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The story of the Wizard of Oz' difficulties at the box office upon its initial release is a bit apocryphal.
It was the second most popular movie of 1939 (after Gone with the Wind) and the third most popular movie of the entire 1930s (after GWTW and Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs) according to more than one internet source.
A good read on the creation and history of The Wizard of Oz can be found in Aljean Harmetz' The Making of the Wizard of Oz, which is still available in many local libraries.
Passed by tonight and the “cinema” sign was lit and the side marquee said “watch 4 grand re-opening” so that’s something at least.
I really don’t love the photo above, and wonder how it could have over 20,000 views…!
I can’t seem to link the Times article so here is its excerpted text, the parts dealing with the theater itself:
Broadway’s next mega-budget show, the Australian musical “King Kong,” will no longer open as planned at the Foxwoods Theater next winter, which will instead become home to a revival of the musical comedy “On the Town,” the producers of both shows said in separate statements on Thursday. At the same time, the theater’s new leaseholders announced they were renaming the 1,900-seat house – one of Broadway’s biggest – to the Lyric.
The new landlords of the Lyric, the London-based Ambassador Theater Group, could have waited for “King Kong,” but the theater has been empty since January after the closing of “Spider-Man.” No theater owner wants to have an empty house for a year or more, especially after paying roughly $60 million to take over the lease, as Ambassador Theater Group did. A spokesman for the company said that its co-chief executive and point person for the Lyric, Howard Panter, was not available for an interview and that the organization had no comment.
The “On the Town” producers plan to put all 1,900 of the Lyric’s seats on sale, according to a spokesman for the show. “Spider-Man,” which struggled to fill seats late in its three-year run, ended up closing off some rows and shrinking the capacity of the theater to 1,600 seats.
The Lyric has been renamed following the end of a sponsorship deal last year between the Foxwoods casino and the theater’s previous landlord, Live Nation. The theater has a reputation for feeling cavernous and having acoustic challenges and has been home to a string of unprofitable shows including “Spider-Man,” “The Pirate Queen” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” The theater opened in 1998 after combining two spaces – the Lyric, a Broadway theater-turned-movie house, and the Apollo Theater. The new space was named the Ford Center for the Performing Arts; the name was later changed to the Hilton, and then the Foxwoods.
I am happy to report that the rebuilt theater at this site has new owners and since the contract with Foxwoods is over, they are re-naming this house —wait for it — the Lyric.
(Article is in the New York Times 3/7/14.)
I would have preferred it being called the Lyric Apollo, but the Lyric is the best name this theater has had in years!
I am happy to report that this theater has new owners and since the contract with Foxwoods is over, they are re-naming this house —wait for it — the Lyric.
I also noticed the omission of films in the proposed line-up. I do hope they are installing projection equipment as well as theatrical lighting, sound, etc.
I’m also curious about the stadium seating. Will it rise as high as the first mezzanine, perhaps incorporating it? Can’t wait to find out…!
To create a link, first copy the web address you wish to link to and put it in brackets [like.this] and right next to it put some words that will be in blue in parentheses (like this) then hit Add Comment and you should be done.
I try to remember the order of the bracket and parentheses by alphabetic order — “b” as in bracket comes before “p” as in parentheses.
Isn’t this site now partly occupied by Legal Seafood restaurant? One dead, several injured after a carbon monoxide leak in the basement.
And since no one really wanted to see The Master it would have been a lot of work for very few eyeballs.
Well, last year is a lot longer ago than “currently being demolished” as posted on 2/4/14. It seems that the empty space was there for months before new construction started.
The marquee now says “Closed for renovations. See you in April.”
Doesn’t 70mm refer to the actual size of the film stock and not to the particular dimensions of its aspect ratio?
His name is listed in the side bar under Additional Info — Architects: Thomas W. Lamb
Welcome back, Lost Memory! It’s been like five years. Glad to see you posting again.
This picture was co-written by the prolific screenwriter Richard L. Breen credits here and not the longtime chief of the Production Code Joseph I. Breen.
There is still plenty of construction stuff in the lobby as of yesterday. The concession area is gone, and the moldings and decoration put in by Cineplex Odeon has been stripped off. And they have removed the exterior box office and the space is now covered by plywood.
Not only did Jaws not have much advance publicity, but the free publicity it could have had for over a week — the name of the movie on the marquee — was not there as of Saturday morning, mere hours before the show.
I know the volunteer staff is spread thin, and under the weather, but it seems ludicrous that someone couldn’t change the marquee before show time.
Was it even changed BY show time?
Building is long gone. New one is arising.
Ed — pictures please.
Passed by last night and the one sheet displays have “Closed for upgrades you will love” signs but the titles are still on the marquee.
More interesting is that you can see the lobby has been stripped to the bare walls. Cool!
The AMC website now says:
Temporarily closed while we make upgrades you are going to love. Please join us at AMC Raceway 10 (Meadowbrook Parkway and Zeckendorf Blvd) while this theatre is temporarily closed.
The Fantasy is currently closed, undergoing what the permit in the window calls a $1 million renovation. The permit says there will be work on Level 3 (the upstairs where screens 4, 5 and 6 are) and on the marquee.
The front glass doors are covered in brown paper, except for one door, where it is possible to see construction dumpsters in the lobby.
The marquee and one sheet displays remain lit, still advertising the features that were playing this past Friday, as well as upcoming attractions.
Showtimes are not available on the AMC website nor on Fandango.
I hope they are installing bigger screens, because there sure is room for them. There is plenty of space around the current screens on both the top and bottom, and on the sides.
And while they are renovating, maybe this is a good time to update the Fantasy’s description on this page, which is woefully scant for a theater with such a long history of movie exhibition. Any additional information is appreciated.
Article from the News-Gazette (Champaign IL) of 1/23/14:
Group Working to Save Hoopeston Movie House
By Tracy Moss
HOOPESTON — It’s tough re-opening a movie theater in the middle of a rough winter.
“We just need the weather to cooperate,” said Jim Richards, a Hoopeston resident involved in the effort to save the historic Lorraine Theater.
The Save the Lorraine Foundation took over the theater last month after Hoopeston native Fontella Fraley Krout bought it from the bank that had foreclosed on the previous owner. Krout immediately donated the Lorraine to the foundation, which took possession on Dec. 13.
To keep the heat and lights on, the foundation began showing movies on weekends, beginning right after Christmas in the little Lorraine, a smaller theater about a block away that is part of the property. The foundation had a good turnout that first weekend for “Fast and Furious 6” and “The Goonies.”
But the next weekend, the winter storm that paralyzed most of Illinois blew into Hoopeston.
“It’s been a little shaky since then,” said Richards, who is gearing up for this weekend’s showing of “Dirty Dancing” and “Cars.”
The Lorraine Theatre opened in 1922, showing only silent movies until 1937, when Axel J. Claesson, a theater designer from Chicago, remodeled it into an art deco style theater. A sound system and restrooms were added then, too. In 1992, the projector system was upgraded, and a digital surround-sound system and speakers were added along with a new screen.
In 2007, longtime owner Greg Boardman sold it after almost 20 years, and the theater has struggled since then. A California man, Joshua Caudle, bought it in 2008, but by April 2012, the theater closed when the bank foreclosed on the property, according to Richards.
It has sat empty for more than a year, and in August, Richards and more than 30 other Hoopeston area residents met to discuss saving the theater. They decided to form the foundation to take over the property, which includes the Lorraine Theatre, and what’s known as the Lorraine II or little Lorraine, a separate store-front theater set up by the previous owner that is about a block and half from the Lorraine and seats about 50 people. But, Richards said, Main Source Bank could not donate the property to the foundation.
That’s when Krout heard about the situation through a Realtor friend and decided she could buy the theater and donate it to the foundation.
“I have fond memories of going there when I was young,” said Krout, who lives in Danville. “I would just truly hate to see it closed permanently.”
To bring customers into the theater during the Great Depression, the Lorraine Theatre hosted “bank roll nights.” Once a week, a drawing was held, and a cash prize was given away, and if no one won, the money rolled over to the next week, and a larger prize was given away. Bank roll nights continued into the 1950s.
Krout remembers winning $90 one bank roll night, which was a lot of money to a 16-year-old in those days. But as an avid movie-goer, she was just as excited about the six-month free movie pass that came with it. Krout was at the Lorraine at least three times a week using that free pass.
“I probably saw some I didn’t even like,” she said.
Once the foundation took possession last month, Richards, president of the foundation, and the other members got to work cleaning the little Lorraine, which is in better shape than the Lorraine. The little theater is functional, and that’s where the foundation is showing the weekend movies for freewill donations. That should keep money rolling in to pay for heat in the Lorraine and other bare necessities, like liability insurance, until the group’s nonprofit status comes through, and they can begin fundraising and grant writing in earnest.
Richards said it will take a lot of money and work to restore the Lorraine, which needs its marquee repaired; some tuckpointing on the exterior and inside; new carpeting; a ceiling, heating and more. Richards said once the group gets its nonprofit status, it will begin getting estimates for the necessary repairs, so the foundation’s members will know exactly how much it’s going to cost to restore the theater.
In the meantime, they are committed to showing movies at and renting out the little Lorraine, not only to pay insurance and utilities, but to keep an active presence in the community.
“Showing we are a visible force rather than just letting the theater sit,” he said. “It’s a unique building. It was one of the premiere theaters here. … We need to put it back to that.”
Link here to fire article.