Saturday, February 23, 2008

Baby, It's Bad News, Bad News

I don't know why I decided to quote a Rilo Kiley song for the title of this blog entry, but whatever. With the news that the Showcase Cinema in Orange will close March 2, it's a sad day for us in the area.

Look, I totally understand why National Amusements would shutter the cinema, but that doesn't mean it's good news. When I was kid, a big, new 12-screen, stadium-seating cinema opened up in a town next an eight-screen, early '90s cinema. Of course, within months, the eight-screener was gone. I'm actually amazed that Orange lasted as long as it did. But with National Amusements putting most of the big movies in Milford, there wasn't much left for Orange.

What we did get in Orange was some cool indie flicks, and now that won't happen and we'll have to solely rely on Criterion and Madison. Here's what I always wonder, though: If National Amusements was going to spend a gazillion dollars opening the big, beautiful megaplex in Milford, why not change how Orange does business?

Why would people pay the same ticket prices to go to an obsolete theater? Why would they pay that same amount to see a movie they could have seen in Milford weeks or months ago? Why not take the Orange theater and show cult films or old movies? Tonight at Criterion "This is Spinal Tap" will be on the big screen. Couldn't Orange have played that for a week and charged $5 for tickets?

I don't know if that would have worked, or even if it was feasible, but, it seems to me, it would have had a better chance of working than the plan National Amusements chose.

In other news, last night at Toad's was pretty good. Phonograph was, as always, amazing. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals were pretty good, although I didn't make it through their whole set. Here's my question for the band's bass player: Why do you need two four-string basses? I'm not sure.


Anonymous said...

Yep - a sad day indeed. I've known a couple of weeks - a friend of a friend works there, and they were told about a month ago.

As you said, with the glut of screens in Milford (and about 10 more newer screens over the bridge in Stratford), there was little to throw the way of poor old showcase. The staff reports that the place has been a ghost town most weekends, even when they do snag first runs.

I recall (long before you were probably a gleam in Mother and Father Ferucci's eye) when Showcase first opened on the other side of I-95 in the space that was later bought and occupied by Bayer. No, before you ask, they weren't showing silent films. But my brother and I patiently waited in a line that snaked out of the lobby and down the sidewalk on opening weekend of Star Wars (yep, the original) and sat awed at the then-mammoth screen as we and the rest of the world beheld Darth Vadar for the first time.

Well, all things must change...and I'm sure before long the current cineplex will be razed to make room for a corporate park or another hotel. But the memories - just like I have of the much-missed York Square cinemas - will linger.

Pat Ferrucci said...

Well, when one place is opening "Fool's Gold" and the other is showing "Vince Vaughn Thinks He's Really Funny And Wants To Travel Around The Country In A Van For A Little While," well, only one theater will survive.

As for York Square, I miss it in some ways, but I really do love the Criterion. It doesn't have that old arthouse feeling, but it sure has a bunch of screens and is bringing more good movies to New Haven ...