The latest movie theater news and updates

  • July 11, 2017

    Walnut Cove, NC – Walnut Cove hoping for revival of old movie theater


    From the Winston-Salem Journal: For a generation of people in Walnut Cove, memories of spending a quarter to see a Saturday matinee at the Palmetto Theater on Main Street come alive in Technicolor.

    The theater itself? It’s dusty and dilapidated and, because of renovations over the years, barely recognizable as a 1940s-era movie house.

    A small group of long-time residents wants to bring the shine back to the Palmetto and in the process, inject some life into a struggling downtown that has been hit hard by shifting shopping patterns and a slow decline in the town’s population.

    “The building was in bad shape, and we were sad to see some of these old buildings fall down,” said Durward Bennett, one of seven investors in the project.

  • July 6, 2017

    Christopher Nolan’s new film Dunkirk is being projected on 70mm film in 125 theaters


    From The Verge: Director Christopher Nolan has made no secret of his preference for film over digital capture and projection, but his latest project Dunkirk is going to represent something of a high-water mark. According to Variety, the World War II drama will be projected on 70mm film in 125 theaters, topping the 100 theaters that showed Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight back in 2015. That makes it the widest 70mm release in 25 years.

    The film, which chronicles the evacuation of Allied soldiers from Dunkirk, France, represents Nolan’s most ambitious use of film formats to date. While he’s utilized IMAX film cameras for sequences in films like The Dark Knight and Interstellar, with Dunkirk Nolan shot the entire film on a combination of IMAX 65mm and traditional 65mm film. The latter format has seen a bit of a mini-renaissance lately, with Paul Thomas Anderson also using it for The Master.

  • Why Movie Theaters Originally Banned Popcorn


    From 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)


    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.


    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


    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:


  • June 16, 2017

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


    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:

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

    For more information, please visit:

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


    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


    From 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


    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


    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


    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.