Knowing the dominant demographic of this site, I imagine there are few readers who remember the glory days of going to the movies in a truly historic movie house, complete with shorts and cartoons and refreshments that didn’t cost more than the movie itself. Being the resident fogey on staff, I am just barely old enough, having gone to see many a movie in the Smoot and the old Burwell, which was where the now defunct CVS pharmacy is on Dudley Avenue. These grand old palaces had truly seen better days by the time I was old enough to remember going to films there. Even still, the experience was one of a special occasion, not like the assembly line feel that comes with every giant multiplex. Sure, you can choose from ten or twelve movies, but it just can’t recreate that special feeling that was nearly akin to going to a live production. Keep in mind, too, that these were the days before Star Wars and Jaws came along and changed the definition of a hit movie.
For you folks who miss those days or would enjoy seeing what it was like to go to a movie in the more refined, regal setting of a truly spectacular historic theater, the People’s Bank Theater in Marietta has just the thing for you. Aside from all the great live entertainment presented there, the folks from PBT are presenting movies on at least a weekly basis. According to Drew Tanner, Marketing Director for the theater, the weekly fare will be a combination of Hollywood classics and contemporary masterpieces. Drew said that people will be treated to important modern films that may have only had a limited run in mainstream theaters as well as classics from the Golden Age of cinema.
A perfect example of this combination would be the last two films that aired. On Thursday, April 21, audiences were treated to a new film, Spotlight. While this movie was met with critical acclaim and was awarded the Best Feature Film Oscar, it was not as widely released as many of the blockbusters that seem to dominate the box office. It grossed a modest $88.1 million with a budget of roughly $20 million, according to boxofficemojo.com. So while it’s an important movie from a social and filmmaking standpoint, it’s just not a movie a lot of folks, especially in relatively small population centers such as the Mid-Ohio Valley, have the opportunity to see in the theater. Hopefully, many from the area took advantage of the opportunity. On the other hand, just three days later, one of the most beloved movies in history, The Wizard of Oz, was shown.
Future films scheduled through the end of June include such classics as To Kill a Mockingbird and It Happened One Night, as well as modern films such as the anime feature When Marnie Was There and a slightly different genre of animation, a collection of Looney Tunes shorts. Another genre they are excited to showcase is independent films, including films by local filmmakers.
Mr. Tanner said that one of the things that has really made him happy is the number of multigenerational families who have come to watch their films together. He hopes that this is something that will continue. Toward that, they plan to do different types of series, such as anime, westerns, and popular animated movies, as well as holiday-themed films in November and December. He said the movies are chosen by the same committee that selects the entire slate of shows for the theater, but fans who would like to make suggestions may feel free to submit them on the theater’s Facebook page.
For more information on upcoming films, all you need to do is go to peoplesbanktheater.com and click on Film under the Events tab. Check back occasionally to see what new titles are added as the calendar progresses. And while you’re at the site, you should also look for announcements about upcoming concerts and theater productions as part of the theater’s main program, The Spotlight Series. Very soon, the schedule for the second half of the year will be announced, and you don’t want to miss a single show.