The latest movie theater news and updates
July 16, 2002
BURNHAM-ON-SEA, ENGLAND — The Ritz, Burnham-on-Sea’s last movie house, has closed after 70 years of operation. According to ThisIsBristol.com, the theater had been operated since September 2000 by Starlight Cinemas which has now decided to close the twin because of the “lack of support”.
The Ritz opened as a movie house in the 1930s with a balcony and was split several years ago. Prior to Starlight Cinemas, it was used by the Ritz Social Club, which still occupies the ground floor of the building.
The liquidators have descended upon the Ritz as it has faded to black…
CULVER CITY, CA — The Center Theatre Group has been forced to scrap its plans for an additional 100-seat auditorium to be built inside the old Culver Theater balcony because it could not be lowered enough, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The former movie house will reopen in 2004 as a performing arts center named the Kirk Douglas Theatre after the legendary actor who has pledged $2.5 million to its restoration campaign. Costs for the project have increased from an estimated $8 million to $10.9 million with $7 million already in the bank.
The theater will now house a 320-seat auditotium and a mixed rehearsal space/classroom in the converted balcony area.
ONEONTA, NY — The Oneonta Theatre has been sold to former employee Terry Mattison who plans to convert the twinned 105-year-old movie house into a live theater venue in the future. According to the Daily Star, Mattison has worked at the movie house since 1974.
The Oneonta, which opened as a single auditorium theater in 1897 and is on the National and State Register of Historic Places, may now return to its roots to accomodate live performances. Mattison may also make other modifications including repairing the theater’s roof and other touch-ups.
July 15, 2002
We’ve just added a large batch of new and vintage photos thanks to Terry Charnock, Grant Smith, Bryan Krefft, Ian Grundy, Ron Pierce, Shannon Quay, Matt Fessler, Benjamin Traxel, and Cheryl Crandell.
Today’s group includes a photo of The Essoldo in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England during its 1968 run of “Gone With The Wind”, as well as several vintage postcards of long-gone movie houses.
Other photos include recent shots of the Egyptian in Park City, UT, the shuttered Quo Vadis in Westland, MI, the Rodgers Theatre in Poplar Bluff, MO, and an interior image of the Ryedale Palace Cinema in Malton, North Yorkshire, England.
HINSDALE, IL — Four local contractors, who are part of the $4.5 million restoration of the Hinsdale Theater, are seeking $750,000 in donated services by suppliers and subcontractors to ensure the completion of the project. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the theater plans to reopen later this month.
YUBA CITY, CA — The owner of the Sutter Cinema 3 is planning to demolish the original Art Deco movie house in order to erect a new 12-screen, 2500-seat multiplex in its place. According to the Appeal-Democrat, the sticking points are the increased traffic it would bring to downtown and the lack of area parking.
The head of the Downtown Business Association is already on record as saying that “the theater will fuel economic growth downtown”, and the city is eyeing the redevelopment project as the beginning of an overall rehabilitation of the downtown shopping area.
BAKERSFIELD, CA — The Crest Drive-In, which has been closed since 1998, may meet the wrecking ball soon, according to a report in The Bakersfield Californian. The owners are ignoring the recent upswing in the popularity of drive-ins and are instead planning to raze the 1963 theater to create a new RV park.
The Crest is the last of five area drive-ins including The Terrace, the Highway 99, the DeAnza, and the South Chester.
July 12, 2002
With today’s selection of new theater photos, featuring movie houses from around the United States, Cinema Treasures now lists more than 1200 images!
The new photos include stunning views of three Fresno movie houses — the Tower Theater, Warnor’s, and the (former) Crest — courtesy of Andreas Fuchs. Additional shots courtesy of Grant Smith, Bryan Krefft, the Minnesota Historical Society, Jay Carollo/Kendall Natvig, and Dan Kaiser.
Have a great weekend!
July 11, 2002
HINSDALE, IL — The Hinsdale Theater has announced a new series of classic film screenings to benefit the ongoing restoration of the 1920s movie house. According to the Chicago Tribune, the series will commence this Friday night at 7:00 p.m. with a showing of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $7 for children with all of the proceeds going to the theater’s operation. The series will continue weekly until August 16th and additional film series may run after that date featuring the works of Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen.
The Hinsdale Theater Foundation has already raised $1 million of the necessary $4.5 million total to complete interior and exterior modifications. The Hinsdale Theater opened in 1925, showed its final film in 1996, and closed in 1999. The Hinsdale will reopen as a cinema and performing arts center when restorations are completed.
(Thanks to Bryan Krefft for the news!)
July 10, 2002
We’ve just added a brand new batch of theater photos from Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, and England! Special thanks to Augustine Heng and Ian Grundy for another wonderful group of new and vintage images.
Our theater count has now exceeded 2400 “Cinema Treasures”!
CHICAGO, IL — The Esquire Theatre is slated to be sold next month to a real estate developer, according to the Chicago Tribune, and its future as a movie house is now anything but certain. The 1938 Art Moderne movie house is currently operated as a six-screen multiplex by Loews Cineplex.
The sale to Mark Hunt for $13.5 million is scheduled to be completed in advance of a new 21-screen AMC megaplex opening nearby. The imminent doom of the remaining smaller movie houses in the area has already claimed the once popular McClurg Court and is now threatening the Esquire after almost 65 years of exhibition.
There is still a chance that the Esquire could remain in operation and perhaps become the anchor for a larger retail and entertainment complex. Alternately, the theater may be torn down and converted for any number of uses including a hotel, office and residential space, or for retail use.
We’ll keep you posted …
(Thanks to Michael Garay and Bryan Krefft for the news.)
July 9, 2002
EL PASO, TX — El Paso’s local NBC affiliate, KTSM-TV Channel 9, is conducting an online poll to gauge community support of the city’s proposed $13 million infusion to the $26 million restoration of the historic Plaza Theater. The results of the poll will be broadcast tonight on their evening news and can help continue the growing momentum to restore this beloved, but closed, “Cinema Treasure”.
The gorgeous atmospheric Plaza opened in 1930 and was narrowly saved from demolition in 1987. It was previously selected as part of the “Save America’s Treasures” program and is in the midst of a large fundraising campaign to restore and reopen the 2000-seat theater.
Along with the city funding, the El Paso Community Foundation is proposing to assist El Paso in the following ways: commiting to raising $12 million for the project; donating the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ which once graced the theater (it was restored in 1998); and donating an adjacent building (Centre Annex Building) to be integrated into the operations of the Plaza Theatre. This building would contain a restaurant facility, event ballroom/children’s theater and a roof-top patio garden for community events.
(Thanks to Roman Herrington/EPCF!)