The latest movie theater news and updates
March 1, 2005
EL DORADO, AR — The beautiful 1929 Art Deco Rialto Theatre is for sale on eBay. The Rialto currently functions as a three-screen first-run movie theatre. Its balcony has been divided into two 100-seat auditoriums and the downstairs remains a 400-seat venue.
The Rialto Theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is unique in the mid-south as to its condition and significance. This Historic theatre has been well maintained and remains in fair-good condition.
The Theatre is currently under lease with a regional movie chain. This lease expires October 31, 2006 and has an option to renew for an additional two years at $2000 per month. This lease is a net lease with the Lessor being responsible for the structural parts of the building including the roof, and the Lessee being responsible for all other charges, including utilities.
February 28, 2005
ENGLAND — The Arts Alliance Digital Cinema in the UK is setting up a network of 250 screens across the UK for screening of digital films. This BBC article gives interesting facts about this changeover from reels to digital.
EFFINGHAM, IL — The Lake Land College Arts and Humanities Series and Student Activity Board will partner with The HEART Theatre to host a haunted film festival starting March 2.
The event starts with a presentation of HAUNTED ILLINOIS by Troy Taylor! Taylor is the author of 33 books about ghosts and hauntings in America, and is the editor of Ghosts of the Prairie magazine, a magazine about the history, hauntings and unsolved mysteries of America. His presentation starts March 2nd, 11 am. in the Lake Land College Theatre, Mattoon, IL.
The Film Festival kick-off begins March 2nd at 5:30 pm in the LLC theatre after Troy Taylor’s presentation, with the showing of The Black Cat. The Festival will continue with two films being shown at the HEART Theatre on Courthouse Square in Downtown in Effingham on Friday March 4th: The Silence of the Lambs at 6 PM and The Blair Witch Project at 9 PM.
February 25, 2005
CHICO, CA – Eric Hart, the new owner of Chico’s El Rey Theater, has disclosed plans to convert the century-old building to an office, retail and parking complex. The building will be gutted and the interior completely reconstructed.
This historic house opened in 1905 as the Majestic Theater. Operating first as a vaudeville house, it soon began showing movies, becoming Chico’s first cinema. In 1925, it was remodeled by the architectural firm of Stark and Flanders, and was renamed the National Theater. Closed briefly in 1939 for another remodeling, it re-opened as the American Theater. The final re-naming came in 1946, when the building was reconstructed after being gutted by a fire. In recent decades, the El Rey has been operated as a first-run house by United Artists and Regal Cinemas. It is one of the last large single-screen houses in Northern California.
Hart, who owns and has partly renovated the nearby Senator Theater, said that he would like to save the El Rey as a theater, but that the financial prospects for a large single screen cinema in this market were too poor. (Two older multiplex cinemas in Chico have recently closed, leaving the town with only Cinemark’s 14 screen Tinseltown complex and the small art film-oriented Pageant Theater downtown.)
LANSDALE, PA — A flim & photo exhibition of Lansdale’s Old Movie Houses (including the Lansdale Theater will be featured at the Lansdale Historical Society’s next meeting to be held on March 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lansdale Parks and Recreation Building.
It is past the deadline to submit material for the exhibit. Please call Steve Moyer at 215.855.1872 for more information.
February 24, 2005
LOS ANGELES, CA — The Tower Theatre on Broadway, which has been closed since 1988, will host a free lecture by Hollywood film historian Marc Wanamaker called “How West Coast Movie Production Began Downtown” on February 26th.
The S. Charles Lee-designed Tower is not included on the Los Angeles Conservancy’s theater district tour and is rarely open to the public.
It is mainly used for film shoots, according to Jon Olivan, the theater’s manager, who is currently trying to gain public attention of the Tower to convert it into a multi-purpose entertainment venue, like the Orpheum.
February 23, 2005
The Robins Theater in Warren has played a key role in my family for three generations. My grandmother’s brother, Daniel Robins, who was a pioneer in the movie industry, opened the Robins Theater in 1921 or 1922. In 1902 Dan had opened the first theater in New Castle, PA, with Abe Warner, one of the Warner Brothers. One of the Warners married my grandmother’s sister, Anna.
Dan’s obituaries detail his life and the chain of theaters he operated. After pioneering the first theaters in Youngstown, Ohio, Dan purchased the Warner Theater in Youngstown from Sam Warner, the father of the Warner Brothers.
I have a lot of memorabilia involving Dan and his brothers, Harry and Ben, who partnered in the theater business with him. My grandfather, I.J. Goldston, was the architect for the Robins Theater (and the Trianon Ballroom on Euclid Ave. in Cleveland). My mother at age 3 ½ presented the mayor of Warren with a big gold key to the theater at its grand opening. All 1500 seats were filled.
There were two operating companies: The Robins Theater Company and the Robins Amusement Company. The first ran the movies; the second ran the popcorn and candy stands. The theaters never made any money; the real profits came from the popcorn, candy, and pop. Dan’s nephew, Eli Goldston, used to argue that the customers should be admitted to the movies free, just so that they could buy the popcorn!
There is a project to renovate the Robins. The State and the City have supported the effort, and a formal architectural budge estimate is still underway.
February 22, 2005
BROOKLYN, NY — Unless Long Island University’s men’s basketball team finishes in the top four of the conference, and end up hosting the Northeast Conference Tournament, the Blackbirds' final game in the former Brooklyn Paramount Theatre will be Thursday, February 24th, according to this report from Newsday.
In eight months, LIU will open its new 2500-seat, $40 million arena next to the Paramount. The 1928 Brooklyn Paramount, at Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues, once sat over 4000, and was designed in extravagant French Baroque style by the Chicago firm of Rapp & Rapp.
The movie and vaudeville theater is perhaps best known for its rock and roll shows of the 50s, hosted by Alan Freed, where such stars as Little Richard, “Fats” Domino, Richie Valens, and Chuck Berry performed live.
February 21, 2005