The latest movie theater news and updates
May 10, 2016
From The Star-Ledger: Carmine Cicurillo has two plans to save Newark’s historic Paramount Theater.
Plan A has him winning the lottery.
“Then I’d refurbish it and build a penthouse on top, and live there like the ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ ” he said.
Plan B is to get officials and developers to see what he sees: a majestic part of Newark’s glory days. A community gathering place that could again be a downtown entertainment anchor, if only people had his passion and belief — and the millions of dollars he doesn’t have.
Cicurillo admits Plan A has a better chance.
But it would have to be a hefty lottery, the Powerball or Mega Millions kind.
May 9, 2016
From The Anniston Star – David Lewis, a graphic designer for Anniston’s Noble Signs, says restoration projects don’t account for much of the company’s business.
“A lot of times restoring something is a bigger pain in the butt than building it from scratch,” Lewis said.
But bringing back the art deco, post-war era marquee and sign from Collinsville’s Cricket Theatre is worth it for the city’s historical association.
“Without the marquee, actually, it’s just another building” association member Jimmy Carter said in a phone interview Friday.
Noble Signs in December started working up drawings for the new marquee. They did so based on artist renderings of the theater, which hasn’t shown a movie since the 1960s.
According to Lewis, the Cricket’s sign had been stored outside on farmland for years. Despite that, Noble Sign workers have refinished much of the marquee’s half-a-century-old metal. They’ve also bent glass letters that will spell the theater’s name in blazing neon.
May 6, 2016
From the Orange County Register: As a younger man, Paul Dunlap dreamed of being another Bill Graham, the late rock promoter of such groups as the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.
On a weekday morning standing in front of the long-closed Bay Theatre in Seal Beach, Dunlap can almost see that vision coming true. The iconic building on Main Street could be his latter-day Fillmore. Albeit a much tamer version of the famous San Francisco concert hall.
A lifelong patron of the arts and a preservationist, the Fullerton developer and founder of the Dunlap Property Group says he wants not only to bring back the Bay Theatre as a moviehouse, but can also see it serving as a space for music and art.
“I think we can create a place that’s a draw not only for the community but for the surrounding area,” said Dunlap, 61, who is in escrow for the $2.25 million building and said he expects to spend $1 million to fix it up.
On Monday, he will introduce himself to the community at a City Council meeting and lay out his ideas. He also hopes to be a part of community workshops to gain input and insights from residents and council members.
“I intend to present my vision,” he said. “From that point we’ll move forward. Ultimately it’s a community theater. I need to reflect their wishes.”
Ultimately though, he said he’d like to see the building fulfill its original mission: to bring a cultural element to the community.
From suncommercial.com: Local historian Dennis Latta practically floated out of the small Thursday Church classroom after listening to the compelling stories of how three Indiana cities turned their suffering communities around by restoring beloved community theaters on Thursday morning .
“Wasn’t that a hoot?!” he asked, his hands shooting into the air with excitement. “I mean, what a miracle. Wow. Such beautiful renditions, LED lights.
“Can’t you just see the Pantheon like that?”
Nearly 300 Hoosier historic preservationists are in Vincennes this week as a part of the Indiana Statewide Preservation Conference, the organization’s biggest ever, according to local coordinators.
Participants all this week have been sitting in on sessions focused on “Preserving Historic Places,” and one Thursday entitled “Raising the Curtain on Long-Forgotten Theaters” focused on three theaters: the newly-restored Princeton Theatre in Princeton, The Historic ArtCraft Theatre in Franklin and Fowler Theatre in Benton County.
Their individual stories, while varied, shared striking similarities, with efforts centered around a group of historic preservationists who had a dream and a community that rallied to the cause.
May 5, 2016
From MLive.com: A $21 million plan to reopen the historic Capitol Theatre in downtown Flint could be dead if the Flint City Council doesn’t give the OK to transfer a 12-year tax freeze on the property.
The City Council narrowly approved holding a public hearing on the freeze and an official with the project said it may not move forward if the council says no.
“I don’t see how the Capitol Theatre will be able to move forward without the (tax freeze). The project was very thin,” said Tim Herman, president of Uptown Reinvestment Corp and chief executive officer of the Flint & Genesee Chamber.
The tax freeze was first approved in 2013 when the city was under the control of a state-appointed financial manager, but the theater was sold to a non-profit group and Herman said developers need the tax freeze transferred for the project to move forward.
“We’re so close now. This (tax freeze) will make the Capital Theatre a success and a game-changer for downtown Flint,” said Herman.
May 4, 2016
From The Baltimore Sun: The first block of West North Avenue lost one of its longest-tenured commercial presences this week. A place my family long called Dr. Fouch’s drugstore disappeared during an eight-hour demolition.
The razed structure at the southwest corner of Charles and North avenue put in decades of hard work. It seems to have been a neighborhood drugstore from the 1880s through World War II.
William Fouch, recalled as a tall man with a black mustache, got his pharmacist’s diploma in 1886. He died in 1946.
The building later served as a Peoples drugstore, then changed careers — a White Tower hamburger shop, then a White Coffee Pot restaurant and finally the Chicken Box, where a neon sign famously described a dish as “mec and cheese.”
The building’s last act was home to the Station North Arts and Entertainment offices, as well as the Annex Theater.
Yet as the heavy equipment plowed into its bricks, the spot is giving way to help another landmark. The building will be replaced by architects Ziger/Snead’s addition to the 1915 Parkway Theatre.
The Ector Theatre that drew families to the center of a humming downtown finally faded from its old glory in 1985, when its original owner locked the doors after more than three decades and walked away. By then, it had become a financial burden.
But for the last 15 years, Don and Toni Stice kept the historic venue alive even in the age of the multiplex. They leased the building for a pittance from the City of Odessa, which bought the 1950s-era theater in 1994 for $155,000 in federal funds with hopes of keeping it open to the public.
He served as the artistic director and her as the business manager keeping the books. Performers and the classic films returned to the marquee.
“They loved being entertained by that,” Don Stice said in an interview inside the Ector Theatre, where he first came to work in 1959 as a projectionist. “They love going back in time. I call this place a time machine.”
That ends this month, after a final series of events, as the city begins laying the groundwork for a downtown hotel and convention center estimated to cost some $77 million and incorporate the theater. The city will not tear down the Ector Theatre but officials are still working out the specific plans about how to renovate and reopen it.
But first, there will be a performance by a Johnny Cash tribute artist on May 7. Then, the Ector Theatre will show “The Last Picture Show” on May 13 and May 14.
Finally, after a couple junior high choir shows and an Odessa High reunion, the Ector Theatre will close.
April 20, 2016
York Theatre Royal will reopen its doors following a £6million redevelopment by architects De Matos Ryan. The 270 year old theatre will launch with the world stage premiere of Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel Brideshead Revisited, adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Damian Cruden.
April 18, 2016
Building on what has been a successful year of fundraising for the nonprofit Tampa Theatre, the majestic movie palace is the proud recipient of a half-million dollar gift from the family of Theatre Board Member Anne Arthur Pittman, including her husband, Drew Pittman; her father and stepmother, Tom and Dixie Arthur; her mother and stepfather, Bretta Arthur Sullivan and The Honorable Don Sullivan; and her sister and brother-in-law, Tready and Thayer Smith.
April 14, 2016
The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, which gained cultural significance when it appeared in the 1958 Steve McQueen movie The Blob, started a new chapter in its storied history last week, when the Association for the Colonial Theatre (ACT), a non-profit organization that operates the local landmark, held the groundbreaking ceremony for their ‘Bank on the Arts’ project.