Movie Theaters

The Regal Cinemas Stadium 14 in Los Angeles, California

Why Is the Department of Justice Investigating the Owners of Half the Movie Screens in America?

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If you live in a major (or even minor) movie-going market, there’s a pretty good chance you see your first run-movies at a theater owned by one of three major chains: AMC, Regal, and/or Cinemark. They control a combined total of nearly 17,000 movie screens in the US; Regal alone boasts over 7,000 of them. Those are giant numbers — nearly half of all the indoor screens in the country, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners — which is why it’s kind of a big deal that all three chains are currently under investigation by the Department of Justice for violation of antitrust laws. It’s a big, complicated story, full of legal precedents and jargon, so here’s a quick primer on the questions of the case.
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Movie Theater-Inspired Art Installations

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Anish Kapoor’s Descension, an ominous vortex built into the floor of an Italian movie theater (previously featured at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale) continues to mesmerize. “Descension destabilizes, undermines our perception of the earth as a solid element, and confirms Kapoor’s interest in non-objects and self-generated forms. In its state of flux and movement, Descension presents us with a perpetual force, a thrust downwards and towards a totally unknowable interior,” explains a press release. Paired with the site of the theater, Kapoor’s installation takes on a whole new dialogue about space and perception. We explore several other artworks that use the cinema as a point of entry.
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Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater in "True Romance"

Why the Old-School Movie House Is Worth Fighting For

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In what has become almost an annual ritual for New York City movie lovers — something like our Groundhog Day, but more depressing — rumors are circulating about the possible closure of the Ziegfeld Theatre, one of the last remaining single-screen movie theaters in the city, and certainly the largest and most opulent. A gorgeous old-school movie palace that seats about 1200 moviegoers, the Ziegfeld has long been a favorite destination for premieres and special events. But that revenue only goes so far, and anyone who’s gone to see a regular ol’ first-run movie showing there will tell you that it’s depressingly under-attended, even during primetime and on weekends. So how do increasingly anachronistic single screens like the Ziegfeld stay in business? And, what’s more, should they?
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Photo credit: Katherine Newbegin

Striking Photos of India’s Old Movie Theaters

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India is the largest producer of films in the world, but its economic growth has forced some of the country’s smaller, single-screen theaters into decline. Katherine Newbegin, who we first learned about on Beautiful/Decay, started photographing these lost movie palaces in 2010, documenting a once thriving social chapter in Indian cinema’s history. “The fulcrum of the project lies in the exploration of the architecture, which is informed by the human relationships that took place in these spaces, but now only remain in the evidence left behind,” she told ArtStar. “The cinema architecture holds a stifling sense of deadness, as if it were a museum. The lingering chairs, ancient posters, and well-worn furniture act as a conduit into a displaced time.” This process of discovery is crucial to Newbegin’s work. She travels alone to each location, usually discovered by word of mouth, without any knowledge of the theater’s history. For instance, she didn’t learn that the Samrat Cinema I in Jaipur was a porn theater until after photographing the space. See the crumbling beauty of India’s cinemas through Newbegin’s eyes in our gallery.
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25 Delightful Roger Ebert Quotes About Movies

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The documentary Life Itself, a poignant tribute that celebrates Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert, was released in theaters this weekend. Generations grew up reading the Chicago Sun-Times journalist and watching him on television with sparring partner Gene Siskel, where the duo coined their “two thumbs up” phrase for positive reviews in the series At the Movies. Ebert’s barbed wit, grace, and passion touched the most discerning cineastes, but he was also known as a critic for the common man. He battled cancer for more than a decade, which necessitated the removal of his lower jaw, but it never stole his ability to write — which he did until his death last year. Two days before his passing, Ebert announced he was taking a “leave of presence” on RogerEbert.com. “What in the world is a leave of presence? It means I am not going away,” he wrote. And he hasn’t, leaving us with his beautiful words and wisdom about cinema and beyond. In celebration of the release of Life Itself, we’re revisiting some of Ebert’s most delightful quotes about one of his greatest loves — film.
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A "second screen" screening of Disney's "Little Mermaid"

“Second Screens” at Movie Theaters Isn’t Just a Terrible Idea — It’s a Nonsensical One

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Well, here we go again. Over the weekend, a piece in the Kansas City Star (picked up and syndicated across the country) floated the specter that sends a chill down any true movie lover’s spine: movies as a “second screen” experience. “The movie industry is working on ways to make smartphones, tablets and even built-in screens in seats a key part of the experience,” writes the Star’s Molly Duffy, “both before the movie and, more disturbing to some patrons, during the movie.” We’ve been down this road before, as recently as last summer, when venture capitalist Hunter Walk suggested “reinventing the movie theater” to accommodate terrible people who can’t go two hours without peering into their iPhone, and commentator Anil Dash insisted that anyone who had a problem with this behavior was an “oppressive asshole.” But last summer, this was all abstract. Duffy tracked down the clowns who want to make it concrete.
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Photo credit: Franck Bohbot

Exquisite Photos of Grandiose Movie Palaces

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Streaming services like Netflix and HBO GO make it tempting to skip the movie theater (and the annoying talkers that come with it) and stay at home to watch am good film. There are cinemas that still make the moviegoing experience worthwhile. The Alamo Drafthouse’s staunch no talking or texting policy and deelish menu are appealing, but if you’re looking for a place with history, you really can’t beat these stunning California cinemas. Franck Bohbot, one of our frequently featured photographers, captured the old Hollywood elegance and grandiose architecture of movie theaters around the Los Angeles area. “Reflecting on the memories of the golden age of Hollywood, it gives the feeling that there is no such place like a movie theater to celebrate the birth of film from an artist,” Bohbot writes. Travel back in time, and visit these gorgeous old cinema houses.
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Film Critic Who Called 911 on Cell Phone User: “I Realize My Mistake”

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Press and industry screenings (or “P&Is,” as they’re commonly dubbed) are standard practice at film festivals, and are fairly simple affairs: an opportunity for media and industry types to view festival films away from the hustle and crowds of packed public screenings. Trouble is, the two halves of the P&I equation are often at odds in those screening rooms: press people are there to view and (usually) write about the films, and are thus looking for a distraction-free movie-watching experience, while industry types are “working,” which can apparently translate to spending much of the movie staring into the light of a smartphone. Yesterday, at the Toronto International Film Festival, a film blogger decided he’d had enough, and did the only logical thing: he called the police. Wait, what?
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