The latest movie theater news and updates
January 7, 2003
We’ve got a tremendous backlog of news stories so we’ll be doling them out in groups this week. Here’s today’s group:
Cine El Rey Has Re-opened; Held its First Event on December 14th.
MCALLEN, TX — Visit the official website
Read more about the Cine El Rey at Cinema Treasures
Thanks to owner Luis Munoz for the update!
Fundraising in 11th Hour for Theater in Hinsdale
HINSDALE, IL — Read the Chicago Tribune article (Reg. Req.)
Read more about the Hinsdale Theater at Cinema Treasures
Thanks to Bryan Krefft for the news.
The Man Behind Silent Movies Music
HOLLYWOOD, CA —
Thanks to Jim Rankin for the story.
1914 Olympia Theater Closes on Upper West Side of NYC
NEW YORK, NY — Read the New York Times story (Reg. Req.)
Steve Smith also noted:
The loss of the Olympia marks the third Upper West Side B'way closing in the last 6 months, following the Nova – aka Bunny Photoplay on 148th (which appears to have been gutted), and the cavernous RKO Coliseum on 181st.
One of the oldest theaters remaining in Manhattan, The Olympia once operated as a 1,100 seat single screener under the Loews chain. The closing leaves only the smaller Metro (former Midtown) left on Broadway.
Thanks to Steve Smith for the sad update on all of these former theaters.
January 6, 2003
Our vacation is officially over and we’re back at work!
We hope you a terrific holiday, saw some of the better movies that were released at the end of 2002, and maybe pitched in to help a theater in need. In these difficult economic times, theaters, performing arts groups, and preservation organizations need all the assistance they can get.
Luckily for those theaters still showing movies, motion pictures have usually bucked economic downturns during their history, as evident by last year’s box office performance. According to Yahoo!/The Hollywood Reporter, the total box office for last year should reach $9.4 billion, up a reported 13% from 2001, with ticket sales reaching their highest count in 45 years.
While this news is terrific for resurgent theater chains such as Loews Cineplex, Regal Entertainment Group, Pacific Theatres, AMC, and more, the independent exhibitor is still struggling. The reasons are too many to list, but access to product, high overhead, and the inability to book multiple films in single screen theaters are amongst the largest culprits.
Still there were bright spots in 2002: “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” proved to be a lifesaver for theaters such as the Catlow; and more and more older, second run theaters switched to art house product for far better profits and reliability.
But there were so many theater closures at the hands of financially strapped exhibitors, frustrated landlords, and expanding drugstore and retail chains, we would need UPS to deliver the hefty list.
As we look ahead to 2003, we’ll begin focusing more of our attention not only on the stories and events that impact you, the exhibitor, the patron, the preservationist, or the theater lover, but show you how others have stayed alive and what we can all learn from their experiences.
The news will be changing as well. Lately there have been so many news stories regarding historic theaters that it’s been impossible for us to relay them to you quickly and effectively. Therefore, we will be posting more of them in link format so that you can read the original stories sooner and in more depth.
Elsewhere, our incredibly dedicated volunteer staff like Bryan Krefft, Grant Smith, William Gabel, Roger Katz, Ian Grundy, and others will continue to help us preserve the memory and futures of these beloved theaters around the world.
We’re extremely excited to get Cinema Treasures 2003 underway and we’ll be back tomorrow with more theaters, more news, and more of what you’ve come to rely on at Cinema Treasures.
Thanks and let’s start saving some theaters!
December 13, 2002
As many of you know, Cinema Treasures will be on hiatus during the upcoming holiday season.
So, as we take this break, we’d like to thank you all for your tremendous enthusiasm and contributions this year — it’s been an incredible ride. When we began the year, we had just over 1,000 theaters and 500 photos. Today, less than a year later, we’re bursting at the seams with more than 3,200 Cinema Treasures and 1,500 photos!
To review, Cinema Treasures will be on hiatus between Monday, December 16th and Monday, January 6th. Of course, if any major preservation alerts occur, we will post them, but otherwise, there will be no news during this time. Additionally, we’ll continue to add new theaters, though updates may be less frequent than usual.
Have a terrific holiday and we’ll see you back here in January!
Ross Melnick & Patrick Crowley
We’ve just added more than fifty new theaters thanks to Bryan Krefft, Steve Smith, Ron Pierce, Darren Jones, Mike Croaro, Ivan Kent Steinke, Jose Mendez, Philip Goldberg, Thomas Hauerslev, Bob Holley, John Elwood, Gary Flinn, Scott Anderson, Doug Douglass, Gerald Sheehy, and Donald John Long.
Thanks everyone and we’ll be adding more while we’re on hiatus, so please keep ‘em coming!
December 12, 2002
CENTENNIAL, CO — Regal Entertainment Corp has announced a massive digital projection initiative, with plans to equip nearly 80% of its existing locations with digital projectors, high-speed networks, and satellite downlinks, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.
While Regal (which owns both the Edwards Cinemas and United Artists theater chains) plans to spend $70 million going digital, initial plans call only for the digital projection of short films and advertisements. In other words, these conversions will not allow theaters to digitally project feature-length films—at least for now.
“At some point in time, digital projection will become a standard for theatrical films,” said Jeffrey Logsdon, managing director of investment bank Gerard Klauer Mattison. “Until then, Regal believes that if it can put the infrastructure in now, and build a business around it with promotional or advertising customers, it’ll put the company that much farther ahead of everyone else.”
Regal’s digital rollout is in partnership with Christie Digital, a company which specializes in the deployment and management of digitial projection systems.
By the end of the 2003, Christie Digital and Regal plan to deploy the new systems on over 4,500 screens. Additionally, plans call for the installation of over 1,400 42' high-resolution plasma displays throughout Regal theater lobbies.
December 11, 2002
“The story I am sending to you is about the theatre that I have been involved with for 15 years or so. I lead a group that saved the theatre and got it reopened and operating. This influx of funds is an answer to my prayers eventhough I have been living in Chicago for 6 years.”
Dave is referring to the fact that the State of Illinois announced on Monday that the Lincoln Square will receive a $3.5 million grant, as part of its Illinois FIRST program.
The city plans to renovate the 1917 theater using private funds and then hand over operational control of the theater to a private group.
“We are very much interested in improving the Uptown entertainment district,” said Alicia Berg, the commissioner of planning and development. “This is a historic building and an incredibly important one.”
In fact, the Riviera was one of first movie palaces in Chicago that was built specifically for movies, instead of more traditional theatrical purposes.
Note: registration is required to view article.
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft for telling us about this.)
December 10, 2002
MILLVILLE, NJ — According to this inspiring story from Bridgeton News, teenager Samantha White has become a junior board member of the Levoy Theatre Preservation society, a group which is working to restore Millville’s classic Levoy Theatre.
White began working with the society last year, as part of her volunteer duties as a member of the Key Club at the Millville Senior High School. She was so well-recieved that the society recently made her a junior board member of their organization.
The irony of all of this is that the Levoy closed in 1974, so Samantha White never enjoyed the theater while it was still operating. However, according to the article, she’s learned a lot about the theater from conversations with her uncle.
(Thanks to Gregg Anderson for both of today’s stories.)
PORTLAND, OREGON — According to a recent article in the Oregonian, the 76 year-old Hollywood Theatre has experienced two fires in the past month, both occuring on the theater’s emergency-exit staircase, which is located at the rear of the building.
As theater manager Shannon Donaldson put it:
“Unfortunately, it’s a wonderfully perfect spot for homeless people to sleep or for kids to drink beer or for people to shoot up drugs.”
Thankfully, the fires did not seriously damage the Hollywood. Current plans call for the theater to improve lighting and security around the stairs at a cost of $25,000, which the theater expects to raise from local supporters.
December 9, 2002
MYMENSINGH, BANGLADESH — According to this BBC News report, a series of bomb blasts rocked a movie Bangladeshi theater complex on Saturday, killing 15 people and injuring over 200 others.
The blasts happened at a four-screen movie theater located in Mymensingh, a large town in northern Bangladesh. At the time of the explosion, the theater was packed with over 2000 people.
Although the cause of the blasts has not officially been determined, it is suspected that pro-Taliban radicals are most likely to blame. In the past year, nearly 100 other Bangladeshis have been killed in similar bombings.
(Thanks to UAGirl for sending in this tragic story.)