The latest movie theater news and updates
April 20, 2017
From the Palm Beach Daily News: The iconic “Paramount” sign crowning the façade of the historic Paramount Theatre Building has deteriorated beyond repair and is in line to be replaced with an exact duplicate. But first the Town Council must approve a variance for the replacement, which, at 156 square feet, will be far larger than the 20 square feet allowed under today’s code.
The sign is original and has adorned the building since 1926, architect Gene Pandula told the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Wednesday.
“The sign is obviously an extremely important historic element of the building,” Pandula said. It “has been one of the constants of this building, even as other changes were made over the years.”
The sign is made up of individual letters, each 30 inches tall, which are no longer lit because the wiring is in bad condition, he said.
“It does need to be replaced,” Pandula said. “It’s been turned off for a while now. It’s not in an appropriate condition to plug in.”
April 19, 2017
From The New York Times: To sell more tickets, some movie theaters have introduced seats that tilt, spin and rumble to match the action on the screen, devices that spray water and pump scents and salted pretzels the size of steering wheels.
Recently added to that list: playground equipment in auditoriums to cater to 3- to 12-year-olds.
Cinépolis, which has more than 4,900 auditoriums worldwide, last month introduced Cinépolis Junior at theaters in Los Angeles and San Diego.
They are equipped with a 55-foot-long and 25-foot-high play structure with two slides and two platforms with “wobble hoppers” (similar to stationary pogo sticks) and “stand n’ spins” (smaller versions of merry-go-rounds). A separate area enclosed with a colorful fence has green lawn turf and plastic animal sculptures for climbing and crawling.
Cinépolis USA, a Dallas-based subsidiary with theaters in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey and New York, plans to open more junior auditoriums in the United States.
April 13, 2017
From AM New York: An art house icon returns to business in a spiffy new form when the Quad Cinema reopens Friday at its West 13th Street location. After a massive two-year renovation, the return of the Greenwich Village institution, which first opened in 1972, marks the latest highlight in what has become a golden moment for New York City cinephiles. The past several years have seen an explosion in specialty cinemas across the city, from the Nitehawk in Williamsburg to the Syndicated in Bushwick to the Metrograph on the Lower East Side and more.
From the Main Line Times: After having been empty for the nearly three years following the abrupt closing of the Philadelphia Sports Club in the summer of 2014, a new business has opened up inside the former Ardmore Movie Theater.
Husband and wife team Bruce and Zofia Halpern own Tropicraft, a store that specializes in outdoor patio furniture.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The gravel lot is an unremarkable expanse dotted with hundreds of short poles whose purpose might mystify many people. Even the two huge white rectangles rising on steel struts toward the sky may be something outside their experience.
Here, atop 17 acres on the west side of Belleville, sits a rare drive-in picture show, open for a 68th season as a theatrical dinosaur in the movies-on-your-phone era. But a healthy dinosaur, owner Steve Bloomer insists.
Lots of East Siders will remember the family name from the Bloomer Amusement Company, whose chain of theaters flourished through the 20th century. Its first opened in Freeburg 100 years ago. The lone survivor — outliving the company itself — is the Skyview Drive-In, at 5700 North Belt West.
It also outlived all the St. Louis region’s other drive-ins.
From the New York Post: A Hamptons nonprofit group led by artist April Gornik — the wife of painter Eric Fischl — is taking over the Sag Harbor Cinema, which was damaged by a December fire.
The Sag Harbor Partnership’s buying the theater from owner Gerald Mallow, who’s owned the theater of 38 years. Gornick’s group aims to raise funds from private donors through SagHarborPartnership.org for the renovation, and to launch the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center with year-round “education, outreach and programming.”
New plans include a café and the theater’s art deco facade will be rebuilt, complete with the original, salvaged sign.
A July 16 fête will honor Mallow and benefit the cinema.
From the Oakland Press: When patrons attended vaudeville shows at what is now the Birmingham 8 movie theater in the 1920s, it’s unlikely they imagined that in the future, audiences would put their feet up and relax while they watched a movie.
The historic theater in downtown Birmingham is joining the chain movie houses by adding reclining seats, which are being installed in phases. The theater’s owners hope to secure a liquor license from the state by the summer, also following the lead of many of the area corporate theaters that serve beer and cocktails, such as MJR and Emagine.
April 10, 2017
From The Connecticut Post: The city has chosen a bidder to revive the old Poli Palace and Majestic Theater complex and the mayor could announce the winning bid in his speech before the business community on Monday. Mayor Joseph Ganim, who gave a tour of the Main Street site when he campaigned to win back his old seat in 2015, has said bringing the theaters, which are in the same building, back online would be a priority for his administration. The city several months ago issued a request for proposals for redevelopment of the building on the edge of the downtown, which is also home to the former Savoy Hotel. The city also recently placed a faux marquee-style sign in front of the structure that reads “Majestic” across the front and has the words “Coming soon” on the side. In the fall, before the request was issued, Thomas Gill, the city’s economic development director, told Hearst Connecticut Media the city would be looking for mixed uses at the site and a plan to bring back at least one of the theaters. “I don’t think anybody believes it could go back to two theaters,” Gill said at the time. The two theaters have a total of 5,500 seats, with the Palace the larger of the two. They were opened in 1922 and closed in the 1970s. Any proposals submitted to the city would likely preserve as much of the historic elements of the buildings as possible.
From The New York Times: Adam Aron, the chief executive of AMC Theaters, the largest multiplex chain in the world, sat in a hotel suite here last month and sang the praises of a new menu item he called “the Bavarian Beast.”
It’s a pound-and-a-half salted pretzel the size of a steering wheel. “There’s also a new jalapeño-flavored Southwestern dog that’s to die for,” he said. But Mr. Aron was most effusive about another new AMC offering, a juicy chicken sandwich with waffles as buns.
“Sounds fattening just to hear it described,” he said with a smile, “let alone when you eat it.”
Popcorn, candy and soda? How quaint. The concession counter at your local AMC is about to turn into a full-fledged fast-food restaurant.
It’s part of a strategy to attract younger audiences and stay relevant in the streaming age of HBO Go, Netflix and Amazon Prime. While small theater companies like the 25-location Alamo Drafthouse have been offering full-restaurant cinemas for years — AMC itself already operates a 60-location chainlet of Dine-In Theaters — this effort will bring greatly expanded menus to more than 400 theaters in the United States.
From Fox News: Despite the offerings of streaming networks and video-on-demand, movie theaters are seeing tremendous audiences this year.
Ticket sales and domestic grosses haven’t been this high since 2004, and with the current revenue for the first three months of 2017, so far the box office totals are on track to beat last year’s record $11 billion, according to Box Office Mojo.
And a study conducted by the National Association of Theater Owners found that more people are going to the theater than all professional sporting events combined.
One reason is that the studios, taking a page from premium cable and streaming channels such as Netflix, are doling out their films on an ongoing basis, not just waiting for the traditional summertime or award-season release times, says Leslie Combemale, a film critic at Cinema Siren.
“Studios are releasing films throughout the year, and people are getting excited about that,” she said. “And there are so many platforms available, and movie theaters and studios are watching that.”
“King Kong,” was released in early March, an extremely unusual time in the year for a big budget film, and it’s currently one of the top grossing films of 2017.
Also, many of this year’s blockbuster films were released in IMAX and 3D, where ticket prices are higher, she said, citing “Captin America: Civil War,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Logan” as examples.
Disney, which includes LucasFilm, Pixar and Marvel, is laying out a slate of movies and choosing its release dates three or four years ahead of time, forcing other studios to work around them by distributing their films throughout the year, said Patrick Corcoran, vice president and chief communications officer of The National Association of Theater Owners.