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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas in the News   » Madstone Discontinues Operations and Closes Their Theatres

   
Author Topic: Madstone Discontinues Operations and Closes Their Theatres
Charles Van Bibber
New Member

Posts: 18
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted June 09, 2004 12:44 AM      Profile for Charles Van Bibber   Email Charles Van Bibber         Edit/Delete Post 
This article appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Show's Over For Madstone Thetre,

By Sean P. Means
The Salt Lake Tribune

The Madstone Theaters chain shut down nationwide Monday, leaving 10 theaters dark -- including its renovated four-screen space in Salt Lake City's Trolley Square, which opened only 10 months ago.
"We were doing OK," said Rebecca McLoney, manager of the Madstone Trolley Square Theaters. "The audience that came loved us. We had a lot of repeat customers but it wasn't enough."
The New York-based Madstone announced Monday it was closing its theaters in Salt Lake City; Denver; Albuquerque, N.M.; Tampa, Fla.; San Diego; Baltimore; and Cary, N.C. -- after closing theaters in Atlanta; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Chandler, Ariz., a week earlier. The Tampa theater will continue under new management, and theaters in San Diego and Cary will reopen under new management soon. Calls to Trolley Square management were not returned.
"The company was not able to achieve its business goals," a statement from Madstone said.
Those goals -- outlined by Madstone Chief Executive Chip Seelig when the Trolley Square theaters opened last August -- involved bringing "child-free couples" who had "given up Friday night at the movies" back to the multiplex. The Madstone formula included a mix of art-house films, sandwiches and smoothies, alcohol in the lobby lounge and special events for film buffs.
Madstone Trolley Square opened strong with some acclaimed movies, including the Sundance Film Festival award-winning documentary "Capturing the Friedmans." It also became a second Salt Lake City home for the independent Slamdance Film Festival's documentary programs in January.

"They had a great staff there -- everyone from Rebecca on down, they had a truly friendly staff," Peter Baxter, president and co-founder of Slamdance, said Monday from his Santa Monica, Calif., office. "They worked really hard, and we did well."
The chain ran into controversy in January, when Madstone executives in New York backed out of plans to show "Latter Days," a romantic comedy centering on a gay LDS missionary, saying it was "lacking in artistic merit." The cancellation drew protests from gay-rights advocates, and the Broadway Centre Cinemas later screened the movie to great success.
Madstone's top-down management structure contributed to its downfall, said Brooke Harper, executive director of the Salt Lake Film Society, the nonprofit organization that runs the city's other art-house theaters, the Broadway and Tower Theatre. Madstone, she said, "entered markets in which their competitors were entrenched, excellent exhibitors like Landmark [Theatres] and local film societies like ours. The audience for art film was already fully served by existing theaters."
Ultimately, McLoney said, Madstone Trolley Square was caught in a pinch between downtown theaters, losing first-run films to Larry Miller's Megaplex 12 at The Gateway and the best art-house titles to the Tower and Broadway.
"We weren't competing with the Broadway or Larry," McLoney said. "We were competing with both."
Madstone's announcement follows Thursday's closure of the neighboring Trolley Corners Theatres, built in 1977 and run since 2001 by Salt Lake City's Westates Theatres. A fitness club is planned for that space.
For fans and makers of independent film, Baxter said, Madstone's departure is "a double hit. The audiences don't get to see some of the films made by independent filmmakers, and the filmmakers lose an exhibition opportunity. And that's got to be counted as a pity."

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Jeff Arellano
Senior Member

Posts: 685
From: Monterey Park, CA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted June 09, 2004 09:06 PM      Profile for Jeff Arellano   Email Jeff Arellano         Edit/Delete Post 
Too bad, this would have been great in markets like Los Angeles, New York, Boston, etc....

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Mike Olpin
New Member

Posts: 34
From: Spring Valley, CA
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted June 10, 2004 01:05 AM      Profile for Mike Olpin   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Olpin         Edit/Delete Post 
The San Diego location will be reopened this friday by Mann Theatres, the same company which originaly built the complex.

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Joe Redifer
New Member

Posts: 29
From: Denver, CO
Registered: May 2003


 - posted June 11, 2004 02:03 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer         Edit/Delete Post 
Mann Theatres loves that. In 2000 Mann sold most of their Denver theaters to a small investment firm hoping they would fail and want to sell the theaters back to Mann at a discounted price, with Mann retaining the theaters and coming out ahead financially. Mann never got their theaters back and the rest of the theaters they had in the state went out of business pretty quickly. I guarantee Mann is mega-happy with the reacquisition of their Hazardous complex.

Also, I knew Madstone was going away before they went away. I kick ass!

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Bob Allen
Member

Posts: 79
From: Toledo, OR
Registered: May 2003


 - posted June 11, 2004 02:08 PM      Profile for Bob Allen   Email Bob Allen         Edit/Delete Post 
Your humility is overwhelming, Joe.

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Joe Redifer
New Member

Posts: 29
From: Denver, CO
Registered: May 2003


 - posted June 13, 2004 02:13 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer         Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks.

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