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On April 25, 2019, a fire broke out inside the old Fox Theater. According to an article in the Topeka Capital-Journal, “Battalion Chief Chuck Gatewood said workers were cleaning the place and burning some debris in the old theater building” (!). Evidently the fire was put out quickly, reportedly causing some damage to the roof, but from the street view no fire damage is visible. The theater remains boarded up and extremely decrepit in appearance as of today. The article is at https://www.cjonline.com/news/20180425/topeka-fire-crews-respond-to-fire-at-old-fox-movie-theater
There is a heartfelt letter by owner Jerry Harrington at the websitewww.tivolikc.com detailing the reasons for closing.
This theater was originally opened by Mid America Cinema on Dec 18 1987 as the Manor Square 3. AMC took over operation of all Mid America theaters on January 6, 1989. The Justice Dept decided that was a monopoly in the Kansas City area, and Crown Cinema Corp took over in 1990. In 1992, Crown Cinema turned this theater over to Mr. Harrington, who had already been operating a Tivoli Theater in Kansas City. He changed the name of this theater to Tivoli Manor Square, and operated both “Tivoli’s” as arthouses for several years, eventually closing the original, and keeping this one.
Arthouse patrons in Kansas City owe Mr. Harrington a debt of gratitude for this fine venue.
AMC reopened the Northrock 14 on March 30, 2018 after extensive renovations. The theater, previously operated by Dickinson Theaters, had been closed since 2012.
Information on the new amenities can be found at bigscreen.com
The Wichita Eagle also had an extensive article at www.kansas.com/entertainment/movies-news-reviews/article207047279.html.
The theater now includes Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, recliners and a McGuffin’s Bar among the upgrades.
It is the first Wichita theater in AMC’s history.
This theater may now be listed as demolished as of March 2017. The Metro North Mall has been torn down to make way for new development.
Article and pictures in the Kansas City Star. Link is www.kansascity.com/news/local/article130664359.html
The AMC Salina 10, is one of three Kansas theaters acquired from Starplex Cinemas on December 16, 2015.
I believe this theater, along with the Hays 8, and Pittsburg 8) are the first AMC theaters in Kansas that are located outside the Kansas City metro area.
AMC Theaters acquired this theater from Starplex Cinemas on December 16, 2015, along with the Hays 8 and Salina 10 in Kansas. The three theaters appear to be the first AMC theaters in Kansas that are not located in the Kansas City metro area.
Information is available at their official website amctheatres.com.
This theater is now listed as the AMC Hays 8 after their takeover from Starplex December 16, 2015.
I believe the three theaters they bought from Starplex are the first AMC Theaters in Kansas that are not located in the Kansas City metro. Hays and Pittsburg both have populations under 25,000, and Salina is about 47,000. Years ago, when I asked AMC why they didn’t build in Topeka, I was told the city was too small…and the population at the time was about 125,000.
I suppose (at least initially) they had to take all the theaters Starplex operated, whether they really wanted them or not. I am interested to see if they modernize the theaters and keep them, or if they sell them off to B&B or another chain that operates in smaller Kansas towns.
For what its worth: Bill Hunt, who runs the popular digitalbits website, took his posse to see Force Awakens at the above Arclight Cinerama Dome Thursday night. His entire post Friday was on the experience. It seems the head of Christie Digital showed up to make an announcement before the showing. Bill raves about the presentation (and the movie). This reportedly half a million dollar system that was installed is evidently THE definitive way to see this movie. Sadly, I don’t live anywhere near Los Angeles. For those of you who do, you might want to check it out and report back. I don’t know Mr. Hunt, but his credibility in the industry seems legitimate. His article is at www.thedigitalbits.com.
Additional info on the recent change in ownership according to an article by Joyce Smith in the December 8 Kansas City Star:
The owners of Legends Outlets Kansas City have purchased the centers 14-screen theater and will convert it to an AMC.
The deal closed Friday. The theaters reopened as AMC Legends 14 on Saturday December 12, 2015, and will remain open through a renovation scheduled for 2016.
Legends 14 Theater was owned by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and has been managed by Phoenix Big Cinemas LLC since it opened in 2005.
In a statement, Doug Bach county administrator said: “The sale of the theater paves the way for private sector re-investment in the 10-year-old facility, and insures that both residents and tourists will be able to enjoy this asset for years to come.
The Legends Center is near the Kansas Speedway, a 72,000 seat capacity motorsports facility for NASCAR races and other auto-related events.
This theater is now owned and operated by AMC Theatres. It is listed as the ‘AMC Bowles Crossing 12.’
The phone number for showtimes is 888-AMC-4-FUN and the number for Guest Services is 303-973-2059.
Information can be found at their official website: www.amctheatres.com
This theater is now owned and operated by AMC Theatres. The name is listed as ‘AMC Cherry Creek 8.’
The phone number for showtimes is 888-AMC-4FUN and the number for Guest Services is 303-393-0530.
Information can be found at their official website: www.amctheatres.com
This theater is now owned and operated by Landmark Theaters as the Landmark Theatre’s Olde Town Stadium 14.
Information can be found at their official website: www.landmarktheatres.com.
This theater closed on August 16, 2015. The mall is closing and most of the tenants have vacated the premises.
An article by Joyce Smith in the Kansas City Star said that B&B Theaters was looking at land and developments in South Olathe for a possible new location.
The B&B website lists the theater as ‘This location is now closed. Please visit us in Overland Park.
Thanks to rivest266. You have been doing a great job in finding so many classic theater ads from the past!
Actually, the Palace is not in the same space as the Seville Square 4, but it is in the same building. The building was evidently a Sears originally. I remember going there in the early 80s. It had been converted into a shopping mall, with dozens of very expensive boutique shops, mostly jewelry and clothing. It had four floors, plus basement, with a skybridge on the 2nd floor that took you over the street to and from the parking garage. The Seville 4 was located in the west end of the basement. There was a bar/restaurant on the east end. Those theaters were operated by MidAmerica Cinemas and the auditoriums were so tiny and the projection booth so low, that when you stood up, the light from the projectors would cast a shadow on the screen. Pretty bad place to see a movie, altho it certainly did business in the ‘70s. The last time I was there, the basement was closed off, that theater long gone. The three elevators are in the same place (upgraded) and the escalators too. There are still a few first floor retail spaces, mostly vacant, but the Cinemark 14 now occupies the west upper half of the building. The theaters are on the 2nd and 3rd floors, and the projection booths are on the 3rd and 4th floors. When I came back in 2002, I was amazed at the job they had done incorporating some of the original building into the theater. Even the skybridge is still there, but now it is part of the theater, (carpeted), and takes you from the lobby to the 5 large auditoriums which were built on top of the parking garage across the street. You can exit from those theaters into the garage, but you can no longer enter from there. Two of the original escalators (up, down) take you to the 2nd floor where you buy your tickets and then enter, while the other escalators (up, down) are inside the lobby and take you to the 9 other auditoriums on the 3rd floor. The escalators that went from 3 to 4 have been removed. Two of the elevators will take you to the 2nd floor entrance, while the 3rd elevator has been incorporated inside the theater to serve the 3rd floor down to the 2nd and vice versa for purposes of ADA accessibility. (In other words, if you get on at the 1st floor, the elevators will not take you to the 3rd or 4th floor anymore and let you bypass the ticket window on the 2nd!). The 2nd floor lobby has a concession stand and a “VIP” theater which is very small, about 40 seats with a tiny screen, and serves food and drinks. I prefer the 5 theaters across the skybridge, which are large, spacious and comfortable theaters with large screens and excellent sound systems seating 250 to 400. There is an additonal concession stand there. The 9 theaters on the 3rd floor are all fairly small, ranging from 65 to 150 seats. I haven’t been to the theater in several years, but it was a favorite spot back when I used to make frequent trips to Kansas City. Their architect did a great job of repurposing the space, but it is a little strange to see that large building that used to be home to so many businesses, now primarily occupied by one.
I’ve done a little research from the Capital Journal archives to come up with a history of this theater which I remember from my youth:
General Cinema Corp opened the Topeka Boulevard Cinemas I-II on Wednesday October 16, 1974. The opening movies both featured Omar Sharif: “The Tamarind Seed,” and “Doctor Zhivago.”
The west auditorium was closed briefly in spring 1981 and was split. The Topeka Boulevard Cinemas I-II-III reopened Friday June 19, 1981, showing “Superman II,” “Bustin' Loose,” and holdover “The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia.”
Crown Cinema Corp took over operation of the theater from GCC on Friday April 3, 1987. Advertising renamed Boulevard 3.
After opening their new West Ridge 8 in July 1993, Crown Cinema turned the Boulevard 3 into a $1.25 second-run theater on Friday September 10, 1993. This competed with Crown’s Gage 4, which had become a discount house in 1988.
A Capital Journal article on Wednesday Sept. 21, 1994 said the Boulevard 3 would close when the lease was up. Crown Cinema owner Richard Durwood stated that Topeka was unable to support two discount theaters.
Crown Cinema closed the theater on Thursday October 6, 1994. The final films were “Speed,” “Blankman,” and “The Flintstones.”
As of 2015, the building is still in use as a country and western themed nightclub.
The timeline of the Fox Theater through Capital Journal archival research: The theater opened Wednesday June 14, 1967 with “8 on the Lam” starring Bob Hope and Phyllis Diller. National General was the operator for the first five years.
Mann Theaters took over operation of the theater from National General on Sunday July 1, 1973.
Mann twins the original theater and reopens on December 22, 1977.
Dickinson Theaters took over operation of the theater from Mann on Friday February 1, 1980.
Dickinson adds two more screens on the east end of the original building, opening on August 17, 1984.
Hollywood Theaters (Wallace) took over operation of the theater from Dickinson on Friday October 3, 1997.
Wallace turns the Fox into a $2.00 second-run theater on Friday October 14, 1999.
Wallace closes the Fox Theater on Tuesday March 16, 2004 after almost 37 years of operation.
The theater was sold in a bankruptcy auction in 2015 for just over $27,000. Future plans for the building have not been finalized.
The Topeka Capital Journal has a great slideshow of the Fox Theater over the years, including pictures of the original construction and grand opening festivities:
may have to cut and paste to view link
Crown Cinema opened the West Ridge Mall 6 on Wednesday March 2, 1988, the same day that the mall had its grand opening.
The Wednesday opening was a promotional effort with Topeka TV station KTKA ABC channel 49, and featured six older moves at a price of 49 cents each. The movies were “Like Father, Like Son,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Throw Mama from the Train,” “Hello Again,” “Baby Boom,” and “Planes Trains and Automobiles.”
First-run features began on Friday March 4, 1988, but the only movie released that day was “Switching Channels,” which the theater opened, along with older titles “Satisfaction,” “Broadcast News,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Barfly,” and “Ironweed.” The older titles were quickly replaced over the next few weeks as new films were released.
Hollywood Theaters took over operation of the theater from Crown Cinema on Friday December 20, 1996.
An article by Michael Hooper in the Topeka Capital Journal newspaper on April 20, 2005, said the West Ridge 6 would close at the end of business the next day, Thursday April 21, 2005. “We just decided it was time to move on,” said Erica Reese, spokeswoman for Wallace Theaters of Portland, OR.
“It’s really sad,” said Martha Schultz, manager of the Baskin Robbins located in the theater lobby. “We’ve been here since the mall opened.” Schultz plans to have a pizza party Thursday night for the staff. She said 11 people would lose their jobs when the ice cream shop closes. Reese said she expected Wallace Theaters to retain the West Ridge 6 employees.
The article noted that “Earlier this month, Wallace Theaters opened a 14-screen megaplex theater at the Shops at River Hill, 1.6 miles north of the West Ridge Mall.”
There was an article by Michael Hooper in the Topeka Capital Journal newspaper on Wednesday April 20, 2005, that said the West Ridge 6 would close on Thursday April 21, 2005.
It said that Coming Attractions Theatres Inc of Ashland, OR was interested in leasing the 6-plex space for a discount theater, but the mall was tied up in litigation with Hollywood Theaters (Wallace) over their premature exit.
At any rate, Wallace turned the above 8-plex into a discount theater first, which obviously dissuaded Coming Attractions from opening a discount theater of their own in the vacated space inside the mall.
The West Ridge 8 outside the mall opened on Friday July 9, 1993. The opening films were “Rookie of the Year,” “Weekend at Bernies 2,” “Strictly Ballroom,” “Much Ado about Nothing,”
“Sleepless in Seattle” on 2 screens, and “In the Line of Fire” on 2 screens.
Hollywood Theaters took over operation on Friday December 20, 1996. Regal Cinemas announced their purchase of Hollywood Theaters on February 19, 2013.
Regal had been running 35mm at this theater into 2015 and it was rumored the theater would close. However, as of Friday April 17, 2015, all auditoriums are listed as digital, and the ticket price increased to $3.00. It looks like Topeka will continue to have a second-run theater for the forseeable future.
The lease problems referred to above were actually with the 6-plex inside the mall. The mall threatened litigation, but the new 14-plex opened and the 6-plex closed shortly afterward, so I assume they worked out an amicable separation. This 8-plex is not actually owned by the mall. It is my understanding that Richard Durwood (who owned Crown Cinema), purchased the land and built the theater free of monthly rent. That would explain why it is evidently profitable as a discount house.
This theater has closed. The final day of showings was Thursday February 26, 2015.
Sharon Hoffman of the Kansas City Star reported on Feb 20 that the final week would feature screenings of Oscar nominees, as well as movies in the Folk Alliance Film Festival. The mall decided to stop leasing the space for the movie theater, only for the adjacent live theater run by Musical Theater Heritage.
Screenland will continue to operate the Crossroads and Armour theaters in the Kansas City area. Information can be found at their official website: www.screenland.com.
The Glenwood Arts 3-screen theater was closed at this location at the Metcalf South Mall in January 2015. All other tenants have vacated the mall, and the mall is scheduled for demolition later this year.
The Fine Arts Group has moved the theater to 3707 West 95th St, which was originally Commonwealth’s Ranch Mart 2, but has been known most recently as the Fine Arts Leawood 5. The Leawood Theater name has been changed to the Glenwood Arts to reflect the move. The Glenwood sign, which as noted above was originally from Dickinson’s Glenwood Theater, has made the move to the new location as well. The Glenwood Arts will continue to show a mix of first-run and arthouse films at its new home.
Brothers Brian Mossman and Ben Mossman will continue to operate the theater, as well as the Rio Theater in Overland Park. Additonal information can be found at the offical website: www.fineartsgroup.com.
This theater has now changed its name to the Glenwood Arts.
The original Glenwood Arts has closed down its tri-plex at the Metcalf South Mall in Overland Park, as the mall is set for demolition. The Fine Arts Group, which had been operating this theater as the Leawood, has changed the name to Glenwood Arts to reflect the move. Now with five screens, the ‘new’ Glenwood Arts will play a mix of first-run and arthouse films.
The Glenwood sign, which was salvaged from the original Glenwood Theater operated by Dickinson, has been moved from the mall to this new location.
Brothers Brian Mossman and Ben Mossman continue to own the theater, along with the Rio in Overland Park. Additional information can be found at the offical website www.fineartsgroup.com.