The District government will announce today a plan to energize the Lincoln Theatre with an (expected) blockbuster that will run for the next 4 weeks, the first such first-run movie to have premiered at the Lincoln in many years.
Landmark Theatres will sponsor The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Fincher's $150-million Hollywood adaption of the wildly popular book, one in a trilogy of novels by the late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson. In an effort to assist the city's efforts to animate the historic building, Landmark will donate all proceeds of ticket sales to the city. Screening will begin next Wednesday, the date of the film's release, with 3 screenings planned per day.
Mayor Vincent Gray and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins plan to hold a press conference next week in advance of the opening. The 1,225-seat Lincoln Theatre is owned by the District, and has been under a management contract by the U Street Theatre Foundation (USTF). One month ago the District gave the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities oversight of the theater and announced it would look for other operators of the site to address the site's solvency after an emergency request by USTF for $500,000 to keep the theater operational, a shortfall that threatened to close the theater.
Landmark currently operates E Street Cinema and Bethesda Row Cinema, as well as 61 other movie theaters nationwide, making it "the nation's largest theatre chain dedicated to exhibiting and marketing independent film." "We're pleased to help the city in its efforts to revitalize the Lincoln Theater" said Landmark CEO Ted Mundorff, who hoped the partnership would augur a more profitable future for the historic venue. Alan Zich of DCRE represented Landmark in the transaction.
Once a dignified theater, the Lincoln fell into disrepair and disuse after the widespread riots in 1968, finally shutting its doors in 1981. In the early '90s, the Lincoln was restored and reopened on a limited basis. In 2007 the Fenty administration attempted to resurrect the Lincoln by letting developers compete to develop the back lot, now a parking lot, promising to earmark some of the sale proceeds for the theater, a proposal that was canceled when the District did not receive the proposal it expected.
Top Photo the work of Mark Podger, taken from CityStream.com
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