Manchester Publisher's Note:
For nearly a decade, Manchester has been
trying to attract a downtown movie
Most downtown boosters believe that a theater would bring more people
downtown, helping support all sorts of other business, such as retail,
restaurants, nightlife and real estate.
Unfortunately, itís very unlikely that one of the large theater chains
would open a theater downtown. For starters the Regal Cinema Group
controls three theaters on the outskirts of the city. Itís also the
countryís largest theater chain. This means that movie distributors,
such as Universal and Fox, are unlikely to provide mainstream films to a
downtown theater in competition with Regal. Itís also unlikely that
Regal itself would open a theater downtown. It doesnít need to and stock
owners have been draining cash from the chain in the form of large
dividend payments. So large, in fact, that Regal has gone into debt to
make them. Clearly, Regal is not in an expansion mode. Many Wall Street
investors think that future growth in theaters is unlikely due to the
growth of other entertainment options, such as video games, so thereís
not much pressure for Regal to open new theaters.
this means that if Manchester is to get a theater itís going to have to
be a local group that invests in it and itís going to have to show
smaller-budget, independent films that arenít able to show their films
at Regal. Wilton Town Hall Theater in Wilton does this successfully, as
does the Music Hall in Portsmouth and the Colonial Theater in Keene.
However, Manchester doesnít have an old theater like Wilton, Portsmouth
and Keene. The Palace is a repertory theater and all booked up with
plays ó and thatís an excellent thing. Itís not a place we can show
movies on a regular basis.
model for Manchester may exist in Newburyport. There, a one-screen
theater is run in a storefront called the Screening Room. Itís likely
not all that profitable, but it works. It brings people from all over
northern New England into Newburyport. After or before the movie, they
eat in local restaurants and shop in local retail. Itís also another
amenity that attracts business and a highly educated workforce in
conjunction with other arts and entertainment services, such as
restaurants and parks.
Itís true that a small one-screen theater wouldnít bring the thousands
of people downtown a large multiplex theater would, but it would
certainly be another piece to enhance the entertainment puzzle of
This is the kind of project that a small group of volunteers could help
make happen with the help of InTown Manchester, the visitor and
convention bureau and Manchester city government development office.
If anyone is interested in getting something like this started, please
give me a call at 625-1855, Ext. 21 or e-mail at email@example.com.
you havenít come across the radio show Chat Ďn Chew on WTPL (107.7 FM),
you should take the time to listen every Sunday at 9 a.m. Itís a great
local show featuring local restaurants and foodies. Our own Amy Diaz is
on each week.
Under pressure from Wall Street, many radio companies have replaced
local programming with national talk show hosts and bland music. This
trend makes it more important for us listeners to support local
programimng when we can find it. Chat ní Chew is one of those great
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