The latest movie theater news and updates
October 24, 2002
CHICAGO, IL — According to a new report in the Chicago Tribune, the upcoming opening of the new 21-screen, AMC River East may be the death knell of several nearby, older movie houses including the 1970s-era McClurg Court and, most notably, the 1930s-era streamline moderne Esquire Theatre.
Unlike the McClurg Court and Esquire, Loews Cineplex will probably retain its 9-screen multiplex at 600 N. Michigan despite the competition. The 2-screen Loews theater at 900 N. Michigan, however, may also be closed in the shakeup.
The nearby Water Tower triplex, which is currently operated by Village Theatres, could emerge unscathed as well with its current programming policy of art house fare.
According to Barry Schain, though, a broker who has worked with several large movie theater chains and is quoted in the Tribune, “‘There are now five theaters with 23 screens in the area, and we’ll end up with two theaters and 30 screens … The writing is on the wall for the smaller theaters.’”
The Tribune is also reporting that if these theaters close, they will likely be repurposed or torn down to make way for alternate development. The McClurg Court has been rumored to be converted into a live performance venue, while the Esquire was sold months ago to another developer with speculation swirling that “a hotel at the Esquire” is probable.
The Tribune cites a “health club” as the next business for the 900 N. Michigan Loews location.
We’ll keep you posted…
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft for keeping his ear to the ground.)
MIAMI, FL — The Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts reopened on Tuesday night following an extensive $2.1 million renovation, according to the Miami Herald. Images of the restoration of the theater’s gorgeous atmospheric interior are available at the Herald website.
The Olympia was originally constructed by the godfather of atmospheric theaters, John Eberson, and opened in 1926 for the Paramount theater circuit.
(Thanks to Dennis Huber for the update.)
October 23, 2002
Today we bring you another great batch of theater photos, with theaters from around the United States, as well as several interesting images of theaters in Croatia (in fact, these are our first Croatian theaters on Cinema Treasures.)
Highlights include an exterior view of the Capitol Theatre in Pottsville, PA just before it was demolished; a 1926 theater program from New York’s Cosmopolitan; a recent shot of the Edison in Karlovac, Croatia; a 1940s postcard view of the Fort, in Rock Island, IL; a beautiful image of the marquee re-lighting ceremony at the Fox Theatre in Tucson, AZ; a postcard view of the fabled Grand Central Theatre; and a stunning interior view of Baltimore, MD’s Hippodrome.
Thanks to Bryan Krefft, Marko Pekic, Ron Pierce, Jean, Michael Ackerman, Daniel K. Nelson, Ed Dobbins, Alex, William French, and Paul Knittel for these images.
October 22, 2002
ROANOKE, VA — Less than a year after it closed, the Grandin Theatre has reopened to the public, according to a report in the Roanoke Times.
After being sold to the Grandin Theatre Foundation by former owner Julie Hunsaker, the movie house has been renovated and restored thanks to a combination of private donations and $500,000 of taxpayer funds.
DAYTON, OH — The New Neon Movies is celebrating the one year anniversary of its $325,000 renovation with revenues nearly doubled from its pre-alteration figures. According to the Dayton Business Journal, the theater’s owner attributes the success to the twinning of the theater and the ability to bring in more customers.
The 15-year-old theater gained national notoriety several years ago as a venue for Cinerama screenings. Those showings ended, however, before the renovation of the theater and the New Neon Movies has since stuck to a healthy diet of art house fare.
TUCSON, AZ — The Fox Tucson Theatre, which is currently in the third year of its renovation, will host a “free evening of Halloween entertainment” this Friday night, according to the Tucson Citizen. Events include live music, tours of the theater, a fashion show, and more. The five hour celebration will begin at 5 p.m.
The theater has already raised $3 million for its renovation efforts with more than 200 volunteers working to resurrect the 1,300-seat movie palace. Total cost of the renovation is expected to be $8.5 million and should be completed by late 2004.
The Fox originally opened in 1929 and has been closed since 1974. The theater has restored its original chandelier while replacing the roof and marquee.
October 21, 2002
Cinema Treasures regular Ian Grundy brings us another batch of outstanding theater photos from the United Kingdom.
Some of today’s photos include shots from several London neighborhoods, including Greenwich, Hammersmith, and Shepherd’s Bush).
Also—thanks to Mike Rivest for his shot of the Centre Laval in Quebec, Canada. The Centre isn’t a UK theater, of course, but it snuck into today’s batch. Sneaky photo!
LOMBARD, IL — Lombard officials and concerned residents have reached an accord which should help save the DuPage Theater while not taxing local residents. According to the Daily Herald, $3 million of state and local funds will be used to help resurrect the former movie palace, while the remaining $6.3 million will need to be raised by a new not-for-profit group.
This plan was approved last week by a 4-2 margin and should allay local concerns that the DuPage Theater project would increase property taxes. The city was able to raise the additional money by selling a parcel of land it owns which sits adjacent to the theater.
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft for the update.)
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND — Springwood Leisure, which operates the Zanzibar nightclub chain around England, has finally been given approval to convert the Odeon Cinema into a 2,000-capacity venue. According to the Nottingham Evening Post, the ruling comes after a 19-month battle to gain a license to operate inside the old movie palace.
Renovations will begin shortly with the latest Zanzibar scheduled to open next year.
October 18, 2002
FORT WORTH, TX — Despite last minute efforts to save the 55-year-old landmark, the 7th Street Theatre was demolished on Wednesday with the the entire site to be cleared by the end of today. According to the Star-Telegram, the FPA Foundation, which purchased the theater last year, has not announced its intention for the barren space.
Demolition of the 7th Street Theatre originally began on April 14, 2002, but was quickly halted by outraged preservationists and the Historic Landmarks Commission, which ordered a 180-day delay. The FPA Foundation, though, would not listen to any of the interested buyers who had come forward during these last six months.
With the expiration of the demolition delay, the FPA finally knocked down the last traces of the 7th Street.
(Thanks to Dennis Huber for the sad news.)
NEW YORK, NY — WNYC-Radio FM 93.9 in New York City recently aired a feature program on Cinerama featuring interviews with John Belton, author of the book, Widescreen Cinema, Lowell Thomas, Jr., and documentary filmmaker and Cinerama guru David Strohmaier.
Strohmaier recently completed a highly regarded, feature length documentary entitled, “Cinerama Adventure,” which profiles the birth, life, and death of this revolutionary, but short-lived, widescreen cinema phenomenon.
(Thanks to Larry Karstens for the update!)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Avalon Theater will reopen tomorrow (Saturday, October 19th) from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m for a “Special Avalon Saturday on the Avenue.” According to the Avalon Theater Project, supporters are welcome to “come see the renovation progress, try out our new seats and learn how to buy one for the theater!”
The ATP will also be hosting “CASABLANCA NIGHT: A special evening to benefit the Avalon and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the film classic, ‘Casablanca’”. The American City Diner, located at 5532 Connecticut Ave., NW in DC will be hosting the screening of the film plus dinner for $40 per person. The event will take place Monday, October 28th.
Dinner lasts from 6:30-7:30 p.m. with the film screening at 8:00 p.m. $30 of the ticket price goes to The Avalon Theatre Project and helps resurrect the 1922 movie house. Purchase tickets at the door or in advance at the Diner.
(Thanks to Jennifer Kaplan for the announcements.)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND — According to Graham Staples, a developer who had hoped to convert the old ABC Whiteladies Road cinema into a health club has appealed the council’s earlier decision denying him a permit for such a conversion.
A public inquiry will now be held on March 18, 2003. Please voice your concern to the council about destroying this beautiful, but endangered movie palace.
(Thanks to Graham Staples for the advanced warning.)
ALBEMARLE, NC — The Badin Drive-In closed this past weekend. “The land is for sale but the screen and equipment have been given to other NC ozoners.”
(Thanks to Tammy Conner for the epitaph.)
We close out the week with another big batch of theater photos. This time, we have images from all over the US, including Ohio, South Carolina, Missouri, Kansas, Idaho, Georgia, Michigan, and Minnesota.
Highlights include a beautiful, detailed view of the remains of the Chief theater in Pocatello, ID; a nighttime shot of the Trustees Theatre in Savannah, GA; a recent shot of the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA; and a recent image of the American Theater in St. Louis, MO.
Thanks to Bryan Krefft, Patrick Crowley, Jean, Paul Knittel, Joel Weide, Ron Pierce, Keith Schad, Cindy Lawson, and the Minnesota Historical Society for today’s images.
October 17, 2002
Another day, another set of cool theater photos. Today, we journey back to the East Coast, with photos from several Eastern states, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Florida.
Images not worth missing include a vintage shot of the Fox Theatre in Brooklyn, NY; a 1950’s postcard view of the Harbor Theatre in Stone Harbor, NJ; a recent look at Staten Island’s Paramount; and a postcard view of the Roxy Theater in Norfolk, VA.
Thanks to Vasilios Papaioannou, Kathleen Moore, Jean, and Bryan Krefft for submitting these images.