Really, Truly, Most Assuredly: The Roxy Is Almost Open Again.
Victor Fiorillo may be skeptical, but it looks like the Roxy Theater might be close to re-opening. The date? Nov. 15
Hidden City Philadelphia got a look at the renovations as the theater finally nears re-opening under the new ownership of the Philadelphia Film Society.
Under the Film Society’s stewardship, the undead cinema has added a digital projector, bigger screens, and a surround sound system. The sweetest part of the deal for film nerds: the Roxy will retain its 35mm projectors and reel to reel system for repertory programming—as well as keep a variable speed projector on hand for screening silent films at the right speeds, the Roxy’s new manager, Alison Silverman, explained. Perhaps the new incarnation of the Roxy holds out the promise of the resuscitation of film culture in Center City. Cinema may have been pronounced dead, but somehow it refuses to die.
When it made its appeal on Kickstarter in March of 2013, the Film Society had expected it would be screening films full-time by the spring of 2013. But as with any construction in Philadelphia, it hit a few snags. Due to a permitting oversight, work was halted on one of the two lots while the team reapplied to have the neighboring lots consolidated into one. Paperwork in order, the renovations inched forward. Workers blasted through walls to make one building, brought the concrete floors even with one another and raised the ceiling to make room for the bigger screens, PFS’ director of development Rebecca Cain told Hidden City. In the process, the theater lost capacity, scaling down from 140 to around 80 seats per theater, while adding new chairs (cheers!), acoustic paneling for sound isolation (muffled applause), and improved ADA accessibility (polite clapping). After the theater reopens, PFS officials will turn their attention to the front of the house, with plans to refresh the lobby, concessions, lounge and bathrooms and install a new marquee.
No word on what the opening movie might be.