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This page is about film venues (movie theaters, cinemas), the page on films is here.

Theatres: Cinémathèque Française - The Brattle Theatre - The Elgin

Subgenres: art house - grind house

Gaumont-Palace (1910, photo 1911) - Paris

The first important purpose-built cinema was the Gaumont Film Company's Gaumont-Palace in Paris, which opened in 1910 and could seat 5,000 people.


Cinema can either refer to a movie theatre (building) or the art or technique of making films or movies --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema [Dec 2004]

Movie theater

A movie theater or cinema is a location, usually a building, for viewing movies. Other colloquial names include the silver screen and the big screen (contrasted with the "small screen" of television). Generally, theaters are not owned by individuals, but rather operated by corporations and visited by the general public: one can attend the film showing after buying a ticket. There are often several rooms or auditoriums, each showing another movie; such a theater is called a multiplex, and if very large (16 screens or more), a megaplex. Sometimes a popular movie is shown in more than one auditorium. The film is projected with a movie projector onto a large projection screen. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movie_theater [Oct 2004]

Movie theaters may also be classified by the type of movies shown:

Film venue

When it is initially produced, a film is normally shown to audiences in a movie theater. Typically, one film is the featured presentation. A feature film is sometimes defined as any film more than 60 minutes in length (90-120 minutes is typical, and a few films run up to 4 hours or more). Before showing this film, the theater may have shorter presentations or advertising. Historically, the feature presentation was often preceded by newsreels and short films, especially animation. Today, the bulk of the material shown before the feature film consists of previews for upcoming movies (also known as trailers).

Originally, all films were made to be shown in movie theaters. The development of television has allowed films to be broadcast to larger audiences, usually after the film is no longer being shown in theaters. Recording technology has also enabled consumers to rent or buy copies of films on video tape or DVD , and Internet downloads may be available and have become significant revenue sources for the film companies. Some films are now made specifically for these other venues, being released as made-for-TV movies or direct-to-video movies. These are often considered to be of inferior quality compared to theatrical releases. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film#Film_venues [Oct 2004]

Grauman's Egyptian Theatre (1922)

Grauman's Egyptian Theatre (openened in 1922)
image sourced here.

Simply going to the movies became a fantastic, romantic event. In 1922 Grauman's Egyptian Theatre opened in Los Angeles. Grauman's Chinese followed a few years later. Theatres in other cities adopted similarly fanciful and exotic themes. Some resembled French chateaux; others evoked the Ottoman Empire in its heyday. Whatever the architectural style, theatres in large cities became "palaces." --http://www.assumption.edu/ahc/Vanities/default.html [Apr 2005]

Art house cinema [...]

The origins of both the British film society movement and the art house/repertory cinema sector lie in the creation, in 1925, of The Film Society to screen important foreign pictures that were not being shown in Britain. Its organisers included the film critics Iris Barry and Ivor Montagu and the filmmaker Adrian Brunel, while George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells were among the founder members. --http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/cinemas/sect5.html [Oct 2004]

In the US, Amos Vogel created the path-breaking film society Cinema 16 in 1947, introducing a continent to previously unseen worlds of experience.

One of the first postwar American art house theatres were the Guild and the Studio, both in Berkeley. They were reviewed and/or programmed by Pauline Kael.

Grindhouse theatre [...]

Grindhouse was a term coined and perpetuated by the trade paper, Variety, to describe theaters on big-city downtown movie strips, like New York’s 42nd Street or San Francisco’s Market Street, which ran double (and sometimes triple) features of films continuously, practically around the clock, with little or no time between films (i.e., the films 'grinded' up against each other). Such theaters don’t exist anymore. When we talk about 'grindhouse movies,' we refer to the types of action and exploitation movies that played at these theaters (blaxploitation, Italian westerns, kung fu, slasher, etc.)." --Brian Camp , 09/28/2003, 08:56:54 via http://www.mhvf.net/forum/general/posts/124245630.html

Seedy Theaters

Before the VCR revolution arrived, seeing an "Adults Only" movie meant venturing to a "grindhouse"--a usually seedy (sometimes decrepit) theater characterized by a sticky floor and raincoated patrons. And before the grindhouse, the ticket takers for carnival sideshows tried to lure customers with extravagant promises of sights beyond the imaginable--such as film of an exotic dancer, or a real birth, or the effects of venereal disease. --Gary Johnson, http://www.imagesjournal.com/issue02/reviews/grind.htm, accessed Apr 2004

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