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Discussion in 'Movies' started by Richard--W, Mar 26, 2008.
Audience fading for repertory movie theaters
Initial post edited in accordance with HTF Rule 12:
The Roxie New College Film Center
The Castro Theatre
Those are two of the theaters that were mentioned in the article. I've never been to the Roxie, but love the Castro. They are playing Last Year at Marienbad right now, and will play Vertigo this weekend. The Castro website has the schedule from now til early May, and it's full of good stuff.
We used to have a local theater that would occasionally play classics...everything from the Marx bros to Hitchcock to Bonnie & Clyde to Searchers to Singing in the Rain etc. Prices were among the lowest in town and refreshments were reasonably priced.
The crowds were usually embarassingly small and the showings eventually stopped. I had a very nice couple of conversations with the owner about this and he said the same thing the article did. Between DVD and TCM people just don't want to the theater anymore especially for older films. He said if we were a major market he might have had success. Sadly, from the looks of things, even a mega market like SF can't make this work.
Strangely, the Brattle Theatre here in Cambridge is actually doing pretty well lately; it was in pretty desperate straits for a while, but the crowds do seem to be coming back to it in the past year or so. I think having a good scare probably got a lot of people to stop taking it for granted.
Every time I've gone to a repertory showing in Los Angeles, it's quite well attended.
Repertory screenings aren't dead yet.
There are still repertory theatres in most metropolitan areas, and a lot of art houses and multi-purpose theatres show classics regularly.
Large chains like Regal have "Flashback Screenings" in some of their first-run theatres on weeknights at 7 or 8pm. A few AMC and Cinemark theatres have similar programs. Landmark Theatres show midnight classics at many of their locations on weekends.
Two notable examples going on right now:
- The Big Newport in SoCal is showing classics on their 80' screen. (Braveheart this weekend and Titanic next.)
- The Ziegfeld in NYC is wrapping up a week of showing Jaws, Back to the Future, and E.T.
Two of my best movie-going experiences in the past several months were seeing Poltergeist and Blade Runner at the Castro (both of which had big crowds, despite the fact that they were week nights), and I'm looking forward to catching The Terminator there next month.
At my blog, I try to link to every theatre in the U.S. that shows old movies. Find one near you and go see a classic on the Big Screen!
MOVIE THEATRE REVIEWS
How often is that, though? For example, the Brattle gets big audiences for events and evergreen films: The yearly holiday showings of Casablanca, It's A Wonderful Life, and Evil Dead 2, for instance, sell out, but when they do something a little more obscure, attendance can drop like a stone. If all you ever go to is the big name stuff, yes, it can seem like the rep theater is doing quite well, but show up the next week for the Wong Kar-wai retrospective, and you may get a different story.
Considering how little advertising is done, and that it's a crap shoot to print quality, it's unsurprising.
I've seen basically the same thing in my area. I saw Psycho in a sold out house, Jaws in a very crowded house, Lost Highway with a fair number of people and John Carpenter's The Fog with only two other people. Obviously, none of those movies are particuarly obscure either.