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Yes film will be with us for some time to come but the # of prints will be reduced and small theater that don’t pull in big dollars that the big chains can virtually guarentee will suffer the most. Classics are already being digitized. I read a notice somewhere possibly on this site that the Hitchcock library is already being converted to digital with more titles to follow. Good movies will always be available in theaters, both first run and classic it is the format that is changing. I have spoken to several friends who travel abroad and they report that the movie theaters in large European cities are also converting to digital just like here. It will be the big chains first then the medium sized chains and so on with the independent owners last. It is all about money. I love film but I have to admit I watch movies in digital (not my own theater) when I have the chance. There are no scratches or damage and every screening is as good as the first one. Besides the idea is to keep the movie theater experience alive both in historic venues and modern cinemas. The audience does not care how the picture appears on the screen just as long as it does and is sharp and sounds good. Film was a medium that was developed because it was the only way to record moving images and replay them. This has worked for about 100 years, but now their is a new way and there will be more advances as time moves on. How would everyone feel watching a modern picture listening to the old studio standard mono sound that was delveloped in the 1930’s. But better sound has come along first there was the stereophonic 4 & 6 track magnetic developed in the 1950’s, amazing to listen to but expensive and fragile. Then the original dolby and now dolby digital. Formats constantly change, the idea is to give the audience the best picture and sound every time. Yes it is expensive and some solution to that needs to be developed, also a standard needs to be developed so that once the money has been spent the equipment will be in service long enough to make it profitable. For me the projection booth died when automation came into being. I loved the carbon arc lamps and the chang-overs every reel and the curtains and foot lights and general showmanship that went into putting on a show. Because going to the movies was a show. There are almost no profesional people upstairs running todays shows, so digital looks good to me, no scratches and flaws. Also the modern equipment can be programed to use stage lights and curtains if a historic theater has them.
I must agree that Film systems are the cheaper way to go and with a life span longer than most peoples work careers. The quality of film with good digital sound and proper optics is hard to beat, but that’s not the problem here. I work in exhibition and I have been told that as the bulk of the theaters change over to digital cinema the number of film prints available is going to be drastically reduced. Some movies will not be available on film at all. The major chains have all signed agreements to convert and once that is complete in about 3 years, movies on film is going to disapear. The distributors costs to produce a film print vs. a digital copy is huge. This is a numbers game and the studios and distributors are stacking the deck in their favor. They don’t care if the independents go out of business. Just like the advent of sound if you can’t convert you go dark. I don’t like the attitude but when the movie moguls died off and the film industry was taken over by large corporations and accountants started running the business this is what happens.
Stopped by the theater on 7/7 (tuesday) and checked out the Espresso Bar and the Ice Cream shoppe and found both to be wonderful. Also took a tour of the theater from proj. booth to the stage. What a great theater the place is all painted and the new chandeliers are installed, everything looks great! Better than it has in a very long time, (several decades). This place is simply amazing and I can’t wait for all of it to be open.
Received a call today and was informed that the Coffee shop and Ice Cream parlor are now open. Good news for the theater.
Seattle Wa. also had a UA 150 that was constructed as a dome. The same building had a second theater, the UA 70. I remember seeing Star Wars in the 150. The place was packed and the film played for over 1 year. They even had a big celebration when they reached the 1 year screening mark. Today the site is a gravel lot as the theaters were torn down some time ago. They also were well maintained up to the end.
Went by the theatre on 6/02 and everything looks like it is ready to open any time. The Ice Cream shop appears finished as well as the Backstage espresso. Also the newly installed front doors and lighting is very nice. This place looks better than it has in a very long time. (Including when it was open as a regular movie house!). I wish John Yonich and his crew the best.
Just read the above story and blog and am amazed at how uninformed people are. The movie theaters are told how much to charge at the box office by the film distributors. Each market is set with a minimum price. Then the theaters must pay up to 90% of the box revenue back to the various distributors. So how is a theater to survive and pay their own bills? They sell concessions! Yes they are overpriced but when you have a morgage to pay and utilities and staff wages and taxes and insurance, etc. etc, etc, you must do something to raise capitol or go under. Also there would be no need for searching if people weren’t so dishonest and try to pirate a film for their own use or to sell. Movies are not public domain, they are private property that customers are granted an opertunity to view with the price of addmission. Not steal! Like viewing art in a gallery, or museum. The film industry’s #1 priority is to stop film theft. As a society we have brought this down on ourselves by being overprivilaged and self rightous. 30 years ago when I was a young adult going to the movies was a pleasure as the patrons were mostly courteous and respectfull. And if you caused problems you were given the boot. Now it is all about ME> ME> ME>.
Lynwood Center is in the process of getting much needed renovations. The building has a new owner who is rebuilding the 80+ year old structure to include new wiring and other upgrades. The theater will remain unchanged only receiving new wiring and other out of sight improvements. (plumbing foundation work etc.) This will bring the building up to code and keep it around for another 80 years.
Is the coffee shop opened yet? I understand work on the theater is ongoing.
The photo comparison just shows what can be done with some imagination and money. Although the D&R is being financed by one person any community can achieve the same thing with any historic theater or building by getting together, raising funds, getting grants, etc. Neglect and demolition are not the only answers to older unused buildings.
The restored seats in the photo’s on the theaters web page look great!
I agree, close the 3 plex in the Yard Birds and re-open the Chehalis, I have been to the Chehalis a couple of times and always new that this area was ripe for a new modern theater. I never could figure out why the Chehalis was showing main stream movies. They always had to play them for weeks on end even after the audience had dropped way off. The Chehalis can not compete with the new Midway but it can operate as a revival house with a mix of classic, art, independent, and smaller main stream films that the Midway doesn’t have room for. A single screen can survive but you have to be very creative in your bookings.
Find a film booking agent in your area, they can get you set up with all the distributors and help with the booking of fims for your theater. You can do all this by yourself but is is time consuming as you must set up an account with each distributor and you will be spending all you time on the phone calling each distributor trying to secure prints for the various films you might want to show.
Good for AMC. With the quality of home entertainment the only way the theater industry is going to survive is to offer an experience that can not be had at home. Also of note is the recent build up of up scale theaters that offer luxury amenities and services and a return to “movie palace” type of entertainment. Cookie cutter boxes that herd you in and then spit you out are thankfully coming to an end. The industry is coming full circle.
My understanding is the coffee shop in the front is about ready to open.
The last I heard it was not determined yet how the removal would effect the movie sound. The murals are significant, and I’m sure that if a major problem develops a solution can be achieved that will allow the murals to stay uncovered. Sound dampening technology has come a long way since those padded wall hanging were added. I personally know of a sound fabric that can be put up like wallpaper and it comes in a variety of colors. So maybe some can be added to the wall space above the murals in the “Sky” area and ordered in a blue that is going to match the restored ceiling color thereby dampening the sound bounce but being almost invisible to the viewer. There are always solutions.
The theater staff recently pulled down the old sound baffle fabric on the back wall of the auditorium and uncovered some very nice original murals that have been covered probably since the addition of sound to movies. They can be viewed on the theaters official web site.
Took some time today and did a walk thru of the theater and work is coming along. The new front doors have arrived and are awaiting installation and the new chandeliers are also here but not installed yet. It’s going to be grand when finished.
Also they have repaired the outside stucco and had the building painted. They are also going to have the brick work re-pointed, so the exterior is now going to be weather tight again.
Just had the pleasure to tour the theater today and I must say that it is in very good shape. While the interior has been painted by the first church to occupy the space the current owners are very careful that they only do things that can be easily undone. While it would take a lot of work to put the place back into original condition it is mostly paint and removal of some of the churches remodeling. With a little luck, this would make a very nice movie house again some day.
I don’t know anything about Chicago but I can say that Parking in Seattle is no problem. There is street parking and there are garages all within walking distance of the Seattle Paramount. Maybe some deal will have to be reached with neighboring business to allow parking.
They may want to try to make the Uptown usable for large conventions like the Paramount in Seattle did. When the Paramount was restored they removed the original auditorium floor and installed a convertable floor that is slopped and has seats for theater use and then can be made flat for convention use. I don’t know how they convert it but have been told that it only takes a few hours to go from slopped floor with seats to a flat empty floor ready for tables or whatever the renter requires. 30 million was spent on the Paramount and it has run in the black every year. They also expanded the stage and do a lot of touring Broadway shows and concerts, as well as films and conventions. They are also a 501 3C. With a lot of imagination the Uptown can be brought back.
I agree that the money has to come from somewhere and that not all theaters can be saved. But I have been in a lot of small towns where they tear down old buildings and put nothing up in their place and the end result is ugly. Most buildings that are solidly built can be gutted and rebuilt into something, ie; retail, office space, city gov’t use, etc. If kenosha is a town where there is NO new businesses opening up or NO buildings being built then tear it down and leave a hole in the city block. Otherwise take the money that would be used to build some new strip mall and invest it in rehabbing the existing building. It’s a win for everyone, the city retains a neighborhood block with some architectural character, and some new business gets a nice solid building that will be around for another 80 years. Some will say that the roof and wiring and plumbing is all bad, and that is probably true but if someone was to build a new building in town they have to build a roof and install wiring and plumbing, using the old building gives someone 4 concrete walls to start with along with a nice brick facade. There is always an alternative to demolition, My home town went from an attractive city to one that is 60% gone due to short cited city planners who could not see the value in rehabbing existing buildings and now I have a town that most blocks have gravel lots in them where buildings once stood. Most of the missing buildings could have been reused if owners were forced to maintain their holdings or have them taken away by the city and then sold to developers cheap with agreements that they were to be reused. The Roosevelt can be siezed by the city and basicly sold to a developer with a covenant in place to preserve the exterior while making the interior useful as something else. The city can make this attractive by giving tax and permit breaks to a potential buyer. It can be done. Kenosha must have stores and restaurants and professional offices etc. that could be put into this building once it has been rebuilt. Adaptive reuse is better than a gravel lot that more often than not will never be built on because the codes on new construction will not allow anything to be built.
I just was told that the work has resumed on the theater and any issues have been resolved. This is good news it will be nice to get the front busineses open. “I” street hasn’t had any activity on that block for a long time. The theater front looks so good that to be able to actually go in and patronize the business is great!
Thanks for the info, I was only commenting on what I read in the above posts. Smaller neighborhood theaters are just as important as the big venues in city centers. I have no idea how big Kenosha is but to remove what appears to be an attractive building and replace it with an empty lot is never a good idea. If the building is concrete and steel then it can be rehabbed into something while retaining the exterior. While restoration is best, if that is imposible then adaptive reuse is better than demolition. I would venture to bet that if someone would do the math it would be less money to reuse this building than to build a new structure with poured concrete steel girders and brick. And you end up with something that is architectually nice to look at, not another bland box or worse a cheap strip mall.