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Here is an article posted on sacramentoartscene.com, usesoap.com, sent to the Sacramento News & Review, and Century Theaters.
Landmarks v. Multiplexes
Yes, thatâ€™s plural. Multiplexes. They are threatening Sacramentoâ€™s Historic (?) landmarks and winning. The Tower Theatre, yes, theatre with movie screens and the Crest Theatre with movie screens is being threatened by movie screens, and the Sacramento 6 Drive-In is being conquered by, yes you guessed it, movie screens. How many screens do we need to see movies? Some theaters show the same movie on 3 different screens, thatâ€™s at the same theater. Not independent films but major motion pictures. The Tower Theater with its 3 screens, and the Crest with its 2 screens show independent and avant-garde films that the modern multiplexes wonâ€™t show. Even with 10, 12 or 20+ screens they would rather show Spiderman 2 (just an example) on 3 screens each.
Sacramento 6 Drive-In has apparently become the latest victim of the greed. Century Theaters who owns the drive-in and the land is planning to tear it down to build, guess what, a multi-screen complex. More movie screens. The landmark has been around since 1972 and is reported to be one of their best money-making drive-ins. But that isnâ€™t enough. Oh no, we need yet another 20+ screen complex so Spiderman 2 can be seen on 3 screens there, too, not more than 20 minutes from other multiplexes. With a 7 screen multiplex downtown at 5th & K St. now being planned to be moved to 7th & K St. and increased to 12 screens with a $6 million city subsidy and free rent for 2 years and a 10 screen complex moving in across from the Crest Theatre, that would be 42 + movie screens less than 20 minutes apart, not including the Tower and Crest screens, and donâ€™t forget about the Century Theatre and the 4 screens at Arden fair Mall just up the freeway less than 10 minutes away. These multiplexes have done and are doing what Wal-Mart is doing to the small businesses. Look at the Colonial Theatre, 49er Drive-In, Fox Theatre on K St., The Lyric Theatre, The Village Theatre, Alhambra Theatre, Grand Theatre, Capitol Theatre, Birdcage Walk Cinemas, the theaters that used be on Manzanita Blvd., and now Sacramento 6 Drive-Ins.
What would it take to keep the Drive-Ins open? True the theater is in disrepair but that is due to the impending closure. Why put money into it if you plan to close it and tear it down. How about sponsors? I would rather not see Pepsi, Nintendo, etc. or even commercials before a movie but Iâ€™ll take it if that is what it takes to keep it open. Put up 10â€™ x 12â€™ wood planks around the perimeter and sell space to sponsors like you see at minor league ballparks. This could create a little sound barrier as well as bring in $$$ that could subsidize some of the potential $$$ from a multi-screen complex. Line the bathrooms walls with advertising. That could easily cover renovation costs and extra $$$ toward the potential $$$. How much will it cost to tear it all down and build a new complex? If you donâ€™t tear it down there is more money that could be applied toward the potential $$$. And if the drive-ins are repaired and maintained that could draw in more movie-goers, and increase that potential $$$. Bring in some swap meets, have more themed movie nights, get radio stations involved in give-aways, all this toward more $$$ coming in.
How about building the proposed mall and a smaller 10 screen complex on the lot and tear down 2 drive-in screens instead of all 6. I would be very happy to have a Sacramento 4 Drive-In. Best of both worlds. Century Theaters – You get your mall and multi-screen complex and still keep possibly one of your best drive-ins continuing to bring in $$$. And you can still sell sponsor space at the drive-ins. Sacramento gets to keep one of its disappearing landmarks. What will it take to keep the drive-ins open?