The latest movie theater news and updates
July 9, 2002
VENTNOR, NJ — The Philadelphia Inquirer recently featured the reopened Ventnor Twin Theater and profiled its success in bringing in patrons to this beachside community. Ventnor sits adjacent to an area once filled with movie palaces, Atlantic City.
Once teeming with theaters along its boardwalk, and with several prominent movie houses in the outlying towns, the Atlantic City area has but three movie theaters left with the Ventnor Twin the only one with historical significance.
The Art Deco theater opened in 1938 and was later converted into a twin in the 1960s. It closed several years ago, but was recently reopened by a man who works maintaining movie theaters.
(Thanks to George Quirk for the update!)
July 8, 2002
SANTA MONICA, CA — We’ve just received this report in from local resident Jody Hummer regarding the historic Aero Theater located on Santa Monica’s fashionable Montana Avenue:
There’s a sign that says ‘Save the Aero’ on the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. The owner says Robert Redford [who grew up attending the Aero as a kid] and Sundance, who were reported to be interested in saving the theater for independent film, have “pulled out.” We don’t know the details yet.
I stopped by yesterday and Chris, the operator, said the Aero is hanging on by a thread and may have to leave next month. If you are in the LA area, go see a film here soon or send letters of support to:
The Aero Theater
1328 Montana Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Built by the Donald Douglas Company in 1939, the Aero Theater was originally opened as a continuous 24-hour movie theater for aircraft workers who operated in shifts around the clock. It later became a beloved neighborhood theater and has anchored the now posh Montana Avenue section of Santa Monica.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The historic Castro Theatre is holding its annual Silent Film Festival next Saturday and Sunday featuring live piano and organ accompaniement on the theater’s Mighty Wurlitzer. Tickets are $10 and $12 and can be purchased at the theater, by phone at (415) 478-2277, or online at Tickets.com.
The Castro opened in 1921 and continues to be a massively popular art and repertory movie house. It was renovated in 2001.
LARNED, KS —
The old State Theatre reopened last Friday showing “Spider-Man” in its second-run with a theater full of volunteers running the show. According to the Lawrence Journal World/AP, the State had been closed for two years before being purchased by a non-profit organization for $90,000.
The theater was recently renovated and its famous neon marquee is still being repaired with plans to reinstall it in the near future. The State is the only theater in this small town of 4,200 residents and originally opened in the late 1940s.
NEW YORK, NY —
The world famous Apollo Theater will be closed from January to August 2003 for a massive renovation project that will not only return a little luster to the aging vaudeville house, but will enable its supporters and directors to begin a multi-year project aimed at converting the famous theater into “a major cultural and performing arts center.”
According to the Journal News/AP, plans for the Apollo call for a $250 million renovation and expansion effort that will house the original theater, the nearby Victoria Theater, a restaurant, a multiplex, a recording studio, and retail space. The project is aimed at continuing and expanding Harlem’s recent revitalization.
July 3, 2002
We’ve just added a new batch of vintage and modern theater photos thanks to Owen Smith, the Minnesota Historical Society, Bryan Krefft, and Ron Pierce. Highlights include the Paramount in Baton Rouge, LA, the Timothy Pflueger-designed Alameda in Alameda, CA, and the “nautical exterior” of the Port in Corona Del Mar, CA.
Cinema Treasures will be closed Thursday and Friday for the American Independence Day holiday. We’ll return Monday, July 8th and we look forward to seeing you then!
NORFOLK, VA — Local real estate developer Bobby Wright has paid $600,000 for the long-shuttered Granby Theater in hopes of reopening the old movie house. According to the Virginian-Pilot, the 1,000 seat theater has been closed since 1987 and is still in relatively good shape.
Possible uses for the Granby include a dinner theater a la the Commodore Theatre in nearby Portsmouth. To that end, Wright is negotiating with Commodore owner Fred Schoenfeld to help out on the movie side of the business. Wright is also eyeing dancing, first-run and classic films, and hosting smaller concerts than Norfolk’s Norva Theater.
According to the Virginian-Pilot, the original Granby Theater opened in 1915 in another spot down the street. The current incarnation opened in 1923 and became part of the Fabian Theaters chain in 1967 and renamed the Lee Theater.
As residents moved away from downtown and into the suburbs, the Lee survived on a steady diet of adult films. In 1976, the theater was purchased again and renamed the Granby Mall Cinema showing family movies. When one of the owners died in 1987, the theater doors were shut for good … until now.
July 2, 2002
We’ve added a great new collection of international movie houses from England, Greece, Singapore, Scotland, and Australia. Our deepest appreciation to Ian Grundy for our rapidly growing UK cinema section and special thanks to Augustine Heng and Andrew Mason.
Highlights of today’s photos include the outdoor Cine Manto in Mykonos Town, Greece, the giant proscenium arch of the Empire in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, and the colorful exterior of the Bedok 1 & 2 in Singapore.
TACOMA, WA — The Tacoma Mall Twin Theatre is closing this month after almost 35 years of delighting area audiences, according to a report in the News-Tribune/yellowBrix.
The former single-screen cinema opened in 1968 at a cost of $1 million and was the first hard-top built in 40 years when it opened. The News-Tribune wrote at the time that the Tacoma was ‘Grauman’s, the Cathay Circle, Hollywood Boulevard and London Airport all wrapped into one and brought up to date.’
In 1974, it was split into a duplex and renamed the Tacoma Mall Twins creating a 700-seat and a 400-seat theater out of the large 1200-seat auditorium. Over the years, the construction of multiplexes and megaplexes damaged the vitality of the theater.
With Loews Cineplex abandoning the theater later this month, the Tacoma Mall is now in negotiations with several chains regarding the construction of a new restaurant in its place.
Another 60s movie palace appears lost forever…
HOUSTON, TX — The Delman Theater was demolished last month along with an adjacent strip of retail space, according to the Houston Business Journal. The theater was not a locally or nationally registered landmark, but it had been on the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance’s “Endangered Buildings” list.
After years as a movie house, the Delman Theater was converted for live performances, but finally closed in the mid-1990s. Tivoli Realty, which owned the building, believes the property will be worth more now without the decaying theater which had been damaged by two previous fires.
July 1, 2002
OCALA, FL — The Ocala City Council has created a new task force to find a use for the historic Marion Theatre “using the least amount of public dollars.” According to the Star-Banner, the theater has been closed since January and is being eyed for a possible makeover into a cultural arts center as part of downtown Ocala’s revitalization.
SAN DIEGO, CA — The last Mann theater in the San Diego area has closed with the theater circuit ending its lease on the Mann Hazard Center 7 in Mission Valley. According to the Union-Tribune, Madstone Theatres will take over the 7-plex which opened in 1990. The theater will reopen on August 2nd after numerous enhancements and renovations.
DELAND, FL — Supporters and local residents are becoming increasingly impatient with the long overdue restoration of the Athens Theatre. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that the $4 million project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2001, but the theater will open no earlier than 2004.
The Athens restoration has been hampered by structural problems and budget overruns. $1.8 million has already been spent to date on construction.