Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas has announced that it will be the anchor tenant for a company called Orchestra Partners as it redevelops the historic Powell Steam Plant in Birmingham, Alabama. The theater will take up about 50,000 square feet of the former steam plant, while the remaining 36,000 square feet are still available for retail and dining. Construction on Alamo Drafthouse will begin this summer with an anticipated opening in the fall of 2023.
The Pathé Tuschinski in Amsterdam, which has been widely acclaimed as the most beautiful movie theatre in the world, celebrated its 100th anniversary last October. Pathé Tuschinski is regularly used for red carpet premieres and, with three more auditoriums added by the purchase of the next-door cinema in the 1980s, audiences can watch films in the luxury of its restored Art Deco interior, with plush seating, private boxes, love seats and at-seat delivery of food and drink. The cinema also boasts 21st Century sound.
Houston-based Star Cinema Grill today announced that it has executed lease agreements and plans to soon re-open two former IPIC locations in the Chicago suburbs of South Barrington and Bolingbrook. Star Cinema Grill is expected to begin operations at both locations in the first quarter of 2022.
Founded in 1999 by Dr. Man-Nang Chong and headquartered in Hong Kong, GDC Technology Limited is a leading global digital cinema technology company with a long history of first to market innovations. GDC claims the largest installed base of media servers and theatre management systems in the Asia-Pacific region and the second largest globally. Twenty-five of the world’s top 30 exhibition companies depend on one or more GDC products to continually enhance the moviegoing experience, increase efficiency and reduce operational costs, the company says. GDC holds 34 patents globally, including in the USA and China.
So much time and energy are spent educating cinema professionals how to properly design cinemas, including installed sound and projection systems. We forget the best lessons typically come from our mistakes. In the 30-plus years I’ve been in the cinema industry, I’ve learned a ton from THX, Dolby, the Hollywood post-production community, and the brilliant engineers I’ve been so fortunate to work with.
CinemaNext has been chosen by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to be its official projection and sound supplier and integrator. Located in London, BAFTA’s home has recently undergone a major refurbishment. Due to officially open in 2022, it will be a creative center for film, games and television and the central hub for the Academy’s UK-wide, and global, learning and talent development programs.
According to industry statistics, premium large format screen installations have seen an increase of almost 19 percent year over year. They set a record in 2019, when 734 screens were installed, a 65 percent increase over 2018. As theatres slowly reopen worldwide following lockdowns due to COVID-19, the pace of adoption is expected to resume. Owned by the China Film Group and Huaxia Film Distribution, Cinity uses premium large format laser projection, immersive sound, and ultra-high frame rate capability. Today, with 57 installations and an almost equal number on tap in cities across China, Cinity enjoys cooperative agreements with many major Hollywood and Chinese studios. The system can be viewed at the Harmony Gold Preview House in West Hollywood, where filmmakers can also screen their latest projects at the industry’s highest frame rate.
Located in Long Beach, California, the nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is Southern California’s largest aquarium and the fourth largest aquarium in the United States. The aquarium includes 12,000 animals and more than 100 exhibits that celebrate the inhabitants and ecosystems of the Pacific Ocean. In 2019, the aquarium opened Pacific Visions, a 29,000 square foot, two-story expansion that includes an art gallery, orientation gallery, culmination gallery, and the Honda Pacific Visions Theatre, the centerpiece of the aquarium’s 2019 expansion.
Kelly Tricarico is the founder, president and CEO of Cinema Pro, Inc and has been involved in the entertainment construction industry for nearly twenty years. She is also an executive member of the board of the newly formed trade group Women in Exhibition. As movie theatres around the country slowly begin to reopen I wanted to get Tricarico’s thoughts about the challenges involved in getting movie theatres ready for the public as we slowly emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mark Louis is Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas director of presentation. In that role, he is responsible for maintaining the level of technology that has become central to the exhibitor’s brand and identity. Louis is currently overseeing the opening of seven new Alamo theatres across the United States, while simultaneously maintaining the quality control of the established sites. When I contacted him to talk about how he approaches new builds he described himself as “busier that a one-armed reel-to-reel projectionist,” but he agreed to talk via email. Here’s an excerpted version of our conversation.