The latest movie theater news and updates
May 25, 2016
From The Citizen: It may not look like much is going on from the outside, but preparation work to restore the Colonial Theatre has been proceeding smoothly for the past several months.
Justin Slattery, the executive director of the Belknap Economic Development Council, spoke before a gathering of about 75 at the Taylor Community on Tuesday, and told the group he’s been very pleased with efforts made so far to get the facility ready for a major renovation next year.
“It really is a jewel for the city,” Slattery said. “This building’s historic significance is incredible.”
Slattery showed slides of work performed this spring to remove steel partitioning put in during the 1980s to turn the Colonial into a multi-plex movie house.
“They were very careful to cut those steel beams into small pieces so they could be removed safely without damaging any of the artwork inside the theater,” Slattery said.
He described for the audience his amazement when he saw some of the artwork inside the building once the partitioning was removed.
“I can’t believe how good a shape the pictures and art is in,” Slattery said. “It’s especially true when this has been sitting there for many years.”
The building’s roof is in good shape, and plans will soon be worked on about how to best renovate apartments above the theater.
“We’re looking at turning them into condos or apartments for young professionals that want to be downtown,” Slattery said.
The three buildings that comprise the renovation project amount to about 38,000 square feet, with the theater taking up 20,000 square feet of space.
Built in 1914 and hailed for its distinct fresco architecture and unique design qualities, the Colonial Theatre was once at the forefront of 20th century culture in Laconia, hosting traveling vaudeville shows and special events, such as the world premiere of the film “Return to Peyton Place” in 1961.
May 24, 2016
From the Washington Times: The overhaul of the Momence Theater is in its final stages but is still in need of a cash injection to get the final upgrades completed.
When this money comes in, members of the Momence Theatre Friends, the management organization for the North Dixie Highway property, believe the building could be ready to host visitors within 30-45 days.
The return to use for the approximate 3,400-square-foot property has been years in the making. Plans to redevelop the building – built in 1924 – began in 2006.
“Kankakee County needs this theater because we need more community arts involvement,” said Keri Perkins, treasurer of the Friends organization. “This could really help Momence develop.”
Started as a location for vaudeville-type performances, the theater became a location for first-run films and then X-rated movies. The theater eventually closed in the 1970s and, other than one or two events, has not been used since.
Purchased by John Sokol, an Aroma Township businessman, in 2013 from Mark Noeller for $77,000, Sokol always believed the theater would be something managed and operated by and for the community.
From the Newton Daily News: For years, the Shuler Theater in this once-booming New Mexico mining town sat empty in a desolate downtown. It had long passed its heyday as a hot spot for Italian immigrants and Hispanic workers who visited to take in a traveling show or a newly released movie.
But today the 101-year-old Raton venue again is attracting audiences from as far as Trinidad, Colorado just across the state line for variety shows and will soon be ready to screen any Star Wars movie. That change comes as New Mexico is joining other states in pushing an initiative to revitalize downtown districts in isolated, small towns by rehabilitating aging, historic theaters.
An economic development program, similar to efforts in Iowa and Illinois, seeks save the often-forgotten facilities like the Shuler Theater with help on refurbishing buildings and grants for new digital projection and sound equipment. With state funding, cities can develop new business plans and retool theaters’ dusty interiors so they can become main attractions in rural areas, New Mexico Economic Development Department Secretary Jon Barela said.
“These theaters are part of our history,” said Barela, who went to a small theater in Las Cruces as a child. “They are beautiful architectural gems and they are anchors of the community.”
Since January 2013, the state has set aside around $100,000 each for eight theaters, Barela said.
Like refurbished small theaters in other states, New Mexico officials believe reviving theaters in ranching towns and small cities near American Indian reservations will help create jobs in struggling downtown districts and spark excitement in entertainment deserts. Some, such as El Morro Theatre in Gallup, New Mexico, are located along the iconic Route 66 next to the Navajo Nation while others, such as the Lyceum Theater in Clovis, sit just across the New Mexico-Texas state line.
May 20, 2016
From Nebraska.tv: In what could be a Hollywood manuscript, a community has come together to revive a historic theater that’s been family-run for generations.
Central City moviegoers were eager to see the inaugural showing of “Zootopia” four years after the marquee lights shut off.
The State Theater Foundation formed a year ago and began the process of restoring the nearly 60-year-old landmark. It now has a digital projection system, a new screen, and an updated concession area.
“I’ve been so excited of this first night!” exclaimed long time theater patron Rhonda Schulze. “I was a regular before when the original owners were here and I’ve been missing it. Like I said, there’s nothing like the big screen, popcorn, there’s nothing better than theater popcorn. Yeah, I’m just really excited!”
“It’s a good feeling because I just want people to come in and see it,” said State Theater Foundation’s Kasey Blodgett. “And like I said, it gives them something to do so it’s, I’m excited for tonight. I don’t know how to put it into words.”
The foundation hosted a ribbon cutting on Thursday evening prior to the theater’s opening. Show times will be Fridays through Sundays at 7:30 p.m.
From Cleveland.com: Playhouse Square is turning back the clock 95 years in the Ohio Theatre lobby Thursday by unveiling a spectacular re-creation of the long-lost neo-Renaissance interior designed by architect Thomas Lamb.
The original largely burned to a crisp in 1964, leaving little trace of its ornate splendor. Now, however, it’s 1921 all over again.
The cove-lighted barrel vault high overhead drips with scores of square yards of swags, medallions and floral motifs painted in delicately stippled shades of salmon pink, beige, dusty green and Pompeian red, accented by touches of gold.
Lamb, described as a “king of theaters” in his 2008 New York Times obituary, would have been proud.
May 19, 2016
From southwestjournal.com: The Uptown Theatre’s landmark sign originally required approval from the civil aviation authority — it was the first three-sided vertical tower sign in the country, said Assistant Manager Joseph Larsen.
The theater is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a party and a run of classic films in June.
Originally called the Lagoon, the Uptown Theatre opened in 1916 as part of a dance hall and storefront block, according to research by Larsen.
May 18, 2016
May 17, 2016
From the Times Gazette: Unlike its leaky roof, the Colony Theatre’s fate seems sealed.
The historic theater’s future as a mere memory seemed almost certain Wednesday after construction experts, city officials and a representative of the historical society toured the dilapidated facility.
Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Todd Wilkin led visitors through the North High Street building, with everyone dodging water that was pouring from the ceiling even though skies were clear outside.
The Times-Gazette toured the building in December 2014 when Mayor Drew Hastings led visitors through the facility, and the damage, disrepair and noticeable moldy atmosphere that was evident then was even more accentuated on Wednesday.
May 16, 2016
From WTOV9.com: Two separate grants for work on the Grand Theater will help bring the community landmark back to life.
The stage at the Grand Theater used to host casts of performances before it closed in 1979. For the past 6 years, a theater restoration group has been working to get it back to its former glory.
Now, two grants they just received are bringing them one step closer to completion.
The historic walls of the Grand Theater hold years of movies, performances and parties. Scott Dressell, with the Grand Theater restoration project, is working to make that history a part of Steubenville’s future.
“We really need a destination for entertainment downtown to turn around the lack of activity and the Grand will definitely provide that,” Dressell said.
The group just received two grants to continue the work on the interior and exterior of the building.
Dressell said the changes will “bring it back to what it looked like in 1924.”
A $70,000 Community Development Block grant will help repair the façade, and a $75,000 grant from the state will help repair the decorative interior.
“It’s the last theater of the five that used to be here so to lose this would be tragic,” Dressell said.
There’s still a long way to go but none of the work would have been possible this year without this funding. Dressell believes the funding will have a big payoff in the long run for the community.
“In every other city where a theater’s been restored, it really makes a big difference economically,” Dressell said.
The exterior is expected to be completed sometime this summer. The interior work should start in the fall.
Photos courtesy of historicsteubenville.org
May 14, 2016
From Brooklynvegan.com: Back in January 2015, it was announced that Brooklyn’s Paramount Theatre on Flatbush would begin hosting music again for the first time in 50 years. (Not to be confused with nearby Paramount Theaters, like the ones in Asbury Park, Long Island or Westchester.) More details on that have now emerged.
As Billboard reports, the team behind Barclays Center and the renovation of the Nassau Veterans Coliseum has signed a long-term lease with LIU Brooklyn to renovate and operate the Long Island University Brooklyn Paramount Theatre. Renovatons will begin in 2017, overseen by Paramount Events Center (PEC), and the doors are slated to open in 2019.