The latest movie theater news and updates
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.
May 26, 2016
From WSET.com: The historic Academy Theatre in Lynchburg reached their campaign goal to restore and reopen the theater.
Not only have they reached the goal, they surpassed it.
The campaign’s original goal was to raise $16.6 million dollars.
However, they report to ABC 13 that they raised $16.75 million dollars.
This means that the Academy Theatre will begin a fast-tracked construction schedule in June.
They plan to reopen in 2018.
While the goal has been met, they will continue to accept donations to reserve funds for contingencies.
May 25, 2016
From IllinoisHomePage.net: A historic theatre is about to get a big makeover. The Lorraine Theatre has been closed for about 4 years, but one group is working to restore it to its former glory.
It’s a project that will probably take 4 or 5 years, but work is getting started next week. Some people say having it reopen would be a dream come true.
“Welcome back.,” Alex Homes, vice president of the Save the Lorraine Foundation, says to returning customers.
People used to come to the theatre to see movies. This time they’re just here for the memories.
“She was one of the original ticket ladies,” a woman gestures to her friend. “You can come back and work for us if you want,” Homes replies.
It’s been closed for a few years, but people like Jeff Keith are glad to say that’s not permanent.
He says, “My hope is to see it restored in the city with a box of popcorn and a cold drink one of these days in the not-too-distant future.”
The theatre opened in 1922, and was restored in 1937. The Save the Lorraine Foundation took over the aging building after it closed in 2012. They’ve made it their mission to recapture and enhance the original atmosphere.
Keith says, “Plans are to completely remodel it and restore it to that period. As you can see it’s needing a lot of repairs.”
This wall is one of them. When it was closed the heat was turned off. One winter the pipes froze and busted through the wall. Part of the ceiling above the balcony fell in as well.
Homes says, “The big nail in the coffin is all of the theatres are switching to digital instead of film.”
These are just a few things that need to be fixed, along with making it more handicap accessible. Workers have already added a few extra feet to the stage. They’ll use that space for live performances.
“Not only to come and see films again or to see live performances again, but everyone has stories about the Lorraine,” Homes adds.
Keith says “I came here as a child, growing up in Hoopeston 3 blocks away. I had my first date many, many years ago.”
Keith is a loyal customer, but he’s also a member of the Hoopeston Historical Society. He says the town lost a big when the Lorraine closed, and it would be criminal not to bring it back to its original glory.
He says, “There’s something about the acoustics and I guess hometown feel that makes the Lorraine… It’s in your heart. it’s in your soul.”
The theatre probably won’t be fully open for a few years, but the foundation says they’re planning on clearing the floor and using the new stage for live performances this fall while work continues.
You’re probably wondering how they’re going to pay for all of these renovations. The foundation also runs the “Little Lorraine” theatre just down the street. All the money they raise from that and other fundraisers goes directly to fixing up the original. They say they’ve also gotten donations from local businesses and the city.
From The Citizen: It may not look like much is going on from the outside, but preparation work to restore the Colonial Theatre has been proceeding smoothly for the past several months.
Justin Slattery, the executive director of the Belknap Economic Development Council, spoke before a gathering of about 75 at the Taylor Community on Tuesday, and told the group he’s been very pleased with efforts made so far to get the facility ready for a major renovation next year.
“It really is a jewel for the city,” Slattery said. “This building’s historic significance is incredible.”
Slattery showed slides of work performed this spring to remove steel partitioning put in during the 1980s to turn the Colonial into a multi-plex movie house.
“They were very careful to cut those steel beams into small pieces so they could be removed safely without damaging any of the artwork inside the theater,” Slattery said.
He described for the audience his amazement when he saw some of the artwork inside the building once the partitioning was removed.
“I can’t believe how good a shape the pictures and art is in,” Slattery said. “It’s especially true when this has been sitting there for many years.”
The building’s roof is in good shape, and plans will soon be worked on about how to best renovate apartments above the theater.
“We’re looking at turning them into condos or apartments for young professionals that want to be downtown,” Slattery said.
The three buildings that comprise the renovation project amount to about 38,000 square feet, with the theater taking up 20,000 square feet of space.
Built in 1914 and hailed for its distinct fresco architecture and unique design qualities, the Colonial Theatre was once at the forefront of 20th century culture in Laconia, hosting traveling vaudeville shows and special events, such as the world premiere of the film “Return to Peyton Place” in 1961.
May 24, 2016
From the Washington Times: The overhaul of the Momence Theater is in its final stages but is still in need of a cash injection to get the final upgrades completed.
When this money comes in, members of the Momence Theatre Friends, the management organization for the North Dixie Highway property, believe the building could be ready to host visitors within 30-45 days.
The return to use for the approximate 3,400-square-foot property has been years in the making. Plans to redevelop the building – built in 1924 – began in 2006.
“Kankakee County needs this theater because we need more community arts involvement,” said Keri Perkins, treasurer of the Friends organization. “This could really help Momence develop.”
Started as a location for vaudeville-type performances, the theater became a location for first-run films and then X-rated movies. The theater eventually closed in the 1970s and, other than one or two events, has not been used since.
Purchased by John Sokol, an Aroma Township businessman, in 2013 from Mark Noeller for $77,000, Sokol always believed the theater would be something managed and operated by and for the community.
From the Newton Daily News: For years, the Shuler Theater in this once-booming New Mexico mining town sat empty in a desolate downtown. It had long passed its heyday as a hot spot for Italian immigrants and Hispanic workers who visited to take in a traveling show or a newly released movie.
But today the 101-year-old Raton venue again is attracting audiences from as far as Trinidad, Colorado just across the state line for variety shows and will soon be ready to screen any Star Wars movie. That change comes as New Mexico is joining other states in pushing an initiative to revitalize downtown districts in isolated, small towns by rehabilitating aging, historic theaters.
An economic development program, similar to efforts in Iowa and Illinois, seeks save the often-forgotten facilities like the Shuler Theater with help on refurbishing buildings and grants for new digital projection and sound equipment. With state funding, cities can develop new business plans and retool theaters’ dusty interiors so they can become main attractions in rural areas, New Mexico Economic Development Department Secretary Jon Barela said.
“These theaters are part of our history,” said Barela, who went to a small theater in Las Cruces as a child. “They are beautiful architectural gems and they are anchors of the community.”
Since January 2013, the state has set aside around $100,000 each for eight theaters, Barela said.
Like refurbished small theaters in other states, New Mexico officials believe reviving theaters in ranching towns and small cities near American Indian reservations will help create jobs in struggling downtown districts and spark excitement in entertainment deserts. Some, such as El Morro Theatre in Gallup, New Mexico, are located along the iconic Route 66 next to the Navajo Nation while others, such as the Lyceum Theater in Clovis, sit just across the New Mexico-Texas state line.
May 20, 2016
From Nebraska.tv: In what could be a Hollywood manuscript, a community has come together to revive a historic theater that’s been family-run for generations.
Central City moviegoers were eager to see the inaugural showing of “Zootopia” four years after the marquee lights shut off.
The State Theater Foundation formed a year ago and began the process of restoring the nearly 60-year-old landmark. It now has a digital projection system, a new screen, and an updated concession area.
“I’ve been so excited of this first night!” exclaimed long time theater patron Rhonda Schulze. “I was a regular before when the original owners were here and I’ve been missing it. Like I said, there’s nothing like the big screen, popcorn, there’s nothing better than theater popcorn. Yeah, I’m just really excited!”
“It’s a good feeling because I just want people to come in and see it,” said State Theater Foundation’s Kasey Blodgett. “And like I said, it gives them something to do so it’s, I’m excited for tonight. I don’t know how to put it into words.”
The foundation hosted a ribbon cutting on Thursday evening prior to the theater’s opening. Show times will be Fridays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m.
From Cleveland.com: Playhouse Square is turning back the clock 95 years in the Ohio Theatre lobby Thursday by unveiling a spectacular re-creation of the long-lost neo-Renaissance interior designed by architect Thomas Lamb.
The original largely burned to a crisp in 1964, leaving little trace of its ornate splendor. Now, however, it’s 1921 all over again.
The cove-lighted barrel vault high overhead drips with scores of square yards of swags, medallions and floral motifs painted in delicately stippled shades of salmon pink, beige, dusty green and Pompeian red, accented by touches of gold.
Lamb, described as a “king of theaters” in his 2008 New York Times obituary, would have been proud.
May 19, 2016
From southwestjournal.com: The Uptown Theatre’s landmark sign originally required approval from the civil aviation authority — it was the first three-sided vertical tower sign in the country, said Assistant Manager Joseph Larsen.
The theater is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a party and a run of classic films in June.
Originally called the Lagoon, the Uptown Theatre opened in 1916 as part of a dance hall and storefront block, according to research by Larsen.
May 18, 2016