Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: The Death Of Movie Theaters

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Ohio
    Posts
    9,327

    The Death Of Movie Theaters

    Seems like every year.....hexx, almost every week.....we see and hear about movie theaters going "belly up". The movie business, incredibly changed in the last few years, struggles with cash receipts. They no longer hope for a long run, but rather hope for good revenues overseas and/or healthy sales of DVD's.

    When this Bear was a kiddie, mid-1950's, every Saturday my older brother would walk with me over to the Avalon Theater (on Monroe Street, Toledo, OH). We would watch a double-feature.....usually a couple western shoot-em-ups. Between each movie they would run a half hour serial, such as "Zorro & The Mission Mystery". Of course, each serial would end with the hero falling off a mountain or dangling from a tall tree or in some sort of life-threatening danger. We JUST HAD to return the next Saturday to see what would happen.

    Downtown Toledo (a typical mid-sized city with an active 1950's downtown) was filled with great theaters. These beautiful theaters included The Rivoli, The Palace, The Valentine, The Paramount, The Pantheon. First-run movies were the name of the game and I developed my life-long love of film in the balconies of these T-Town theaters.

    Toledo had neighborhood theaters, too. The above-mentioned Avalon, The State Theater, The Colony Theater (in a strange version of a shopping center, circa 1950's. SAC probably has pictures.)

    When I was a young teen we often went to The Colony on Saturdays because the owners would give free tickets for the next week to any kid who picked-up 25 trash popcorn cartons and turned them in. Picture a young Bear, wandering up and down theater aisles, racing with other kids to grab the empty cartons.

    As downtown Toledo faded (1970's) all of the theaters in the central business district closed. The new game in town? Cinema I & II (and similar). By the late 1970's the mega-theater complex was coming into it's own. By the late 1990's, stadium seating 15-theater centers were replacing everything else.

    But, the past ten years or so have seen theater attendance on the slide. This has forced movie makers to focus on movies for just about the only group that actively goes to a movie theater.....teenage boys.

    We all know the reasons.....television (especially subscription TV such as HBO), satellite dishes (a million channels and nothing to watch), DVD's, the gaming industry, the internet.

    BTW.....I plead guilty. I haven't been inside of a movie theater in a few years.

    What say you? Any thoughts on the "death of movie theaters"?

    BTW, again.....most of the older theaters were (and some still are) magnificent structures. Toledo's downtown Valentine Theater was re-furbished and hosts some nice live shows. I have been to the new Valentine and it is beautiful. (But, it is struggling, financially.)

    BTW, once more.....my fake city, De Noc, has many movie theaters scattered in the downtown area. My guess is that that is very unrealistic. I will have to change it.

    Bear Throwing Popcorn Down To The Seats Below
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Registered
    Sep 1999
    Location
    400 miles from Orlando
    Posts
    13,837
    There are very few movies that I am interested enough in to go through the agony of the theater. Bad popcorn, people talking during the whole movie (too bad they don't have ushers like they used to...), hearing all the explosions etc from the movie in the next theater. Although I will go to the ones with stadium seating. Hey, when you're short, they make a big difference.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,247
    Don't change the theatres, just make them stadium seating. You can still do the balconies. With the extra space you can put soda fountains in front!

    Nearly all of the neighborhood theatres are now closed here too. The Downtown ones remain, most are in great condition. The Fox, Music Hall, State, Opera, Telenews, House, Fisher, Bonstelle were all once movie theatres, now are run as performance venues.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #4
    The movie industry has consolidated just like every other commercial business... the 2-screen Main Street movie palace has died the same death of the corner store and the neighborhood bar.

    You could also probably talk about the privitization of life... since the 60s we've become progressively more focused on our own personal, private lives. We'd rather drive our own big SUV than take a train to work, rather watch a movie on our own TV than in a movie theater with the unwashed masses. Life is easier when you hole yourself up into a cocoon and forget about humanity.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,226
    About 5-10 years ago the Regal Cinema chain went on a building spree in greater Buffalo and built their multi-plexes with 12-18 screens and some with stadium seating. I didn't notice many of the existing theatres closing up. Although an AMC located 1/2 mile from another AMC did close a few years ago.

    There is only one pre-war active theater left in greater Buffalo. The North Park located on Hertel Ave. in North Buffalo. It plays art and independent films. Beatuiful theatre although it has seen better days. I believe there are plans to refurbish it.

    Downtown Buffalo hosts one multi-screen venue in its downtown theatre district that plays a variety of independent and main stream releases. The few times I've been there its has been nearly empty, sometimes only a few other people in the thetre. Not sure how its stays in business.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Posts
    10,186
    Blog entries
    5
    I don't go to the movies anymore because it is so expensive. If I take my daughter to an evening show its $16 for the tickets and $15 for the popcorn and drinks. Too much to spend for 2 hours on a usually less than spectacular movie. This doesn't take into account the people next to you with having a running commentary about the movie or other things, the annoying kids kicking your seat from behind, cell phones, etc. The Netflix subscription and the ability to lay out on the couch in my pj's eating takeout and drinking a beer is a far better alternative in my opinion lol.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  7. #7
    In Toledo, not only have they closed and or demolished all the historic theaters, they have closed/demolished the more modern ones as well. National Amusements, which controls at least 95% of the market, has closed all it's 1960s to 1980s Showcase Cinemas in West Toledo which had some of the biggest screens in the market. They were replaced by one bloated, overpriced mega multi-plex which is only accessable through a huge mall.

    No longer can you walk into a self-contained cimema. Now, assuming you can manage to fight your way to a parking space by dodging all the aggresive SUV drivers in the huge parking lot, you then have to navigate through a mindfield of loud, annoying teens blabbing incessently on cell phones, botox housewives in f-me pumps armed with shopping bags, and the stinging, putrid smell of perfume wafting out of every other store, all the while having to listen to generic pop-swill noise pollution being piped throughout the entire mall. A mall which exists for no other purpose than to celebrate the orgy of consumerism, the glorificaiton of monoculture and blind corporate loyalty.

    Don't get me wrong, the 1960s theaters had a big hand in the demise of the neighborhood theatre, but at least they were still freestanding. Now, if you want to see in movie in West Toledo, you have to go to the goddamn mall. And pay the second highest ticket prices in the nation (after New York) to boot.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian chukky's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland
    Posts
    363
    I go to the cinema at least once a month usually. I go invariabley to the Southbank5, in the failed IMAX building. It's dirt cheap (five bucks) and as it's an old IMAX has gigantic screens, is a short walk from the city centre, on the express bus line to my house and you can generally park within a few blocks anyway. What's not to love?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Boru's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2004
    Location
    At the dining table
    Posts
    235

    Highest cinemagoing figures in Europe.

    Cinemas are being built at quite a rate here, however some of the smaller cinemas are not holding their own anymore, specifically the small 2-3 screen affairs in small country towns. Ireland is lobbed in with the UK (Tsk, its as if independence never happened) when the studios are figuring out thier grosses. Even though the UK has a population 15 times ours, we account for nearly 20% of the overall take.

    As in Toledo and NY, the price of going to the cinema is scandalous. I pay the equivelant of 10 dollars to see a fillum. I dont bother buying food in the places anymore. On the upside the cinemas have started selling bottled beer as well.

    The swankiest cinema in the city has installed a mobile phone blocker, which kills signals except from recognised emergency numbers. All of the theatres are planning to do this as well.
    Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2005
    Location
    In my own little bubble
    Posts
    2,564
    I hardly ever go to the movies, i think the last time i took myself was to see Memoirs of a Geisha.
    Older theatres are closing down in Sydney too- the ones that are not located in shopping centres, but rather on main streets by themselves. These ones tend to be smaller arthouse sort of theatres that have the unique character to them.

    There are still a couple round the place, but not too many- although i do have to say a "community" theatre was set up just up the mountains from me and they show only 2 films a week and it is cheap as chips- say AU$8 or so. The movies get heaps packed out. The cinema is an old community hall and the seating could be better- but for $8 it doesnt matter.
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
    Registered
    May 2002
    Location
    Kzoo . . . for now!
    Posts
    1,171
    Here's what's wrong with movies.

    $8.75 a ticket, times two. Half an hour to decide what movie among a choice of 16 to see, after picking through the apathy. Settling on RV, which was maybe the worst movie I've ever seen, but was the 3rd highest grossing movie of the weekend.

    Too expensive to pay for a mediocre product, but wife was bound and determined to see a movie because we were childless for the weekend.
    The cookies are worth the drive

  12. #12
    I sense there's a market for theaters where you can 1) smoke at will and 2) have an adult beverage of your choice.

    Our downtown theater has been revived as a small convention facility -- it fills a niche that had been overlooked in a regional market, and it seems they are doing well enough. (The building had been vacant for quite some time and I'm here to tell you it was rough on the inside.)

    I don't mind the mega-plexes as I usually only go to take my kids to see the most recent film. We'll probably go see Over the Hedge soon. We last saw Narnia (the opening scenes of the bombing of London were a bit intense for my 6yo). I do hate dropping $30 + for us to attend, but as it is only 3-4 times a year, I can live with it. My guilty pleasure this summer will be the sequel to Pirates of the Carribean (the last non-kids movie I saw in a theater.)
    Je suis Charlie

  13. #13
         
    Registered
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Here
    Posts
    3,519
    hhhmmmm, the theatres around here seem to be doing just fine and are often sold out when trying to see a movie!! Each mall seems to have one, I can think of one mall that JUST built a new 12 screen theatre...and for the old theatres around here (the Highpoint, The Fox, the Tivoli and the Moolah Shrine) well they have all been rehabbed and reopened...the Fox obviously doesn't show movies but the rest do. A lot of the theatres in STL sell adult beverages (not so much in the malls but most of the others) and in the Moolah Shrine the seating is couches, you can smoke and drink....

    Another thing that seems to be making a big comeback around here is bowling alleys. We have about 3 new bowling alleys that are absolutely beautiful and opened till 3:00 a.m. tons of people go there to hang out after bars...not sure everyone is bowling a great game or anything but they sure are packed

  14. #14
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    in a meeting
    Posts
    8,887

    movies are alive and well up here

    hey, up here in Maine, we have a movie theater that has couches and seats with tables and you can get real food (that's awesome - gourmet pizza, specials, etc.) and beer/wine - he only closes for a few weeks around Christmas too and the whole town/island supports it - the summer people love it too!

    tickets for the movie are only 6 bucks too

    he even gets alot of foreign films and cool films not on the blockbuster list

    of course, we are isolated being on an island, and there is not a good movie rental place here, and people really need to get out of their house in the winter months!

    we also have a huge movie house that usually runs the blockbuster so you have a choice - they are only open in the summer because the heat doesn't work too well - lol

  15. #15
    Suspended Bad Email Address teshadoh's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    427
    Movie tickets are expensive, concession stands charge a lot of money, movies themselves are rarely that good - but my wife & I still religiously go to the movie theater. Most often to a new multiplex near downtown Atlanta, other times to the small local art theater or even to the drive-in that is still in operation on the southeast side of town. Of course - we spend a lot & the movies aren't that great, like last weekend's 'Poseiden' (but it was at least 'bad' enough to laugh at). But the movie theater experience is like no other - I always look forward to going.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek
    I don't go to the movies anymore because it is so expensive. If I take my daughter to an evening show its $16 for the tickets and $15 for the popcorn and drinks. Too much to spend for 2 hours on a usually less than spectacular movie. This doesn't take into account the people next to you with having a running commentary about the movie or other things, the annoying kids kicking your seat from behind, cell phones, etc. The Netflix subscription and the ability to lay out on the couch in my pj's eating takeout and drinking a beer is a far better alternative in my opinion lol.
    I took my daughter to ice age as part of her birthday. For the 5 of us plus a friend of hers costs us over $40 for the tickets alone. With that being said, the wife and I still like going to the movies during a rare date night. There's just something about going to the movies in a theatre.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  17. #17
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,950
    When my wife and I go to the movies, it is usually only for the big productions that are only best when seen at the theater.

    It's really not the same to watch a Lord of the Rings movie at home. You have to experience it at the theater.

    But we have a nice, smallish multiple screen theater in our downtown that is nice, has good movies, and it realtively cheap (regular hours are only about $7.50).
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    3,179
    We have a new theater (8-10 years old) out by the expressway. Shortly after it opened the small theater downtown closed. We do have an awesome drive-in theater, the Capri (http://www.capridrive-in.com/), one of few in the state (and probaby nation). They play first run movies, and you get two first run movies for $7. Most times people just take lawn chairs and coolers and sit outside to watch. The sound comes through the radio, so you get great sound.

    We don't go too often, only because trying to get a babysitter isn't always easy, and we have been so busy lately.

  19. #19
    maudit anglais
    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Odd-a-wah
    Posts
    6,586
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    When my wife and I go to the movies, it is usually only for the big productions that are only best when seen at the theater.

    It's really not the same to watch a Lord of the Rings movie at home. You have to experience it at the theater.
    Ditto for Mrs. T. and I. Toronto still has a pretty good selection of cinemas to choose from so you don't have to do the mall-based multi-plex. Unfortunately, a few years back now Famous Players closed a couple of really good old-school cinemas (The Eglinton and The Uptown). Someone complained that they weren't wheelchair accessible so they closed them rather than pay for upgrades.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Clayobyrne, CB
    Posts
    2,580
    In Beantown the wife and I went to the movies a lot more often as the theatre (stadium seating) was downtown right near work and the bars and restaurants. We would often go right after work on Fridays.

    Now going to the movies involves driving 10 or 20 minutes depending on the theatre and also driving to a place to drink and/or eat. We have only been once since we moved here

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    10,062
    Travel to the small towns in rural parts of this country and you will still see the old downtown theaters. Most were built by the 1950's and tend to favor architecture from the arts & crafts, art deco, and art moderne styles. Some have seen unfortunate remodeling over the intervening years, but many are still beautiful. Whether or not the theater is still functioning seems to depend on where it is and how well the town has fared. Many of the most rural theaters still function as movie houses. Get close to a larger community which has a new theater complex (even with just two or three screens) and it usually means that the downtown theater is closed.

    I have dozens of pictures in my collection. One day I will post some of the best.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  22. #22
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    on my 15 minute break
    Posts
    19,263
    Movie theaters wont disappear any time soon. The industry has had to reinvent itself several times to adapt to market demands and compete with other media and so far has not yet managed to go the way of the dodo. Think about it, back in the 50's lots of people predicted the demise of theaters when television was becoming popular - didn't happen. Same thing with the advent of inexpensive VHS/DVD video rentals. Sure, theater attendance dropped (and ticket prices have gone through the roof!) fairly steadily up until the 90's. Attendance is still dropping but the decline has slowed considerably the last decade.

    As others have already pointed out, the movie theater experience offers something you still can't get at home - big screen, great sound, overpriced food & drinks (remember, ticket prices barely cover a tithe of the operating expenses - popcorn is how profits are made), also there's that 'space cadet glow' you get from being at the theater (okay I'm reaching - maybe you get that glow more from what you do before you go to the theater), but to that end notice how many of the multiplexes try to dazzle your sense with neon all over the interior, state of the art sound systems, monitors everywhere you look showing previews, fans/vents blowing the scent of popcorn towards the ticket lines?

    There is only one place to truly experience a Death Star exploding and it's not on a 13" black and white screen....

  23. #23

    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Solano County, California
    Posts
    6,468
    Quote Originally posted by Maister

    There is only one place to truly experience a Death Star exploding and it's not on a 13" black and white screen....
    But, what if you have a 50 inch flat screen HDTV with surround sound, and there are no gigling teenagers or annoying senior citizens or peroxided blondes grumping about the movie right behind you?

  24. #24
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Packing to move out of the icebox.
    Posts
    13,728
    I think that they are starting to make a comeback in some urban areas. Kalamazoo is in the process of building a multi screen theater as part of a bigger redevelopment project, and a potential development in downtown Grand Rapids is expected to do the same.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  25. #25
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Posts
    10,186
    Blog entries
    5
    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    I sense there's a market for theaters where you can 1) smoke at will and 2) have an adult beverage of your choice.

    Ahhhh....reminds me of the Baghdad Theater in Portland which is a brewpub. Can't smoke there anymore but can have a right tasty beer and pub grub while watching a second run flick and sometimes a good oldie. Damn I miss Portland!
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 1
    Last post: 25 Jun 2012, 2:21 PM
  2. Movie theaters
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 14 Nov 2008, 1:09 PM
  3. Replies: 2
    Last post: 04 Sep 2007, 1:57 PM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last post: 03 May 1999, 10:31 AM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last post: 29 Apr 1999, 4:44 PM