The latest movie theater news and updates

  • July 15, 2002

    Today’s Newsreel

    HINSDALE, IL — Four local contractors, who are part of the $4.5 million restoration of the Hinsdale Theater, are seeking $750,000 in donated services by suppliers and subcontractors to ensure the completion of the project. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the theater plans to reopen later this month.

    Read the Chicago Business story

    YUBA CITY, CA — The owner of the Sutter Cinema 3 is planning to demolish the original Art Deco movie house in order to erect a new 12-screen, 2500-seat multiplex in its place. According to the Appeal-Democrat, the sticking points are the increased traffic it would bring to downtown and the lack of area parking.

    The head of the Downtown Business Association is already on record as saying that “the theater will fuel economic growth downtown”, and the city is eyeing the redevelopment project as the beginning of an overall rehabilitation of the downtown shopping area.

    BAKERSFIELD, CA — The Crest Drive-In, which has been closed since 1998, may meet the wrecking ball soon, according to a report in The Bakersfield Californian. The owners are ignoring the recent upswing in the popularity of drive-ins and are instead planning to raze the 1963 theater to create a new RV park.

    The Crest is the last of five area drive-ins including The Terrace, the Highway 99, the DeAnza, and the South Chester.

  • July 12, 2002

    New Photos: US Theaters

    With today’s selection of new theater photos, featuring movie houses from around the United States, Cinema Treasures now lists more than 1200 images!

    The new photos include stunning views of three Fresno movie houses — the Tower Theater, Warnor’s, and the (former) Crest — courtesy of Andreas Fuchs. Additional shots courtesy of Grant Smith, Bryan Krefft, the Minnesota Historical Society, Jay Carollo/Kendall Natvig, and Dan Kaiser.

    Browse new photos

    Have a great weekend!

  • July 11, 2002

    Hinsdale Theater Hosting Classic Movie Series As Fundraiser

    HINSDALE, IL — The Hinsdale Theater has announced a new series of classic film screenings to benefit the ongoing restoration of the 1920s movie house. According to the Chicago Tribune, the series will commence this Friday night at 7:00 p.m. with a showing of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”

    Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $7 for children with all of the proceeds going to the theater’s operation. The series will continue weekly until August 16th and additional film series may run after that date featuring the works of Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen.

    The Hinsdale Theater Foundation has already raised $1 million of the necessary $4.5 million total to complete interior and exterior modifications. The Hinsdale Theater opened in 1925, showed its final film in 1996, and closed in 1999. The Hinsdale will reopen as a cinema and performing arts center when restorations are completed.

    (Thanks to Bryan Krefft for the news!)

  • July 10, 2002

    New Photos: International Theaters

    We’ve just added a brand new batch of theater photos from Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, and England! Special thanks to Augustine Heng and Ian Grundy for another wonderful group of new and vintage images.

    Browse new photos

    Our theater count has now exceeded 2400 “Cinema Treasures”!

    Browse new theaters

  • Chicago’s Esquire Theatre Sold; Future Unknown

    CHICAGO, IL — The Esquire Theatre is slated to be sold next month to a real estate developer, according to the Chicago Tribune, and its future as a movie house is now anything but certain. The 1938 Art Moderne movie house is currently operated as a six-screen multiplex by Loews Cineplex.

    The sale to Mark Hunt for $13.5 million is scheduled to be completed in advance of a new 21-screen AMC megaplex opening nearby. The imminent doom of the remaining smaller movie houses in the area has already claimed the once popular McClurg Court and is now threatening the Esquire after almost 65 years of exhibition.

    There is still a chance that the Esquire could remain in operation and perhaps become the anchor for a larger retail and entertainment complex. Alternately, the theater may be torn down and converted for any number of uses including a hotel, office and residential space, or for retail use.

    We’ll keep you posted …

    (Thanks to Michael Garay and Bryan Krefft for the news.)

  • July 9, 2002

    Vote To Save And Restore El Paso’s Plaza Theater

    EL PASO, TX — El Paso’s local NBC affiliate, KTSM-TV Channel 9, is conducting an online poll to gauge community support of the city’s proposed $13 million infusion to the $26 million restoration of the historic Plaza Theater. The results of the poll will be broadcast tonight on their evening news and can help continue the growing momentum to restore this beloved, but closed, “Cinema Treasure”.

    The gorgeous atmospheric Plaza opened in 1930 and was narrowly saved from demolition in 1987. It was previously selected as part of the “Save America’s Treasures” program and is in the midst of a large fundraising campaign to restore and reopen the 2000-seat theater.

    Along with the city funding, the El Paso Community Foundation is proposing to assist El Paso in the following ways: commiting to raising $12 million for the project; donating the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ which once graced the theater (it was restored in 1998); and donating an adjacent building (Centre Annex Building) to be integrated into the operations of the Plaza Theatre. This building would contain a restaurant facility, event ballroom/children’s theater and a roof-top patio garden for community events.

    Vote Now!

    (Thanks to Roman Herrington/EPCF!)

  • Uptown Theatre Raising Funds For Purchase And Restoration

    The Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts is begining the first of eight fundraising events this week to raise at least $4 million by October 5th when its option to buy the historic movie palace would expire. Estimates for the theater’s restorations range between $18 – 30 million.

    According to Crain’s Chicago Business, “The group will also host the first public tours of the structure in more than two decades later this summer as part of the fund-raising drive.”

    Read the Crain’s Chicago Business Article
    Read more about the Uptown Theatre
    Visit the Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts website

    (Thanks to Michael Beyer and the UTCA.)

  • Ventnor Twin Profiled In Philly Inquirer

    VENTNOR, NJ — The Philadelphia Inquirer recently featured the reopened Ventnor Twin Theater and profiled its success in bringing in patrons to this beachside community. Ventnor sits adjacent to an area once filled with movie palaces, Atlantic City.

    Once teeming with theaters along its boardwalk, and with several prominent movie houses in the outlying towns, the Atlantic City area has but three movie theaters left with the Ventnor Twin the only one with historical significance.

    The Art Deco theater opened in 1938 and was later converted into a twin in the 1960s. It closed several years ago, but was recently reopened by a man who works maintaining movie theaters.

    Read the Philadelphia Inquirer story

    (Thanks to George Quirk for the update!)

  • July 8, 2002

    Aero Theater Reportedly In Danger

    SANTA MONICA, CA — We’ve just received this report in from local resident Jody Hummer regarding the historic Aero Theater located on Santa Monica’s fashionable Montana Avenue:

    There’s a sign that says ‘Save the Aero’ on the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. The owner says Robert Redford [who grew up attending the Aero as a kid] and Sundance, who were reported to be interested in saving the theater for independent film, have “pulled out.” We don’t know the details yet.

    I stopped by yesterday and Chris, the operator, said the Aero is hanging on by a thread and may have to leave next month. If you are in the LA area, go see a film here soon or send letters of support to:

    The Aero Theater
    1328 Montana Ave.
    Santa Monica, CA 90403

    (310) 395-4990

    Built by the Donald Douglas Company in 1939, the Aero Theater was originally opened as a continuous 24-hour movie theater for aircraft workers who operated in shifts around the clock. It later became a beloved neighborhood theater and has anchored the now posh Montana Avenue section of Santa Monica.

  • Today’s Newsreel

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The historic Castro Theatre is holding its annual Silent Film Festival next Saturday and Sunday featuring live piano and organ accompaniement on the theater’s Mighty Wurlitzer. Tickets are $10 and $12 and can be purchased at the theater, by phone at (415) 478-2277, or online at

    The Castro opened in 1921 and continues to be a massively popular art and repertory movie house. It was renovated in 2001.

    Read the San Francisco Chronicle article

    LARNED, KS —

    The old State Theatre reopened last Friday showing “Spider-Man” in its second-run with a theater full of volunteers running the show. According to the Lawrence Journal World/AP, the State had been closed for two years before being purchased by a non-profit organization for $90,000.

    The theater was recently renovated and its famous neon marquee is still being repaired with plans to reinstall it in the near future. The State is the only theater in this small town of 4,200 residents and originally opened in the late 1940s.

    NEW YORK, NY —

    The world famous Apollo Theater will be closed from January to August 2003 for a massive renovation project that will not only return a little luster to the aging vaudeville house, but will enable its supporters and directors to begin a multi-year project aimed at converting the famous theater into “a major cultural and performing arts center.”

    According to the Journal News/AP, plans for the Apollo call for a $250 million renovation and expansion effort that will house the original theater, the nearby Victoria Theater, a restaurant, a multiplex, a recording studio, and retail space. The project is aimed at continuing and expanding Harlem’s recent revitalization.