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Old 06-11-2017, 08:04 AM
Mr. Miskatonic Mr. Miskatonic is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Under a pile of books
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There was such a thing as "First run theaters". They had the best, most recent movies and unless they were a massive flop they ran them for a few weeks before they moved to the second run theaters, where theater quality was lower but the admission cost much less. The 2nd run theaters would often show a wider variety of movies during the day and would get the non blockbuster movies as "first run"

Some theaters had a reputation, the infamous Budco-Goldman theater in Philadelphia showed 2nd run blockbusters, horror, and exploitation movies. The jokes about the place is that it was the kind of theater you ran into to escape the police. Also that when there was Kung Fu on the screen there would be Kung Fu in front of the screen.

The Trocadaro theater (now a small concert venue) was in Chinatown and showed Chop-Sokey and Kung fu films. It was quite a ratty theater. The TLA would print a schedule as they changed movies throughout they day, showing different 6-8 movies a day. VCRs killed that and the TLA became a local video chain with a stronger cult movie selection. But that didn't finally happen until the late 80s. So VCRs didn't win overnight.

There were still porn theaters. Oddly the last one with an actual marquee didn't close until a couple of years ago.

I never saw a line for a theater stretch around the block until I went to see Star Wars. Doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Most of the theaters were pretty grand places, and some of them might have survived when the city rebounded had the owners actually given a shit. They didn't, and the result was that there was no reason to watch a movie in those theaters when you could go to a more corporate theater in the suburbs that was cleaner and showing the movie properly.

I lived downtown and I miss being able to walk to a theater. Discounting the art house theaters I think the last movie I was able to walk to was the enhanced re-release of Empire Strikes Back.