The latest movie theater news and updates
June 21, 2005
According to this story from Yahoo News, the long-discussed merger between AMC Theatres and Loews Cineplex is about to become official.
What this means in terms of theatre divestment or zones with competing AMC and Loews properties (the AMC Empire 25 and Loews 42nd Street E-Walk in Times Square and the 600 N. Michigan, Esquire, and AMC River East 21 sites in Chicago, among other examples) remains to be seen.
ALAMEDA, CA —– In a unaminous vote at its June 13 meeting, the Alameda Planning Board granted the Central Cinema a use permit, eliminating the possiblity for closure for the popular yet controversial boutique theater, to the applause of the vast majority of those attending.
There were several conditions for approval made, such as a minimum 15-minute increment between movies before 6 p.m. and a minimum 20-minute increment between movies after 6 p.m.; the cinema will also be required to offer a bike rack. The cinema’s compliance with various requirements will be reviewed in a year.
At the same meeting, the board also unanimously recommended approval of a related item: a zoning text amendment that will allow boutique theaters (theaters with audiences of 49 persons or less for live performances or for the screening of motion pictures where there is only one screen) to operate in a C-1 zoning district (neighborhood business district), and discussed a controversial plan to attatch a multiplex to the historic Alameda Theatre in hopes of revitalizing the long-closed landmark (which is not being further plexed in the project).
For a detailed story by Dmitry Kiper, read this.
June 20, 2005
I invite everyone to visit my new website and contact me for a chat about cinemas in detail at:
I am an ex-Chief Projectionist (Retired). Please swop a few “Tales from The Box” with me…
June 17, 2005
ARANSAS PASS, TX — The Rialto Fine Arts Center is now operating in this old movie theater from 1937. A fine arts gallery is housed in what was the ticket and concession areas and a new exhibit gallery and six artist studios are under construction in part of the old auditorium and will be complete by July, 2005.
The Rialto Actors Theatre, a new community theatre group, will occupy the remaining auditorium space with 95 seats. This lively group, led by Artistic Director Trisha Sugarek, is busy designing the new stage and construction will start next week. Their first season opens with “Artichoke” on September 30, 2005.
WIGAN, ENGLAND — The Ritz Cinema, opened in 1938 and built in the Art Deco style of the period is being demolished. After a new multiplex opened it finally closed on 31 May 1998. As I only moved to the area recently, I never went there but many local people have fond memories of it. The cinema is currently being demolished in the town centre, today atop a hill, I could see the yellow curtains still hanging around the giant main screen.
Visit this site for a whole gallery of photographs taken inside the building last year. They even left the pepsi cans in the fridge!!! I think this is extremely sad.
The cinema is being demolished to build yet another shopping centre.
June 16, 2005
McHENRY, IL — The McHenry Outdoor Theatre, which has been entertaining McHenry County residents since 1955, and is one of only three operating drive-ins in Chicagoland, may be having its last season this year, according to the Chicago Tribune. The still very popular theater located between the village of Lakemoor and the city of McHenry is surrounded by ever-encroaching development, and for a couple years now, there has been the rumor of the McHenry Outdoor’s demise.
The theater’s manager, Danielle Munnich, does acknowledge that the owner of the McHenry, Tom Rhyan, doesn’t have a buyer but is in fact considering selling the property. “So far no one has made the right offer.” says Munnich. Just last week, Gary Castaldo, a DJ on STAR-105 FM, made news by having himself chained to a tree on the drive-in property to raise awareness of the drive-in’s potential closure, saying he’d remain there until he got 5,000 signatures on his petition to save the theater (which he did in six hours).
There is an interesting article in yesterday’s (June 15) Wall Street Journal that has found a successful formula for drawing customers by emulating the movie palaces of the 1920s.
From the WSJ article:
[i]“They’re doing what needs to be done,” says Paul Dergarabedian, Exhibitor Relations' president. The industry needs to emphasize the difference between watching movies at a theater and at home. Muvico “does that by creating these incredible theaters,” he says. “It tells people, ‘I can’t do the same thing at home.’ ” National Amusements Inc. and Pacific Theatres Exhibition Corp. are two other chains with similar state-of-the-art theaters, he says.
“The industry is still going through changes,” Muvico’s Mr. Hashemi says. “With the shortening of the window between the DVD and the theatrical release we really have to create an event."
(rudy franchi, www.nostalgia.com))
A local eccentric owner painted huge letters on its flat, black roof saying “Welcome to Cleveland” when planes fly over it to Milwaukee’s airport a few blocks away. This has amused and startled more than a few flyers, and the story of it makes interesting reading.
Click on the link above, and when there, click on the photo to enlarge it and see what all the fuss is about. The marquee still hangs on the front of the theatre which has been Mr. Gubin’s photo studio and residence for many years now, and which has had its seats removed, but its new incarnation is probably a more suiteable usage than many others.
What will become of it when Mr. Gubin becomes too old to climb the steps to his balcony-home is anyone’s guess, but maybe the roof top joke will by then have long faded away, much to the delight of both cities. Maybe the author of the forthcoming sequel to “Milwaukee Movie Palaces,” Larry Widen, can get permission to copy this photo into the appendex of his new book: “Silver Screens” to appear in a year from now. He can hardly overlook this bit of trivia about the fates of our movie palaces!
June 15, 2005
ALBANY, NY — This summer will mark the return of movies to the historic Palace Theatre in downtown Albany for the first time in 36 years. When final installation of the new projection and sound equipment is complete, the Palace will feature the largest screen in the region and, more importantly, an amazing sound and visual presentation system.
From a programming perspective, the Palace will be paying homage to the independent movie houses of old. The selections will include a mix of classics, family friendly fare and contemporary films. Efforts are being made to have at least one notable traveling film festival make a stop in 2006. Also in the works is to honor the theatre’s history as a rock and roll palace with a series of some of the best Rock n Roll movies ever produced.
Additional themed sub-series will also be included in the first season. In addition to this mix the best new movies will be included when they leave the malls whenever possible.