The latest movie theater news and updates
June 7, 2016
From The Patriot Ledger: City natives have been dropping by the Wollaston Theatre this past week to get one last glimpse of a building that still evokes memories of dollar movie nights, first dates and simpler times.
From WQAD.com: An abandoned yet historic Peoria theater has been damaged after a fire broke out inside and investigator say they believe it was arson.
The Peoria Journal Star reports the fire ignited late Saturday inside the Madison Theater in downtown Peoria. Brad Pierson is a fire investigator with the Peoria Fire Department and told the Journal Star the fire appeared to have been started in several parts of the old building.
Streets and a nearby bar were closed as firefighters worked to put out flames.
Peoria fire officials gave a preliminary estimate of $100,000 in damage done to the theater.
June 6, 2016
From the Daily Journal: There are generations of movie fans who don’t get the drive-in theater concept. They would ask: Why would you want to sit in your car and watch a movie through your windshield? Don’t you have your phone or iPad?
And there’s an older generation of people who don’t know that today’s drive-in theaters have kept up with technology. These throwback theaters use digital projection and a modern sound system. You hear the soundtrack through your car’s stereo system: Those low-fidelity speaker boxes, the kind you used to hang on your car window, are gone.
Movie lovers of all generations still can find common ground these days, on the parking lot of the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In in Gibson City. This throwback from the “Happy Days” era is not only showing contemporary movies, it’s been named third among the nation’s Top 10 outdoor theaters by popular vote in a USA Today poll.
From the Star Tribune: One of Minnesota’s finest art museums provides an ever-changing global repertoire of avant-garde work and cherished classics. For generations, the Art Deco Uptown Theatre has been the hottest ticket and coolest movie marathon in town. To celebrate the beginning of its second century the Uptown throws its 100th anniversary party this week.
Since World War I, it has appealed to moving-picture fans even when the heating and cooling fans became museum pieces of their own. Before admissions were sold online, visitors stood outside the box office in the kinds of long queues that ticket scalpers hope for. Even with a 1939 conflagration that closed it for repair, and later grousing about parking shortages and worn seating, it drew devotees decade after decade.
June 3, 2016
From the Alaska Dispatch News: A tax break that was part of a proposal to redevelop the historical but unused 4th Avenue Theatre downtown has been denied by the city’s chief fiscal officer, according to documents submitted to the Anchorage Assembly this week.
The owner of the theater and adjacent properties, Peach Investments, had proposed a complex costing roughly $278 million that would include pedestrian shopping, a parking garage and tower. The Assembly declared the property “deteriorated” last May, and in September, Peach Investments applied for partial tax exemptions amounting to about $38 million over 10 years.
Without a tax break, the owners argued, the project most likely couldn’t happen. But in a memo to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and the Assembly, Anchorage chief fiscal officer Robert Harris said the application didn’t demonstrate that the tax break was in fact necessary — or that the project even qualified for one under current city law.
In an interview Wednesday, Harris said the proposal detailed a project that was just in its early stages and lacked specifics. He said the owners didn’t pin down key details, like whether a hotel or a condominium would be built.
From Washington City Paper: In early May, single-screen art-house theater Suns Cinema opened in Mt. Pleasant—the latest addition to D.C.’s recent movie theater boom. But a couple weeks earlier, another small movie theater quietly opened, this one on Barracks Row: The Miracle Theatre.
The building that houses The Miracle Theatre, which had its soft opening on April 22, hosted movies and vaudeville shows in a previous life as Meader’s Theater, which opened in 1909. Miracle, which is owned by the National Community Church, is intent on celebrating that history. “We knew we wanted to revive that history for the community,” says Miracle Theatre manager Juliet Main. When the NCC purchased the building in 2011, she says they begin researching its history and decided to furnish and decorate it like a 1920s movie theater.
In addition to showing second runs of new movies, Main says the theater will also host special film series, repertory cinema, and will be used as a live performance venue. “Since we’re setup with a stage, we want to do special events,” she says.
June 1, 2016
Cleveland, OH – Vintage Playhouse Square gallery chronicles rise, decline and rebirth of iconic district
From Cleveland.com: When Playhouse Square was built, shortly after World War I, it was the largest performing arts center in the United States outside of New York City, according to the Cleveland Memory Project. With 11 stages and 10,000 seats, it retains that title in 2016.
The project began when a partnership — spearheaded by developer Joseph Laronge — built a row of theaters on Euclid Avenue in 1921. Native Clevelanders will recognize the names of the five theaters they opened that year: Allen, Ohio, State, Palace and Hanna. All five still stand today.
Cleveland theatergoers have seen some of the most famous stage plays and musicals in theater history at Playhouse Square through the years, including “Hello Dolly,” “My Fair Lady” and the controversial “Hair.”
But it’s been a bumpy ride for the historic block in downtown Cleveland. Four of the theaters shut their doors — seemingly for good — in the late 1960s, but were eventually rescued by the grass-roots efforts of civic-minded Clevelanders.
May 31, 2016
From Bexley News: With the Drexel Theatre, 2254 E. Main St., entering the final phase of its $2.5 million renovation, Bexley City Council is scheduled to vote June 14 on tax-increment financing proposal to provide public infrastructure improvements related to the project.
Todd Bemis, vice president of operations for CAPA Columbus, gave an update at council’s May 24 meeting about the progress of the renovation, which is scheduled for completion in early July. CAPA Columbus runs the Drexel on behalf of the owner, the nonprofit Friends of the Drexel.
The purpose of the renovation is to restore the Drexel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to its original art deco style that was popular when the theater opened in 1937, Bemis said.
“The Drexel Theatre is a favorite to many who call Bexley home,” he said. “The theater audience also comes from outside the city. In fact, our numbers show us that over 20 percent of the audience comes from outside (Interstate) 270, not only to support the Drexel, but the other businesses that are here in Bexley.”
From Pittsburgh.cbslocal.com: Drive-in theaters were once as American as snack bar food during intermission.
Butler’s Pioneer Drive-In opened in 1958. The old theater and snack bar were showing their age when John and Beth Manson purchased and renovated the theater they had visited over the years.
“We come here on a Friday or Saturday night,” John Manson said. “Pop the hatch, have pillows in the back, lay down, unwind from the week, catch a couple of movies. And we often would talk about what would we do differently if we owned it. Well, we own it now, and we implemented those changes.”
They still own a 35-millimeter projector, dating back more than 50 years. It will show a handful of movies through the year. But it will then be replaced by digital, joining two other computerized projectors the couple has already purchased.
May 27, 2016
Strong winds from last night’s storm damaged part of the historic Malek Theater grand marquee sign in Independence.
Wind ripped off the left part of the marquee sign, which is located along 2nd Avenue.
Half of the sign is now completely missing, leaving the people of Independence losing an iconic image.
Luckily, the half that fell is still intact, and has been moved inside the theater.
This building has been standing tall since 1946 making it a historic landmark for the city of Independence.
In an instant, with the power of this storm a piece came crashing down.
The theater has been closed for some time now. Now the owner, Anthony Fitz says this is just putting a delay in his plans down to re-open in the future.
“I was just like in awe,” said Fitz. “Just kinda like wow, it was a surprise. It’s been old, something would’ve happened. But I didn’t think the whole side would fall down.”
Fitz says he estimates the repair is going to cost around $50,000.