The latest movie theater news and updates

  • December 20, 2005

    Neighborhood Theaters in Lower Hudson Valley

    A feature article, “Pressure increases on Lower Hudson neighborhood moviehouses” by Candice Ferrette, ran on December 16, 2005 in Gannett’s The Journal News. (You can read it here, but I’m not sure how long the link will be active.)

    The impetus for the article is the opening of the new 14-screen multiplex, The Waterfront at Port Chester, just one of a number of new multiplexes in the area. It focuses on the three-screen Larchmont theater, but also includes a list of all the smaller venues in the lower Hudson Valley. As the article says, “…in the age of the multiplex — and the even bigger megaplex with more than 15 screens each — size, selection and stadium seating may matter more than the ability to walk to the old picture house on Main Street. … neighborhood theaters in some Sound Shore communities are caught in the classic struggle between the ‘quaint and charming’ and the ‘bigger with more selection.’”

    As the article points out, Clearview Cinemas, whose parent company is Cablevision, is owner and operator of nearly all of the smaller theaters in the Lower Hudson Valley—seven in Westchester and one in Rockland. Many of them have fewer than five screens per location, including the Mamaroneck Playhouse, the Rye Ridge Cinema in Rye Brook and the Larchmont Playhouse. These compare to the 15 screens at National Amusement’s Cinema De Lux at the City Center in White Plains, the 18 screens at the Regal New Roc City in New Rochelle and the 14 new screens at the Loews theater in Port Chester.

  • December 19, 2005

    No Cell Phone Signals in Theaters?

    The National Association of Theater Owners has requested that the FCC allow the blocking of cell phone signals inside movie theaters, according to this report from United Press International.

    John Fithian, the president of the trade organization, told the Los Angeles Times theater owners “have to block rude behavior” as the industry tries to come up with ways to bring people back to the cinemas.

    Fithian said his group would petition the FCC for permission to block cell phone signals within movie theaters.

    Some theaters already have no cell phone policies and ask moviegoers to check their phones at the door, Fithian said.

    The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association — a Washington-based cell phone lobby that is also known as CTIA-the Wireless Association — said it would fight any move to block cell phone signals.

  • Loan Programs for Historic Theaters

    The First Fund Program, provides financial assistance to organizations that serve low and moderate income households or provide economic benefit in low and moderate income communities, like downtown’s

    The Second Fund Program, is a more flexible fund in terms of project criteria, that provides funding for a variety of preservation projects. These may include establishing or expanding local and statewide preservation revolving funds, acquiring and/or rehabilitation of historic buildings, sites, structures and districts, and preserving National Historical Landmarks, that include Historic Theaters!

    Eligible applicants are tax-exempt nonprofit organizations; local, state, or regional governments; and for-profit organizations. Eligible properties are local, state, or nationally designated historic resources, like downtown historical theaters; contributing resources in a certified local, state or national historic district; resources eligible for listing on a local, state, or national register; or locally recognized historic resources.

  • December 16, 2005

    NYC’s Ziegfeld offers an exclusive… with a price tag to match

    NEW YORK, NY — While it offers a one week exclusive engagement of “The Producers,” Clearview’s Ziegfeld Theatre will be charging $12.50 for admission.

    According to Wednesday’s New York Post, as the film begins additional runs next week, the theatre’s ticket price will be returned to the current Manhattan standard of $10.75.

    “It’s a business decision,” says Clearview spokesperson Beth Crimmons. “We’ll be regular price after that.”

    As a Broadway play, “The Producers” had the dubious honor of being the first to raise theater tickets to $100 – and now it appears the movie is poised to break a film barrier, as well.

    The exclusive engagement will begin with today’s shows and run through next Friday.

  • 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.