The latest movie theater news and updates

  • December 15, 2005

    King Kong takes Manhattan

    If you haven’t seen the new King Kong film from Peter Jackson yet, you should definitely check it out. Aside from being a great movie, there are some wonderful recreations of 1930’s-era Times Square, full of bright, beautiful marquees from many, many theaters that are no longer with us.

    So often, when looking at theaters from the past, we’re only able to catch but a glimpse of a facade, a marquee, or a gorgeous auditorium. A theater can only be experienced in bits and pieces. But, with Kong, we get to walk through a grand movie palace, a shabby off-Broadway vaudeville theater, and the big, bright lights of Times Square. For theater fans, it’s pure magic.

    (And, by the way, we can now reveal that WETA, the visual effects firm who created Kong’s effects, asked Cinema Treasures for assistance in making the film’s virtual movie theaters look as realistic as possible. Frankly, we helped out in a very small way, but it’s wonderful to see WETA’s committment to getting it right.)

  • December 14, 2005

    Mixed-Use Project Gets OK at Flushing’s RKO Keith’s Site

    FLUSHING, QUEENS, NY — The Board of Standards and Appeals in New York City has, after three years, approved the construction of a seventeen-story tower on the site of the former RKO Keith’s Theatre, according to the New York Daily News. The project will include 200 apartments, a senior citizen center, retail space, and parking. Construction is expected to take about a year and a half.

    The 1927 RKO Keith’s grand lobby and foyer area, declared a city landmark in 1984, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be restored and fronted by a “curtain of glass” to allow passersby to view the interior. Former theater owner Thomas Huang was fined for bulldozing part of the lobby’s grand staircase. Huang allowed the theater to fall into disrepair.

    Councilman John Liu said, “The formerly majestic RKO Keith’s Theatre, which has long symbolized the gateway to northeast Queens, will no longer be a blight and embarrassment to our community”.

    Borough President Helen Marshall, speaking in front of the theater said, “Today, we are here to acknowledge all the hard work and meetings…that shaped a mixed-use development that makes sense and benefits such an important location in Queens”.

  • December 13, 2005

    Hauntings at the Crest Theatre

    I’ve recently done an interview with Sid Garcia-Heberger, manager of Sacramento’s haunted Crest Theatre, about the strange goings-on therein. It can be found at www.trashfilmorgy.com.

    I’m now writing an article about the history of the Crest Theatre. I’d love to hear from anyone who has any memories of the Hippodrome or Crest, or knew someone who worked there.

  • See a movie in MN in the 70s or 80s?

    MINNESOTA — As a man of only 25, I missed out on all the great cinema-going experiences in the 70s and 80s. Stuck in the multiplex-riddled times of now (at least until we discover time travel), I was wondering if anyone would be able to help me paint a picture of local theaters in my area.

    Several theaters around here are not listed on the Cinema Treasures website, but I am interested in anything from way back then. I have no clue what the Jerry Lewis Cinema of Highway 13 and Cedar was like, nor the downtown theaters or even any of the many, many drive-ins.

    Any insight or comments can be posted here or emailed to . I appreciate your assistance!

  • December 12, 2005

    Basil Brothers Theater Chain

    I’m looking for pictures of any of the Basil Brothers (Buffalo, NY) theaters. Specifically I’m looking for any of the Apollo, Central Park, Bailey, Strand (or Clinton Strand), Genesee, Victoria, Jefferson, Maxine, Linden, Varsity, Colvin, Star, LaSalle, State, Rainbo, Ridge, Franklin, Hollywood (in Buffalo and Lackawanna), Lafayette, Century, Broadway, Rivera, and Roxy.

  • Birthplace of Free Outdoor Movies, Meadow Grove, Nebraska, The Reel Story

    MEADOW GROVE, NE — On June 10, 1925 for the first time anywhere in the world a motion picture was projected on the outside of a building (City Hall) in Meadow Grove, Nebraska. The businessmen of the community thought it would be a great idea to draw business into this small Nebraska village and it did. In 1925, this was several years before the Drive-In Theater developed by Holingshead in New Jersey in the early 30’s. The original place where these movies were shown is still there and the original arc-light projector is still there. An essay documenting this story has been entered in the, “Help Us Tell America’s Story” in Parade Magazine. The free outdoor movies were discontinued in Meadow Grove, Nebraska in 1967.

  • December 9, 2005

    Movie Theatres Wanted

    LawfordTheatre asks:

    Hello everyone! After having aquired a nice old 500 seat theatre and rescuing it, I have wanted to buy some more.

    If any of you have any for sale, let me know. I would love to again restore a older theatre and welcome the chance to see if we can come to terms on the buying or leasing of it. Let me know.

    Thanks!

  • December 8, 2005

    The Ideal Theater of the Future?

    TheaterBuff1 ponders the future of the movie theater:

    There once was a time when people placed all faith in the movie palaces, believing they would always be. But such proved not to be the case, which is not the same as saying that the strong desire for them ever went away. Just as it was before they were built, while they existed, and after so many of them were demolished, the widespread wanting for them very much remained. And not just with regards to movie palaces, but also, regular neighborhood movie theaters where everyday folks could go between the big epics. So it’s to say of the ideal theater of the future it should come in two types — that is to say, tomorrow’s movie palace and its regular neighborhood theater. But in order for such theaters to exude a sense that they’re of the future and not of the past, they must have an overwhelming sense of solidity to them. Yet at the same time this solidity should fall far short of anything that could be describable as outright obnoxious. Regarding the latter, they must instill a great sense of hope in people from many varied walks of life, rather than, “We’re invading your world whether you like it or not.”

    But in order for that to be achieved, they must exude that which everyone can positively identify with. And especially those whom the theater is built in closest proximity to.

  • What theater is this?

    I am drama critic and theater editor for the Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City. In checking some of the local theaters' Web sites, there is one that is featuring a photograph of a spectacularly ornate movie palace — a venue that is definitely NOT the theater being promoted on the Web site itself.

    I am curious if anyone can determine what theater the interior shot really is. Check out the www.artcityplayhouse.com website, then e-mail me with any input on what and where this theater really is.

    (The Playhouse was, until recently, the Villa Theatre in Springville, Utah, and the theater is definitely much smaller and plainer than the one depicted on their Web site.)

    Thanks — Ivan Lincoln at

  • December 7, 2005

    (Movie) Houses of God

    On Sunday, the New York Times published a story about New York City’s remaining movie palaces and how the majority of them have been converted into places of worship.

    With a little divine intervention, however, many of the Roxy’s contemporaries have survived the decline of the cinema age and the turnover of their neighborhoods gloriously intact, even if gospel-choir lofts have replaced orchestra pits and Bible verses have replaced “Coming Soon” posters in their opulent lobbies.

    The article also includes a nice photo gallery with recent shots of the Hollywood, Regent, Loew’s Valencia, Loew’s 175th Street, and Rainbow theaters.

    Cinema Treasures got a nice little mention, as well.

    New York Times: Now Showing: God