The latest movie theater news and updates
July 18, 2016
Coconut Grove, FL – Segregation-era movie theater in Coconut Grove wins national historic designation
From The Real Deal: A Coconut Grove theater steeped in history from Miami’s segregation era has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, paving the way for redevelopment, sources told The Real Deal.
The ACE Theatre at 3664 Grand Avenue was added on June 13, according to the register’s website.
The historic designation means the owner, ACE Development Company, can now focus on its plans to renovate of the property into a multi-use entertainment venue, according to ACE attorney Mark Grafton.
“We are extremely excited about unlocking the development potential,” Grafton told TRD. “Being placed on the register allows us to sell transferable development rights, makes the ACE Theatre eligible for federal and some state grants, and it also unlocks a 20 percent federal tax credit which will make it more appealing to outside investors.”
Two years ago, ACE Development — which is owned by longtime Coconut Grove residents the Wallace Family — won approval for a local historic designation from the Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board. Built in 1930, the movie theater was the only film house serving the Grove’s black community in the 1950s. Today, the building is shuttered and in need of extensive repairs.
“The main goal was to get the historic designation,” ACE Development President Denise Wallace told TRD. “There are a lot of changes taking place in the Grove so we felt it was important to preserve the property.”
With a historic designation from the city of Miami, ACE Development was able to win the support of the Florida Division of Historic Resources, which nominates buildings to the National Register of Historic Places. Other local theaters on the list include the Lyric Theater in Overtown and Olympia Theater in downtown Miami.
Wallace said ACE Development is exploring the possibility of a public and private partnership with the city or Miami-Dade County to restore the theater and operate it as multi-use entertainment facility for Grove residents.
From WKYT-TV: The Mountain View Drive-In movie theater in Powell County has been open since 1957. For the first time in its history, the owners say part of the building suffered storm damage.
Around 5:30 Thursday night, strong wind gusts and heavy rain blew through Central Kentucky.
After the storm cleared, the owners of the drive-in found the wind had ripped off a portion of the projection room roof, as well as that of the concession stand.
Owners don’t yet know if the projector has been damaged because the building still did not have power as of Friday morning.
As for the concession stand, crews have been working since Thursday to get it fixed up and there’s still plenty of work to be done.
Keith Justice, owner of Justice Contracting said, “About a third of the roof was just folded back on top of the rest of it. The front corner post over there is laying over here now. Just a real bad gust of wind.”
Owners say the plan is to be open Friday evening on their secondary screen. They’re still not sure whether or not they’ll have movies on the main screen at least for the time being.
Full story, with video and photos, at: http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/A-Powell-Co-drive-in-theater—-386986781.html
From the Austin Daily Herald: After years of mere thoughts, ideas and a failed attempt, volunteer Jim Burroughs is happy to say a project to restore a mural on the side of Paramount Theatre is complete.
“It just stayed as a to-do project for many years,” Burroughs said.
Greg Wimmer, an artist based out of Rochester, completed work on the project two weeks ago.
He spent three days painting a revised version of the original mural, which appeared on the building when it first opened in September of 1929.
“It looks great,” Burroughs said. “Greg Wimmer does exquisite work.”
The mural is also a tribute to the history of the theater. The mural features two stars which say “Publix” inside of them. Publix was the company that originally owned Paramount Pictures and thereby Paramount Theater.
“[We added] it for historical purpose,” Burroughs said.
A mural grant, which matched donations received by the Paramount, helped make the restoration possible.
Story link and additional photo at: http://www.austindailyherald.com/2016/07/going-back-in-time-new-mural-pays-tribute-to-the-theaters-history/
July 15, 2016
From ABC10up.com: The goal of a three-year fundraising effort for a historic theater in Calumet is within reach. Three years ago the Calumet Theater set out to raise money for a much-needed elevator to their second floor ballroom and balcony. The goal of the Lift Us Up project was $325,000 and the theater has raised over $300,000 already. Tickets for the Calumet Theater’s Grand Raffle are now on sale and should help them reach their goal.
Calumet Theater Executive Director Laura Miller said, “$34,000 worth of cash prizes and there’s ten cash prizes, and you can win two tickets for all 2017 stage events; and if we can sell this to the level that we’ve sold it in the past years, we are going to have enough money to break ground on our elevator in 2016.” The winning tickets will be drawn by Jake and Elwood July 23rd during the Blooze Brothers concert.
It’s just one of the hot shows during the theater’s busiest time of year. Miller said, “Biggest month ever in July with Vaudeville and the Movie Magic Films and, of course, the Blooze Brothers-and all these shows bring people in the door and, when people get in the door, they buy those Grand Raffle tickets.” Don’t miss out on the chance for a big payoff.
With raffle tickets becoming more difficult to sell and because they are so close to their goal, this will be the theater’s last Grand Raffle.
From the Cuyahoga Falls News-Press: The Falls Theater rehabilitation project is getting state assistance.
On June 26, the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded $27.8 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to 26 applicants to rehabilitate 39 historic buildings, including the Falls Theater. Together, the projects are expected to leverage approximately $261.4 million in private investments in 14 communities.
“Preserving these historic buildings will help revitalize neighborhoods and downtowns,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “Historic rehabilitation transforms underutilized properties into assets for communities.”
The Falls Theater, at 2218-2220 Front St., was approved for a $249,999 tax credit. The total estimated cost of the project is $1.27 million.
The historic Falls Theater space has two storefronts and four apartments on the second floor that have been empty for more than a decade, according to a news release from the Ohio Development Services Agency. Tax credits will help transform the theater space into a microbrewery and restaurant. The commercial and apartment spaces will be renewed for their original intent. The project is part of a newly revitalized Front Street.
July 14, 2016
From the Times Union: The Palace Theatre is poised to undergo a $65 million transformation that if fully realized would include a new, smaller theater along North Pearl Street, an expansion of the historic original theater’s lobby and stage house, and a state-of-the-art video post-production facility. The vision for the project was introduced Wednesday at a news conference with theater, city and county officials. They lauded it as yet another major upgrade to the attractions in downtown Albany, alongside $16 million in improvements to the atrium of the Times Union Center and the new, $78 million Albany Capital Center convention facility due to open next year. Information about funding for the project was not provided, nor were details about prospective new programming. “This project is undoubtedly the most transformative arts and culture redevelopment venture in Albany in recent memory and will further invigorate the downtown area, spur economic development, create jobs and provide a more sustainable future for the arts in the Capital Region,” said Alan Goldberg, chairman of the board of directors for the Palace Performing Arts Center. The nonprofit entity operates the Palace Theatre and would, pending approval by the Albany Common Council, take over ownership of the building from the city. It previously had leased the venue. According to estimates supplied by the Palace, the project is expected to have a $125 million economic impact on the community and produce an estimated 225 full-time jobs during a three-year construction period. The downtown Albany area would see the Palace’s annual economic impact more than double, to $10 million, after the project’s completion. Estimates are for annual attendance of more than 500,000 annually, up from current audiences totaling 175,000 per year. “I think this is wonderful for Albany,” said Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, producing artistic director of nearby Capital Repertory Theatre. “This kind of facility would be a huge draw. We’re a capital city that deserves a beautiful space that would attract people from across the region.” Philip Morris, the Proctors CEO who guided its expansion starting in 2003, said he was unaware of the scope of the Palace project which in cost eclipses the $42 million in renovations and expansion at Proctors in Schenectady that were completed nine years ago.
From The Times-Gazette: A potential hotel development in uptown Hillsboro and the likely demolition of the Colony Theatre were discussed at Hillsboro City Council’s meeting Monday night.
Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings told council that a feasibility study commissioned on a potential hotel in the uptown area came back with positive results, indicating “a huge win-win” for the city.
Hastings said a hotel would be along the lines of a 50-room Hampton Inn providing a middle to upper-scale facility, a $4 million development that would provide 31 construction jobs, 28-30 jobs outside the hotel, and have a ripple effect amounting to $5.5 million a year for the city’s economy.
In its heyday, Elvis came to Inman. So did Godzilla.
That was over a half-century ago, when the old Inman Theatre was alive and buzzing weeknights and Saturday afternoons, showing second-run films such as “Jailhouse Rock,” westerns and monster flicks like “Godzilla.” Tickets cost a quarter, popcorn and Coke were 10 cents each, and candy bars were a nickel.
Those days are gone, but the theater isn’t.
Today, the 275-seat Inman Theatre is alive and well again, thanks to a three-year restoration effort by its owners, Inman native Buren Martin and his wife Dorothy.
The Martins operate a theatrical troupe called Baillie Players, and are hosing summer drama camps for elementary-age students capped with performances on Friday nights.
“Alice and Wonderland” was the first production, and “Beauty and the Beast” is next.
“This is an amazing opportunity that has been waiting and coming together for a long time,” said Inman Mayor Cornelius Huff. “We are just excited to be a part of this new venture, to be able to assist this. It has exceeded my expectations.”
Huff is also excited that the Martins have opened the roomy theater’s doors at 41 Mill St. to City Council, which plans to hold monthly meetings there instead of at its cramped City Hall on Main Street.
“It’s going to open the door for a whole lot of things,” Huff said of future community events.
July 13, 2016
From Curbed New Orleans: Wayward Owl Brewing announced last year they were taking over the old Gem Theater at 3940 Thalia St. in Central City, and now things are moving on the project. Canal Street Beat says the owner has filed plans for the renovation with the city.
From the Knoxville News Sentinel: The Tennessee Theatre had its best attendance month ever in April, drawing more than 25,000 patrons. And right now it is on track to recording its most successful year in history. Not to be outdone, the Bijou Theatre across the road has experienced its first profitable period in its modern history.
Much of the theaters' success is attributed to AC Entertainment’s unique management style. AC Entertainment started working with the Tennessee Theatre 20 years ago and partnered with the Bijou Theatre 10 years ago.
“April was an amazing month for both the Tennessee and the Bijou,” said Ashley Capps, who founded AC Entertainment 25 years ago. “The Tennessee had its most successful month ever, by any metric. ‘The Book of Mormon’ drove that along with a number of sellout shows.”
This is no overnight success. “I would love to say that we had this impulse to revive the theater and that we knew what we were doing,” he said. “But we were making it up as we went along.”
Capps started promoting shows at the Bijou back in 1980 — “just for the fun of it.” Then he started promoting shows at the Tennessee Theatre about 1982 and continued to do so throughout the 1980s.
In 1996, James Dick, the owner of the Tennessee Theatre, gave AC the opportunity to take over the day-to-day operations and management. “When we took the reins at the Tennessee Theatre we had one primary objective — we didn’t want to see it close, its future looked a bit shaky,” he explained.
“In the late 1990s, the theaters were in rough shape,” Capps said. “The bones of the Tennessee were in good shape but there were no amenities for touring personnel and the dressing rooms were fairly frightening. The tractor-trailer trucks had to pull up on Gay Street and roll everything in through the lobby onto the stage, all of these heavy cases with sound and lights and band instruments were not good for the lobby.”
AC leveraged its extensive network of venues and festivals and industry experience to bring top acts to Knoxville. AC are co-producers of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival with Superfly Productions and the producers of Big Ears Festival and other events in Ontario, Kentucky, Alabama and North Carolina.
“We were young and aggressive,” Capps admitted. “We just rolled the dice and worked it really hard. We were able to bring some amazing acts.” Capps recalls Chet Atkins performing his last concert and Johnny Cash performing his last full concert, and Bob Dylan and Santana all taking to the Tennessee Theatre stage in the late 1990s.
At the time, The Tomato Head was the only restaurant open downtown at night. “Most of Gay Street was boarded up, buildings were empty,” he said. “I remember a visitor driving downtown, rolling down his window — I thought he was going to ask for directions, but he asked what had happened there? It was like a ghost town.”
At the same time AC had to overcome the fact the Tennessee Theatre was designed as a movie house, not a modern concert venue. “I’m a Knoxville native, my first memories are going there as a little kid,” Capps said. “We would go to see all of the first run movies, I would see Disney and John Wayne movies when I was 5 years old.”
In a sense it has all become easier, according to Capps. “The big challenge is that there is a lot more of it. The challenge is not so much booking it but managing it. With all of this volume, still delivering the highest experience that we can. Being committed to crafting an experience for both the artist and the fans.
“For the theaters, we are the staff, that’s the simplest way of looking at it,” Capps said. “We take care of all of the day-to-day operations, manage the theater and the calendar.” AC also works closely with the Knoxville Symphony and Knoxville Opera as well other groups that want to use the theaters.
With just 1,600 seats, the Tennessee is considered a secondary venue making it financially challenging for many promoters. Capps said that they make it easier for those outside promoters to use the theater effectively.
“They are definitely different,” Capps said of the two Gay Street theaters. “The philosophy is similar. (However) because of its size and amenities you could never do a real touring Broadway production in the Bijou. It is a little scrappier, it requires a lot more from our team in some ways — they are super hands-on with every aspect of the show.”
AC Entertainment is not resting on its laurels. “We are always looking for ways to further develop programming for everything that we do, I’m very excited and proud of what we have accomplished up until this point,” Capps said.
The Bijou is primed for a whole new phase of its existence, according to Capps. “We are excited to be working with the Bijou, crafting the vision for the next 10 years and really exploring the other facets of what the Tennessee Theatre can be in the future.”
Although the theater has been active for almost 88 years, Becky Hancock, Executive Director of the Tennessee Theatre, said the real turning point was when it was restored and renovated in 2005 so that it could function in the 21st century.
“But a crucial component was making sure that the theater could book and secure great entertainment,” she said. “We are fortunate to have AC Entertainment in town. Their management and bookings have played a great role. They have great contacts with artists, agents and producers, they know the market well and they know the venue well, they have been an integral part.
“April is the top of the heap, we have been doing very, very well,” said Hancock of the theater’s success. “For the rest of the year things look good. We don’t book too far out in advance, Ashley would be the first to tell anyone that it is a volatile industry, it’s affected by many factors. In some ways we hedge our bets, but I feel that the formula we have will work well.”