The latest movie theater news and updates

  • July 6, 2017

    Why Movie Theaters Originally Banned Popcorn

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    From CinemaBlend.com: Movie theater popcorn is a staple that moviegoers take for granted these days, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, while the snack was an on-the-go staple thanks to street vendors, early theater owners refused to allow popcorn in their venues—mostly because movies early on were seen as highbrow entertainment. Andrew Smith, the author of Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn, has said that popcorn was out early on because owners were trying to keep the carpets clean. According to Smith:

    Movie theaters wanted nothing to do with popcorn because they were trying to duplicate what was done in real theaters. They had beautiful carpets and rugs and didn’t want popcorn being ground into it.

    So what changed? Why are we now capable of consuming the buttery, salty goodness at most movie theaters? The answer is that the average movie consumer changed, especially during the Great Depression. Back in the silent era of movies, people dressed to the nines to see films on the big screen. They were also a highbrow medium, as literacy wasn’t nearly as high around the turn of the 20th century and the audience needed to be able to read to really enjoy silent films. However, as sound was ushered in, movies became a medium for the masses. And with the newfound era of moviegoing came snacks. Lots and lots of snacks, including popcorn. But at first that popcorn wasn’t even sold by the theaters.

    According to the Smithsonian Mag, popcorn was a cheap snack that could still be afforded by the masses during the Great Depression. However, most theaters didn’t have the ventilation required to pop its own snacks. Vendors would sell popcorn on the streets as people flocked to the theater, and theaters would charge the vendors a fee for “lobby privileges”—essentially selling to the patrons of the theater. Later, the middle man wasn’t needed. As theaters realized they could make more money if they sold their own snacks, theaters began selling popcorn and other concessions. That’s when theaters really began to see their profits soar.

    There’s more to the history of popcorn. During WWII, when sugar was rationed, popcorn was still a treat on hand. And popcorn has stayed popular in theaters over the years, for good reason. Theaters reportedly get to keep 85% of what they make on concessions, and that counts for nearly half of movie theaters' total profits. Movie theaters have been quietly making a fortune on popcorn over the years. Back in 2014, AMC and Regal both saw increases in revenue, mostly thanks to popcorn. (Although the advent of higher ticket prices and 3D movies has certainly helped.)

    Theaters have changed a lot in recent years, adding comfortable seating, dine-in options, alcohol and other gimmicks. But one thing remains the same: popcorn, and its high price tag.

  • June 23, 2017

    THS Exclusive Preview: Going Attractions (6/28/17)

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    Theatre Historical Society of America invites you to an exclusive preview of “Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace” on Wednesday, June 28th at the historic Million Dollar Theater in Downtown, Los Angeles.

    This fundraiser event and sneak peek film screening and reception will honor those who have worked to restore LA’s historic theatres.

    Beginning at 7pm, guests will enjoy a documentary exploring the beauty and history of historic movie palaces and a Q&A with the filmmakers following the screening. Concessions will be available.

    CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS TO THIS EVENT

    This special sneak peek is open to the public for $25 admission, and is included in THS' Full Conclave Registration. For more Conclave info visit here.

    For more details on the film, please visit www.GoingAttractions.com/films

    INTERVIEWS IN THE FILM INCLUDE:

    1. Leonard Maltin: (film critic and historian) Interviewed in the United Artists flagship theatre (Ace Hotel) in Los Angeles
    2. Rosie Novellino-Mearns: (led the Showpeople’s Committee to save Radio City Music Hall in the 70’s) Interviewed in the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles
    3. Ross Melnick (PhD in media and entertainment, media historian UCLA) Interviewed in the Saban (former Fox Wilshire) Theatre in Los Angeles
    4. Escott O. Norton: (Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation) Interviewed in the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena (as seen in “La La Land”)
    5. Richard Fosbrink: (Executive director of the Theatre Historical Society) Interviewed in the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago
    6. Jerald Gary (30 year old owner of south side Chicago theatre) Interviewed in his Avalon New Regal Theatre in Chicago
    7. Matt Lambros: (New York photographer of abandoned theatres) Interviewed in the Loews ‘Wonder Theatre’ in Jersey City
    8. Barbara Twist: (managing director of the Art House Convergence) Interviewed in Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles
    9. Craig Morrison: (President of the Theatre Historical Society Board of Directors) Interviewed in the Music Box Theatre in Chicago
    10. Jerry Michelson: (owner of the Uptown Theatre in Chicago; awaiting restoration) Interviewed in the magnificent Uptown in Chicago
    11. Dave Strohmaier: (film historian and director of Cinerama Adventure documentary)

    Media & Sponsorship inquiries please contact:

    CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS EVENT ON FACEBOOK, PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS!

  • June 16, 2017

    Los Angeles, CA – Theatre Historical Society Conclave Tour 2017 – Two-Day Package Still Available!

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    Our Full week tour package is sold out, but you can still join us for our Two Day Broadway Tour package!

    You can still register for our two day tour of the amazing theatres in the Broadway Historic Theatre District but you need to act now!

    Other organizations lead walking tours of the Broadway Theatre District that are primary exterior architecture tours. Because THS is a THEATRE organization with relationships with the theatre owners and operators, we will be touring the interiors too!

    Tuesday June 27, we’ll tour the interiors of the Regent, Loew’s State, Palace, Los Angeles and the Million Dollar. We’ll also stop by the Warner/Jewelry Mart and exteriors of the Roxie, Arcade, and Cameo.

    Wednesday June 28th, we’ll tour the interiors of the United Artists, Belasco, Tower, Orpheum, Mayan and we’ll swing by the exterior of the Olympic and the re-purposed Rialto (Urban Outfitters).

    Our Two Day tour is much, much more than an exterior architecture tour. Plus, if you register for this package, you’re also invited to our opening reception at the Omni Cal Plaza Hotel on Monday June 26th!

    Register now by visiting: https://app.etapestry.com/cart/TheatreHistoricalSocietyofAme_1/default/category.php?ref=2476.0.11728982

    All attendees must be pre-registered as there will be no onsite registration available.

    For more information, please visit: www.historictheatres.org

  • Hot Springs, AR – Historic theater in Arkansas restored; shows planned to start at venue this summer

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    From Arkansas Online: For a second time, a magician has regained ownership of a historic Arkansas theater, with plans to once again perform magic at the venue.

    Maxwell Blade first acquired the Malco Theatre, 817 Central Ave. in downtown Hot Springs, in 1995 when he and his family moved to the city, the Sentinel-Record reported.

    Blade performed magic at the venue for nearly 10 years before moving out in 2007. He then moved to another downtown location at 121 Central Ave. He regained possession last year.

    Once reopened, the renovated 395-seat theater will be equipped with a new digital marquee, velvet curtains and large projection screens — all in keeping with building’s “aesthetics,” the magician said.

    The magician told the Sentinel-Record that he plans to open the theater the weekend of July 4 for his first show.

  • Antlers, OK – Couple reopens Antlers movie theater

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    From KXII.com: Antlers residents have had to travel out of town if they wanted to see the next blockbuster movie.
    For the first time in eight years, that all will change for residents tonight at the new look Cinema One thanks to local residents Mary and Jason Maroney.

    “Well, it’s been a long going process for the past few years,” co-owner Jason Maroney said. “Everybody has looked at this building and we just kind of wanted to bring some light back to the community for the kids, give them something to do.

    The Maroneys took over the building on April 21st where they have spent the past eight weeks remodeling the building including a new concession stand, improved equipment, and improved seating.

    From the beginning of the process, the Maroneys have felt the support of the whole community.

    “The community has just supported us the whole way through and we get people that drive by all the time that honk and wave and they’re like, ‘We can’t wait till its open.’ So we’re just really blessed,” co-owner Mary Maroney said.

  • June 8, 2017

    Winterset, IA – How a mother and her daughter saved an Iowa movie theater

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    From the Des Moines Register: Marianne and Rebecca Fons are freaking out over a handrail.

    They are frantic clapping, jumping up and down, shrill squeal-level excited over this railing, which is a sturdy wood banister, sure, but not a furnishing that should illicit this much happy hysteria.

    But to this mother-daughter duo, that handrail is so more than a stairwell safety requirement. It’s a sign.

    A harbinger that construction inside the historic Iowa Theater is on track. Proof that they are, indeed, in the final stages of renovating the beloved movie house that has graced Winterset’s town square since the early 1900s before falling into disrepair and closing in 2015. And, most importantly, an auspice that maybe their audacious idea for Rebecca to quit her steady job in Chicago and commute from the Windy City to Winterset for two years as the pair whipped up community support and raised funds to the tune of $800,000 to renovate the now-multi-use entertainment space wasn’t such a foolhardy endeavor.

  • Laguna Beach, CA – Future of Laguna Beach’s only movie theater is still unknown

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    From the Los Angeles Times: Nearly two years after closing, Laguna Beach’s only movie theater remains dark.

    “Everyone wants to do what is right,” Lance Alspaugh chief executive of Los Angeles-based Vintage Cinemas said Tuesday of the South Coast Cinemas building at 162 S. Coast Hwy.

    “We became engaged in 2016 and, basically, there are a lot of moving parts,” he added.

    Property owner Leslie Blumberg retained Vintage under a short-term agreement through the end of this year, Alspaugh said.

  • June 7, 2017

    Los Angeles, CA – It’s like ‘Cheers’ for movie lovers: An inside look at Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema

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    From The Los Angeles Times: Magic hour in Los Angeles can be intoxicating in the dreamy haze of dusk, skies aglow in pinks and purples like a gauzy scene straight out of the pictures. At the New Beverly Cinema, the last pure bastion for 35-mm film in La La Land, the sun fades into extra romance every night for movie lovers waiting outside the box office under its iconic red-lettered marquee.

    On a recent Friday at magic hour, standing patiently in line for a standby ticket to a sold-out double feature of “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” (1985) and “Ed Wood” (1994), is cinephile Cody Chavez, 27, who sports a homemade Pee-wee Herman costume and a giant grin on his face.

  • Long Branch, NJ – Old West End Movie Theater, Vacant Stores To Be Razed This Summer

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    From WordOnTheShore.com: The owner of a large block of West End which includes a vacant movie theater and several stores has begun the process of preparing the structures for demolition.

    Long Branch Business Administrator Kevin Hayes said the owners, Chabad Of The Shore, a non-profit religious and educational institution currently located at 620 Ocean Ave, has hired a licensed contractor to perform asbestos abatement on the theater and any of the buildings that require it.

    Once the abatement is complete, Hayes said he expects the owners to submit a demolition application to the city within the next two weeks. The city’s construction official will review the application and if all goes well, demolition could begin shortly after July 4.

    Chabad Of The Shore has been given approval to build a mixed use project which includes retail on the first floor and religious uses on the second and third floors.

    The building’s first floor will include space for seven retail stores, including what could be a restaurant in the northernmost portion. The types of retail stores have not yet been decided, and Chabad’s attorney, Stephen Tripp, said there are currently no limitations as to the type of businesses that will be allowed, as long as they are accepted uses in the zone.

    The second floor will include a sanctuary, social hall, library, kitchen, offices, patio, small group assembly area, and related facilities. The top floor will include classroom space for religious schooling and daycare.

    Onsite parking will be provided to the rear of the building, and will be accessible via West End Court and Brighton Court. The lot will have 94 parking spaces that can be shared with surrounding neighborhood when they are not being used by the Chabad for special services.

    The C-3 West End Overlay District allowed Chabad Of The Shore to apply to planning board and not the Long Branch Zoning Board of Adjustment, which denied the group’s previous plan, which did not include retail on the first floor. The zoning overlay allows houses of worship to be placed not he second floor as long as a portion of the first floor contains retail.

    Chabad of the Shore applied to the Long Branch Zoning Board of Adjustment in 2012 to build a two-story building containing a 200-seat sanctuary, a 200-person capacity multipurpose room with a kitchen on the second floor, and five classrooms, office space and a room for religious services in the area of the old movie theater, West End Deli and Bagel and Lou’s Uniforms in West End.

    That board’s denial of the use variance in 2013, caused Menachem to sue the city later that year. The litigation was dismissed as the city and Menachem worked together to create a new plan that was acceptable for both sides.

  • Seattle, WA – Guild 45th, Seven Gables movie theaters closed indefinitely

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    From The Seattle Times: Seattle moviegoers just got two fewer choices: Two of the three remaining Landmark Theaters in Seattle closed abruptly this week. A notice on the Landmark website announced “The Seven Gables and Guild 45th have closed. Please stay tuned for future details on our renovation plans for each location.” The Crest Cinema Center, the third Landmark theater here, remains open.

    Landmark’s national director of publicity, Laine Kaplowitz, contacted via email, was unable to provide any additional detail other than the above statement.