Showing 201 - 225 of 234 comments
The Ranchmart was the flag ship of the Commonweatlh Circuit. I was always wondering what actualy happened to it after the Canon Group took it over from Commonwealth. This theatre and the Glenwood were located in a very affluent end of Kansas City, and were extremely good grossing theatres. The banner on top lists it as having 5 screens, was one added I was under the impression it only had 4, plus what were and are now the seating numbers for each auditoriam. Could you also expand on if the new theatre has more than 35mm capability and sound. I and glad to see it open again and I wish you much success in your venture.
Your pic from from 1970’s era is probally around the grand opening time for the National. Its opening attraction was ‘Posiden Adventure.’ Klein, (his first name escapes me) as Presdent of National General, wanted premire theatres on both coasts. They already operated the Chinese in Los Angeles, and the National was the first new theatre construction on Broadway in many years. Ted Mann, when he took control of the place, twinned it.
CONGRATULATIONS GUYS!!!!!!!!! Its really exciting to see just how far this fantastic web site has progressed. The data base is a wonderful resource tool, and the preservation issues that this site has covered ( Indian Hills, Omaha, just to name a few,) have also been a highly motovating factor in generating interest from around the nation to the ongoing efforts of communities to deal with the issues of historic preservation and reuse. To all those who update theatre listings with photographs I encourage you to try to get inside and document the interiors as well. Dont forget the film companies, and other industry related busineses, at one time also had regional offices, and if you know of any, it would be interesting to see what has happened to them today as well.
I agree with the above post. I realize that sometimes it is plain tough to find quality product for your screens, but the advantage this owner has is that being independant he does have control over what he shows not what the home office spits out. There is plenty of other product out there.
Who was the owner/operator of this theatre when it closed?
Unfortunately it is an old article, but none the less it is interesting to see how showmanship can make ones theatre more of an enjoyable experience. Earlier this week I posted a story on an expansion of the Central Mall 8 theatres in Salina, Kansas, which will expand to 10 screens over the fall. Note that one screen will seat 80 and the other 60, the screen sizes have to be small, and many homes have large screen televisions which will be larger than the new auditoriams at this theatre. The exhibitor today HAS to GIVE the movie going public a REASON to patronize their theatres. This story emphases what exhibitors can do to give the public a reason to go to the movies. While the Central Mall 10 will be just another boring shopping mall experience.
Thank you for your information…
Your list does not show the original ‘Star Wars’ I was wondering which theatre was showing the film and do you have any idea why the Century 21 was not.
AMAZING!!! No matter how hard someone tries, somebody, somewhere, will turn ones good intentions compeltely around. When it comes to historic preservation issues, the hardest part of the battle is convincing the public in general that this is a ‘qualtiy of life issue,“ and regardless if you partronize this theatre or not the well being of the communty as a whole benefits. The fact that this community is trying to perserve its hertiage says a lot about the community in a highly positive sense, the challenge becomes convincing the city commission members that this restored theatre will be more of a positive impact on the community than the "new” commercial business that potentially will replace it.
Unforturnatley this has and will always we an uphill battle, but I imagine that is just the type of challenge the individuals whom are attempting this venture are acustom to and will galdly fight.
I am an former movie theatre owner, I am an historian and I strongly urge everyone to voice their option about the preservation effort immediately. The opposition is obviously well orgainzed and must be confronted. DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!
I know the feeling….. dealing with the studios will do that to you.
My perspective is from several areas. I operated a theatre in a small town in Kansas. Yes I had a day job and ran my theatre at night. Yes there is competition in a small town, Friday night football, Friday night basketball, and if the kids have a winning season,…it’s just much more difficult, and yes the competiton does come to town, it did in my case, plus a major lake 10 miles west, and you live and die by the farm economy. Trust me the next worst thing to having a Wal-Mart in your community is one 34 miles away where people can drive to it. I sincerely hope this gentlemen does sell his theatre, power to him. What we are talking here is just plain movie business sense. This is a cut throat business, profit margins can be thin, I just felt that the realtor whom posted message on this site makes it sound just a little too good, but if he can find a buyer, CONGRADULATIONS and welcome to the business world. The studios will educate you at what ever percent you are willing to spend.
Thats exactly what I am getting at. In today’s business world if you have the cash and dont have to borrow any of it, you are probally ahead to put that $390,000 somewhere else. I know that there are business that will make your investment back, and this may very well be one of them, but as long as too much doesn’t change, and it of course will, I dont care what business you invest in its a tremdous risk and takes a lot of commitment. As theatre owners, and I’m a former one. we will have a lot of competition for the entertainment dollar and the competiton down the street can be just the least of the worry. Thats why I found the ‘sales pitch’ for this theatre so interesting.
Gladly….. I have managed and owned theatres across Kansas for the past 30 years. I have worked for the Dickinson , Mann and Bill Warren organizations. It just not as simple as described above. You CAN and DO loose on pictures, it just like any retail business, bar , gas station, grocery store even a funeral home, it does take work. Just simply giving a percentage of the gate to the film company doesn’t mean that you are flush with cash at the end of the night. In the 1970’s we made enough money on a film called “JAWS” that we paid for one 4-plex and built another, only to loose enough money on a picture called “MC ARTHUR” to put us back into debt. The movie business is fun, no doubt about it, it is challenging, but in todays enviorment you are nuts to work for yourself, let some else have the headaches. This particular theatre may very well be a great investment…..until some guy builds 15 screens down the street, then how quickly do you think you can get your $390,000. investment back. I think Dan Sperry has made a great sales pitch, unfortunately his description of the amount of time and ease of making money is probally a little kind…
Fantastic web site. The pictures of the projection booth are super. I like the creativity of the mail box projector, wish I’d thought of that one. A must see web site, ONLY after you finish surfing this one.
I take it Dan Sperry has NEVER OWNED a movie theatre before !
Thank You !!!!!!Thank You!!!!! Thank You!!!!!! all your information was a great help!!!!!!!!!
If I remember right, this theatre was originally opened by National General Theatres, the forerunner of Mann, it was a single screen with a large auditoriam of around 900 seating, it was the exact same floor plan as the Mall Cinema in Wichita, Kansas which National General also operated.
I was just curious and I checked the Regal web site, it no longer lists the Bannister Mall 5, in Kansas City, Kansas which was a joint venture between Commonwealth and AMC, which the partnership did not pan out so AMC built the Bannister Square 6 across the street. I assume the Bannister Mall theatre is now closed. I had forgotten that a good portion of the Commonwealth Theatres ended up with United Artists. Many small towns that they serviced were sold to smaller regional companies.
This may be the one you are thinking of, it is close to the Kansas State campus, but the “Campus” theatre is located even closer, the “Campus” Theatre is closed.
If you are refering the Commonwealth Amusement Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri. (Douglas Lightner etc.) it was sold to the Golan/Globus Group (Cannon Films) back in the late 1980’s, They completely dismatled the chain, including Mid-Continent Theatre Supply (equipment and concessions) for the cash flow, which was needed to finance their low budget films. All theatre were sold off, some still remain but now are apart of other chains. Some of course are closed for various reasons, I have no idea what became of the Ranch Mart 4 in Kansas City, but the Village Cinema 3 still is operating in Great Bend, Kansas, thru Walace Theatres of Oregon, all Wichita, Kansas theatres are long since menories, althought the Twin Lakes may still be standing, it’s closed, the Pawnee 4 and Crest were demolished. The last time I was on Wyondatte Street in downtown Kansas City, the home office building is still there,closed, very dusty, but the Commonwealth “crest” was still on the door, but that was some time ago. It once was a great theatre circuit that is now dotting the pages of this web site. Hopefully some of the frequenters of this site can assist you with better information than I.
Alex has just learned a fantastic history lesson first hand. He has seen the contionued end of an era that seem to flurish on the pages of this web-site. The closing of the old to be replaced by the new. Hopefully the good people of Fulton Missourt will find a creative use for the old theatre, which can be a real asset to their community if they so choose to make it one. However, Fulton like so many other communities will now join the ranks of the computer generated archeticture of the current cinemas, complete with its lack of creativity and showmanship, no wonder people are staying home from the movies. As the founder of the Loews chain once said, people dont go the see the movies, they come to see the theatres. Yes the new 8-plex will generate memories from the day it opens, and maybe, just maybe the lesson that Alex comes away with from seeing the old closed to be replaced by the newer version will motivate him to utilitze his expertice he has acquired from working in this industry to lend a hand to those whom wish to save their older movies palaces and assist them in keeping the lingering smell of hot “real” buttered popcorn from smelling moldy.
BRAVO!!!!!! to Jonathan Bing you are so right. Where is the imaignation that accompanies this creative industry. Instead of seeing how many screens we can construct under one roof, why not build a creative 8 screen theatre, not a cinema, but a theatre. Spend the type of money it takes to build 12 into 8, this industry has to give the public a reason to go out, and currently neither Hollywood, with its re-makes nor the exhibition with its boring designs is accomplishing that. If we look at history what happend in the 60’s the last time this industry when thru a significant change.We need to listen to the movie going public. They re flat out tired of excessive pricing, not only at the boxoffice, but the concession stand as well. They can get all the commericals one wants on television. This is a very creative industry, it’s time we use that creativity to bring the general public back to the movies.
This originally was a twin call “THE MOVIES” is was one of the franshies type theaters that were built in the late 1960’s. Dickinson bought the theatre when it was experiencing financial trouble and later expanded it. At the time I worked for the Dickinson Circuit they were extremely proud of this theatre and were constationally refering to in in just about every conversation one would have with the home office.
This originally was a Dickinson Theatre. It was their first 4 screen venture.
You have a tremdous challenge ahead of you, but a most rewarding one as well. What condition is the building in, does the roof leak, if so how bad? Will you have a mold issue? Just getting the money together to purchase the physical plant is not enough. There will be a variety of issues you will need to address. First is there another group you can contact who is interested in your dream. What about raising awareness thru your local newspaper, historical society, or state preservation group. You are in a small town, finding enough people whom will be interested can be an issue. What type of theatre are you planning to operate; movie, legitimate or a community gathering place? If you intended to re-open as a movie theatre, how close is your nearest competition and how many screens do they have? One place to start can be your City Administrator or Manager, see how a restored theatre fits into the long range city planning. You may also find that this individual might have access to funding for your project as well. What ever you do, please remember when dealing with historical property, there are furstrations, challenges and an occasioinal victory. Cheers—Joel Weide