The latest movie theater news and updates

  • August 28, 2017

    Laconia, NH – Drive-in movie theater in New Hampshire to be sold, condos proposed

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    From Boston.com: One of New Hampshire’s last drive-in movie theaters is going to be sold for $2.5 million to a businessman with plans for condominiums and commercial development in its place.

    The Laconia Sun reports Patricia Baldi has owned the Weirs Drive-In since 1974. She said the land is more valuable than the business, which is open about 12 weeks a year.

    Al Mitchell, the buyer, owns properties in the area. He hopes to build up to 80 condominium units, an event center, a hotel and other businesses. He said he hopes to create the kind of attractive and successful commercial and tourism community that took place in Meredith in the 1980s.

    The Weirs Drive-In was built in 1948. Baldi said her son, Larry, plans to open another drive-in theater elsewhere.

  • Ridgewood, Queens, NY – Could the former Ridgewood Theater be making a historic comeback as an arts space?

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    From QNS.com: One man is trying to reboot the historic former Ridgewood Theater to its past glory by advocating creating a fine arts or performing arts space on the ground floor.

    Anthony Arroyo has been a fan of the Ridgewood Theater since he was a child, and was saddened to see a sign on the historic façade advertising for rental units and commercial space at the once-thriving community theater.

  • August 22, 2017

    New Orleans, LA – A farewell to Rene Brunet Jr.

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    From the Weekly Citizen: The New Orleans film community lost one of its brightest stars last week with the passing of Rene Brunet, Jr. He was one of the last, if not the very last, of the movie theatre owner-operators who could rightfully claim title to being a “showman,” an appellation Brunet would have enthusiastically endorsed. In a world where movie exhibition, at least the mass audience variety, has become almost the exclusive preserve of corporate types (lawyers, accountants, fund managers, etc., etc.), at a time when “show business” is all about the “business,” Mr. Brunet was still about the “show” (though he had a keen nose for the business as well, as any distributor who was on the other side of one of his harangues can attest to).

    While his story doesn’t quite begin with “born in a trunk in the Princess Theatre in Pocatello, Idaho” like Judy Garland (a fave of his), Brunet had show business—-well, the movie theatre division—-in his DNA at birth. He could tell you (at length) about the days of silent film, about how he played the organ in those halcyon days, and how moving pictures killed vaudeville. He lit up like a marquee when recalling the glory days of the movie theatre in New Orleans; he could recite the names of all the “naborhood theatres,” which were legion in the day, as if chanting the litany of the saints: the Abalon, the Cortez, the Escorial, the Fox, the Peacock…and, of course, the Prytania which he and his son Robert have operated in recent times. He gloried in telling stories about running movie theatres throughout the years, such as how in the early days of talking pictures when the sound was on a cylinder separate from the film, a streetcar rumbling by would make the stylus slip, causing an uproar among the patrons as the picture went out of sync—-much like a similar sequence in “Singin’ in the Rain,” his favorite movie of all time.

  • Los Angeles, CA – Historic Westlake Theatre next to MacArthur Park is for sale

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    From CurbedLA.com: Once poised for a revival and a mixed-use makeover, the landmark Westlake Theatre is now for sale.

    The seller? CRA/LA, the successor agency to the defunct Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, which was dissolved under a 2011 state law. CRA/LA is tasked with winding down the business of the former redevelopment agency, and it’s looking to unload the historic venue—recognizable for its steel-framed rooftop neon sign—after failing to find a developer willing to partner on the redevelopment.

    In 2016, it issued a request for proposals to rehab the theater and possibly build affordable housing and retail on four neighboring parcels. The goal was to make the area “an attractive regional arts and culture and entertainment destination … while offering employment, housing, education / institutional use and other services.”

    But the request for proposals went unanswered, says Jimmy Chai, a broker with the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, which is marketing the property for CRA/LA.

  • Brighton, NY – Rejoice, film lovers: Movies 10 has reopened

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    From the Democrat & Chronicle: Movies 10 has another chance at delighting moviegoers in the Rochester area.

    The theater, which closed in January, is now operated by Zurich Cinemas, a company that owns Pittsford Plaza Cinema 9, plus other theaters or drive-ins in Oswego, Elmira and Geneva. The theater was operated for 20 years by Cinemark, which also operates Tinseltown USA and IMAX in Gates.

    The theater’s soft opening started on Friday, and a grand opening is planned for next weekend, said Pittsford Plaza Cinema 9 general manager Austin Wildey.

  • Berkeley, CA – Plans develop to convert Oaks Theatre into climbing gym

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    From The Daily Californian: As popular streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.) saturate the market, it can be difficult — or even impossible — for a local movie theater to turn a profit.

    The Oaks Theatre is likely a familiar landmark to pedestrians who frequent Berkeley’s Solano Avenue, with its classic marquee hovering above the sidewalk and vertical signboard visible from more than a block away.

    On paper, the theater sounds like a magnet for activity. The 21,578-square-foot building, constructed in 1925, can host approximately 1,000 people between its two screens. Coffee shops, eateries, specialty stores and residences surround the venue, encouraging a steady stream of foot traffic through the area.

    But the Oaks Theatre has sat empty since 2010, after the Metropolitan Theaters Corporation concluded its operations there. Its marquee is entirely blank — save for a smaller sign, advertising its sale by Gordon Commercial Real Estate Services for $4.25 million.

    On Aug. 15, city councilmember Sophie Hahn announced in a press release that a contract has been developed for the theater to be sold to Touchstone Climbing — which, as of now, intends to convert the movie theater into a climbing gym. The details of the project, however, are not yet set in stone.

  • MoviePass' New Unlimited Movies in Theaters Deal Sounds Amazing—But There’s a Catch

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    From Gizmodo.com: What is the sweet spot for getting people to join a movie theater ticket subscription service? For six years, MoviePass has struggled to answer that question and now, under former Netflix exec Mitch Lowe, it’s introducing a radical plan: Selling customers’ data and charging $10 a month for all the silver screen action you can fit into your life.

  • Long Branch, NJ – Demolition starts on West End movie theater

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    From the Asbury Park Press: The giant steel teeth of an excavator tore the back wall off the old West End movie theater, exposing rows of blue seats as the planned demolition began on Monday morning.

    The 1970s-era theater on Ocean Boulevard, which hasn’t shown a movie in nearly 20 years, is being razed for a mixed-used building that will house a synagogue and seven retail storefronts.

    Locals remember the theater as a popular hang out for “Indie-style” or independent movies.

    “It was a good place to go on a Friday or Saturday night for a few bucks and then go over to the Ink Well for coffee,” said city resident and Long Branch Historical Association member Beth Woolley.

    The theater opened on Feb. 15, 1974, with a showing of “Crazy Joe,” starring Peter Boyle and Walt Disney’s “Fantasia.”

    The theater was called “The Movies I and II” and was a twin complex that could show two movies and sit 650 people. The Music Makers Theatre chain eventually acquired it.

    Two vacant adjacent structures to the theater that were most recently occupied by a bagel shop, a uniform clothing store and an Italian restaurant will also be demolished — but at a later date. An unoccupied two-story apartment building behind the theater is also expected to be knocked down in the future.

    “The theater is being demolished (Monday). At this point that is the only building that has been issued a demolition permit,” said Kevin B. Hayes, the city’s acting business administrator.

    A video of the theater’s demolition can be seen above.

    Chabad of the Shore, a nonprofit religious institution at 620 Ocean Ave., owns the buildings.

    The Chabad of the Shore’s site plan was approved by the borough’s Planning Board last October, after initially being denied by the Zoning Board in 2013.

    That rejection was made on the basis that religious uses were not permitted in the city’s West End, a neighborhood of small businesses and residences a block from the beach.

  • Buffalo, NY – Eight-screen AMC movie theater coming to downtown Buffalo

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    From the Buffalo News: After more than a three-year absence, Buffalo will once again get a downtown movie theater.

    AMC Theatres, the nation’s largest movie theater chain, will open an eight-screen movie house in the former Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre, 639 Main St., which closed in June 2014. The AMC Market Arcade 8 is expected to open in spring 2018.

    “We think having an eight-screen, state-of-the-art AMC movie theater will make downtown Buffalo and the City of Buffalo an even more attractive destination for people living in the city, and living throughout the region,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said. “It will bring more excitement to the Theatre District, and more people who will patronize the various businesses and shows.”

    The Benchmark Group announced in September 2014 that the Leawood, Kan.-based circuit had signed a letter of intent to open a movie theater. But a change of theater company executives after negotiations were well underway contributed to the 35-month delay, Benchmark officials said. AMC’s concerns over adequate parking, and the chain’s unfamiliarity with opening in an urban setting were also factors.

  • July 25, 2017

    Redondo Beach, CA – Dolby brings milestone 100th Dolby Cinema to Southern California

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    From Nerd Reactor: The best theater experience you’ll ever encounter is opening its milestone 100th theater in sunny Southern California. Today, Dolby announced that it has opened its 100th global Dolby Cinema location at AMC South Bay Galleria 16 in Redondo Beach, California.

    “This global milestone highlights the strength of Dolby Cinema, with more than 325 Dolby Cinema sites installed or committed,” said Dolby in a statement. “As well as amazing studio support with more than 100 titles released or announced.”