A little while ago, we lamented the closing of the city’s last truly independent movie theater, The Roxy. As sticky-floored and small as it was, it was a Philadelphia landmark, and we were sad to see it go. Sad until this morning that is, when we found out that the theater shall not die.
Beginning on January 1, 2013, the Roxy Theater will come under the control of the Philadelphia Film Society. J. Andrew Greenblatt, Executive Director of Philadelphia Film Society, told us that though there is tons of work to be done, the PFS will take over and begin showing screenings at the very beginning of next year, if not before. The theater’s conversion to digital projection will be one of the first steps (though the PFS intends to keep showing 35mm films using the Roxy’s existing projector as well), and the theater’s update will continue with construction work, new seats, new soundsystems, and possibly new screens. The PFS’s lease starts at 6-years, with two 5-year renewals following that, so they’re in it for the long haul.
Greenblatt stressed that not all of this work will be finished when they begin hosting events and showing films, and fundraising will have to be done, but in the end the PFS plans to include the Roxy in future editions of the Philadelphia Film Festival, XPN Music Festival, and regular screenings. They’ll host retrospectives, classes, and great independent films that, “don’t make it to theaters in this city.” As he told us, the PFS has a Cal Ripken-like streak going of at least one film screening a week since April 2009, and they plan on continuing the Iron Man at the Roxy.