The latest movie theater news and updates
November 20, 2002
DAVIS, CA — The Davis Musical Theatre may be moving out of the Varsity Theatre, which it has performed in since 1984, to a new building with a smaller auditorium, but better facilities for its productions.
According to the Sacramento Business Journal, the city of Davis is currently “thinking” about purchasing the 427-seat movie house from its owner.
HILTON HEAD, SC — A group of local arts associations has banded together in an effort to raise $70,000 in tax grants from the town of Hilton Head Island in order to lease the former Main Street Cinema.
According to the Beaufort Gazette, if the request is approved, the former twin movie house would then be renovated into a 220-seat performing arts venue.
LAGRANGE, OH — The former LaGrange Theater in the downtown area will be renovated into the LaGrange Performing Arts Center and is scheduled to reopen in 2005. According to the Ledger-Enquirer, the former movie house has been closed for several years.
When it reopens, the LaGrange will house nearly 600 patrons and will have a new stage area for “visiting musical, theatrical and dance organizations to perform.” No costs have been reported.
The LaGrange originally opened around 1930.
November 19, 2002
SALINA, KS — As the battle over whether to change the name of Fox Theatre to the Stiefel Performing Arts Center, to reflect its largest benefactor, continues, the Salina Journal is looking for your vote of whether or not to keep the original name of the theater.
Voters currently seem split as to whether or not to approve the name change to Stiefel which would call for the removal of the Fox vertical sign. The newspaper has also published an in-depth history of the former Fox Watson Theatre and a brief update of its current status.
(Thanks to Joel Weide for the news.)
HOLYOKE, MA — The Victory Theatre has been added to the Massachusetts list of the year’s “Most Endangered Historic Resources” by the Preservation Mass organization, according to a report in the Boston Globe.
In response, Holyoke officials announced that they are currently negotiating with the Mass Institute for Fine Arts to restore the Victory Theatre. Downtown Holyoke is one of the most beleaguered areas in all of Massachusetts and New England.
TORRINGTON, CT — The restoration and reopening of the Warner Theatre has spurred a number of articles in recent days. Here are just a few of them (please follow the links):
BRATTLEBORO, VT — Continuing with our New England theme today, the Latchis Theatre has been purchased along with the Art Deco Latchis hotel for $1.6 million by the Latchis Project — a project headed by the Brattleboro Arts Initiative.
According to the Times Argus, the purchase of the theater will lead the way to relaunching the theater as a community arts center. For the time being, and for the forseeable future, the historic triplex will continue showing movies.
November 18, 2002
It’s Monday again and that means a whole weekend of stories has been piling up. Please follow the links below to read the latest news on Cinema Treasures from around the world. See you tomorrow!
(Thanks to Joel Weide and Gregg Anderson for the update.)
The following were also sent with our tremendous thanks to Gregg Anderson:
November 15, 2002
BOSTON, MA — A $31 million restoration and renovation project at the former Keith’s Memorial is set to begin now that the city has handed a permit to Clear Channel Entertainment. According to the Boston Globe, Clear Channel hopes to begin hosting Broadway productions in the former Keith’s/RKO movie palace by 2004.
FROSTPROOF, FL — The Frostproof Chamber of Commerce will vote on whether or not to purchase the old Ramon Theater when the board meets on November 19th. According to The Ledger, the plan to purchase the theater and an adjacent building from owner David Higginbottom is nearly a done deal.
Future plans for the shuttered Ramon include screenings of classic films and live performances. The Ramon and the adjacent Thompson building both need new roofs which will cost roughly $50,000.
The Ramon opened in 1925 for motion pictures and stage shows.
PHILADELPHIA, PA — While plans for the Sameric are still on hold, the Goldenberg Group, which owns the Center City movie palace, is eyeing a joint operation of the Trocadero as a premiere arts venue.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the 1870 theater is “on the National Registry of Historic Places and is the oldest Victorian theater still in operation.” It has been a venue for rock concerts since 1986.
Meanwhile, the Sameric/Boyd’s demolition permit expires next month with no movement one way or another in the works. The Goldenberg Group is still discussing ways to revamp and reopen the theater as “multi-purpose entertainment facility.”
The Friends of the Boyd is also working to preserve the former UA movie palace.
(Thanks to Howard Haas for the update!)
November 14, 2002
COLDWATER, MI — The former Main Theater in downtown has been converted into a Curves for Women outlet which specializes in weight loss. According to the Daily Reporter, the theater had been closed since 1999 after the city inspection department closed the theater due to problems with the roof and plumbing.
(Thanks to Gary Flinn for the update.)
VAN WERT, OH — The two original theaters of the five-screen Van Wert Cinemas were destroyed when portions of the city were hit by a tornado. According to Grant Smith, the former Twin Cinemas were recently expanded to a 5-plex. “The two orignal screens, which must have been the largest, were destroyed and the three new screens were mostly undamaged.”
(Thanks to Grant Smith for the news.)
CANAAN, CT — The Colonial Theatre was unexpectedly purchased by a local businessman, David Ohler, after a four year campaign by The Colonial Community Theatre Group, Inc. who had hoped to purchase and renovate the theater.
According to CCTG’s website, the theater was sold on October 30th by its former owners, Michael and Richard Boscardin. Despite their setback, the group is reporting that Ohler also plans to reopen the Colonial as a theater.
(Thanks to Roger Smith for the announcement.)
POMONA, CA — City officials are already lobbying to host the premiere of the upcoming Universal film adaptation, “The Cat In The Hat,” at the Fox Theatre. According to the San Bernardino County Sun, the film was shot in Pomona and city officials hope to host a special screening of the film at the theater to raise money for its continued renovation.
“The Cat In The Hat” is scheduled for release in November 2003 when the theater’s renovation efforts will be close to completed.
November 13, 2002
We’ve just added over 50 new theaters thanks to Philip Goldberg, Jose Mendez, Phil Jones, Donald John Long, Bryan Krefft, Ron Pierce, Bud Woods, Gary Parks, Graeme McBain, Jayson Wall, Angela Crotts, and Jean.
November 12, 2002
According to the Business Journal, “the non-binding agreement” calls for Onex to pay roughly “$36.3 million in equity capital, with the rest coming from acquisition financing.” The Los Angeles Times reports the total sale at $80 million.
With the two exhibitors under one corporate roof, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Landmark Theatres will be operated as a “specialty film division” of LCE. Oaktree Capital, which is selling Landmark to the Onex Corporation, is currently a co-owner of LCE with Onex.
Landmark currently operates 67 theaters with 290 screens including the Oriental, Nuart, Sunshine, and many more Cinema Treasures around the country. There is no word yet on management or operational changes, or of any imminent theater closings.
We’ll keep you posted…
SMITHTOWN, NY — The former Smithtown Theatre reopened two weeks ago and is now playing to nearly full houses as a for-profit performing arts center. Last operated by United Artists, the Smithtown underwent a three year, $1 million restoration effort before reopening on October 26th.
The article also cites a trend on Long Island, and in particular Suffolk County, of restoring old movie theaters with recent efforts in Patchogue and Westhampton Beach. However, the Art Deco Suffolk Theatre, located in nearby Riverhead, is still facing an uncertain future.