By Devin D. O'Leary
Screen Shrinkage—Despite the box office bonanza that seems to be going on right now, summertime is looking like a bad time to own a movie theater in Albuquerque. Last month, we abruptly lost our eight-screen art theater, Madstone. To add insult to injury, the venerable Coronado 6 theater shut its doors unexpectedly last Thursday. That's a total of 14 screens Albuquerque has lost during the height of the summer movie season. That's like eight percent of all the screens in our city gone. Needless to say, this is not a good trend. If all you want to do is see Spider-Man 2 on the biggest, loudest, most crowded screen in town, you'll do just fine. Plus, shutting down theaters frees up lots of room in Alibi's Film Capsules section. But if you actually want some sort of variety here in Albuquerque, the loss of movie screens is a deadly blow.
There are rumors floating around that the Regal Cinema-owned Coronado may be bought out and rebuilt by a certain Death Star of a movie theater chain, which has been tightening its grip on Albuquerque for a few years now. I'm not so sure we need another one of these theaters in town, but at least the screens would survive. And, admittedly, Coronado was one of our city's most run-down facilities. It could certainly use an overhaul. Of course, the Winrock Theatre just across Louisiana has been talking about shutting down and rebuilding itself with state-of-the-art stadium seating for years now. This may be the perfect opportunity for Winrock to put up a fight for midtown supremacy.
There are also persistent rumors about a movie theater moving into the new multi-use space going up where the old St. Pius school used to be (sandwiched right between Coronado and Winrock). So, in a year or two, Albuquerque could be back up to where it belongs in terms of theaters, screens and all-around film booking. In the meantime, let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that no more theaters close their doors. Use 'em or lose 'em, people!
Return of the Primate—Not everyone is letting the recent death of the Madstone Theaters get them down. Primate Memory Factory, the local filmmaking group responsible for the monthly Five-Minute Film Competition, has found itself a new home. PMF will now run its competition out of the historic Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. All local digital filmmakers are encouraged to submit a short film based on this month's theme, which is “War.” Films will be judged on writing, editing, directing, cinematography and more. There are prizes! The deadline for submission is July 21. PMF will have its Guild debut screening on Saturday, July 31, at noon. for more information, log on to www.pmf5.com.
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