquee and other future renovations could bring more people to the area.

    “I’m hoping that it’ll bring more and more people in,” Paul said. “I mean, we do really well, I’m impressed at the attendance all the time but, I’m hoping that with all of this being done, that maybe we will bring in some people from other communities will show up.”

    Even though the new marquee is a step in the right direction for the theater, there is still a lot of renovating work to be done.

    “We had actually had it in the queue, re pointing of the building but, when this reared its little head we said ‘ok you can go first,’” Poost said. “So, now we are going to have this beautiful marquee but we still have $200,000 to raise for re pointing an old, historic building.”

    The Bradford County Regional Arts Council will hold a grand lighting ceremony on Saturday, October 29th, from 6p.m. – 7:30p.m.

  • October 3, 2016

    Hollywood, CA – Famous handprints at TCL Chinese Theatre covered up by souvenir stalls

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    From Curbed LA: Visitors to Hollywood hoping for a classic photo-op pressing their hands into the prints of one of their favorite Hollywood luminaries may be a bit disappointed to discover that many of the iconic, concrete-preserved prints and celebrity signatures in the TCL Chinese Theatre courtyard have been covered over by another well-known Hollywood attraction: cheap souvenirs.

    On Friday, the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook group posted a photo showing a rack of hats and t-shirts taking up a good-sized chunk of real estate next to Bette Davis’s handprints in the famous courtyard. As the post notes, the souvenir cart appears to be covering up the signatures of both Jean Harlow and Lana Turner.