The latest movie theater news and updates
October 3, 2002
WASHINGTON, DC — We received the following email today from the Avalon Theatre Project seeking volunteers to help them organize and reopen their classic movie house:
Now that construction has begun at the theatre (!) we are in need of volunteers to work on a variety of initiatives. If you are interested in volunteering in any of the following areas, please let us know.
We desperately need help with:
2. Event Planning
3. PR/Publicity (press release writing, etc.)
Also, so we don’t flood your list serve with e-mails, we would like to invite you all to join the ATP-Forum list serve. You can join at http://groups.yahoo.com/subscribe/ATP-forum
Thanks and look forward to seeing you at the movies!
To volunteer, please contact Jennifer Kaplan at .
PASADENA, CA — The Friends of the Raymond Theatre are now within less than $2000 of its goal needed to fight the owners of the former movie and concert venue who want to gut the building and erect condominiums inside the shell of the palatial theater.
The “Friends” have been given an additional week and a half by their legal team to raise the remaining funds. Gina Zamparelli, who heads the organization, desperately needs your help. Any amount (no matter how small) is welcome and can be easily submitted using PayPal and sent to .
(Thanks to all of you who can help save this beautiful theater.)
October 2, 2002
HOLLYWOOD, CA — As we previously reported, the newly restored print of “This Is Cinerama” opens Friday for a one-week run at the Cinerama Dome at the Arclight Cinemas. TIC will be screened in its original 3-strip format!
For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit the Arclight Cinemas website. Michael Kinerk and Dennis Wilhelm, co-authors of “Popcorn Palaces”, recently wrote a commentary for the Miami Herald detailing the wonders of this first-ever Cinerama feature.
MUSKEGON, MI — Developers have expanded their plans for the shuttered Grand Theatre to include not only a conversion into hotel rooms, but additional space for 25 condominiums as well. According to the Muskegon Chronicle, the $15-20 million project has now ballooned from its original $5 million estimate.
The proposed project would transform the former movie house into a 60-80 room hotel with 25 additional condominiums. No timeline or financing information is yet available, but the Grand’s days as a movie house seem to be over.
The Grand closed in 1999 and laid dormant for three years until it was purchased in May 2002 by a local businessman and his wife. After spending $30,000 to determine whether the theater could be transformed into a 700-seat performing arts center, they quickly changed their plans and the theater has since been slotted for renovation into hotel space using the shell of the original building.
LOMBARD, IL — We received the following notice today from the Friends of the DuPage Theatre:
I would like to encourage anyone visiting this site to write to us at: . We are … a not for profit entity that has recently been formed to take on the task of educating the public about our little theatre. To update everyone interested, the theatre is still in limbo as of today, but a vote from the Village Board is expected within the month to go forward with restoration.
Current estimates are in the neighborhood of $6.1 million for the theatre and shops. The plan is to leave the theatre in its original 1928 form with a few modern conveniences (the bathrooms were non existant!), and turn the theatre into a performing arts venue for live programs, weddings, conferences, movies, art shows and just about anything else you could imagine.
Another minor addition would be a thrust stage to increase the ability for live performances. Seating capacity from 500-800 total. We currently have several theater groups who are in desperate need of space waiting in the wings to use the Theatre. We are always looking for donations, so if you would like to help out, or are interested in knowing more about our group, please e-mail .
October 1, 2002
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Days after announcing that the Avalon Theatre will reopen by the end of the year, the Avalon Theatre Project has begun “exploratory interior demolition” with the exterior cladding to be dismantled as well on October 3rd.
Following successful negotiations with the Avalon’s owners, the ATP is now preparing for the 1922 movie house’s comeback following a difficult end as part of the Loews Cineplex chain in which much of the technical equipment, seats, and other items were ripped out of the premises.
For more information on the renovations, contact Bob Zich @ 202-966-4816 or Jennifer Kaplan @ 202-237-7792.
(Thanks to Jennifer Kaplan for the news.)
TUCSON, AZ — The Fox Tucson Theatre will celebrate the third anniversary of its ongoing restoration efforts with a evening of entertainment on October 25th. According to the Tucson Citizen, in addition to free tours of the 1300-seat movie palace, there will also be “live music, a fashion show, [and] classic cars.” The celebration will run from 5 – 10 p.m.
Closed since 1974, the Fox is currently underoing a $7 million restoration effort and plans to reopen in the Fall of 2003.
September 30, 2002
BEVERLEY, ENGLAND — England’s oldest cinema, The Picture Playhouse, has just suspended programming of its “pictures” due to increasingly difficult competition from a newly-built UGC multiplex in nearby Hull.
According to the Hull Daily Mail, the 91-year-old theater will continue on as a venue for live music and festivals, but movies, which have being exhibited at the theater since 1911, will be suspended.
Fewer and fewer patrons have been coming to the Playhouse since the UGC at Kingswood Leisure Park opened and the theater is now reviewing its operations with the possibility of bringing films back two nights a week in December.
The aging theater is also awaiting news on a 67,000 pound bid to the National Lottery for an 87,000 pound refurbishment scheme. Theater management has said that if movies do return, they will only remain if audiences turn out to support them.
We’ll keep you posted…
BROOKLYN, NY — The Brooklyn Academy of Music has just embarked on a two-year, $8.6 million restoration of the performing arts center’s facade which will be executed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates. In addition to live performances, BAM also houses the BAM Rose Cinemas, a four-screen movie house showcasing art, independent, and repertory programming.
SALINA, KS — The former Fox Theatre was reopened briefly on Saturday morning as the public was allowed in for a “sneak peek” to the old movie house midway through its restoration and renovation project. According to the Salina Journal, the “restoration work began in February, and the opening is planned for the spring”.
When it reopens, the former Fox Watson Theatre will be known as the Stiefel Center for Performing Arts, and will seat roughly 1,350 patrons. The newly restored theater will house the Salina Symphony, as well as a number of other live performances.
(Thanks to Joel Weide for the update.)
September 27, 2002
Nottingham, England — The world’s smallest movie theater, The Screen Room, opened today for only 21 patrons. Smaller than its Australian counterpart, the Terrace Theatre, by only one movie theater seat, The Screen Room will debut with the documentary, “Lost in La Mancha”.
According to www.icsouthlondon.co.uk, the tiny movie house has been constructed out of an old jeweler’s workshop and plans to show a mix of art house and second-run commercial programming.
CHICAGO, IL — The Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts is working at breakneck speed to gather enough funds to purchase the palatial Uptown Theatre by October 4th. UTCA officials will be all over the radio in the coming days getting the word out to the public on:
- WUSN-FM 99.5 FM, on Sunday, 9-29-02 between 6-7 AM
- WNND-FM 100.3 FM on Sunday, 9-29-02 from 7:30 AM – 8:00 AM
- WLUW-FM 88.7 FM, on Friday, 10-04-02 at 2:30 PM.
- WBEZ-FM 91.5 FM, will air a report on or about 10-04-02
The group is also seeking any donations and recently sent in the following message:
The time to donate is now. We have only [ONE WEEK] left to raise the remaining funds to take ownership and begin restoration of this national treasure.
Your donations are secured in a bank account we opened solely for the purchase of the Uptown Theatre: “Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts – Building Purchase Account.” If we do not close on the building, all monies will be refunded.
There are a number of ways to give:
- Online donations: www.uptowntheatrechicago.com (click on DONATE to the left and fill in the form)
- Mail checks to our office: Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts, 4707 N. Broadway, Suite 315, Chicago, IL 60640
- Wire money into our deposit-only account, named “Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts Building Purchase Account”: Harris Trust and Savings Bank, 111 W. Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603, Phone # (312)461-2121, Routing #071025661, Account #2960228589.
Time is of the essence. Be a part of the 2nd chapter of the Uptown Theatre and help “Bring Back the Brilliance!”
September 26, 2002
BOSTON, MA — In another victory for local preservationists, the Boston Landmarks Commission voted on Tuesday to block the demolition of the Modern/Mayflower Theatre paving the way for its renaissance alongside the Opera House and the Paramount Theatre.
According to the Boston Globe, the Boston Redevelopment Authority is now working to purchase the theater from the Levin family or take it by eminent domain. Work on the theater is estimated to cost $5 million and could bring the theater back to life as a mixed use venue for movies and live performances.
Meanwhile, the $15 million restoration of the Paramount’s interior is about to get underway, and the Opera House, which won its court case this week, should soon begin a $30 million expansion, renovation, and restoration project.