The latest movie theater news and updates
October 4, 2002
SANTA MONICA, CA — The Aero Theatre is becoming more and more fiscally sound thanks to a new publicity and fundraising campaign aimed at keeping the theater in business for years to come.
Scheduled to become part of the failed Sundance Cinemas project, the theater has seen rough times since General Cinema walked away during its bankruptcy reorganization. Luckily, the Aero’s owner, Chris Allen, has worked tirelessly during 2002 to save this Montana Avenue jewel.
Now in addition to the theater’s daily film progtamming, the Aero has also hosted a number of fundraising events with dinner, catered by the Wolfgang Puck Cafe, and a classic film screened for the general public.
If you already missed “Rebel Without A Cause”, “On The Waterfront”, or “Casablanca”, there’s still time to see “Dr. Strangelove” on October 16th at 6:00 or 9:00 pm. Tickets are $20 and include food and beverages. This is the best way to show your support for this single screen gem.
The Aero is also hosting a series of family films on Saturday and Sunday mornings with Shirley Temple in “The Little Princess” (1939) to be screened on October 5th & 6th at 11:00 a.m. Tickets are only $5.
NEW YORK, NY — With the Museum of Modern Art’s Manhattan location currently closed for a massive renovation and expansion effort, the theater’s much heralded film and media department has temporarily moved its screenings to the historic Gramercy Theatre.
The Gramercy will host its first MoMA series, “To Save and Project: The MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation” beginning October 11th. The series will run until November 7th.
The next series will be “Variations on an Enigma: The Billy Rose Tribute to Delphine Seyrig,” followed by “Isn’t It Romantic? Richard Rodgers: at the Movies” which opens in November and features six films from the 1930s and six contemporary international motion pictures.
Movies at the Gramercy are a throwback to the New York of the 1970s and 1980s when the theater was a key venue for repertory film programming before it switched to off-broadway and other live productions.
CHICAGO, IL — The Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts has been granted an extension on their $2.5 million purchase agreement for the Uptown Theatre. The following letter was sent in from the UTCA and is written by CEO Mark Zipperer:
As you are likely aware, today marks the expiration of the agreement we entered into for the … purchase of the historic Uptown Theatre. In the purchase agreement, our not-for-profit organization, the Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts (UTCA), agreed to pay the current owner of the Theatre $2.5 million dollars.
We made a down payment of $250K and agreed to purchase the property in 120 days. Yesterday, on behalf of the UTCA, I signed an agreement with the owner of the theatre to extend our deadline to October 21. … We still do not have the funds to complete the purchase.
Our staff, board, volunteers, supporters, and community leaders remain hopeful that we can make this happen in the not-too-distant future. I ask you not to lose faith in our endeavor. We’ve accomplished much in a short period of time.
For the full text of the letter and additional press release, please visit our Uptown Theatre page’s comments section
October 3, 2002
WEST HARTFORD, CT — The Elm Theater has finally closed down after five and a half decades of delighting suburban Hartford audiences. According to Cinema Treasures' Connecticut theater expert, Roger Katz, the theater closed this past Sunday, September 29, 2002.
No shows are listed for this coming weekend and a call to the theater confirms the sad news with the following recording: “We regret to inform you that the Elm Theater is closed. Thank you for your patronage.”
The theater had been struggling for the last few years and had been relegated to showing second-run features and was only open on the weekends. The now-twinned cinema opened as a single screen movie house in 1947 and was one of the oldest operating movie theaters in the area.
It will be missed.
(Thanks to Roger Katz for the sad news.)
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…