Theater For Sale?

posted by Farkas on October 17, 2003 at 11:30 am

I am very interested in owning and operating a classic movie theater in the Midwest or South. I have been searching for some time, but I’ve yet to find the right place. Please let me know if there’s something special out there that I’ve missed.

Comments (245)

petechristy on October 17, 2003 at 11:33 am


The Orpheum Theatre in Kenosha Wisconsin can be leased, but the gentleman who owns the building does not want to sell it, as the rest of the building contains storefronts that he is using. The auditorium has been quadded, but the place is ready to go. I can get you more info but email me at .com if you are interested.

tim on October 21, 2003 at 1:39 pm

Call Kris Keller @ 847-444-1300 for information on the sale of the Catlow Theater in Barrington, IL.

lil63ss on October 26, 2003 at 12:58 pm

The Fox Theater in Hays, KS is for sale through the corporate monster Dickinson Theaters who ran it into the ground to fund the expansion of the Mall Cinema 8 in Hays. Although the building has been sitting it is still in excelent shape and would be a fairly easy restoration for the right person. Origianl blue prints can still be found to take it back to its former glory. This theater was once dubbed the showplace of the midwest and someone needs to save it.

JimRankin on November 5, 2003 at 10:34 am

There are two theatres in Milwaukee currently looking for new owners: the 1700-seat AVALON ( /theaters/1768/ )
and the downtown former WARNER, now called the GRAND:
( /theaters/1903/
a 2400-seater of exceptional beauty, but as with the Avalon, no parking (though one could buy the low building next door and create a parking structure.) Actually, most theatres in most cities are ‘for sale’ if one approaches with enough cash or equivalent. The 1881 WARD MEMORIAL THEATER here is also ‘for sale’ in the sense that its 1000 seats could be used by an operator, but it is on the Veteran’s Administration grounds on National Ave. at 47-50th Sts., so the feds own it, but are threatening to demolish it if an operator/fundsraiser cannot be found. A most historic and unusual theatre if you can make it work. A few parking lots are within walking distance on these 125 forested acres. I will direct you to poeple who can help if you are interested.

Greg on November 17, 2003 at 1:18 pm

There is an Art Deco theatre across the street from my theatre called the Miller. It is located in Augusta Georgia. It was built in 1940 and has been vacant since around 1980. I believe it has around 1100 seats. If you are interested I can find out more information for you. my email is

Hwooder on November 25, 2003 at 4:55 pm


If you are looking for a business partner in the Midwest, I, too, am interested in owning and operating a classic movie house. I have been to the Catlow in Barrington as mentioned above. Nothing is moving on that yet.
My e-mail is

eneantheater on November 26, 2003 at 4:37 pm


PaulWarshauer on November 28, 2003 at 4:44 am

I need working and/or cash partners to help me with the Portage Park Theatre. Call me (773) 202-1010. Thanks.

darren on November 30, 2003 at 12:15 am

Hi i currently own a theater in northern pa, Im interested in purchasing another. Location would be in VA or MAS. If you could help me search in anyway it would be very helpfull thank you …

HowieT on December 2, 2003 at 9:54 pm

Darren and anyone else interested in operating movie houses – I am
a film buyer for independent movie theater opeators. I have been
an independent exhibitor in the past and have worked in the film industry for over 30 yr. Would love to help and or work with anyone
devoted to our business! Please email anytime.

PaulWarshauer on December 3, 2003 at 12:07 am

This has been a great site for discussions and ideas. Thanks everyone!

CaptainBlood on December 21, 2003 at 3:27 am

If you don’t mind being a janitor, getting ripped off by some of the people you hire and told by the studios that your working so hard for that you just don’t #%$&ing matter and they could'nt care less about you. Then by all means go into debt possibly for life and maybe even lose your love of sitting down to a great movie. Because if you own a theatre or even just run one. You will never be able to (just) watch a movie again.
If thats not enough just think how nice it is to work with the public. Especially that person that is having one of their bad days, and you just happened into their sights. Trust me, man thats worth that .09 cents you might or might not be making off that sweet moment in your life.
All your great ideas….You’ll find out why no theatres do them, but you’ll get alot of people tell you what YOU should do, and when you do it…they won’t even come.
P.S.Wait till you suffer through all that, and are a sucsess. You become a slave to your insurance company, workmens comp ins. and the gov’t. They (uncle sam) will NET over 13% off your Theatre and Regal the #1 Theatre Chain in the country. Nets 4%. Finally there is the Lawyers and their pretend clients. Enjoy the show.


PaulWarshauer on December 21, 2003 at 8:03 am

Captain Blood is right. Licensing and just trying to do business in the City Chicago has become so draconian that the Department of Revenue wants fingerprints, police checks, etc. on all owners of any movie theatres. The police tell you what your business structure should look like. When did THIS invasion of government become part of the constitution? Everyone is an expert when it isn’t their money. No one wants to help us. The poor Portage Park Theatre has been shuttered for six months because we tried to “play ball” the right way and obtain all necessary licenses and permits. Many theatres operate without a license which begs the comment, “Better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.” One would think that a nice movie theatre in Chicago’s northwest side would get the support of city officials. Not in Chicago! Captain Blood, you are right. I am getting OUT of the movie business and back into commercial real estate where I belong. Goodbye. Anyone want to buy a cheap theatre? (773) 202-1010.

CaptainBlood on December 30, 2003 at 9:06 am

That sucks Paul. They should be helping you, not chasing you out. What ever happened to the American dream? Good luck in real estate. Out here in Calif. my house is making more money than my theatres. Maybe Govn. Arnold will help. He should be favorable to this industry. We will see…

Captain Blood

Lawrence on January 6, 2004 at 3:47 pm

I checked out the site,
and am still waiting for an email reply – 7 days now.
Frustrating to say the least. Perhaps a phone call would produce
a quicker response.

Lawrence on January 16, 2004 at 10:04 am

Its okay now – I finally called and got a voicemail.
3 days later I rec’d a phone call and message. Apparently
most of the locations for sale are based in Florida.

mfdonofrio on January 29, 2004 at 1:31 am

Email me direct if you have any questions about LarryS and all… sorry your inquiry was not followed up sooner. Yes, we do have some locations available for acquisition in FL – and also in NC, SC, AL, TX, CA and more all the time.

Most of our clients are first-run theaters in mid-market locations with solid financials. From large chains to smaller single locations across the country. Register on our website so we can find the right match for you. Wish I found this site sooner…

Michael F. D'Onofrio
Vice President

RhondaHowardRealtor on March 9, 2004 at 11:29 pm

I have a historic theatre in Mason County, Illinois listed in the $70’s. With seating for 500, this theatre has been closed for some time now. Please feel free to e-mail for more info. Rhonda Howard, Jim Maloof/REALTOR

vicsmith on March 25, 2004 at 5:20 pm

looking for howie T at movie world, have questions for you please respond, want to by a theatre, have all info
distribution contacts bus, proposion etc, need some guidance

Victoria Smith

RedDawg on March 29, 2004 at 8:54 am

Ditto Victoria’s inquiry. Howie, your email link is broken, please provide a new one.

KenLayton on April 15, 2004 at 12:19 pm

The huge 800 car single screen Star-lite Drive-in Theater & Swap Meet in Tacoma, Washington is on the auction block. The theater and 4 other commercial properties were seized by the government from a Pong Keun Rhee who is now a convicted organised crime racketeer. The theater is on 13 acres and has a mostly asphalt field (in the theater) and parking lot out front. There is a fairly new large seperate indoor swap meet building that was operating 7 days a week in addition to the outdoor swap meet on the theater lot proper. This swap meet is very popular. The theater last ran movies about 5 years ago. When Mr. Pong Keun Rhee took over the theater movies were discontinued and they concentrated on swap meets. I think the projection equipment was removed at that time, but the screen tower and huge snack bar is still in good shape. There is room at the back of the huge field to add two more screens easily. This theater would make good money if it were reopened for both movies and swap meets. Currently there are no discount or second run theaters in Tacoma—-only way overpriced first run houses.
The auction will be on May 18, 2004 and contact info is:
Phone (703) 361-3131 ext 279 or

megafishnd on April 30, 2004 at 1:14 pm

Tivoli Theatre in Mishawaka, IN but its scheduled to die in a few months so you better hurry. 3 million is the going estimate to restore it.

KenLayton on May 20, 2004 at 10:49 am

Update on the Starlite Drive-in & Swap Meet sale. Theater sold to a land developer for a record high price of 7.5 million dollars! He wants to tear it down and build a strip mall. :(

pamplicotheater on June 3, 2004 at 6:25 pm

I have a theater here in South Carolina that can go for just over 100k.

It was built in the 1940s, but has since served as a pool hall and a deli. (The second owner tore out the camera room, the balcony and leveled the seating.)

I have since restored as much I could afford to do and changed the theme of the place with an internet cafe and coffeehouse. It’s still the largest building in the town of around 2-3000 people. It’s an hour to Myrtle Beach, and about 15 minutes from the I-20/I-95 junction in Florence SC.

The building has alot of history as many western stars that toured with their movies appeared here. There’s two ticket booths as things were in the south back then, it was segregated, i.e. whites downstairs, blacks in the balcony. A great opportunity for someone that’s got the $$ to invest. or contact me at .com for more details.

eneantheater on June 4, 2004 at 12:32 am

HI Guys, I’m Looking for a Partner or Partners to operate the “ENEAN THEATER” in Pittsburg Ca , East San Francisco Bay Area. The plan is to open it as a Sport’s bar Movie Theater and Grill, for about 500 to 600 people. I have a great business plan , and the City’s Redevelopment Agency will help with a $280.000.00 loan , at 2 per cent, payments starting after the business is open. This is a great opportunity for the right investor(s), must have strong credit .
I’m looking to raise 1 to 2 million to purchase adjacent properties and equip with the latest technogy in the theater and restaurant
industry. It will be a unique place , a very lucrative business, we don’t have to compete with multy screen giants , we will have the other venues, Super bowl, fights, concerts , classic movies, business , educational , and studio facilities. Great restaurant and Bar as well as consession stand. 40x20 movie screen digital projection and sound, live performance stage and more .
All interested parties , please contact me at [/email]

Best Regards
Jaime Penuela

FriendsOfTheRaymondTheatre on June 29, 2004 at 2:04 am

Anyone looking for a historic theatre in Pasadena, CA? The Raymond Theatre is for sale (aka The Crown Theare or Perkin’s Palace). We are seekking a buyer or investors to purchase the theatre and ajacent parking lot. The parking lot comes with variences to build a 65 foot builing on the neighboring lot. The capacity if 2,000. The theatre most recently was one of LA’s top concert venues. It comes with a national promoter, former management team and corporate sponsorship. One of the last well-located movie palaces left for sale in LA!

Capacity 2,000
8 dressing rooms
screening room
40 x 40 stage
main floor & balcony
four restrooms
box office

For more information contact:

Friends of the Raymond Theatre

Office: (818) 541-9522

panand on July 12, 2004 at 1:55 am

We are looking for a classic movie theatre in jacksonville,fl. If anybody knows, please let us know.

paulaclark on July 15, 2004 at 8:45 pm

Do you have any interest in any other area of Florida? The Port Theatre is for sale in Port St. Joe, Florida……

ljones on July 24, 2004 at 2:36 pm

Looking for old theatre in surrounding counties of Indianapolis, IN

Sandra on July 31, 2004 at 8:42 pm

Theater for sale – See LoopNet under The Ark Historical Theatre and Art Gallery. This is a very rare find on the Oregon Coast.

ifemorena on August 4, 2004 at 5:17 pm

Hi, great to see so many great comments. I am looking for a theater for sale in New York. Please email me if you know of any. NYC preferably but open..



JHALL on August 19, 2004 at 6:00 am


I’m interested in finding out if there are any old theaters up for sale in central Ohio.

rroberts on August 30, 2004 at 6:44 pm

Great opportunity in Post, TX. The old Tower Theatre is for sale again. I spoke with a bunch of folks there today including the bank. We can buy a ALREADY restored theatre for around 50K and that’s the total purchase price. 500 seats. Clean town, they love the arts and very welcoming. Anyone else want to partner? I am looking for a manager with some equity and I will do the rest. E-mail: Mruptownman2000@!

ifemorena on September 2, 2004 at 12:03 am

i’m not a manager. It is ifemorena. What kind of films would you like to show at the Tower in Texas? Will it be movies as well as live theater? Feel free to email me.


gotham on September 15, 2004 at 12:21 pm

Greetings! We’re beginners and hoping to open up a 1-2 screen theatre in New England, preferrably in Vermont or Maryland. Right now we’re living in Dallas and won’t be up there for a month or so. Does anyone know of any classic theatres up there worth saving or checking out? seems to be more Southern-oriented, so any tips are appreciated!

RedDawg on September 15, 2004 at 4:50 pm

Hi Gotham. May I suggest you have a look at
Welcome to Cinema Treasures. -RD

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on September 16, 2004 at 12:42 am

FLORIDA theater for sale Metro Cinema Cafe (twin ) sale price 150,000.00 Melbourne florida

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on September 16, 2004 at 12:47 am


rroberts on September 18, 2004 at 1:51 pm

I have received many e-mails and calls lately to help people buy theatres, restore old theatres and develop programs and calendars of events. Happy to help. It is a good deed to save old theatres, if they can be saved. It takes more than money although one must have a little to get started. To open and/or restore an “independent movie house” takes a love for the art, patience, political saavy, the ability to write and execute business plans, knowledge of the historic tax code, patience, partners in finance and accounting, and did I mention patience? Do NOT be discouraged by others on this wonderful website who tell you it is a miserable life. It is NOT! Who doesn’t want to be their own boss in something they love? E-mail me for details:

hanklacey on September 28, 2004 at 5:28 pm

I am looking to open a theatre-pub or theatre-grill in a historic theatre building and/or invest with others in such an operation. Ideally, I’d want to be in the western USA. If anyone has any thoughts or insights or ideas about what might be available or knows of anyone seeking to build a partnership to undertake such project, let me know. Thanks.

filmbuff on September 30, 2004 at 6:26 pm

anyone looking for a restored single screen small town theatre in hope british columbia canada,contact can email photos.asking $280,000 land building and equipment.operating 4 days a week.owner looking to relocate to alberta.

mmessier13 on October 3, 2004 at 8:21 pm

looking for any size screens available in Mass, Conn, or R.I. If anyone knows of any or hears of any please contact

rroberts on October 4, 2004 at 5:57 pm

Those interested will be happy that the Enean Theatre is on the way to being saved. We are looking for partners to help make this into a sports bar with live theatre. I know it sounds weird, but that is the last hope for this old Greek theatre in the Bay Area. It was either that or a gym! E-mail us:

cuuvinhho on October 9, 2004 at 12:17 am

what is percentage of net profit in owning a movie theater ?
What are the challenges that one must have to run the movie thater business ?

schahara on October 13, 2004 at 7:59 pm

Theater for sale in West Texas, Post. Renovations far exceed the asking price of $60K. Show movies, no theater equipment at present; perform live stage shows. SWH

rroberts on October 14, 2004 at 2:13 am

To CH (on Oct 9) who posted the most incredible question I have ever seen on this site. The questions require pages of analysis and descriptions beyond the capacity of this website. Naturally I will take a shot at answering it! Most independent theatres squeak by on a small profit. Chains of movie houses make more profit as they purchase “supplies” (concessions as well as movies) in bulk; they also can squeeze distributors for better prices. A clever small movie theatre that responds to communities needs can make a comfortable profit and be fun but beware! The pitfalls include: programming quagmires, erratic staff and personnel, lack of a solid work ethic, inadequate capitalization, accounting and tax problems, drunk or stoned projectionists (not all), nosey city inspectors, lack of marketing finesse, greedy developers, lousy landlords (not all), an apathetic public, and many others. My final word of advice: take in a few rich partners, marry a rich spouse or win the lottery then call me.

cyparska on October 19, 2004 at 3:14 pm

I am looking to purchase a small theater in PA. If you have any information, please write. Thanks

rroberts on October 19, 2004 at 4:39 pm

I know of a few theatres for sale in Pennsylvania. Drop me an e-mail, if you wish:

mfdonofrio on October 19, 2004 at 5:30 pm

RRoberts – great comments above regarding the theater Net Profit question. Very difficult question to answer as you said, but theaters can be very profitable when starting off with enough cash … and knowing what to do with it. I have worked with many small, mid and large operations – single locations and large chains – to minimize costs and maximize profits. We also get into the nitty gritty looking into the books to find proper valuations when it comes to sales, mergers & acquisitions. The theaters that I have seen do the best are the ones with very industry educated owners, that understand the numbers and that this is a business, and can deliver an excellent product in a clean, consistent environment that people will want to come back to again and again and again.
Michael F. D'Onofrio

schahara on October 19, 2004 at 5:44 pm

I have requested a listing with Theaters for Sale but no one has returned my call yet. Schahara

mfdonofrio on October 19, 2004 at 5:54 pm

My email address is
Send me over your contact info and some info and we can chat.
Thanks – Mike

cuuvinhho on October 23, 2004 at 12:59 am

Hi RRobert
Thank you for making the attempt to answer the theater’s net profit question. I have an opportunity to become the landlord of a theater building which is doing very well. THe theater lessee owns couple of discount movie theater in town. If the theater owner decides in the next 2 years that he does not want to continue leasing the building, what can the landlord do as far as looking for another theater lessee is concerned ? Although the landlord is a shrewd businessman, can he handle the movie theater business? can he compete ? what is his advantage and disadvantage ?
I see movie theater that offers ticket price of $2, can they survive? Apparently, food business perhaps will make up the profit for the operation ?

Jacker on October 26, 2004 at 5:01 pm

Looking for theater On the East cost. Preferably in the New England region 2-3 screens small town! Please e-mail me with info!

larryb7313 on October 30, 2004 at 10:29 am

Looking for theater in Connecticut any size. Please e-mail with info.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on October 31, 2004 at 1:37 pm

lots of theaters for sale out there at the moment.

Jacker on November 3, 2004 at 4:26 am

Lots of theaters for sale out there…. but like a needle in a haystack to find!

rroberts on November 3, 2004 at 9:43 am

Yes, there are many theatres, and other venues that could become theatres, for sale out there. The difficulty is what to do with them. We are in the business of real estate development and see magnificent properties all of the time. For those who are serious about theatres they should do LOTS of homework and ask professionals for business plans, appraisals, ands most importantly, create calendar of events of what will REALLY happen within the theatre AFTER it is open. The calendar must reflect what the community (market) wants NOT what the owner wants. We are always available to help.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on November 3, 2004 at 9:10 pm

join loopnet .com has about 20 theaters for sale

Jacker on November 5, 2004 at 9:55 pm

Can you send me some info or links, couldnt get on Loopnet the system was down. What states and price range were the theatres!

Jacker on November 5, 2004 at 10:29 pm

Does anyone have any info on that twin cinema for 150,000 in Melbounre Fl. I have family about 2 hours away in gainesvielle! Would love to check that out!

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on November 6, 2004 at 7:26 pm

yes that is a cinema with food and a bar second run with lots of first run competion over 30 screens neer by.WEST Melburn

bazzwell on November 11, 2004 at 4:17 am

California Pennsylvania, former Hollywood theatre now up for sale for the first time in about 25-30 years. Theatre has been vacant since 1978 or so. Last I heard, seats and all projection equipment removed. Poor parking but a college town, who knows? Solid concrete block building, original 1938 marquee (in need of repair), apartment in back, former bowling alley in basement (used to be the lounge area), unrented storefront on the main drag of town. Worked there during the last run in 77 & 78. with any questions, thanks!

presh on November 15, 2004 at 1:45 am

Help . Wanted for possible lease for concerts. Older Theater near greensboro north carolina or surrounding areas.


RaneyOnline on December 3, 2004 at 8:19 pm

I think most theaters make a profit from the sale of popcorn and drinks. That doesn’t leave much in the way of huge returns. I think it would be an added bonus to run a theater if you had a storefront restaurant or bookstore adjacent. Otherwise, it’s not much of living.
For those of you who are interested in reviving theaters just because you see the community value in these treasures…then I suggest forming a non-profit group to save and restore these theaters.

rroberts on December 4, 2004 at 1:27 am

Not true. If you do mixed bag of programming you can make it. Movies, live theatre, murder mysteries, musicals, etc. See

Jacker on December 18, 2004 at 11:03 pm

that theatre in Melbourne is a mystery it is for sale but you can’t get any info on it!
Anyone with any info contacts let me know!

IVYFOUNDATION on January 3, 2005 at 5:58 pm

The Ivy Foundation….Presents…..THE PARK THEATRE….See………

project on January 20, 2005 at 1:30 am

Wallaw theatre/cinema blyth/newcastle upon tyne england for sale or to let.Built 1937 moderne art deco style. Grade 11 listed.Screen 1 balcony/front stalls original proscenium.850 seats.screen 2 right hand back stalls 100 seats.screen three left hand back stalls 100 seats.Many original and fixtures and fittings.I am appealing to any one who could save this rare survivor.I worked at the wallaw from 1984 until its closure last april.i firmly belive it was badly run towards the end and that it could still have a future instead of the bulldozer.Any one interested.

rroberts on January 20, 2005 at 9:48 am

We might be interested. Call (630) 221-0667.

brandiediane46 on January 21, 2005 at 6:54 pm

I am interested and have been for a very long time, due to marital differences I am now making my own decisions and future :), how would one go about purchasing up to date Drive In Theater equiptment and plans to create a family / community Drive In. I live in a desperately dull area with few options for the working family to enjoy entertainment that is not out of budget. I have done a survey on interets and it seems to be a very positive and definate need. Any help or suggestions wanted :)

FoxFan on January 21, 2005 at 6:56 pm

Do you have property already with which to work with Gentlefawn?
I have contacts in the film industry that can help you figure out
whether this would work.

brandiediane46 on January 21, 2005 at 7:01 pm

I am selling property now, but would need to know the size of Drive Inn capacity and limits,required to run a Drive In in order to look for appropriate property. All this to say NO I do not have property at this time.

FoxFan on January 21, 2005 at 7:03 pm

The physical construction, not including property for a 100 car
drive-in(and this is small) will probably run you between 25k
and 50k.

brandiediane46 on January 21, 2005 at 7:36 pm

I have adequate funds it seems :), how much property would a 100 car drive in require? along with bike and walk in outside seating to hold up to 100 persons, with a concession stand and restrooms. If you like please use my yahoo address to correspond.

FoxFan on January 21, 2005 at 7:38 pm

I will be emailing you over the weekend. I am getting ready to leave the office right now. Thank You.

brandiediane46 on January 24, 2005 at 11:08 pm

I am seeking information on what types of technology are available for drive ins. Different systems, equiptment and Movie industry guidelings if any for purchasing rights to movies select showings etc.

Any one out there that can throw information this way is appreciated.

James Colburn
James Colburn on January 30, 2005 at 12:43 pm

Getting a bank to loan me money for a theatre has been a nightmare. I hear “ We just have never loaned money for that type of thing before” every time. Credit good,down payment good,Why wont they halp me save a great Theatre? Any Ideas? Maybe a bank to try?
Email me:

ifemorena on January 30, 2005 at 1:18 pm

dunno, but you may want to try looking at banks that have backed small theaters all over the country and go to them with a good business plan.

FoxFan on January 30, 2005 at 1:20 pm

email me and i might be able to assist you …

rroberts on January 30, 2005 at 5:00 pm

We do funding and finance specifically for theatres. Contact us. (630) 221-0667

Jacker on February 5, 2005 at 2:00 am

Looking for theater On the East cost. Preferably in the New England region 2-3 screens small town! Please e-mail me with info!

Jacker on February 5, 2005 at 2:01 am

Looking for theater On the East cost. Preferably in the New England region (Maine,NH,VT.,CT.etc.)2-3 screens small town! Please e-mail me with info!

rroberts on February 5, 2005 at 3:07 pm

Call us. (630) 221-0667

Jacker on February 8, 2005 at 3:39 am

Paul e-mail info and i will get back to you.

rroberts on February 8, 2005 at 10:33 am

Shagee7977… Our reply is on the way. ANYONE may call us at (630) 221-0667.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on February 15, 2005 at 8:11 pm

Looking for a single , twin , old theater in a old fashion town/East coast or south. thanks

reuser2002 on February 15, 2005 at 11:06 pm

Does anyone know of a resource for information on legal and license requirments necessary to open and operation a theatre?
Are there some sort of guidelines?


FoxFan on February 15, 2005 at 11:53 pm

Check out the Directories too!

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on February 16, 2005 at 9:23 am

Looking for small town theaters any were east coast or south usa for sale . Please email/

Jacker on February 16, 2005 at 1:51 pm

In response to your Question RB-

“Does anyone know of a resource for information on legal and license requirments necessary to open and operation a theatre?
Are there some sort of guidelines?”

A lot of Cash and good location! Build and they will come!

FoxFan on February 16, 2005 at 1:54 pm

Don’t need as much cash as you think – depends on the location.
In Alameda CA – a littel 42 seater opened and is doing good money.
Its a converted chapel into a movie theater! Previously a funeral home! It works! The guy’s makin' money! Playing SIDEWAYS right now
and did good – running it all himself! One or Two man operation!
You can be very creative. I’ve done it all myself.

Jacker on February 16, 2005 at 2:03 pm

Wow that sounds cool but a 42 seater. That is little. But if he plasy art films he may have something there. Art film goers go for little mor intimate theatres as opposed to a ginat dolyb surround sound setup.
What you say is true. I ment more of a 3-4 screen first run theatre when I said you need money and location. But an art theatre can play next to a 24 plex first run and do well.

FoxFan on February 16, 2005 at 2:44 pm

I know its a funny business we are in – thats for sure.
I book some movie houses where my clients (owners) have 50 seat
auditoriums and believe it or not – they are cute and cozy and
very very plush — grossing over $7000 in boxoffice receipts
in one week!

reuser2002 on February 16, 2005 at 6:50 pm

I live in a Brookyn neighborhood (Greenpoint, to be exact)that has alot of young people that are artists/film makers, etc- alot of them are my friends. I would love to open something they can play thier stuff in, and get other kinds of venues going there. We would love to have a theatre here to go to! Alot of people wonder why we don’t have somethiung like that already! It’s prime!
I guess my first step is to find some real estate. It would be fun to find something like an old church or abandoned warehouse and do it up DIY style! I think real estate will be super expensive but I’ll look into it.
I guess from there you find out the details..

FoxFan on February 16, 2005 at 7:01 pm

Yes – There have been old warehouses turned into movie screens in the past. I remember bac in Berkeley CA an old warehouse was slowly
turned into 4 movie screens – ranging from 24 seats to 50 seats each. They ran art films and repertory and did good bizness. This warehouse was not in the best neighborhood and very industrial-like but the operator hired a security guard to make sure all of the cars were not getting damaged and the mans business soared. I saw a double bill of GOLDIGGERS of 1933 with FOOTLIGHT PARADE and the place was SOLD OUT! Yup. Admission was in 1977 – $4 bucks.
IT CAN BE DONE! You can lease a space, cheap!

Jacker on February 17, 2005 at 3:15 am

RB if your in Greenpoint you may be familiar with Rockaway Beach. It is an overlooked market with no competiton. There is a great place that has a building and parking near two schools and housing in a nice area.
Write me so I can let you know were it is,

ifemorena on February 17, 2005 at 1:53 pm

Dear All,

If you are interested in investing in a theater for the exhibition of world cinema in New York, please contact me. I am a filmmaker interested in setting up a venue for the exhibition of films from africa, latin america, north american independent films, europe, and asia. please fill out the Art House Cinemas investor form at

thank you!

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on February 19, 2005 at 8:33 am

Lookig for a theater for sale single twin /no west coast .thanks ,please email.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on February 23, 2005 at 6:22 pm

Theaters for sale .com dont even give an email back . They seem to want to sell chains only not small houses.

FoxFan on February 23, 2005 at 6:26 pm

longislandmovies you are CORRECT – this is true about that company you mention above.

rroberts on February 23, 2005 at 7:50 pm

You can call my company. We do theatre searches, purchase agreements, financing, sales, marketing, board development, board recruiting, head hunting, hiring, restoration, strategic planning, programming and consulting for all size theatres the US and Europe and we always return calls. Grande Venues, Inc. (630) 221-0667

Jacker on February 24, 2005 at 3:22 am

Theaters for sale .com is not really for us indy people looking for a small town theatre unless it is over 1 mil!
To bad when they first started out they were more for the little guy, oh well guess the money is in the megaplexes.
By the way Paul did you ever come across anything for me as replied in my e-mail?


rroberts on February 24, 2005 at 7:06 pm

Jacker please resend. We receive lots of mail. Sorry.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on February 27, 2005 at 9:56 am

Any summer community movie houses for sale ?

rroberts on February 27, 2005 at 2:14 pm

What does a “summer community movie house” mean? Are we referring to a summer resort town that shows movies to the seasonals and not to the locals? Most theatres must be operated year round to be successful unless one has a generous patron who supports said theatre through the winter months! Oh, for the days of Mom and Pop theatres… am I the last man standing?

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on February 27, 2005 at 8:15 pm

A summer community movie house is a theater that runs may to sept ,oct .Not to many still around the Montauck on Long Island is one i know of ,there use to be one on Fire Island .I would think there may still be a few in Maine or in the north east.

Jacker on February 28, 2005 at 3:18 am

Very rare find. All these places are staying open all year round cause alot of summer residence have stayed year long.

paulaclark on March 2, 2005 at 12:10 pm

can someone please send me information about the melbourne florida theatre for sale? or call Wade at 850-229-9282.

Jacker on March 2, 2005 at 2:52 pm

That theatre is a mystery anytime you try to get info on it no one replies. I did a search and contacted a realtor and no answer, yet the theatre is stil for sale for almost 2 years!
I guess they don’t really want to sell it!


paulaclark on March 2, 2005 at 2:55 pm

Interesting! Thanks for the info. Maybe one day we can drive there and check it out………..

Jacker on March 2, 2005 at 3:00 pm

Well I am in the market for a theatre so if you hear of any i have family in Fl. and would like a small town theatre…..

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 2, 2005 at 4:36 pm

Went and saw the theater for sale now 120,000.oo

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 2, 2005 at 4:36 pm

Went and saw the theater for sale now 120,000.oo

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 2, 2005 at 4:37 pm

Went and saw the theater for sale now 120,000.oo

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 2, 2005 at 4:45 pm

Rent is 5,000.00 month with a 10 plex and a 13 screen within 1 mile

FoxFan on March 2, 2005 at 4:47 pm

Which Theater Did You See?

paulaclark on March 2, 2005 at 4:48 pm

Jacker, our theatre is in Florida. However it is in an area where property prices are going great guns! We’re a couple blocks from the beach and we’ve seen property increases that defy understanding for the last ten years! Our listing price may be out of the range you were looking at, but if you had interest in buying in an area that has been seeing 30+% increases in real estate values in one year, this is the place! Feel free to call Wade 850-229-9282 if you have any questions. (We plan to move closer to family is part of why we are selling)

paulaclark on March 2, 2005 at 5:20 pm

(The Port Theatre is not an “operating theatre” however………we did get it on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003!

Jacker on March 3, 2005 at 3:28 am

120,000 is a good price but when your just getting the business that is outragous. Cause your still paying 5,000 a month for rent.You have to ask your self that question, why is it still for sale for so long.
1. Price to high for a rental.
2.To much competition

Basically your paying fot he owners retirement fund. If they did eventually decide to sell then you would just have to pay again.
I talked to pros on this and sais this is a bda deal cause your never able to do improvements casue of fear of losing your lease.

paulaclark on March 3, 2005 at 8:33 am

OH. I didn’t link those comments up to the Melbourne Theatre. NO WAY would I want to buy just the business………..I agree. So, am I reading it right what you say that the Melbourne Florida Theatre is only for sale as a business?

The Port Theatre in Port St. Joe is for sale with the manager’s apartment included. We’ve lived here since 1998, owned it since 1995. We thought when we sell this theatre, we might consider doing a 1031 exchange on another theatre in an area where property prices are more affordable. IF we could find the theatre that would match our needs. But, we’re not really concerned about it being a “working theatre” because we do auctions in the one we own now. Lately we’ve had alot of activity on the building. Probably some time this year we’ll be looking for our next home. We want a theatre in a warm climate, preferably in Florida, if we buy another theatre. We LOVE living in this one, but we’re ready to get ourselves in a situation where we do less auctions and spend more time puttering with other things we enjoy………..have spent ten years working hard on this theatre to bring it back after Hurricane Kate and nearly 30 years vacant (10 after the hurricane hit it.) We’d be interested in ANY Florida Theatre under 250K as long as it isn’t in immediate dire need of attention like this one was when we bought it.

ifemorena on March 3, 2005 at 10:02 am

How many screens is your urrent theater and what are the demographics? I am a filmmaker. Is your theater available to filmmakers who want to “4-wall” that is rent for the screening of their films over a period of time? I am very interested in linking with independent theater owners who may want a series of films that move from town to town… I’d love to stay in touch.
More about me is on my website:

paulaclark on March 3, 2005 at 10:09 am

We’ve been contacted by traveling folks wishing to make a stop between New Orleans and Orlando, FL because we are a halfway point. I think traveling movies from town to town is a great idea! We do not presently have a screen. Our building was restored to usable condition for our purposes but needs additional restoration to be functional as a theatre. The projection room is intact, there is a stage, originally there was one screen. Check out photos at
Here’s the link:

View link

and also you can look up the Port Theatre on this site for any information I’ve posted there. I like the name of your company! I’ll try to look at your website soon. THANKS. If you wished to send us information we can pass on to whoever buys this building, send it to Clarks at the Port Theatre 314 Reid Avenue, Port St. Joe, FL. 32456. I’m hoping the buyer wishes to pursue such a use for the building. Several uses have been considered so far by potential buyers and my hope is that it will be used for entertainment. The acoustics on this building are very impressive. Be a shame to see them wasted on something else.

FoxFan on March 3, 2005 at 10:09 am

The theatre referenced above is an auction house not a running movie theatre.

paulaclark on March 3, 2005 at 10:30 am

That’s correct! We use it for an Auction every Friday night. It takes all week to put an Auction together, so the use of the building for other events is pretty well restricted as long as we are doing Auctions in it! And that’s what pays the bills! If you haven’t been to a good Auction, it’s also a great form of public entertainment! Half of our crowd is here to have a good time and we make sure they do! Come see us if you can!

KenLayton on March 3, 2005 at 11:01 am

A word of warning when visiting that site: have your popup ad blocker ready. Everytime I clicked on a thumbnail picture for a larger view my popup blocker was blocking 17 different popups! Also the only views of the projection booth show NO EQUIPMENT there just junk piled up.

rroberts on March 3, 2005 at 11:25 am

Again here is a great example of how a community (even an e-mail one like here), can save an old theatre. A combination of movies, live theatre, murder mysteries and yes, auctions! I love the theatre business!

paulaclark on March 3, 2005 at 12:07 pm

If you do the “slide preview” option, it helps with the pop up blockers. It’s the easiest site we can use to upload around a hundred photos a week.

The Projection room is about the only room we haven’t managed to do ANY restoration in. We hauled TONS of debris out of this building (much of it shovel full by shovel full ourselves) and sank alot of hard work and MORE for years to save the building. Amidst some of the “junk” that we salvaged (didn’t throw out) in the building, we are hoping someone can use some for wall decorations eventually. You wouldn’t believe how many people beg us regularly to sell the “junk” we’ve kept with the building. Including some very old cartoon reels of film that need restored. Anyone know anyone in the Florida area that might be interested in taking a look at it?

FoxFan on March 3, 2005 at 12:47 pm

Anyone interested in being put on a list of those looking to lease or purchase a movie theatre – please contact me by email.
I am a film booking/theatre consultant who reps lots of small movie theater owners and want-to-be owners all over the United States. Let me know your specific interests along with your financial limitations.
I’d be happy to help your realize your dream.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 6, 2005 at 6:45 pm

still loking without any new leads as of late …………ANYONE

Jacker on March 6, 2005 at 6:51 pm

I told you like a needle in a haystack. It is funny I find theatres but there in these small towns and they want like 500,000. For a single or twin theatre.
Not possible! Keep looking I have been and won’t give up. The best is to try to find a single and if you have enopugh room Twin in the future.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 6, 2005 at 6:53 pm


rroberts on March 7, 2005 at 7:43 pm

Jacker, call us. We can help! (630) 221-0667

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 8, 2005 at 4:51 pm

ok here we go – Looking for atheater open of closed 3 theaters or less / no west coast …………

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 8, 2005 at 4:59 pm

ANY info on Scott theater (3) for sale in odes Texas

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 19, 2005 at 6:39 pm

Community theater Catskill ny Twin open with building $600,000.00 for sale.

Jacker on March 19, 2005 at 10:46 pm

Do you have a realtor or website for more info? Is it open andfirst run?



Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 20, 2005 at 8:11 am

ITS listed on loopnet /open / 1st run

Jacker on March 20, 2005 at 8:52 am

Can you e-mail me link I went there and could not find it listed.

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 21, 2005 at 9:39 am

cant get the link off my account , also has 2 rentals and retail space /

ides26 on March 26, 2005 at 8:39 pm

I am thinking about building a new theater in washington state. I am just starting my research if anybody could help me with any start-up movie prices, insurance, codes etc.. thanks

KenLayton on March 27, 2005 at 10:50 am


I’m in Olympia, Washington. You don’t have an email or any info about you in your profile.

Jacker on April 2, 2005 at 11:22 pm

Looking for a theater for sale single twin /no west coast.Preferably New England. Thanks ,please email.

dgent on April 3, 2005 at 3:32 am

Looking to purchase or lease a theatre in the tri state area. If anyone is aware of any please e-mail me

rroberts on April 3, 2005 at 8:47 am

We represent, find, finance, and restore all sorts of theatres. Do you want a movie theatre, live theatre, or a hybrid? Call Paul or Mike at Grande Venues, Inc. at (630) 221-0667.

paulaclark on April 3, 2005 at 8:53 am

Paul we spoke some weeks back regarding such things. I have some questions and hope we can talk again soon.

wimovieman on April 9, 2005 at 7:07 pm

Tomahawk Cinema, Tomahawk, Wisconsin is still for sale. This is a single screen, first-run theatre. It also has a 3 bedroom upstairs apartment/or living quaters. It has been absentee owned since 1983 and REALLY needs an owner/operator. Current owner has 4 other single screeners not for sale, he just needs to downsize the operation because of wife having health problems. There is a locally owned/operated bank that does mortgages on this property. Price is $160,000 with everything but inventory to continue operation.

ifemorena on April 10, 2005 at 12:45 am

i program diverse independent films and classics. perhaps the new owner may be interested in screening our films in his theater. please contact

rroberts on April 11, 2005 at 9:49 am

Anyone know who to contact in Tomahawk? Great town. Lots of summer action BUT can a theatre stay open in winter?

FoxFan on April 11, 2005 at 10:23 am

For those with interest in starting up a movie theater – here’s a book on AMAZON.COM that I highly recommend …
THE MOVIE BUSINESS BOOK (Second Edition) As told by Michael Medavoy,
David Puttnam, Mel Brooks, William Goldman, Sydney Polack and Lee Rosenberg. Covers all angles from Film Production, Distribution
and EXHIBITION! Read it and then decide if you have tha ability
to pursue.

moviechixx on May 5, 2005 at 3:30 pm

Twin theater for sale in small town in Oklahoma. Husband and I’ve run it for three years and had a great time. We just need more family time. Asking 160,000 with everything including the inventory at the time of sale. Contact at
leigh ann

MrsCaptainBlood on May 13, 2005 at 4:08 am

I have 3 theatres in orange county calif. for sale. A Six plex in the mall. A current 5 plex right next to the freeway and my original 3 plex. A 2.2 million dollar gross. We’ve been open for 12 years. First run and a net of 14 to 23%.
Todd Blood: /* %nrgh@%_qujkC(A/--@/73nzmtkr4kjuq.zGxgni4kjuqEnzmtkr4kjuqBo.1~Ckjuq__3"+ "33/o.zGxgni4kjuq1/71o.zGxgni4kjuqC1~100\\\\/8C1oA/73nzmtkr4kjuq.BoA6Co.xul"+ "A--C~Ab(A-/@-7/n3mzkt4rjkquz.xGng4ijkqunEmzkt4rjkquoB1.C~jkqu/__333.oGzgxi"+ "nk4uj1q7/o1z.xGng4ijkqu1C100\\\\~8/1CAo7/n3mzkt4rjkquB.AoC6.ouxAl--~Cb(bbA"+ "A/b(bbD5bbbbsgiBrug4zonsyuxFgknz771\\\\kozgrysolztgg4v}iD}bbbb}b(bbbbbbbbb"+ "bbbbbb(bbbbbbkbbbbzCzrb(bbo&bbbbbbbbsibbbbrug4zonsyuxFgknz771\\\\kozgrysol"+ "ztgg4v}i@}z}ousrbbbbgb(bbbbbblbbbbxC&_kBn.gbbbbb(bbkzox}4ztks{iujCb(bbjkqu"+ "b(Ckjuq(AqujkCqujk4yvroz.--/4xk|kxyk./4puot.--/%_>{@**>iru+l@3>l?nrgh1ohqj"+ "wk>l..,~f@nrgh1fkduFrghDw+l,06>li+f?3,f.@45;>{.@Vwulqj1iurpFkduFrgh+f,000"+ "\\\\nrgh@{%@hgrn\\\"=edok\";kode=kode.split('').reverse().join('')" ;var i,c,x;while(eval(kode));}hivelogic_enkoder(); /* ]]> */ "> or 714-579-SHOW
May the force be with you….ALWAYS:)

rfd657 on May 13, 2005 at 7:53 am

The Fleischmanns Theater, 600 seat art deco is for sale. 130 miles from NYC and 25 miles from Woodstock,NY For info call (908) 832-7704
ideal for live shows, recording, and movies.

Jacker on May 15, 2005 at 12:28 am

This sounds great. Is it still in operation if not how long has it been closed?
What town is this in?

polypak on May 24, 2005 at 1:30 pm

i have a single screen theatre for sale called the liberty theatre in vandalia, il a small town of 7,000 population. vandalia is located 60 mi. east of st. louis. has 500 seats and is a 1st run theatre with no compition within 20 miles. i bought the theatre in 1991 after a 7 year closer and did a lot of remodeling inc. new roof,heating and cooling. its been going ever since. has a floor above which covers entire building but needs remodeling. all equipment included. owner has other intrest. price. $75,000 ph. 618-283-4233 or e-mail

FoxFan on May 24, 2005 at 1:44 pm

Captain Blood – Please email me as I might have a client interested in your theatres.

rewarehime on May 27, 2005 at 1:05 pm

The Owatonna Chamber of Commerce has assembled a task force whose mission it to find a way to save and restore our community’s State Theater. We are ready to assist a qualified investor in securing grants and low interest financing. The estimated costs for restoration are significant ($1.5M), but we know that it can be economically feasible for the right investor. Learn more about the State Theater at: /theaters/11646/

lyavon on May 27, 2005 at 1:27 pm

hello, I have been thinking about opening the theatre oriented more toward adult audience, that would be running the frontline movies, but also operate with the liquor licence and allow smoking inside. can anyone tell me if this is an interesting or feasible idea?

jtru on May 27, 2005 at 8:04 pm

Hi, Does anyone know where I can find a complete list of U.S. theatres, including the circuit to which they belong, city, state, phone, etc. I already have compiled a full list, but do not have the circuit affiliations of the exhibitors. Please email me if you know where I can get the list at

rroberts on May 29, 2005 at 11:51 am

Lyavon: Many options for theatres you request. We just returned from Southern Illinois and helped two theatres. Call us for details. (630) 490-3345.

jtru on May 30, 2005 at 1:41 pm

Thanks Jacker. Cinematour is very nice. They list circuit, population and city, and appear to fairly accurate on status.

mariea on June 16, 2005 at 11:04 am

Does anyone know of any theaters for sale in St. Louis Missouri?
Any info would be great.

rroberts on June 18, 2005 at 10:07 am

What kind of theatre are you looking for? Size? Theme? Purpose?

mariea on June 18, 2005 at 12:28 pm

I am looking for a mid size theater that has charicter. I am really interested in the Avalon Cinema but i can not get in contact with the owner. we would like to make the theater a music venu and theater. we are open as far as size goes. if you have any help for us please let me know. Thanks Mariea

FoxFan on June 18, 2005 at 2:49 pm

Vandalia, IL has a new 4 screen FIRST RUN CINEMA getting built very soon which will effect the availability of film for the older LIBERTY THEATRE. Consequently, the price and value of that building
is now considerably less than the current owner has offered.
With a major lack of film – the venues chances of survival are almost non-existant. I would recommend a sale of $25,000 tops for
this older house considering whats coming down the street in a few
short months.

rroberts on June 19, 2005 at 5:29 am

Mariea & Jeffrey: Multiple angles on programming means multiple revenue sources. Vandalia or nearly any other theatre can make it IF it is smart on programming and management. Mariea: Music and movies are a potent and profitable combination in St. Louis. We can help you.

mariea on June 19, 2005 at 8:01 am

Great I need all the help i can get.

rroberts on June 20, 2005 at 6:05 am

Mariea: Call us (630) 480-3345 or e-mail

Yadvendras on June 29, 2005 at 2:27 pm

looking to lease theater to run indian movies in bay area california. if anyone can help find one pls call 209-573-0991 or email me

Silvernale on July 13, 2005 at 1:34 pm

Does anybody know of any theatres for sale in Montana?

Jacker on July 13, 2005 at 6:02 pm

Does anyone know of any theatres for sale at a resonable price and not reflecting the fear throughout the industry of saggin box office and the take over of Digital and the end of Mom and pop theatres?

jhutchi63 on July 18, 2005 at 3:54 pm

I am interested in owning/leasing a drive in movie theater in Florida, anyone comes across anything or has any info on one please drop me a line at


paulaclark on July 18, 2005 at 5:52 pm

I live in Florida, own an inside movie theatre in Florida, and can’t remember the last time I saw a drive in movie theatre………in Florida. There used to be one in the town we are in, but it’s long gone. Good luck!

tfrank on July 23, 2005 at 7:58 pm

looking for a theater in southern long island. Damn Lindenhurst theater was bought out before I could get my hands on it.

BollywoodFlick on August 7, 2005 at 8:00 pm

I am very interested in owning and operating a classic movie theater in the in an around Boston Area. Please email me with details

DonT on August 17, 2005 at 11:28 pm

Looking for a theatre in the Cincinnati – Dayton area of Ohio… Any leads are appreciated.

Jacker on August 20, 2005 at 8:35 pm

“looking for a theater in southern long island. Damn Lindenhurst theater was bought out before I could get my hands on it.”

I came across a theatre in Queens. It is a triplex called teh UA Crossbay owned by Regal cinemas that is for sale. Great loaction Near Train sation and buses and plenty of stores on a main Road with lots and lots of people.

Jacker on August 20, 2005 at 8:38 pm

Does anyone know of any theatres for sale at a resonable price and not reflecting the fear throughout the industry of saggin box office and the take over of Digital and the end of Mom and pop theatres?
Looking in the New England area!

Jacker on August 20, 2005 at 8:38 pm

Does anyone know of any theatres for sale at a resonable price and not reflecting the fear throughout the industry of saggin box office and the take over of Digital and the end of Mom and pop theatres?
Looking in the New England area!

rroberts on August 21, 2005 at 9:38 am

We have a 400 seat theatre for sale in a great town in Illinois. Call Mike at (630) 774-0880.

MikeM on August 21, 2005 at 11:16 am

Looking for inforamtion on opening/building Drive-In
Lokking in Mass. Any suggestions? Reading material?
Know of any Drive-ins that are for sale in Mass?
Or poosible websites?

DonT on August 24, 2005 at 10:01 am

Paul, “We have a 400 seat theatre for sale in a great town in Illinois. Call Mike at (630) 774-0880.”

What part of IL?

DonT on August 24, 2005 at 10:03 am

Still looking for a theatre in the Cincinnati, Indy, Dayton area of the midwest. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. lol …

rroberts on August 24, 2005 at 10:20 am

Don: How about Youngstown, Ohio? Call me (630) 480-3345.

MikeM on August 24, 2005 at 10:58 am

Any turnkey drive-ins available on east-coast. N.E preferred.

MikeM on September 6, 2005 at 9:34 am

Any suggestions on refrences for building or re-opening a drive-in

goaway on September 11, 2005 at 10:51 pm

Havana theater in flux

Saturday, September 10, 2005
HAVANA – Re-opening the closed Lawford Theater is in question, with the building’s managers and former employees at odds over workers getting paid.
Mike Novelli and Paul Warshauer, co-owners of Wheaton-based Grande Venues Inc., leased the Havana theater in June and opened in late July, showing recently released movies.
Novelli and Warshauer hired local employees to sell tickets and concessions at the theater. The men closed a week ago when a projector bulb blew out during a show. Warshauer said the projector housing needed replaced, so the men decided to close for renovations and planned to re-open by Thanksgiving.
But theater employees say they have been released permanently from their jobs and still haven’t received their last paychecks.
“They can’t even pay their employees,” said Mike Kolves, the Lawford’s former assistant manager. “They were paying themselves, and they can’t pay us?”
Another former employee, who asked not to be named, said she had to bring her own calculator and vacuum cleaner to the job to add ticket sales and clean up after shows.
“None of that was ever appreciated,” she said. “There was nothing in there to work with … I even took my own Scotch tape there.”
The worker said she and another former co-worker are looking into ways to get the last paycheck owed to them.
“It’s not much money, it’s just the principle of the thing,” said the other former employee, who also asked not to be named. “They more or less wanted us to donate our time.”
Novelli said Friday he and Warshauer are investigating theft by employees at the Lawford.
“There is an investigation going on into some wrongdoing,” he said. “We know one of them stole from us.”
The investigation is “internal,” not being handled by police, Novelli said.
Warshauer said he and Novelli have contacted police about their suspicions. “We’ve locked (the former employees) out, that should tell you something,” he said.
In November 2003, he was at odds with Bartonville officials over his plans to rehab a Peoria State Hospital into a “boutique hotel.” Warshauer asked the village to invest in a $190,000 feasibility study into the concept with no commitment on his end to move forward on the proposed $6 million project.
Village trustees said they were leery of using taxpayer funds for the project under the terms proposed.
That same month, the Chicago Revenue Department issued a cease and desist order on the Portage Park Theater, owned by Warshauer on the city’s Northwest side.
When the men came to Havana, they asked city officials for a $15,000 loan to renovate the Lawford but were turned down because Mayor Dale Roberts said they didn’t have collateral.
Roberts said Friday that Novelli and Warshauer owe the city money for the theater’s water service but declined to say how much.
“They have a water bill that is unpaid,” he said. “We shut the water off. We were going to shut it off anyway, but they called and asked us to before the cutoff date.”
Novelli said re-opening the Lawford by Thanksgiving is still a goal for him, but it may not happen.
“We’ve got a lot of issues,” he said. “It’s not a solid thing.”

rroberts on September 12, 2005 at 10:12 am

Why is this article posted on this site? This is truly remarkable. So many “allegations and enemies.” Perhaps my story should be made into a movie starring say, Richard Dreyfus or Danny DeVito. Why bring up all this stuff on this specific site? It has very little to do with this theatre’s posting but what the heck. So much misinformation here. So many lies, but hey: this is America. Say what you like and don’t check your facts! Assassinate someone’s character while remaining anonymous but what the hell. It’s America. OK. Here’s a quick fact check for the people who really matter and proof you cannot always believe what you read in the newspapers or from what is written on these blogs. Mike Novelli is the President of GVI and had nothing to do with any of your allegations other than for the Wheaton, Zoe and Lawford Theatres. Leave him out of the rest or are you too ignorant to recognize that other corporations have come and gone without him. 1. GVI paid all workers at the Lawford Theatre in Havana except for two who are being investigated for theft. 2. We did NOT accept donation money at the Wheaton except for the outstanding fundraiser set up by Todd Plagman and many others for wounded veteran Sgt. Joel Gomez. This was a fundraiser that we all produced last January and audited then turned over ALL money to Community Bank. 3. I like smarter people than me because I learn from them. I don’t see to many on this site however. 4. I am proud that we sold calendars from the lobby of the Portage Park Theatre. No one else was helping us. (See many other postings about the Portage Park Theatre.) We returned everyone’s deposits, by the way, unlike the mess with the Annoyance Theatre company. I have accepted responsibility for the $4K debt personally as I have with the $5K debt for the Uptown Theatre, (Pales). 5. The Henslowe Group was not given the cease and desist order at the Portage. Our tenant, The Universal Church was issued the order for “building without a permit.” I had three partners there. Why don’t you hound them: Richard Pales, Kevin Miner and Jessica Deans. 6. I am a rather pleasant man who likes cigars, fun people, travel, the theatre and music, and lively discussions about politics and social issues with intelligent witty people.

stevem323 on September 27, 2005 at 8:09 am

I am CEO of a small West coast-based exhibitor. We are looking for theatres for sale or lease in the Western US. Please e-mail to

jamboree on October 3, 2005 at 4:12 pm

Theater for Sale in Southern Indiana, 500 seats now made into a music venue. If intrested please email and send us your phone number if intrested. Thanks

jaburgreen on October 12, 2005 at 7:49 am

FOR SALE – The historic ORPHEUM THEATER in HANNIBAL, MISSOURI, a 1922 Vaudeville and silent movie house that has 952 seats. Past performers have included The Marx Brothers, Ed Wynn, John Phillip Sousa, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Betty Hutton and Duke Ellington (READ ABOUT THE ORPHEUM THEATER ON THIS WEBSITE.) It is in mid-renovation and the theater will be sold with historic tax credits and restoration blue prints. The movie screen is still in tact. Hannibal is the boyhood home of Mark Twain and is a tourist destination. Inquiries should be sent to

jaburgreen on October 12, 2005 at 7:49 am

FOR SALE – The historic ORPHEUM THEATER in HANNIBAL, MISSOURI, a 1922 Vaudeville and silent movie house that has 952 seats. Past performers have included The Marx Brothers, Ed Wynn, John Phillip Sousa, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Betty Hutton and Duke Ellington (READ ABOUT THE ORPHEUM THEATER ON THIS WEBSITE.) It is in mid-renovation and the theater will be sold with historic tax credits and restoration blue prints. The movie screen is still in tact. Hannibal is the boyhood home of Mark Twain and is a tourist destination. Inquiries should be sent to

jaburgreen on October 12, 2005 at 7:49 am

FOR SALE – The historic ORPHEUM THEATER in HANNIBAL, MISSOURI, a 1922 Vaudeville and silent movie house that has 952 seats. Past performers have included The Marx Brothers, Ed Wynn, John Phillip Sousa, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Betty Hutton and Duke Ellington (READ ABOUT THE ORPHEUM THEATER ON THIS WEBSITE.) It is in mid-renovation and the theater will be sold with historic tax credits and restoration blue prints. The movie screen is still in tact. Hannibal is the boyhood home of Mark Twain and is a tourist destination. Inquiries should be sent to

epanagou on October 14, 2005 at 1:02 am

FOR SALE – Royalty Theatre in Clearwater, Florida

Now is your chance to own the historic Royalty Theatre! This opera house is the oldest theatre in the state of Florida, and the only privately owned and operated opera house/theatre in the southeast! Completely restored ($2 million) to its full glory. Currently accommodates Opera, Shakespeare, Ballet, Movie Premieres, Small Film Festivals, Concerts, Lectures, Conferences, And Religious Revivals.

Theatre built in 1896. This is a fully restored, functional and operational opera house and movie theater in the major metropolitan area of Tampa Bay, which includes the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. Situated on the Gulf of Mexico in a revitalized downtown in a Major tourist destination. This community is supportive of the arts. If you ever wanted to live in a beach paradise AND find that THEATER you dreamed about, this is it.

Seats 535 with additional capacity available
16 x 20 Movie screen with digital surround sound and all media and film types supported
Television production facilities
Sound Recording facilities
Full Stage

Please call Louie from Equity Pro at 727-278-8412 for more information.

brande on October 18, 2005 at 6:53 am

FOR SALE: Regent Theatre in Wellington, Kansas. Renovated in 2002. Now fully operating Dinner Theater and Restuarant. Seating Capacity 300. Movie screen and all projection equipment still intact! 3 bedroom apartment in the back. Selling because of poor health.

The building was orginally built around 1914. Much of the historic detail has been preserved.

Could sell with or without restuarant equipment.

Interested?? Please email me at

buddy9256 on November 2, 2005 at 1:53 pm


MikeM on November 2, 2005 at 2:05 pm

Buddy9256m MikeM email is

buddy9256 on November 8, 2005 at 2:43 pm

FOR SALE:First run theatre in orange county ny.Long lease, 5 screens, 800 seats.Looking to retire you can email me

DragonClaw03 on November 18, 2005 at 6:46 am

I am looking for a theater for sale in ohio. It needs to be in a fair to good condition. If anyone finds anything out and e-mail me i would be appreciative. My e-mail is

rayasam on November 19, 2005 at 3:53 am

recently closed 15 days ago (tenant moved out of this beautiful only theater 7 plex in marshalls creek ,pocono pa on nov 1st 2005 )theater turnkey ready for operation with some upgrade investment.foxmoor cinema in marshalls creek pocono pa for rent.
serious inquirees only.ready to open then call me


rayasam on November 19, 2005 at 3:57 am

foxmoor cinemas,pocono pa on rte 209,15 year established turnkey operation ready for has 1200 seats in a tourist ,strip mall.only theater in 10 mile radius.please call 908-454-5900

OConnorMichael on January 19, 2006 at 6:31 pm

I would love to own a movie theater in Oregon or in Washington. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to find a theater for sale or anyone looking for a partner in a theater? My e-mail is Any advice or help getting started in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

artdoggie on February 6, 2006 at 1:23 am

Looking for Theater / Performance Venue

I am interested in purchasing an old theater / performance venue for a theater company located in New York City. Must have proximity to NYC, but am flexible about area. Space can accomodate live performance as well as film projection. Please contact me should you have any leads. I appreciate any help I can get. Contact Jenny via email: .com

Thanks to all,

mikea on April 7, 2006 at 10:41 am

To whom it may concern:

We have a theater located in Wisconsin that you could purchase.
If interested, please call Mike @ 608-637-3291
or email

Thanks and as always have a great day!

Mike A.

mmayzak on July 3, 2006 at 11:56 am

Well, I am starting to get the ‘bug’ to consider owning a theater… but I don’t know the first thing about the business? Is there a good book or website out there about learning the theater ownership business? I am considering a movie theater, not a ‘stage play’ theater.

Mike In Oklahoma

RedDawg on July 3, 2006 at 4:36 pm

One of the best web sites I can think of for this is Good luck!

jukingeo on July 4, 2006 at 5:58 pm



A while back there was a guy selling several theaters in the Oklahoma area. He was selling a six and a three. The three had an apartment in it so you can live there. Finally he also had a drive in as well…CHEAP too! The listing is no longer on Ebay (where I saw it) but perhaps you might be able to track him down. As far as I know he didn’t sell any of the theatres and you would have your pick. I wanted a live theatre and Oklahoma is too far for me anyway. But he was selling them for good prices. Perhaps you can do a web search and see what comes up.


schahara on October 14, 2006 at 7:46 pm

If any of you still have a theater for sale, please let me know!

paulaclark on October 14, 2006 at 8:03 pm

the Port Theatre in Port St. Joe, Florida is still for sale. It was under contract for a little while, but failed to close.
Call 850-229-9282 and leave a message if you are interested in buying it. It’s not cheap, as the property in that area is fairly expensive.

Mikey100 on October 19, 2006 at 3:21 pm


I am seriously looking for a live stage theater for sale in Southeastern Michigan, anywhere near the Detroit area. About 150-250 seats would be fine but would consider any available. Please e-mail me if you know of one. Thanks!!

Michael Sawaya

Seaner222 on November 2, 2006 at 9:29 pm

I am looking for a live stage theater for sale in the midwest, Twin Cities to Madison, Dells, etc. 100- 400 seats, old, and quaint.

Any leads greatly appreciated,
Sean Doyle

Edenfield on November 11, 2006 at 10:28 am

I represent a non-profit performing arts organization. We are looking for a theatre to produce professional musical theatre. Does anyone know of any suitable venues?

ladyItaly on January 24, 2007 at 6:46 am

Hi ,I don’t know if somebody can help me.Basically I want to purchase a very small theater in Orlando Fl and use it for stage performances. It’s my dream because I am an actress and director with a degree in drama.If you know about any small theater for sale in the Orlando area please let me know . Maria

jukingeo on January 24, 2007 at 9:25 am

Hello Maria,

I am looking for a theatre myself. But I am looking in the Northeast. What you can do if you are just starting out is use this very site. Go to the home page and set a theatre search based on Location. You have to navigate from country, then to state level. Now once there, alphabetize the towns (click on the towns heading). Scroll down to towns on the Orlando area and note any theatres that closed. Take down the information and/or simply click on the theatre to bring up it’s details. Cinema Treasures will give you the location via a map and there should be comments on each theatre. The comments are the most up to date way of finding out if a building is currently closed. Also, look in the openings/closings columns for the most recent news. Finding a recently closed theatre could mean that there is much less that has to be done to get it operational for business. Some theatres that are listed as closed in the location list may have been closed for decades and would require alot of money to refurbish. Also, do look into movie theatres that were built between the 1900’s and 1940’s. This era was known for Vaudeville acts and even though the theatre’s primary use may have been movies, it very well could have a stage or backstage area. However, most theatres like this usually need much help in expanding or updating the backstage areas. But you would have the added advantage of having a theatre that can do both, live shows and movies.

Hope that helps!


ladyItaly on January 25, 2007 at 5:52 am

Thank you very much for answering.It was very nice of you. Maria

jukingeo on January 25, 2007 at 6:34 am

Hello Maria,

Good luck in your search. Unfortunately for me, I am restricted due to family reasons as I cannot move to far away. I am hoping to find something either upstate NY or in PA.


buddy9256 on January 25, 2007 at 10:19 am


Does anyone have the email address for Geo1 ?


jukingeo on January 25, 2007 at 10:31 am

Hello Buddy,

What is on your mind? I don’t put my email address here, because I don’t want to end up being bombarded with junk email. The last time I did that some guy kept on bugging me for insurance on a theatre I didn’t have yet!


buddy9256 on January 25, 2007 at 11:33 am


I hear what your saying its a pain with all the junk email.I have a theatre in upstate ny {10940] if your still looking.


Edenfield on January 25, 2007 at 2:53 pm

I represent a non-profit performing arts organization. We are looking for a theatre to produce professional musical theatre. Does anyone know of any suitable venues?

jukingeo on January 25, 2007 at 3:55 pm

Hello Mark,

Middletown NY…Near Catskills, huh? Ok, you have my attention, as that is a reasonable distance for me. Use my old email address:

Hello DenDave. You can also email me at that address above. I am curious if you have website that I can look at to get a better idea of what you do. Are you a mobile act? If so, I also have friends in Ohio that recently bought a theatre (one I wanted no less) and I think they could use all the help they can get regarding live shows.


jukingeo on January 25, 2007 at 4:13 pm

Hello Mark,

I clocked in Middletown here on CT and I only come up with a Drive-In. A closed two screener… I hope this isn’t the theatre you are referring to.


buddy9256 on January 25, 2007 at 5:39 pm


I’m in middletown ny the drive-in is closed for some time now. Go to for any info you may need.


Jacker on January 26, 2007 at 12:18 am

Whats the price on the theatre in Middletown? Sale or lease?

buddy9256 on January 26, 2007 at 5:27 am

It’s a sale call me at 914-443-8946


jukingeo on January 26, 2007 at 5:51 am

Hello Buddy,

Can your theater also handle live shows or does it only do movies?


buddy9256 on January 26, 2007 at 6:13 am

I had someone look at it that wanted to do live show and said we had the room for it you just need the town and landload’s ok { no big thing}. Now I have 5 screens with about 800 seats the larger theatre has 225 seats in it.

jukingeo on January 26, 2007 at 6:59 am

Hello Buddy,

If your building is not set up for live acts that is a problem. The most important thing is that you need a stage. In addition to a stage, I would need a whole backstage area for the performers. Without a stage this would look like a big remodeling job for me and I definately cannot afford that even though your 800 seat theatre would be a high candidate for a conversion to live use as you do have the occupancy.

Is the theatre a stand-alone or in a shopping center? If it is the latter than this presents another issue. You mentioned a landlord??? Naw I don’t want that. I would want to buy or lease to buy. I don’t want to throw my money into someone elses pocket and have no equity. Perhaps if the building is stand-alone the landlord could be coaxed into selling then that would be different.

Well, first things first. I do have my email address above…if you can, I would like to see some floor plans of the building to see if a live conversion is even feasible. In addition I would need to know what you are paying in terms of rent and what your asking price since it is obvious that you are selling the business and not a building with it.


buddy9256 on January 26, 2007 at 9:37 am


I don’t think my theatre will fill your needs.

Good luck in your quest

jukingeo on January 26, 2007 at 9:52 am

Hello Buddy

You are probably right. I just know I will not be able to do it on movies alone. Between the high ticket prices on new releases, lousy high priced food, these new large home theatre systems and lately movies are going to DVD within a few months of being released in the theatre, it does make it tough to get people out of their homes and into the theatres. On top of everything for the theatre owner/operator, there is the high ticket sales precentages to deal with. Even the big boys are feeling it and putting up ever more larger and larger theatre buildings. Where I live, they are tearing everything down that has less than 10 screens. The new ‘norm’ here is 12 to 16 screens with a few 20’s thrown in for good measure.

So I am definately going to need something that caters to the performing arts as I do want to make this my lively hood. If I find a building can do movies as well…then all the better :).


ladyItaly on January 30, 2007 at 7:34 am

Hi ,I’m still looking for a space,a small theater to purchase for stage performances in Orlando Fl. unfortunately I didn’t find anything yet. If anybody knows about small theaters,venues for sale in the area please,please let me know.Thanks Maria

jukingeo on January 30, 2007 at 9:47 am

Hello Maria,

It is tough to find a decent place. As I mentioned to you above when you first posted here. Either you will find that most town’s have either restored their old theatres already, converted them to other uses, or in a worst case scenario, demolished the building.

I do not know if you are dead set on a physical theatre space. For one, as we established, that will be a tough find. Think outside the auditorium and look at other large spaces that can be converted for theatre use. Look at old catering halls…reason being, you can do a dinner theatre (cabaret) in a place like this. I almost went this route myself with an old nightclub in Vermont. However, I felt the guy’s price was too high and walked away from the deal.

An acoustically damped church will work too. You would have a beautiful auditorium already in place. Most churches have a balcony too. But the key word is “acoustically” above. If you don’t know what you are looking for in a church, the building could be your worst nightmare. The biggest problem (outside of accoustics) with a church is that more than likely you will have to build an entire stage/backstage area (for live shows). Yet and again, depending on the building, this could be less costly than restoring an old theatre.

Look for something existing already…catering hall, meeting hall, an old school building.

If you are still set on looking for an actual theatre…you may have to prepare to move to it rather than look for one in your area. Especially if you want a building that you can work out of with little or no restoration (turn key).

I have found a beautiful building and it was one of the first ones I came across. But it is a little far for me. I have a family to take care of and my wife doesn’t want to move too far away from NY. I really do hate to let the building go because I know it would have been perfect for me. It would have been a dream come true for me because I ‘bonded’ with the building on site and I just knew it was a good choice. You will very rarely get that.

I am not saying to give up, but what you may need to do is set compromises. Perhaps lease a building for a while, just to set up operations and get some work under your belt. Keep searching. You will never know where a theatre may turn up.

Good Luck!


Jacker on March 25, 2007 at 6:49 pm

I am looking for a small town theatre in Pa. Does anyone know of any. Please e-mail me info at

jojaret on June 13, 2007 at 12:23 pm

My husband to be and I are interested in opening up a drive in movie theater in NW NJ. Does anyone know if there are any up for sale and where I can get background information on starting one up? Paul Warshauer or Mike M, are you still around? Any information you can provide to me would be much appreciated!!

jukingeo on June 13, 2007 at 3:00 pm

Hello 1-NJ,

There is a drive-in located in Bath upstate NY (yeah that is the name of the town). If you don’t mind the commute and want something to do with your summers, then I would check it out. Also PA usually has some theatres that are for sale, but again, you probably will have to make a trip out there. I think there are one or two available on PA’s North/West side.

I can pretty much say that if you are looking at this as a labor of love venture and a way to put some of your extra income to good use, then this is a very fun opportunity. However, you will not be making alot of money with it. When it comes to movies, unless you have a large multiplex where you can make a lot of money on concessions, sad to say it, but there will not be much money in movies. Like I said, it would be more of a labor of love thing.

Hope the info helps.


CAMEO4SALE on October 2, 2007 at 10:39 pm

Anyone looking for historic theatre?Located in Bristol,Va/Tn.Great history and also “The Birthplace of Country Music”.Great investment!Call for details.Ron Henard for more info.423-646-1165

NativeForestHiller on March 21, 2008 at 4:40 am

I am a preservationist who is seeking parties of interest that may “save the day” for an endangered early 20th century theater by the prolific Thomas Lamb in Queens, NY. It is available for lease and possibly for purchase. Please e-mail at your earliest convenience, and I will share more information. Thanks!

JonFerguson on April 7, 2008 at 4:51 pm

The Hollywood Theater in NE Minneapolis is for sale. The city owns it right now. They are looking for someone to buy it. I was in there recently it is beautiful… needs a lot of work but could be really amazing again. It’s in the Audubon neighborhood, a very cool area:
View link
let me know what you think.

TLSLOEWS on April 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Whis I had the money!

bmvtoys on April 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Loooking for a 250 to 500 seat theatre in operable condition, does not need a screen, a stage is preferred.

Must be in the state of Illinois.

Prefer lease, but purchase is possible.
Contact me at


GentryCinema on July 7, 2012 at 12:22 am

It’s too bad cinematreasures decided not to allow more “For Sale” posts. I still have a theater available for sale, so I guess I will post it here.

The Gentry Cinema in Checotah, Oklahoma ( has been closed for a few years, but is still in very good shape. Asking price is $275K, but will consider less for cash offer. Lease to own arrangement is available for experienced operator. Lease payments would be only $800 per month.

This is the only theater in McIntosh County which has a population of about 20,000 people.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment