Bank Street Theater

46 Bank Street,
New Milford, CT 06776

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Bank Street Theater

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On June 20, 1997, the Bank Street Theater in New Milford reopened after eight weeks of renovations. The new theater reopened with three auditoriums seating approximately 120 people per room.

Over a half million dollars has been invested to transform the 70 year-old Art Deco style theater into a jewel of the community and a superior cinema presentation facility.

Every system, wall surface and fixture has been either replaced or dramatically upgraded to create a state-of- the -art theater environment. Auditoriums 2 and 3 have been equipped with Dolby Surround four-track stereo sound with subwoofers and the finest QSC amplification. Auditorium 1 now features both Dolby Surround four-track stereo plus DTS 6 track digital stereo equipped. The theaters have been acoustically tuned to give its patrons the most subtle or most thunderous realistic sound possible.

The lavish new auditoriums offer new Irwin Marquee high back chairs, cupholder armrests and new drapery, carpeting and paint throughout. The screen sizes have been increased in two auditoriums to stretch to 20 feet wide. Besides upgrading the auditoriums, the lobby has been expanded and remodeled to incorporate new concession offerings of freshly popped popcorn and drinks. An entire new game room has been added to the lobby to create an exciting video arcade and party room. The theater will expand its offerings special birthday party discounts and entertainment packages.

The exterior of the theater has undergone restoration and remodeling to enhance its Art Deco black and white Carrara glass facade. The building has been designated as a historical landmark by both the Connecticut and National Trusts for Historic Preservation. The renovations revealed two architectural features of the building not seen by the public in over 50 years. In the lobby, a previously covered, decorative terrazzo stone floor has been restored, and a pressed tin ceiling with soffet lights has been revealed underneath the old marquee.

The theater was created from the brick shell of the old Green Hotel, which was one of the very few building left standing after 80% of the commercial buildings in the historic village were devastated by the fire of 1902. The owner of the Star Theater, a silent movie house across the street from this building, moved his business into this specially designed cinema which opened in 1920. Known as the Twentieth Century New Milford Theater, this renovated structure was outfitted with a massive new steel skeleton. The theater was remodeled in 1937 and has been operating continuously since then, except for five years of darkness in the early 1970’s.

In 1976, Rocky Barry purchased the building when he was 21 years old, and after renovations, reopened the previously shuttered theater as the Bank Street Theater. He continues to operate the theater to this day. In 1998, Mr. Barry sold the theater building to Gene Rosen of New Milford, but Mr. Barry retained ownership and management of the theater business.

The Bank Street Theater continues to offer first run Hollywood movies opening on the national release dates.

Contributed by Rocky Barry

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 15, 2008 at 10:05 pm

In today’s News-Times, on the front page of the local section is a piece of the renovation of this theatre. New owner, Gary Goldring of Sherman and Theatre Manager James Stewart are adding finishing touches on the interior and exterior. They include: new equipment in the projection booth, new bathrooms and a new concession area after folks buy their tickets (instead of the one tucked away). The ticket area will be smaller and add some space to the lobby. (The ticket window will stay).

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 15, 2008 at 10:06 pm

They said the theatre has 500 seats. Is this true? Did they add some?

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on March 17, 2008 at 5:03 pm

The theatre had a grand reopening this past weekend with a ribbon cutting of scrap film. The seats are the same but the marquee and expanded lobby and concessions are done. Apparently, Paul Schyler, former manager/owner of Bethel Cinema was in the article and is the new manager. Great.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on November 20, 2008 at 3:28 pm

The theater was on the front page of the News-Times yesterday with mananger and former Bethel Cinema owner, Paul Schuyler, holding some film and digital film. They are the first theater in the area to make the move to digital projection, not even the big area multiplex is doing this yet.

Tomorrow night they are showing Disney’s 3-D movie, “Bolt”. This week they are opening one new digital screening room for about $100,000. Soon the other 2 rooms will change. He touted that a digital film’s 1000th viewing is as crisp as the first showing but that film offers a “certain warmth and flicker”.

Yesterday and today at 7pm, before “Bolt” opens, they will show off their new digital screen at $5 showings of 3-D film, “Fly me to the Moon.”

natrawson
natrawson on November 24, 2008 at 2:39 pm

FILM FESTIVAL HONORING RICHARD WIDMARK SPONSORED BY “OUR TOWNS FOR SAR-E POL”

Location:
Bank Street Theater
46 Bank Street, New Milford, CT 06776 (860) 354- 2122

PANIC IN THE STREETS
Sunday, January 11th 2009 – 3:00 PM
Suggested donation $25

Dr. Clinton Reed (Richard Widmark) has forty-eight hours to save New Orleans from the plague. He must accomplish this by catching two thugs who are hiding from the law and, unwittingly, carry the bubonic plague. Reminiscences with original cast member Lenka Peterson and others who knew Richard Widmark.

Reception at Joe’s Salon follows the screening

JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG
Sunday, February 22 2009 – 2:00 PM
Suggested donation $25

One of the top trial movies ever made, this fictionalized account of the 1947 trials of Germans accused of war crimes examines questions of individual complicity without shying away from thorny issues. An all-star cast shines in this thoughtful social drama. Senator Christopher Dodd has been invited to speak about his father’s experience as Executive Trial Counsel at the actual Nuremberg Trials.


Our Towns for Sar-e Pol is a nonpartisan, humanitarian effort by residents of towns in northwestern Connecticut who have established an ongoing relationship of aid to the province of Sar-e Pol in northern Afghanistan.

The inhabitants of this war-weary region are experiencing desperate needs for the basics of survival: water, food, shelter, fuel, and medical supplies. As we all do, the people of this region aspire to better lives with general literacy, improved nutrition, economic security, and hope. Our Towns for Sar-e Pol is here to help make this happen.

We are working through Save the Children to identify and respond to the needs of the people of this Afghan province. This humanitarian nonprofit relief organization has been an important presence in the region for over 20 years. It is one of the last remaining humanitarian efforts currently operating in Afghanistan.

Since 2002 Our Towns for Sar-e Pol has underwritten child-focused health education programs to promote awareness of the vital need for immunization. This pilot program proved so successful that is was duplicated throughout the country reaching many thousands of people. We also funded treatment and education to rid the children of the region of intestinal worms.

We are grateful for your participation and support.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 29, 2009 at 2:36 am

From the October 2, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine, in an article about recent theater construction in Connecticut: “In New Milford, Steve Panoras completely razed the Star Theatre, rebuilt and enlarged it on modernistic lines, and opened in June as the 800-seat Twentieth Century Theatre.”

Most later issues of Boxoffice give the surname as Panora.

The June 26 issue of Boxoffice said that the rebuilt Twentieth Century had been scheduled to open June 25.

The May 14, 1949, issue of Boxoffice says that the Panoras (Steve and John) were offering the Twentieth Century Theatre for sale. This item gives the seating capacity as 718.

The last mention I’ve found of the Twentieth Century name is in the June 19, 1950, issue which says that the house had been bought by Arthur Smith. The name was apparently changed to New Milford Theatre some time after that. Unfortunately, there was also a new Milford Theatre at Milford, Indiana, which dominates the search results. The earliest reference to the Connecticut house as the New Milford Theatre I’ve found is in an item in the February 6, 1954, issue about the installation of CinemaScope.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on July 12, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Mentioned in a story about Danbury’s Palace.
http://www.newstimes.com/ci_12817244

BankStreetTheater
BankStreetTheater on August 24, 2009 at 1:33 pm

From The News Times

Behind the scenes at the movies in New Milford
By Erik Ofgang
CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Updated: 08/15/2009 06:58:49 PM EDT

NEW MILFORD — It’s the opening day of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and fans have filed into Bank Street Theater all day long.

Downstairs in the theater a large crowd eagerly waits for the film to start, but upstairs in the projectionist room everything’s quiet.

In the old days of film and film reels, the projection room was a place full of activity and hard work.

Giant film reels, more than two feet in diameter, would spin as the film was fed painstakingly through a series of pulleys and conveyors.

Someone had to watch it constantly because things often went wrong. “Film can burn, it can rip,” says Tara Kobylinsky, 26, the assistant general manger at Bank Street Theater on a recent Wednesday at the theater.

Kobylinsky has worked at the theater for almost 10 years and saw the film era end when Bank Street upgraded to digital projectors in February.

Kobylinsky doesn’t miss the days of film.

“The switch to digital makes our small business more efficient and that’s kind of the goal of every business,” she said.

She added that with ease of setup, better picture and cheaper shipping costs for the movie studios, “it’s better for us as a theater, it’s better for the audience and it’s better for the movie studios.”

Kobylinsky can perform the tasks of the projectionist with a simple click of a button.

For the afternoon showing of “Harry Potter” she walks over to a computer in the small attic-like projection booth and clicks on the play button.

“That’s it,” she says, stepping back.

The movie will stop automatically and the computer will even turn on the lights when the film is finished, she explains.

But don’t think Kobylinsky’s job is done. In fact it’s just beginning.

“The old projectionist’s job has been transformed, and now we do pretty much everything,” she says.

“Everything” includes cleaning the halls, cleaning the empty theater, making sure staff is ready for the next show, counting the registers, uploading new films onto the computer and making popcorn.

Most movies are shot digitally and then transferred to film because most theaters have not yet upgraded to digital projectors. Bank Street still keeps its old film projector because an occasional mainstream film will be shot on film and not be available digitally. Kobylinsky says the last film like that was Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

In addition to ease, another advantage of digital over film is picture quality. “It’s crystal clear. There’s no shaking whatsoever, no blur,‘’ Kobylinsky says.

Some movie trailers come with the movie and must be shown at each screening. Other trailers are sent on separate trailer discs, and it’s up to the theater to decide which ones to include.

Downstairs in the lobby, with the film still playing, Kobylinsky gestures to the pieces of popcorn littering the hallway. “You can judge how crowded it’s been by how much popcorn’s on the floor,” she jokes.

As to why it’s culturally acceptable to spill and drop popcorn on the floor at a movie theater, Kobylinsky is not sure. “I don’t know! It’s not just kids — it’s adults, too.”

Because Bank Street is a small three-screen theater, the managers have to choose which films to show very carefully.

Typically, to get a film, the theater has to agree to show it for a minimum of three weeks, so making the right choice is critical.

Kobylinsky says knowing your audience is important and, because there are a lot of children in New Milford, family films tend to do well.

When deciding which films to show, the staff looks at box office charts to see which films are getting a lot of hype. Also, occasionally, one of them will watch an advanced screening in Manhattan to judge if the movie will draw an audience.

Despite the research, it’s mostly a gut call. “It’s like its own art form,” Kobylinsky says.

In addition to digital projectors, Bank Street Theater also has a 3D projector. Kobylinsky explains that today’s 3D movement is “less about objects flying in your face, more about giving the film depth.”

She demonstrates by handing a reporter a pair of 3D glasses to look through as “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” plays. With the glasses on, the screen seems to stretch backward beyond the theater walls, giving the viewer an impression similar to looking through a window.

“This is what the big movie studios are kind of banking on,” says Kobylinsky. “The studios hope this gives the viewer something they can’t experience at home.”

More and more films are being made in 3D, including James Cameron’s highly anticipated “Avatar,” slated for a December release.

In her decade at the theater, Kobylinsky has heard all types of complaints from patrons. The most common comes from older patrons who are angry that teenagers talk in the theater. In addition, “an increasing trend is talking on cell phones. I don’t understand why anyone thinks that’s OK.”

But Kobylinsky takes it all in stride. “It’s just what happens when you put a hundred-plus different people in one place.”

The next time you go to a theater make sure to turn the cell phone off, keep witty observations to a minimum and try not to spill the popcorn.

Paul Schuyler, 47, general manger of Bank Street Theater, says that though the digital era made the life of a movie theater worker easier, it also made it more diverse. “The main change has been you have to be a lot more computer savvy and you have to get used to doing a lot more different things,” says Schuyler.

He says another change is that you have to aggressively market the films showing at your theater through any and all means, including staying in touch with your audience through e-mail and other online options.

Ironically, Schuyler says one aspect of the business that hasn’t changed is sound. “That’s done by a guy who has a really good ear and spent too many years going to concerts.”

For more information on the theater, call 860-354-9911. For what’s playing, call 860-354-2122 or visit www.bankstreettheater.com

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on January 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Confirmation of original name…scroll down. View link

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on April 10, 2011 at 12:20 am

The former Kent Film Festival was held this year in New Milford and renamed Litchfield Hill Film Festival. Better location too. Bank Street Theater’s Theater #2 was one screening venue as was The Maxx and the upstairs program room at the Library.

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