Failed Movie Studio In Montco Cost Taxpayers Millions

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN, PA — The project to transform an old Norristown shopping center into a movie studio was supposed to bring the glitz and fortune of Hollywood to the sagging seat of Montgomery County.

Build it and filmmakers will come. Build it and jobs will come and lift Norristown to prosperity.

That dream fizzled like a box-office bomb last May, when the project’s investor filed for foreclosure against the developer.

The forlorn shopping center, Logan Square, sits half-empty, its fate likely to be announced in the coming weeks. The county is grappling with how to recoup the $25 million it sank into the project — including $10 million in federal funds it must repay — and its lawyers are preparing a lawsuit against the developer. And prosecutors are scrutinizing the deal to see if more than bad luck and poor judgment were to blame.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140218/failed-movie-studio-in-montco-cost-taxpayers-millions

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Bethlehem Continues To Boost Christmas Events

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bethlehem keeps working to earn its Christmas City nickname.

The city may have more holiday events than ever this year: Christkindlmarkt is open for its 21st year, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites is holding holiday tours and carriage rides for its 20th year and Center City’s Christmas City Village is returning for its third year.

The continued addition of holiday attractions has only helped existing events, operators said. Christkindlmarkt, a German-style holiday marketplace put on by ArtsQuest, had two of its three best years following the debut of the Downtown Bethlehem Association-organized Christmas City Village in 2011, ArtsQuest spokesman Mark Demko said.

Christmas City Village — an open-air German-style market also known as Weihnachtsmarkt — is adding another five huts for a total of 35 this year, Downtown Business Association Manager Kara Johnson said. And Historic Bethlehem is already ahead of schedule on pre-sale tour and carriage ride tickets, according to LoriAnn Wukitsch, the organization’s vice president and managing director.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2013/11/bethlehem_continues_to_boost_c.html

Affleck To Play Batman In ‘Man Of Steel’ Sequel

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOS ANGELES, CA (AP) – Ben Affleck will don Batman’s cape and cowl.

Warner Bros. announced Thursday that the 41-year-old actor-director will star as a new incarnation of the Dark Knight in a film bringing Batman and Superman together.

The studio said Affleck will star opposite 30-year-old Henry Cavill, who will reprise his role as Superman from “Man of Steel.”  The movie will also feature “Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Diane Lane as Martha Kent.

The big-screen DC Comics superhero mash-up was first revealed by director Zack Snyder at last month’s Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/movies/20130822_ap_4931ce2116f14802865d8b8dbfe506a4.html#A6uOEpT5icKfzKJ8.99

‘Man of Steel’ Takes Flight With $125 Million Debut

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Man of Steel” leaped over box office expectations in a single weekend.

The Warner Bros. superhero file earned $113 million in its opening weekend at the box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.  The retelling of Superman’s back story earned an additional $12 million from Thursday screenings, bringing its domestic total to $125 million.  Original box-office expectations for “Man of Steel” ranged from $75 million to $130 million.

“They finally got the Superman formula right,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com.  “Superhero movies really are the bread and butter of the summer box office.  The fact that ‘Iron Man 3’ has the biggest opening of the year so far and ‘Man of Steel’ has the second biggest opening of the year just proves that.”

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/605571/Man-of-Steel-takes-flight-with-$125M-debut

‘Fast & Furious 6′ Fuels Record Weekend At Box-Office

The exhaust smoke hasn’t even cleared, and already Hollywood can brag about its biggest money-making Memorial Day Weekend ever.

Hollywood Reporter hit the accelerator with its gushing, declaring the expected four-day take of $316 million to be “absolutely monumental,” leaving previous late May holiday weekends choking in its dust.

“One of the biggest weekends of all-time!” writes Paul Dergarabedian.

Indeed, BoxOfficeMojo.com gives the previous champ as Dec 25-27, 2009 (led by Avatar), with a distant $259.9 million in total domestic ticket sales. Then again, add in the the $58.3 million from Monday, Dec. 28, 2009, and the comparable four-day total becomes an unsurpassed $318.2 million.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20130527_Fast_Furious_6_fuels_record_weekend_at_box-office.html#L7vC5qrcf6jQuktw.99

Pittsburgh Native Zachary Quinto Revels In Spock Role

English: Zachary Quinto greets a soldier's dau...

English: Zachary Quinto greets a soldier’s daughter on the phone following a screening of Star Trek at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At one point during “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Kirk fumes, “Sometimes, I just want to rip the bangs off his head.”

But Kirk doesn’t do that, which is a good thing considering the amount of time consumed by the workday ritual of transforming Pittsburgh native Zachary Quinto into Spock, the half-Vulcan, half-human with a high-maintenance look.

By the time the movie finished shooting, the makeup artists had shaved a whopping 30 minutes from their application of the signature swooping ears, angled eyebrows and other facial flourishes.

Not a big deal? It started as 3 hours and 15 minutes — plus another 30 minutes in hair — so even an extra half-hour can be a luxury when you have to report to the set 2 1/2 to three hours ahead of everyone else who may be arriving at 6 a.m.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/movies/pittsburgh-native-zachary-quinto-revels-in-spock-role-687961/#ixzz2TZUrYou9

Penn Cinema Partner Plans York Theater

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cinema entrepreneur Penn Ketchum is heeding the advice of 19th century American newspaper editor Horace Greeley.

“Go west, young man.”

Ketchum, managing partner of Penn Cinema, intends to develop a small, luxury two-screen movie theater in York city.

But he said Friday that he has no intention of going south into Lancaster city and doing the same kind of project there.

Ketchum’s $750,000 venture in York was disclosed Thursday by York Mayor Kim Bracey in her State of the City address.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/848107_Penn-Cinema-partner-plans-York-theater.html#ixzz2T2FcRToY

Annette Funicello, 70, Dies; Beloved As A Mouseketeer And A Star Of Beach Movies

Publicity photo of Annette Funicello and Richa...

Publicity photo of Annette Funicello and Richard Tyler as guest stars on The Danny Thomas Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Annette Funicello, who won America’s heart as a 12-year-old in Mickey Mouse ears, captivated adolescent baby boomers in slightly spicy beach movies and later championed people with multiple sclerosis, a disease she had for more than 25 years, died on Monday in Bakersfield, Calif. She was 70.

Her death, from complications of the disease, was announced on the Disney Web site.

As an adult Ms. Funicello described herself as “the queen of teen,” and millions around her age agreed.  Young audiences appreciated her sweet, forthright appeal, and parents saw her as the perfect daughter.

She was the last of the 24 original Mouseketeers chosen for “The Mickey Mouse Club,” the immensely popular children’s television show that began in 1955, when fewer than two-thirds of households had television sets.  Walt Disney personally discovered her at a ballet performance.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/movies/annette-funicello-mouseketeer-dies-at-70.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

‘Hobbit’ Bests ‘Lord Of The Rings’ With $84.8 Million Opening

NEW YORK—Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” led the box office with a haul of $84.8 million, a record-setting opening better than the three previous “Lord of the Rings” films.

The Warner Bros. Middle Earth epic was the biggest December opening ever, surpassing Will Smith‘s “I Am Legend,” which opened with $77.2 million in 2007, according to studio estimates Sunday.  “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” also passed the December opening of “Avatar,” which opened with $77 million. Internationally, “The Hobbit” also added $138.2 million, for an impressive global debut of $223 million.

Despite weak reviews, the 3-D adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s first novel in the fantasy series was an even bigger draw than the last “Lord of the Rings” movie, “The Return of the King.”  That film opened with $72.6 million.  “The Hobbit” is the first of another planned trilogy, with two more films to be squeezed out of Tolkien’s book.

Read more:  http://www.flipsidepa.com/entertainment/ci_22204735/hobbit-tops-box-office-84-8-million

Theaters, Playhouses Fear Financial Problems And Technical Demands Will Lower Their Curtains

At Oyster Mill Playhouse, the aging rooftop heating and air conditioning system is threatening to stage a death scene worthy of “King Lear.”

With audiences — and therefore revenues — down, there’s no money for a replacement, so managers of the not-for-profit community theater in East Pennsboro Twp. are hoping the community will donate about $25,000 to keep Oyster Mill going for another year.

“Like many other theaters, we are having our financial problems,” said Howard Hurwitz, vice president of the 91-seat theater’s board of directors. “This year has been kind of a bad year. We just haven’t been getting the attendance. We used to sell out on opening nights, but now we are lucky if we get the theater half-full.”

Oyster Mill is far from alone.

Read more:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/11/oyster_mill_playhouse_theaters.html

Worker-Owned Businesses Might Be Answer To Unemployment In Reading

With poverty high in Reading, city officials are willing to try just about anything to create decent-paying jobs.

Friday afternoon, they heard a pitch for an idea that has worked elsewhere and might be just right in Reading.

Seattle-based filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin, in town for the Berks Arts Council’s seventh annual Greater Reading Film Festival, were the featured guests at a lunchtime roundtable session focused on employee-owned businesses.

Young and Dworkin have created a documentary on the subject titled, “Shift Change: Putting Democracy to Work,” which will be screened during the festival.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=423673

Anti-American Protests Over Film Enter 4th Day

CAIRO — Anti-American protests inspired by a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad entered a fourth straight day here in the Egyptian capital and other demonstrations erupted in much of the Middle East after Friday Prayer — an occasion often associated with public displays of dissent.

Witnesses in Cairo said protests that first flared on Tuesday — the day J. Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador in Libya, was killed in an attack in neighboring Libya — continued sporadically early Friday, with protesters throwing rocks and gasoline bombs near the American Embassy and the police firing tear gas.

In Lebanon, one person was killed and 25 injured as protesters attacked restaurants, while in Sudan demonstrations flared outside of the German and British embassies. There was also turmoil in Yemen, Bangladesh, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq. Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem, and held protests in the West Bank and Gaza.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/world/middleeast/anti-american-protests-over-film-enter-4th-day.html?_r=1&hp

Reviving Live Arts At The State Theatre Of Boyertown

It’s a work in progress for owner Kevin Rhude, who would like to turn the 100-year-old State Theatre of Boyertown into a theater of the arts.

At 61 N. Reading Ave., the theater shows three to four movies a week at 4:30 and 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in addition to a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturdays and Sundays.

But Rhude of Boyertown wants the theater to go beyond film and be a venue for arts of all kinds.

Rhude purchased the State Theatre in 2008.  Having worked in real estate for more than 20 years, Rhude said he has an appreciation for old buildings and art.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=412991

Blockbuster Closing More Stores

Blockbuster Video plans to shutter all but one of its remaining Lehigh Valley stores in the coming days, according to several sources.

The beleaguered movie rental chain plans to cease rentals as early as Monday, Dec. 26, at stores at 2221 Lehigh St., Allentown; 2918 William Penn Highway, Palmer Township; and 756 Memorial Parkway, Phillipsburg, according to employees who answered the store phones Wednesday.

Liquidations are planned to start next week, according to the clerks.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-blockbuster-closing-more-stores-story-20111221,0,4779144.story

Carmike’s New Upland Square Theater Grand Opening Delayed To 11-18-11

The Fishwrap is now advertising the opening date for the new Carmike Theater as 11-18-11, which is this coming Friday.  There must have been an unforseen delay that caused the original opening date to be pushed back.

Pottstown’s long-awaited new movie theater is opening 11-11-11.  The new 12 screen complex will open at Upland Square Shopping Center in West Pottsgrove Township, next to Target.  Head on over and check it out!

Pittsburgh Scores High Marks From Abduction Cast Member And Producer

Great article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the filming of Abduction, which opens in theaters today.  The movie filmed in Greater Pittsburgh for 51 days and stars Taylor Lautner from Twilight.  The movie includes scenes from around Pittsburgh and even Fiddle’s Diner in Brownsville, Fayette County.  The Pittsburgh area is becoming an increasingly popular location for Hollywood film makers along with other areas of Pennsylvania.

To read the article, click here:

http://ht.ly/6D7l9

RIP Peter Falk – Columbo Star Dies

Falk was nominated for an Academy Award for hi...

Image via Wikipedia

Peter Falk, star of NBC’s Columbo, died peacefully in his Beverly Hills home on Thursday evening, June 23, 2011.  Peter Falk was 83 and reported to have suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia in his final years.

The Columbo series made Peter Falk a household name.  The character he was so closely identified with playing (Lieutenant Columbo) dressed like a slob, was dumb like a fox and had annoying characteristics.  Yet Lieutenant Columbo always got his man, much to everyone’s surprise.

Falk is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Harrisburg’s 3rd In The Burg And Jazz Festival Tonight!

Recreation of the flag of the city of Harrisbu...

Image via Wikipedia

A great deal of activity is going on in our capital city tonight.  It’s 3rd in the Burg night (Harrisburg’s version of First Friday) and the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz Festival takes place today, Saturday and Sunday, at venues around Harrisburg!

For more information about tonight’ s 3rd in the Burg events:

http://3rdintheburg.com/

For more information about tonight’s Jazz Walk and this weekends 31st Annual Central Pennsylvania Jazz Festival events:

http://www.cpfj.org/festival_2011.html

Get out there and enjoy the arts in PA!