The latest movie theater news and updates
March 9, 2017
From the Lakewood Patch: The Hilliard Square Theater was built in 1927, and at that time it was one of the premier theater structures in the Cleveland area. The theater has gone through numerous transitions since its opening: silent movies, an “art-theater” showing adult films and what a lot of people still remember, the place to see a midnight showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
The 1,200-seat theater was closed in 1988 and was eventually purchased by Bob Dobush in an effort to save it from being torn down. Unfortunately, Dobush didn’t have the funding or resources to properly maintain the theater or make necessary repairs, and the building began to deteriorate.
From Live Design: Among the beautiful acoustical shells Wenger has worked on over the years, many showcase the artistry of Brooklyn-based EverGreene Architectural Arts. This week we’ll focus on this renowned company and their unique niche; we’ll also highlight a notable joint project.
Jeff Greene, EverGreene’s Chairman, founded the company in 1978 after what he describes as “a series of left turns”. He had trained as a fine artist – a painter – and was interested in creating public art murals. Working on fresco painting inspired Greene to study architecture, which eventually led to architectural restoration and conservation work.
The firm has prospered, today employing 200 people. Next year marks their 40th anniversary. “In a certain way, I think we succeeded because there was a market niche not being filled,” he recalls. Greene says his Type A personality inspired him to meet the challenge and keep pushing.
Creative Problem-Solving. He considers EverGreene’s uniqueness to be their broad scope of work and holistic approach to the decorative arts. Their portfolio ranges from civic and sacred to commercial and theatrical, including work on nearly 400 theaters.
From the 1910s through the 1950s, Greene says theater styles varied as widely as their uses: vaudeville, cinema, concerts, opera, etc. Today, because of their rarity, these historic theaters often inspire community pride and funding support. “But this doesn’t mean unlimited restoration budgets,” he remarks. “There are always economic constraints.”
Having restored so many theaters of every imaginable style, Greene says his firm is always interpreting the architect’s vision to some degree. “We understand architectural styles and history and our conservators and craftsmen are well-versed in historic materials and methods of construction,” he explains. “We approach each project creatively and thoughtfully. Our depth of experience and problem-solving mean we’re not always reinventing the wheel.”
Greene notes that many of the grandest historic theaters across the U.S. have already been restored, which means EverGreene is revisiting its projects from 20 or 30 years ago for upgrades, maintenance and repairs.
Changing Technology. Even though much of EverGreene’s work is historic, the company embraces new technology like digital printing and stencil cutting to accomplish the work. And while there may be cost savings with these advancements, Greene says any new technology also has limitations.
He recalls a recent project where another vendor enlarged a stage curtain’s design – visualized on a desktop computer monitor – to an enormous 25’ x 35’ size. All the detail was lost in the enlargement process; the end result looked terrible.
In contrast, EverGreene’s approach to create such a large-scale digital reproduction would be first creating a full-sized prototype, hand-painting it and then photographing it with the highest possible resolution to capture more detail than the human eye can see.
“We’re not in a race to the bottom – compromising quality in the quest for cheaper and cheaper,” says Greene. “Like Wenger, we want to craft something that’s well-built and durable – something with aesthetic quality and long-term value.”
Improving computer capabilities enable EverGreene to help clients visualize projects in 3-D, where once it was necessary to create handmade scale models. In a similar way for its acoustical shells, Wenger also utilizes 3-D design software that enables the shell’s complex components to be almost assembled on-screen. In the past, some custom shells would have required Wenger to build a model to verify fit and function.
Today’s acoustical shells feature extruded aluminum and composite panel construction, offering lighter weight, greater durability and improved flexibility. Aided by a custom-built vacuum press in its manufacturing plant, Wenger can create shell panels featuring virtually any curvature a consultant would want.
‘Atmospheric’ Shell. Several years ago, EverGreene and Wenger collaborated on the stunning acoustical shell at the Carpenter Theatre in Richmond, Virginia. Opened in 1928, the Carpenter was one of the original ‘atmospheric theaters’ designed by John Eberson. EverGreene handled the interior restoration, including the auditorium’s side walls designed to resemble building facades, complete with balconies, statues and inset niches glowing blue from the simulated “twilight” lighting behind them. The domed ceiling was painted dark blue and features twinkling stars.
To continue this feeling of skyline depth, Wenger sandwiched together two 2” thick tower panels. The ‘blue sky’ Diva panel in back recedes behind the ‘city wall’ Diva panel in front.
Wenger constructed niche boxes, or insets, in six of the 11 Diva wall towers, inspired by the niches in the auditorium’s walls. While the auditorium niches contain statues, the shell’s niches are simply insets featuring hidden lights that create a bluish, twilight glow.
EverGreene executed the Carpenter’s creative shell painting on-site. For some shell projects, Greene says designs are digitally printed on canvas and then installed. We appreciate our long-term relationship with EverGreene, which results in theaters that look as splendid as they sound.
From the Beaumont Enterprise: The Jefferson was jumpin' this past weekend with movie lovers and concert goers, but that’s not the reason a net stretches across much of the theater ceiling. That net is meant to catch bits of loosened plaster that might fall onto the heads of patrons at the downtown Beaumont venue. The net is there out of an abundance of caution, said Lenny Caballero, director of the City of Beaumont’s event facilities department.
From the Register-Star: Fairview Plaza Cinema 3 has been a go-to destination for movie fans for 44 years, but despite all of his efforts to keep it open, owner Bruce Mitchinson has decided to close the theater. The theater will continue to show the Oscar-nominated film “Lion” until closing day March 19, but Mitchinson is working on bringing in other films to make the last weekend special, he said. “I’m going to miss my loyal customers, but it is just not feasible to continue,” he said. Mitchinson was born and raised in Hudson, graduating from Hudson High School and then attending Columbia-Greene Community College and graduating in 1972. From there, he planned to go into accounting, but got a summer job as manager at the old Hudson Studio Theater, which was located on upper Fairview Avenue where the Walmart Supercenter is, he said. From that point he never left the theater business, Mitchinson said. He is the third generation to get into the movie theater business. His grandmother worked in the box office at the Playhouse Theatre, which was on Warren Street, and his father was a longtime projectionist, working in several theaters in Hudson, including the Community Theatre, Warren Theater and The Strand, as well as in Kingston, he said. Mitchinson would hang out in the projection room while his father was working, he said. Brandt Theaters owned Hudson Studio and was then bought out by the Klein brothers, who also owned several area drive-ins, Mitchinson said. While still managing the Hudson Studio, he took over management of Cinema 3, “going back and forth between theaters” he said. Hudson Studio closed over 20 years ago. Mitchinson took over ownership of Cinema 3 18 years ago and had been running three screens until four years ago, when movie theaters were mandated to go digital, he said. Customers and Friends of Cinema 3 held a fundraiser to help the theater upgrade, but he was only able to purchase one digital projector, he said. This meant the theater went from operating three screens to one. Some years ago, Mitchinson also started showing more independent films. Operating one digital screen and tougher competition made it hard on the theater, he said. “The conversion to digital projection was particularly difficult for many independent movie theaters and [Cinema 3 has] essentially been operating as a single screen for a couple of years now,” said Fred Ulrich, board president of Chatham Film Club, which owns and operates the Crandell Theatre in Chatham. “We can relate to the unique programming challenges that a single screen presents.” “There is also a change in the movie industry and people are watching in different ways,” Mitchinson said. The industry is also “closing the window down,” meaning many movies are available before they are out of the theaters, he added. “It’s difficult to compete.” Another factor in his decision to close is his lease, which expired close to three years ago, Mitchinson said. He was unable to renegotiate a renewal with Fairview Plaza owners and has been operating month to month. The plaza owners will decide what to do with the space, he said. Tia Marx from Trinity Realty Group, the property manager of Fairview Plaza, said it is “too soon to say anything about the space.” The space is 8,000 square feet and is for lease, according to a flyer posted on the company’s website. Anyone interested in learning more about it can call Meredith Poole at 518-429-5093. Mitchinson’s staff was small but loyal and included Doreen Baretsky and Cathy Draffin working concessions and Ralph Jordan, the longtime theater manager, he said. “He made it easy for me,” Mitchinson said of Jordan, who retired last year. Hudson Movieplex owner Kevin Mullin called Mitchinson a gentleman, saying he “never viewed him as competition,” but rather “complementary” to business. Mullin made Mitchinson an offer a year and a half ago to buy him out, he said. Today, Hudson Movieplex 8 is looking into the possibility of expanding its space in Columbia Center. Time & Space Limited founder Linda Mussmann, a neighbor and friend of Mitchinson, didn’t see Cinema 3 as a competitor to her Hudson space, she said. “We never tried to upstage or compete,” she said, adding that TSL shows alternative films and independent films not shown mainstream. Mussmann said in general, people likely patronized both businesses. “People who love movies will go anywhere,” she said. Mitchinson is dedicated to cinema and the movies, Mussmann said. “He certainly loved what he did.” “It is sad to see another theater go, but it may draw people up from Hudson to Chatham,” said Annie Brody, executive director of Chatham Film Club. The Crandell is “very strong, membership is strong, FilmColumbia is strong,” she said. “The Chatham Film Club remains committed to keeping the Crandell Theatre open and showing movies year-round,” Ulrich said. “On a personal level, as a film lover, I am disappointed that this will leave only two dedicated movie theaters in Columbia County,” he said. Once the theater closes March 19, Mitchinson will work on liquidating the contents of the theater, he said. After that, he said he has no immediate plans. This is “kind of dramatic because I haven’t done anything else but this,” he said. “I’m going to take it one step at a time.” Mitchinson said he will announce plans for the final weekend on the theater website, www.fairviewcinema3.com, and in his regular newspaper ad.
From Columbus Underground: After exactly one decade of showing films to the dine-and-watch crowd, Movie Tavern is turning off the lights at their Hilliard location at 3773 Ridge Mill Drive at Mill Run. Fans of the theater have just one more month to catch a movie there before it closes.
March 7, 2017
From Mlive.com: After sitting vacant for nearly two years, Saginaw’s historic Court Street Theatre is getting new life.
The single-screen theater, built in 1938 and located at 1216 Court, closed in 2015. Now, signs posted outside announce that a newly refurbished theater is coming soon.
Saginaw-based Raynemaker LLC purchased the property in April 2016 for $85,000, according to the Saginaw Area GIS Authority.
Two city permits were pulled recently for work on the property: a building permit for siding and painting and a plumbing permit for fixtures and drains. Gerald G. Bergman Inc. and Earegood Plumbing & Heating Inc. are the contractors.
Crews have been working on the building for months. It has an all-new facade but the vertical sign on the marquee still reads “Court.” Painters were working inside the lobby Thursday morning, March 2, applying fresh coats of bright colors.
The building’s owner could not be reached for comment and details of the project, including a timeline for reopening the theater, are unclear.
“My understanding is that they are working on the interior at this point and that their goal is to return it to the grander state it has been for the past several decades, which is obvious by the exterior work,” said Paul Barrera, owner of Jake’s Old City Grill, 100 S. Hamilton St. in Old Town Saginaw.
“At a point when they’re ready, and that readiness they’ll determine, they’ll open up for movies as well as special events.”
From the Times Union:After a heated and lengthy discussion, the City of Albany Common Council voted 12-3 on Monday night to sell the Palace Theatre to the Palace Performing Arts Center, a non-profit that operates the theater.
The vote came after more than a year of contract deliberations. The sale price, though not final, sits at $750,000. The money will be paid to the city of Albany at $25,000 a year over a 30 year period.
From Pictorial: In a grimy illustration of the old saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, here’s a chance to feast your eyes upon some ancient candy wrappers, rediscovered in a historic Chicago movie palace.
DNA Info shares the latest from Eric J. Nordstrom, founder of a firm called Urban Remains, which sells bits and pieces salvaged from historic buildings. Apparently nobody cleaned out spaces below the balcony seating at the currently closed Congress Theater—confirming every gross suspicion you’ve ever had about cleanliness in those sticky auditoriums—and so Nordstrom found a pile of precious, beautifully revolting antique trash. Baby Ruths, Dots, Milk Duds, Red Hots, they’re all here. Apparently the packaging for a Butterfinger has barely changed in all this time.
March 5, 2017
Westwood Village, LA, CA – The Classic Landmark Regent Theatre in Westwood Is Closing After 50 Years
From Los Angeles Magazine: The owners of the Landmark Regent Theatre in Westwood have submitted paperwork to convert the 50-year-old movie house on Broxton Avenue into two restaurants. The neighborhood, once bustling with movie houses and a popular place for splashy premieres, now has three remaining theaters: The Bruin, the Fox, and iPic on Wilshire Boulevard.
The Regent was built as retail stores in the 1940s and was a warehouse when Laemmle remodeled it into “L.A.’s Most Beautiful Intimate Theatre” in September 1966. They played art pictures into the 1970s when Mann Theaters, who ran the Fox and the Chinese in Hollywood, acquired it. The Regent upped their cinematic game when Landmark took over in 2002, but this was never a movie palace and the neighborhood seems to have lost interest in movies.
In the last decade or so the Avco Cinema was converted into the iPic, and the Crest, Festival, Plaza, National, Mann 4, and UA Westwood have all gone out of business. People might have shifted their viewing habits, but they’re still hungry. Almost all the former theater sites now house restaurants.
February 28, 2017
From The Telegram: Demolition of one of the buildings that has been targeted for the wrecking ball, as part of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority’s Downtown Urban Revitalization Plan, could begin as early as next Wednesday.
Quincy-based development group MG2 has indicated to city officials it hopes to begin the demolition of the former Paris Cinema at 66-70 Franklin St. on March 1.