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TOPIC: Theater names...

Theater names... 22 Mar 2004 13:48 #7786

Hi all! I'm doing a mock-up business plan for a small, independent (art house) theater and need to think of a creative, fun name for it.

I was wondering if you guys had some fun suggestions (maybe a name you considered for your own theater, but didn't use). I don't want to resort to the tired [YOUR TOWN] + [YOUR NUMBER OF SCREENS] formula (i.e. Cleveland 18).

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Theater names... 22 Mar 2004 14:43 #7787

  • mumbog11
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what about looking to history for an answer? is there an old movie palace in your area that no longer exists? maybe you can pay homage to it by using it's name...

/mumbog11.
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Re: Theater names... 22 Mar 2004 15:16 #7788

Yes, there was once an "Electric Theater" that became the "Fox Theater"... but those names seem to be used quite frequently.

I think there's a rather famous renovated theater in St. Louis, Missouri called the Fox Theater.
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Re: Theater names... 22 Mar 2004 15:18 #7789

  • revrobor
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Whatever name you choose make sure it's a "classy" name for an art house. Things like "Reel Joy", "Flix" or "Movie" anything say "cheap".

I like mumbog's suggestion. "Majestic", "Palace", "Criterion", "Savoy" and "Royale" are classy names from the past. "Cinema" is also a classy term to use rather than "theatre".

Good Luck.

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Theater names... 22 Mar 2004 15:47 #7790

  • outaframe
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Art theater, eh: why not give it an artsist's name... Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Renoir, Gainsborough, Manet, Grant Wood (Cinema) all sound like a class act... Or, The World Playhouse, after the same in Chicago...
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Re: Theater names... 22 Mar 2004 16:34 #7791

  • CharlieBo
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In Massachusetts theres a long standing arthouse named the ORSON WELLES CINEMA.
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Re: Theater names... 22 Mar 2004 19:49 #7792

  • CharlieBo
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Also,In LA,theres the NUART
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Re: Theater names... 22 Mar 2004 20:20 #7793

I'm afraid Jim Carrey has forever tainted the possibility of using the name "The Majestic"
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Re: Theater names... 23 Mar 2004 08:46 #7794

  • jimor
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In 1981 the Theatre Historical Soc. of America featured an entire paper on the subject of Theatre Names, and it is possible that a copy of it could be obtained from them through their web site at: www.HistoricTheatres.org Merely inquire of the Ex. Director at the E-mail address on their front page. You might also ask if any other materials exist on the subject. The Society has records of some 15,000 theatres world wide and is likely your best source.

You might also consult back volumes of the "Film Daily Yearbook" (at many public and school libraries) which listed most every theatre in the USA, and would thereby give a wealth of names. Unless names are existing Proper Nouns, they usually cannot be copyrighted, so you have nothing to fear on that ground. Indeed, the majority of the theatres listed in such guide books no longer exist, sad to say, so it will be an 'homage' to some of them to resurrect a fine name from the past.

At the web site: www.CinemaTreasures.org you will find a Search function by name, and it is possible to learn which theatres have a particular name and if a name has been used by any of the 5000-some venues listed on their site. Also, the site: www.CinemaTour.com features the names of many thousands of theatres around the world under their CINEMAS heading.

Names can reflect geography and local history, as in the BAD AXE, or the BLISS, but often they more reflect the era of their creation, as in MIRTH, JOY, BIJOU for the niclelodeons and photoplay parlors of the years 1895 through 1920, but then the movie palaces started and the big chains predominated with their corporate names: WARNER, FOX, PUBLIX, PARAMOUNT, etc. In that era came also the 'theme names' such as ORIENTAL, EGYPTIAN, PALACE, EMBASSY, etc. Perhaps something 'classy' like CRITERION, UNIVERSAL, MIRAMAR, or the like would be best. The one thing you want to avoid is being 'cute' in selecting a pun, or another play on words unless it is classy. A name like ARTISTE may not connote to all the same thing, it being considered affected in certain areas. If, for example, you are out west or on the Great Plains, it may be just too much to select a name so foreign or exotic as L'IMPERATRIX or FOUNTAINBLEAU. A name like SAGEBRUSH may be more fitting in such a locale, but one doubts its class quality. Names of notables of the stage have long been used, such as the BERNHARDT or MODJESKA, but these may be largely unknown to todays 'electronic generation.' Maybe a neutral but suggestive name like ELECTRON would be more appropriate to an urban setting. Hope this is of some help. Jim

P.S. "Electric Theatre" was originally the British way of designating a non-live action venue, but the name never caught on here much. That name is forever remembered in the wonderful little film "The Smallest Show on Earth" where the BIJOU was shown as formerly being the "Spenser's Electric Theatre", and you must obtain a copy of this gem if you can! (beware the French-Canadian version by the Madacy firm, for it has a VERY poor soundtrack on the VHS tape! www.Amazon.com now offers it on a better CD, I am told.)

[This message has been edited by jimor (edited March 23, 2004).]
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Theater names... 23 Mar 2004 09:07 #7795

Thanks for all the help guys!
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Re: Theater names... 23 Mar 2004 12:02 #7796

Sorry guys, but I think you've all forgotten about one of the most popular old venue names: "The Capitol".

"Would you like fries with that?"
Since 1987
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Re: Theater names... 23 Mar 2004 14:23 #7797

  • bjork24
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I agree with revrobor and jimor, CRITERION is a great name for a theater. I've always loved that name. I also like:

THE STATE
THE LYCEUM
THE ESQUIRE

and a quirky favorite:

THE AZTEC (It's the name of the theater on the Simpsons!
)

[This message has been edited by bjork24 (edited March 23, 2004).]
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Re: Theater names... 23 Mar 2004 14:40 #7798

  • revrobor
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by theater_name:
I'm afraid Jim Carrey has forever tainted the possibility of using the name "The Majestic"
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You must not have seen the film. I think it was a fine dramatic piece and added class to the name "Majestic". I used to live in Ferndale, CA where it was filmed. The exteriors of the theatre had to be CGI as it is a vacant lot where it was sited in the pic.



Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Theater names... 23 Mar 2004 15:34 #7799

  • Roger
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A common old theatre name you probably shouldn't choose would be the Gayety. Although, if you were running porn...
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Re: Theater names... 23 Mar 2004 20:44 #7800

  • Jeff Knoll
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And of course, one of my favorites (the first theatre I ever owned) "The Vogue"

[This message has been edited by Jeff Knoll (edited March 23, 2004).]
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