The latest movie theater news and updates
December 22, 2005
I am working on a 12-hour series for The History Channel titled “Mega Movers” which looks at extraordinary moves taking place around the world. I am currently looking for moves taking place between now and February 2006 to profile on the show. Specifically, I would like to document the move of a theatre – are you aware of any that have been moved or are to be moved in the next few months? If so, I would like to hear more about the move and when it is scheduled to begin.
Additionally, I am looking for historic, very large, iconic or just unusual structures moving before Feb 2006 and welcome your suggestions. Please feel free to pass my contact information along to anyone else who may know about other upcoming moves.
OLYMPIA, WA — As a followup to yesterday’s story… The State Theater, built in 1949, is currently undergoing an Enhancement Campaign to restore some much needed areas of the building.
One area desperately in need of help is the beautiful front doors. Several of them no longer lock properly and are unable to be repaired.
Any help in finding a company that make old style ‘brass & glass’ movie theater doors would be much appreciated.
December 21, 2005
OLYMPIA, WA — In 1997, Harlequin Productions embarked on an impossible dream.
With the generous help of our audience and friends, we resurrected the State Theater to create one of the artistic jewels of our community.
To commemorate that achievement, the lobby ceiling was adorned with a new mural: “Rising Phoenix”. With the opening of the State Theater, the bar was raised. Harlequin Productions met the challenge, delivering high-quality, adventurous theater in a beautiful, intimate setting and serving as a powerful economic driver for Olympia’s downtown.
Despite superb ticket sales, the combined fiscal pressures of a sluggish economy and the drain of the State Theater mortgage undermined the finances of the company from ‘01 – '03.
In March, 2004, faced with imminent closure, Harlequin Productions asked the community to determine whether the company was “to be, or not to be.” An overwhelmingly positive response eliminated the crisis and all short-term debt. To ensure the future fiscal health of the company, we must now perform maintenance and upgrades on our home and retire the mortgage.
For more information, visit this website.
ORANGE COUNTY, NY — 5 screens, long lease, great location, first run movies. Looking to retire!!!
December 20, 2005
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
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.
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
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
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
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”.