The latest movie theater news and updates

  • February 9, 2017

    Perryton, TX – Effort Underway To Reopen The Ellis Theater

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    From the High Plains Observer Perryton: An effort is underway to revive the Ellis Theater in Perryton, which closed down in the last few months.

    Ray Broadbent, his wife Eileen and their family are spearheading the effort. Ray recently shared what exactly will need to be done, how much it is going to cost and what their plans are if they succeed in reopening the theater.

    “The first thing we are forming a board and a non-profit organization to run the theater,” Broadbent said. “We do have plans for many other things, but need to get the basics taken care of first.”

    He said the roof will need to be replaced and extensive remodeling will need to be done where there has been water damage in the building.

    Between the estimate for the roof repair, which will be about $87,000, plus the down payment for the theater itself and the remodeling repairs, Broadbent said they need to raise about $200,000. “We just need 2,000 people to donate $100,” Broadbent said.

    They have an account set up at Perryton National Bank if you would like to donate. They also have a dodge ball tournament and volleyball tournament set to raise money as well as bake sales and auctions. You can find out more online when you search for the Save the Ellis Theater Facebook page.

  • February 7, 2017

    Pittsburgh, PA – Now showing: Historical society for movie houses lands in Pittsburgh

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    From the Post-Gazette: Three 18-wheeler tractor-trailer trucks pulled into the Strip District in October, carrying the weight of the history of commercial movie theaters in America — a history that began in Pittsburgh in 1905.

    The Theatre Historical Society of America that was founded in 1969 to celebrate and document America’s movie theaters had outgrown its home in the circa-1924 York Theatre — now a multiplex — in a suburb of Chicago. In 2009, the society had to take on additional storage space for an archive that is now 100,000 items and growing.

    The society waited until the archive was settled into its new home, the ninth floor of the Heinz History Center’s Museum Conservation Center at 1221 Penn Ave., Strip District, before making an official announcement. Proposals from 38 cities were considered before deciding on Pittsburgh, where for now the archive remains as the nation’s largest research and preservation resources for items pertaining to movie theaters and their social and historical significance.

    Looking ahead, there may be showcases for the public to see some of the society’s treasures. There have been talks about partnering on exhibitions here, “but ultimately the bigger goal is to have some exhibition space or maybe even a larger facility with an operational theater where we are displaying materials and there is educational programming,” executive director Richard Fosbrink said, one of three staff members who moved here with the archive. His hope is to eventually fill out the staff to five.

    The search for a new home had been centered in the Chicago area until Mr. Fosbrink came onboard and said, “If we have to move everything anyway, why not expand the search?”

    Pittsburgh first sold itself when society members came here in 2014 for their annual theater tour of an American city, with the Downtown theaters of the Benedum Center, Heinz Hall and Byham as well as the Palace Theatre in Greensburg among their stops.

    Mr. Fosbrink, a Connellsville native who attended Seton Hill University and taught at Central Catholic High School, was speaking with Pittsburgh Cultural Trust leader Kevin McMahon while preparing the tour and mentioned that the society was in need of new digs.

    “You should move to Pittsburgh,” Mr. McMahon said.

  • Nashville, TN – Indoor drive-in movie theater coming to Nashville

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    From FoxNews: Movie-goers in Nashville are in for a unique experience as plans have been unveiled for an indoor drive-in with a 1960s feel, Fox 17 reports.

    The “August Moon Drive-In” is slated to open at the intersection of James Robertson Parkway and Interstate 24 in 2018.

    But this is not your typical drive-in.

    The environment in the 40,000 square-foot space with an air-supported dome will be complete with 50 classic cars, full-sized trees, hammocks, a starry night with an August “sailor’s moon” and even fireflies. It also boasts the largest non-IMAX movie screen in the North America.

    “The August Moon Drive-In will be the first of its kind and an attraction that dramatically enhances the way people experience movies,” a news release sent to Fox 17 News said.

    The drive-in will operate daily, with an initial schedule of 18 showings a week.

  • Columbus, IN – Awaiting an encore

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    From The Republic: Caretakers of the historic Crump Theatre, the iconic structure that has been mothballed for three years, continue to hold out hope that the right investor will arrive with a plan, a sustainable vision and an eye for restoration to bring the 127-year-old downtown theater back to life.

    “What I hope to find — how can I say this? — is a Crump angel,” said Hutch Schumaker, who leads the Columbus Capital Foundation.

    The foundation owns the building and works with the Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County to keep it in stable condition while waiting for an investor who isn’t afraid of investing in basic mechanical upgrades and cosmetic work.

    “It’s one of those gems that if we allow it to go away, we’re never going to get something like that back,” Schumaker said.

  • February 3, 2017

    Kalamazoo, MI – Movie theater closing doors

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    From grbj.com: A movie theater in the region featuring more than 30 draft beers has announced it will close.

    Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kalamazoo, at 180 Portage St., announced this week it plans to close on April 3.

    Alamo representative Steve Phillips says the property on which the theater sits was sold, and the new owner plans to terminate Alamo’s lease, according to a Jan. 31 notice filed with the State of Michigan and Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell.

    Phillips, senior director of people at Alamo, says this will result in a permanent shutdown of the theater and across-the-board layoffs.

    “Some Alamo employees whose Kalamazoo positions will be eliminated may receive offers to transfer to different Alamo locations. However, like all other Kalamazoo employees, any employees who receive but reject an offer to transfer to a different location will no longer work for Alamo after their Kalamazoo position is eliminated,” Phillips says.

    On Facebook, a message by the theater thanks long-time patrons.

    “We want to thank everyone who has visited this theater over the years, and we hope you will continue to support cinema long after our departure,” the post says.

    “All gift cards and advance tickets will be honored through April 3rd. If you have purchased an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema gift card and would like a refund, please visit the box office.”

  • Redmond, OR – Historic movie theater coming to downtown Redmond

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    From bendbulletin.com: For a glimpse of the future of downtown Redmond’s entertainment options just look back to the 1930s.

    That’s what Ted Eady’s doing. Eady, who owns several properties in downtown Redmond, has historic designs for the slender, two-story brick building on 349 SW Sixth St.: Return it to its former theatrical glory.

    Over the past year, Eady and his son, Evan, have been working to restore the movie theater, which opened in the 1930s, he said. Currently the building is an under-construction maze of century-old brick, exposed insulation and creaky wooden stairs.

    “We call this the mineshaft,” said Evan Eady, 26, descending into the ancient basement.

    The duo have a vision of something more complete.

    “We’re in this auditorium right now,” said Ted Eady, 58, leaning over a set of blueprints. “This is the pub area on the other side of the wall. We’re going to have 17 seats in the pub and 40 seats in each of the two auditoriums, with stadium seating for the back two rows.”

    The Eadys have decided to call the theater Odem Theater Pub after the building’s former owner — historic Redmond planner, civil servant and theater mogul Milton Odem. It is scheduled for a summer opening. And even though there’s still some work to do — soundproofing, sheet rock, roofing, electrical — the Eadys are confident.

    “I suspect I’m a bit manic,” Ted Eady said. “I’m not a manic depressive because I don’t get too bummed out, but I’m definitely a glass half full kind of guy.”

    The renovations will try to keep a bit of the former Odem flavor, Eady said, pointing to a 90-year-old wooden stage that will be a part of a bar in a few months. Leaning against the wood were four letters — O D E M — that he found in the basement of the building.

    “We don’t know what the original sign from the ’30s looked like because we haven’t found any pictures of it, but finding these in the basement spelling what they spell in an art deco style that was popular in the ’30s — I’m beginning to suspect this was part of it,” he said, adding that he’s going to try to restore the old marquee sign that’s on the front of the building.

    And while the building itself might pay tribute to the past, the theater’s future programming and food offerings have a more modern feel. Eady said that he’s drawing on theater chains that are popular these days for inspiration — Alamo Drafthouse and Portland’s Living Room Theaters chain, for instance. He envisions a place where people can come and have dinner and drinks while watching original programming and films you won’t typically find at corporate cinema chains.

    “We want to show films that will be in contention for best picture, not necessarily the newest Marvel superhero movies,” he said. “We’ll show art house films, for sure, but we’ll show anything that we think is good that we can get our hands on.”

    Adding in the fact that he also owns the vacant lot next to the building and has plans to turn that into an open-air music venue with expanded pub seating, and the future of entertainment in Redmond sounds like it could have potential.

    “Redmond’s not as cool as Bend, I don’t know if you’ve heard,” Eady said. “So, we would like to do something they don’t have in Bend. It’s such a small place and so elaborate, and it has the history. It was a movie theater for a long time in the community, so it just seems right.”

  • Skowhegan, ME – Skowhegan Savings Bank gives $30,000 toward Augusta theater project

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    From CentralMaine.com: Skowhegan Savings Bank announced Monday it was donating $30,000 toward the restoration and expansion project at the Colonial Theatre in Augusta.

    In a statement released by the bank, Senior Vice President of Customer Relations Dan Tilton said when completed, “we feel that the theatre will be a great asset to the community of Greater Augusta and we’re proud to be able to be a part of that.”

    Richard Parkhurst, co-chair of the capital campaign to restore the Colonial, said in the release that they were grateful for the bank’s contribution.

    “It is truly a gift to the community,” he said.

    Located on 139 Water St. in downtown Augusta, the Colonial Theatre was opened in 1913, according to its website. Bill Williamson, whose grandfather founded the Colonial, is co-chairing the campaign. He said the Colonial has been an important gathering place for the community for over 50 years, and this campaign re-imagines it with a plan “that will culturally enrich and drive economic growth for the region.”

    “We are very appreciative for Skowhegan Savings Bank’s support and recognition of the importance of the campaign,” Williamson said.

    According to the release, once opened, the Colonial will be a cultural venue for film, live performances, digital programming, space for community groups and corporate meetings, and for other charitable events and educational purposes.

    Renovations for the theater are expected to take about two years and cost about $8.5 million in total. The building has been vacant since 1969.

  • Winchester, KY – Historic theater’s renovations uncovered film reels from the 1920s

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    From the Lexington Herald-Leader: After having suffered from deferred maintenance for several years, the historic theater in Winchester is getting a touch-up.

    The Leeds Center for the Arts is closed for the next couple of months while the historic theater gets renovations that include new plaster and paint. The work started in December.

    Tracey Miller, president of Winchester Council for the Arts, a non-profit organization formed in 1986 to save the theater after it temporarily closed because of lack of attendance and cost of upkeep, said a leaky roof, crumbling walls and water damage were some of the major problems with the approximately 400-seat theater.

    The roof has been repaired, and now new toilets, paint, a curtain and carpet are on the list to spruce up or replace.

    A $100,000 anonymous private donation and a $50,000 donation from the Clark County Community Foundation made the renovations possible.

    “Winchester is a very generous community,” Miller said.

    The deadline for completion of renovations is April 15, when the Kentucky native and cellist Ben Sollee is scheduled to perform.

    The theater, at 37 North Main Street, has had more than 18,000 visitors over the past two years, Miller said. He called it a “true theater” for the community, hosting theatrical productions, community gatherings and other performances.

  • February 1, 2017

    Highland, IN – Town Council cancels Town Theatre renovation

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    From nwitimes.com:
    The final curtain went down on the Town Theatre on Monday when the Town Council voted against a renovation of the long vacant building.

    A divided council voted 3-2 to reject a proposal, first made in 2014, to renovate and reopen the 71 year-old theater that was bought by the town in a county tax sale several years ago.

    Voting against the renovation were councilmen Mark Herak, I-2nd; Konnie Kuiper, D-2nd; and Council Vice president Steve Wagner, D-4th.

    Voting in favor were Councilman Bernie Zemen, D-1st and Council President Dan Vassar, D-3rd.

    The vote took place before a packed house of supporters and opponents.

    Because the proposal will never reach the drawing board, the historic building could soon face the wrecking ball because of its unsafe condition.

    The council’s vote instructed the Redevelopment Commission to cease all renovation efforts and seek contractor quotes to preserve the theater’s famous marquee and ticket booth.

    “The Town Theatre was not just about the theater,” Redevelopment Director Cecile Petro said. “It was to develop a district.”

  • Rochester, NY – East Rochester apartments were once a booming theater

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    From the Democrat & Chronicle: The Capri Apartments in East Rochester once housed the biggest movie theater between Rochester and Syracuse.

    Completed in 1918, the Rialto Theatre was the first of several cinemas across Western New York that Harold P. Dygert would own as part of his Associated Theatres company. The building was designed by W.A. Campbell, the architect behind John Marshall and Charlotte high schools as well as the Brighton Presbyterian Church.