Bank Street Theater

46 Bank Street,
New Milford, CT 06776

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bicyclereporter on April 9, 2011 at 9:20 pm

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.

bicyclereporter on January 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Confirmation of original name…scroll down. View link

BankStreetTheater on August 24, 2009 at 10:33 am

From The News Times

Behind the scenes at the movies in New Milford
By Erik Ofgang
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

shoeshoe14 on July 12, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Mentioned in a story about Danbury’s Palace.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 28, 2009 at 11:36 pm

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.

natrawson on November 24, 2008 at 11:39 am


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

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

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.

shoeshoe14 on November 20, 2008 at 12:28 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.”

shoeshoe14 on March 17, 2008 at 2:03 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 on January 15, 2008 at 7:06 pm

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

shoeshoe14 on January 15, 2008 at 7:05 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 on June 27, 2007 at 11:37 am

It’s open. Was there a few weeks ago passing through to give an update. People were on line for tickets, and 3 of the current blockbusters were playing.

fred1 on May 31, 2007 at 1:01 am

_ i think this treater is close .Anyone from the area can comfirmed. The theater website was deleted

fred1 on May 31, 2007 at 1:01 am

_ i think this treater is close .Anyone from the area can comfirmed. The theater website was deleted

shoeshoe14 on April 8, 2007 at 3:26 pm

This theatre was again mentioned in the local news, in the News-Times editorial from April 5, 2007.

Good move
Danbury should follow New Milford’s lead in saving downtown theater
Apr 05 2007

We have to agree with Richard Freedman. He thinks New Milford is lucky to have found Gary Goldring, the entrepreneur from Sherman who bought the Bank Street Theater in downtown New Milford, and so do we.

The old theater with the distinctive Art Deco exterior is a downtown landmark.

Freedman certainly has an informed opinion as he is the one who sold the gem to Goldring. The price tag was $1 million, the same amount paid by Freedman two years ago, even though he invested more with lobby renovations and new seats. Whether it is generosity or market reality, we are glad to see the building sold at that price instead of languishing for years.

Mayor Patricia Murphy rolled up her sleeves and, as she said, “went chasing” the buyer, who had earlier indicated interest in doing business in New Milford. This is one more piece of evidence that she has made economic development a priority.

Granted, a movie theater does not have the tax impact that would come with some larger potential projects, but it has considerable cultural impact.

In the early days of moving pictures, nearly every thriving downtown had its own theater and many even had competing theaters. Some were converted from vaudeville stages and most had elaborate decorations that are nearly cost prohibitive to duplicate now.

Cities that have restored their wonderful old theaters — the Shubert in New Haven and the Palace in Waterbury come to mind — have not only preserved a bit of history, but also have attracted complementary growth with restaurants and shops.

When will it be Danbury’s turn? The city’s old theater, also privately owned like New Milford’s, has sat sadly empty for years, right on Main Street.

New Milford has shown that with ingenuity deals can happen. Let’s take a step in Danbury and get talking about how the Hat City’s own piece of history can be saved.

shoeshoe14 on March 30, 2007 at 11:17 am

There’s an article in the News-Times today about the new owner’s transition of the theatre. There’s a stunning, clear picture of the facade on the front page of the newspaper.

Mar 30 2007 8:00 AM
Theater seller says new owner deserves town’s gratitude

By Nanci G. Hutson
The News-TIMES

The Bank Street Theater in downtown New Milford was sold this week to a Sherman businessman.
NEW MILFORD — The man who sold Bank Street Theater this week thinks the buyer deserves the town’s gratitude for preserving the landmark theater.

“New Milford is very, very lucky to have found Gary Goldring,” said Richard Freedman, president of Garden Homes Management, who sold the theater to Goldring for $1 million, the same price he paid for the building two years ago.

Goldring, a Sherman entrepreneur, is taking an economic risk, Freedman said Wednesday.

“He’s a philanthropic buyer, who is buying this as a civic duty to the people of New Milford.”

Goldring said Tuesday he prefers not to speak publicly. But his contractor, Jim Stewart, plans to unveil details about his plans in the coming weeks.

Mayor Patricia Murphy hailed the sale as a victory for downtown, and expects there will be some upgrades, operational changes and civic events tied to the theater. Baileywick Books, next door to the theater, also changed hands. The 16-year-old book store was purchased Thursday by Janet Ryan of Brookfield, who will call it Bank Street Book Nook.

A major blow for the theater was the installation of stadium seating at Loews Cinema in Danbury.

“It’s very difficult for a small neighborhood theater to compete with a 16-screen, stadium-seated theater. It’s just a fact of the business,‘’ Freedman said.

Also, more home-viewing opportunities affected business, Freedman said.

Eventually, it was evident his company could no longer keep the theater open.

“We really tried to make it work,” Freedman said, referring to the considerable amount of money spent to replace all the seats and to renovate the lobby and auditoriums.

“Lots of towns have seen their neighborhood theaters placed at risk,” Freedman said.

He “vehemently'‘ disputes the theater’s decline is due to a lack of employee supervision, making it a hangout for teens and young adults who litter and behave disrespectfully to other patrons.

Freedman said he suspects unsupervised patrons are not just a problem at the theater but a challenge for all downtown businesses.

Freedman said, “We try and be good corporate citizens.”

“We own other real estate in New Milford (an apartment complex on Route 202 and a mobile home park off Route 37), and so instead of just closing the theater and doing something else with the building, I approached the town.‘’

The mayor helped broker a deal between Freedman and Goldring.

“This is a case where the building was saved, and all because of the generosity of one person,” Freedman said.

shoeshoe14 on March 27, 2007 at 6:27 pm

From the March 27, 2007 edition of the News-Times. Bank Street Theatre to be sold.

Mar 27 2007 11:57 PM
Bank Street Theater about to be sold
Sherman entrepreneur to buy New Milford landmark

By Nanci G. Hutson
The News-TIMES

The Bank Street Theater in downtown New Milford is on the verge of being sold.
NEW MILFORD — The Bank Street Theater, the village center attraction whose history dates back to the silent movie era, will soon have a new owner.

Mayor Patricia Murphy confirmed Monday that the quiet sale of the theater to a Sherman entrepreneur for about $1 million is all but complete, though the deed has yet to be recorded in the town clerk’s office.

“I’m happy,” said Murphy, who helped broker the deal between Garden Home Management in Stamford and buyer Gary Goldring.

“The downtown is just trying to come back, and we don’t want to lose an anchor like the movie theater,” Murphy said.

Garden Homes bought the theater in 2005 for $1 million from Rosen Investment LLC. Rosen purchased the theater in 1997 from Rocky Barry, who bought the theater in 1990 and managed it until the Garden Homes purchase.

Garden Homes president Richard Freedman said he had nothing to talk about “yet.”

“Call me in about a week,” he said.

The mayor said she learned from Garden Homes in about November the company intended to either sell or close the theater. She asked to be given time to find a buyer because she recalled Goldring’s desire to do business here.

“So I went chasing him,” she said.

In her talks with Goldring, Murphy said, she was delighted to hear his plans to fix the marquee, rejuvenate the lobby and concession area, upgrade the screening rooms and even open the now-closed balcony.

Most importantly, though, she said, she welcomes Goldring’s desire to collaborate with restaurants and businesses to offer festivals, street fairs and other events intended to stimulate the downtown economy.

Under Garden Homes ownership, the theater seating was replaced and some modifications were made to the inside. The company’s plans to install a fourth screening room were approved, but the expansion never occurred.

In the past year or so, the art deco theater in the center of Bank Street appeared to be struggling. The movies seemed to be drawing a younger crowd, which was not always properly supervised due to a lack of adult managers on the premises, the mayor and other business owners said.

The large multiplex Loews Cinema in Danbury is also a strong competitor.

Yet even with the problems, local merchants are loathe to imagine the downtown without the theater’s presence.

“It is the heart of our downtown,‘’ said Patricia Sherry, a Town Council member who owns a tax service on Bank Street.

Bank Street Coffee House owner Rue Taylor said she heard nothing about a sale but is relieved to know the theater will not be another boarded-up business in the downtown area, like CVS Pharmacy and Elizabeth’s Restaurant on Main Street.

One prospect that has been whispered about is the construction of a larger theater complex on the southern Route 7 commercial corridor, where there are plans for additional retail shopping complexes.

Murphy said she has heard the rumors but will oppose any effort. She hopes Bank Street Theater will again become a thriving downtown business.

“He’s going to make it all pretty and nice, a more fun place to go, with adult supervision, I understand,‘’ Murphy said about Goldring.

Goldring was away on business and did not return a call with an assistant seeking comment.

shoeshoe14 on September 23, 2005 at 9:49 pm

According to the New Milford City Directory, the theater in the 1950 edition was called the Twentieth Century Moving Picture Theater. The 1960 edition had it as the New Milford Theater. The 1974-5 edition had it as closed and the 1976 edition as the Bank Street Theater.

shoeshoe14 on September 23, 2005 at 9:47 pm

There were only 2 buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1902. The New England House did not survive so the above information is wrong in the summary. I found it in Images of America, New Milford on Page 117.

shoeshoe14 on September 22, 2005 at 9:55 am

I was at the New Milford Library doing research on the silent theater (the Star) across the street from the Bank Street Theater and found more info on the Bank Street Theater. It’s the only form of Art Deco architecture in New Milford. The original architecture of its previous incarnation (New England House [a major hotel]) was Renaissance Revival. The summary on this page said it was left standing after the fire of 1902 but the property directory said it was built in 1902 after the Great Fire. The theater opened in the 1930s.