The latest movie theater news and updates
July 3, 2002
NORFOLK, VA — Local real estate developer Bobby Wright has paid $600,000 for the long-shuttered Granby Theater in hopes of reopening the old movie house. According to the Virginian-Pilot, the 1,000 seat theater has been closed since 1987 and is still in relatively good shape.
Possible uses for the Granby include a dinner theater a la the Commodore Theatre in nearby Portsmouth. To that end, Wright is negotiating with Commodore owner Fred Schoenfeld to help out on the movie side of the business. Wright is also eyeing dancing, first-run and classic films, and hosting smaller concerts than Norfolk’s Norva Theater.
According to the Virginian-Pilot, the original Granby Theater opened in 1915 in another spot down the street. The current incarnation opened in 1923 and became part of the Fabian Theaters chain in 1967 and renamed the Lee Theater.
As residents moved away from downtown and into the suburbs, the Lee survived on a steady diet of adult films. In 1976, the theater was purchased again and renamed the Granby Mall Cinema showing family movies. When one of the owners died in 1987, the theater doors were shut for good … until now.
July 2, 2002
We’ve added a great new collection of international movie houses from England, Greece, Singapore, Scotland, and Australia. Our deepest appreciation to Ian Grundy for our rapidly growing UK cinema section and special thanks to Augustine Heng and Andrew Mason.
Highlights of today’s photos include the outdoor Cine Manto in Mykonos Town, Greece, the giant proscenium arch of the Empire in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, and the colorful exterior of the Bedok 1 & 2 in Singapore.
TACOMA, WA — The Tacoma Mall Twin Theatre is closing this month after almost 35 years of delighting area audiences, according to a report in the News-Tribune/yellowBrix.
The former single-screen cinema opened in 1968 at a cost of $1 million and was the first hard-top built in 40 years when it opened. The News-Tribune wrote at the time that the Tacoma was ‘Grauman’s, the Cathay Circle, Hollywood Boulevard and London Airport all wrapped into one and brought up to date.’
In 1974, it was split into a duplex and renamed the Tacoma Mall Twins creating a 700-seat and a 400-seat theater out of the large 1200-seat auditorium. Over the years, the construction of multiplexes and megaplexes damaged the vitality of the theater.
With Loews Cineplex abandoning the theater later this month, the Tacoma Mall is now in negotiations with several chains regarding the construction of a new restaurant in its place.
Another 60s movie palace appears lost forever…
HOUSTON, TX — The Delman Theater was demolished last month along with an adjacent strip of retail space, according to the Houston Business Journal. The theater was not a locally or nationally registered landmark, but it had been on the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance’s “Endangered Buildings” list.
After years as a movie house, the Delman Theater was converted for live performances, but finally closed in the mid-1990s. Tivoli Realty, which owned the building, believes the property will be worth more now without the decaying theater which had been damaged by two previous fires.
July 1, 2002
OCALA, FL — The Ocala City Council has created a new task force to find a use for the historic Marion Theatre “using the least amount of public dollars.” According to the Star-Banner, the theater has been closed since January and is being eyed for a possible makeover into a cultural arts center as part of downtown Ocala’s revitalization.
SAN DIEGO, CA — The last Mann theater in the San Diego area has closed with the theater circuit ending its lease on the Mann Hazard Center 7 in Mission Valley. According to the Union-Tribune, Madstone Theatres will take over the 7-plex which opened in 1990. The theater will reopen on August 2nd after numerous enhancements and renovations.
DELAND, FL — Supporters and local residents are becoming increasingly impatient with the long overdue restoration of the Athens Theatre. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that the $4 million project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2001, but the theater will open no earlier than 2004.
The Athens restoration has been hampered by structural problems and budget overruns. $1.8 million has already been spent to date on construction.
TUSCALOOSA, AL — Gail Skidmore, who helped turn a crumbling Bama Theatre in the 1970s into a popular arts center and community anchor, died on Friday at the age of 65.
According to the Tuscaloosa News, when Skidmore took over as the Executive Director of the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, “the [theater’s] roof was leaking, the boiler was blowing, and the seats and walls were peeling, [but] Skidmore looked up and saw blue skies.”
Following its restoration and renovation into a live theater venue, the Bama was home to the Tuscaloosa Symphony, Theatre Tuscaloosa, and Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre shows, amongst other events and performers. Skidmore retired in 1998 with much of the theater’s continued success attributed to her hard work.
One year after she departed, Theatre Tuscaloosa built its own home in 1999 and the Bama returned to its roots showing film. Its Silver Screen Series continues today showing independent, foreign, and classic movies.
Check back later today as we begin posting some of the dozens of new photos we’ve received in the past few weeks.
From vintage postcards to new digital photography, out latest batch of images features theaters from China, England, Canada, and from all over the United States.