The latest movie theater news and updates
July 16, 2004
NEW YORK, NY — We’re sad to report that the rumors about the closing of the Astor Plaza have finally been confirmed.
The S. L. Green Realty Corporation, who became new owners of the building that houses the Astor when they bought the remainder of Loews' lease — plan to convert the facility into a concert venue for live rock during a nine-month renovation.
For those who never experienced the majesty of this theater, it was glorious. While its design was spartan in comparison to the nearby Ziegfeld, the Astor made up for it with its gigantic seating area (1500+ seats), which seemed to suck in anyone and everyone in Times Square who ever loved movies. Friday night premieres were always a blast. And, during the Astor’s lifetime, it played a tremendous number of great movies… King Kong, Jaws, 2001, Superman, When Harry Met Sally, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Matrix, and more. It will be missed.
(ED. — As many of you noticed, Cinema Treasures got a very nice mention in the Times article.)
NEW YORK, NY — One of the last former Times Square movie houses to remain vacant, the Times Square Theatre at 217 W. 42nd Street, has been acquired by the urban apparel retailer, Ecko, which just a month ago announced the move of its corporate headquarters to a new location in Chelsea.
According to this report from GlobeSt.com, Ecko expects to open its store in the three-story building by 2006, with construction beginning early next year. More information can be found in the New York Times.
The Times Square Theatre was opened in 1920 for the Selwyns, and designed by Eugene DeRosa. Ecko plans to keep several historic architectural features of the theater, including its 25 foot-tall proscenium arch, its domed ceiling, and its ornamental plasterwork.
BERKELEY, CA — Theatergoers of Berkeley, CA and the East Bay recently suffered the end of an era of repertory cinema when the Fine Arts Cinema was officially declared dead.
Patrick Kennedy, owner and developer of the apartment and commercial complex being completed on the cinema’s former site, said that the last operator, Keith Arnold, had informed him that he had given up on reopening in the building bearing its name because he had been unable to raise the $800,000 to $1.2 million necessary to outfit the unfinished space offered by Kennedy.
July 15, 2004
DETROIT, MI — The Norwest Theatre will be demolished within the next two weeks to make way for an A & W or Long John Silvers Drive-Thru. (The theater’s owner previously demolished the Mercury theater.
Many have asked the owner if they can get pictures of the theater’s interior before it’s demolished, but he’s refused their requests, saying there is “mold and smoke” in the theater. But I hardly believe that. This is a perfectly viable theater — it closed just four years ago, in 2000.
Currently looking for (red, gold, etc) velvet ropes with stanchions (posts) for independent film fundraising events. During the fundraising events, we plan to create a “RED CARPET” enterance, the velvet ropes would add a classy touch to the entrance. Please contact Allyson if you know of anyone/theater that would want to sell velvet ropes. Thanks!
July 13, 2004
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — The first and oldest art house theater in The Netherlands, “De Uitkijk”, is about to close. The tiny theater on the Prinsengracht 452 has been running since 1929, but now faces a final shut-down after a couple of years of loss.
Currently there aren’t any cinema chains or owners looking into saving the site, nor does the local government seem to care. The Filmmuseum has shown interest (since it’s roots lie in the theater), but have no money at all. The current owner is still looking for financial aid to keep the theater open.
From press release:
“Picturehouse Cinemas, operators of London’s favourite neighbourhood cinemas (Living London Awards as voted by LBC 97.3FM listeners ), announce the opening of their 19th venue The Olympia Cinema, located within the Olympia Exhibition complex in Kensington.
The cinema opens to the public on Friday July 23rd, and for the opening weekend all tickets to all films will be just Â£1 and there are also free previews of summer blockbusters, details of how to get tickets are available from the website www.picturehouses.co.uk.
July 11, 2004
Minneapolis, MN — Bill Irvine, the owner of the Parkway Theater, has closed the doors after 29 years in operation, according to an article in the Pulse of the Twin Cities. Citing rising property taxes and the ongoing struggle of independent theaters as the reason for the closing, there is now a ‘For Sale’ sign on the building.
July 8, 2004
VENTURA, CA — The S. Charles Lee designed Mayfair Theater will be demolished to make room for a new housing development in August.
The building was gutted by fire three years ago, but the marquee and facade still stand. Some community members have gotten donations to remove the marquee and store it for an as yet unknown project. For more info, contact me by e-mail at .