Film Society takes over Roxy

I could hear the sighs of many from all the way over here in Chicago…and check out the wording of this press release!  Well, we wish them the best of luck!

Philadelphia Film Society Revives Historical ROXY Theater

Rittenhouse Square’s Last Movie House to be new home for Philadelphia Film Society and Philadelphia Film Festival

PHILADELPHIA, PA–October 9, 2012–The ROXY Theater in Rittenhouse Square has found it’s savior. The Philadelphia Film Society ( PFS ) will take over the location, engaging in an exciting year-round film program at the historic movie house.  The tradition of film exhibition is secured with a long-term lease for the location.

J. Andrew Greenblatt, Executive Director of Philadelphia Film Society, promises to run the theater regularly with selections and events serving the local community, movie buff’s and cinéaste’s.  “We are absolutely thrilled to be taking over the management and operations of the historical and beloved ROXY, making it the new home for the Philadelphia Film Society.  We intend to make the ROXY a hub for the Philadelphia film community, booking diverse and captivating programming, offering education courses and producing special events similar to venues such as the Alamo Drafthouse theaters, the Film Forum in New York, and Coolidge Corner Theater in Boston.”

PFS expects to make some noticeable renovations to the ROXY, located on the vibrant 2000 block of Sansom St.  “We plan on upgrading the ROXY, quickly transitioning the venue to digital projection, however we also expect to maintain 35mm projectors, which will allow us to exhibit cinematic treasures best seen in their original format,” Greenblatt said.  In the near future, we also intend make improvements to seating, the interior decor and exterior facade.

Philadelphia Film Society planning on some enticing fundraising activities to support the renovation and renewal of the ROXY starting at the Philadelphia Film Festival which begins next week on October 18th and runs through October 28th, PFS will be raising funds and awareness for the ROXY renovation project.  To stay informed about the project and learn how you can help, Philadelphia Film Society please visit

With Securing PFS to run the ROXY, John Ciccone, President of San-Mor fulfills his promises to continue the tradition of a cinema at the location as well as to revamp the movie theater with an operator that will  serve the local residents and the independent film community by showing dynamic and diverse programming, “This is a wonderful opportunity to keep the tradition of movies alive at the ROXY.  I have full faith that Philadelphia Film Society will make major improvements to the facilities equipment, decor and overall aesthetic.  I’ll be lending my hand in some of the design of the new facade and I’ll also be upgrading the air-conditioning, heating and some other improvements to the building that will be a part of making The ROXY a much improved venue for cinema.  From the Helium Comedy Club to my Adrienne Live theater (which hosts 4 theater companies) and great restaurants like Melograno, which received 3 Bells from Craig LaBan, and many other exciting dining experiences on the block, it’s great see the 2000 block of Sansom St. grow and attract the very best of Philadelphia.”

Author: Eric Bresler

Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.


  1. In all good hopes, I wont have to make treks to NY’s Film Forum anymore. Not that it isn’t my favorite spot on the east coast, I just miss so many great film because of the distance and the cost. Do philly proud Film Society. Dont be afraid to challenge the philadelphia community with your selections. And on that note, don’t forget Philly! This city is brimming with great film making and film curatorial talents. Leave the door open for the young set 🙂

    1. Two years.

      Clearly they are misguided. Nowadays a theater needs to have at least 500 seats to stay in the black because they must pay out at least 50-75% of their box office sales to distributors. This is why there has been a dramatic decrease in the numbers of small theaters and an increase in the number of huge multiplexes; there is an economy of scale.There is tremendous overhead to run a theater–heat and A/C (high ceilings), electric, taxes, staff, rent, promotions, equipment acquisition and repairs. Supplies will be more expensive for the Roxy because they do not have the negotiating ability that big chains do. Everything from popcorn to plastic bags will cost them 40% more than it does for the rest of us. Film is heavy (about 60 pounds for a feature) and expensive to ship. Renovations would open an unpleasant can of worms for the theater. Once PFS begins renovating, they would have to make the entire place handicap accessible. Clearance for wheelchairs and an elevator (if they are going to really use the upstairs) would be problematic in a space as small as the Roxy. The Roxy, like many tiny theaters has long, narrow screening rooms, each with a single aisle going down the center of the room (where the best seats should be) and small screens. Long, narrow spaces don’t work well as theaters. It’s better to have a square space, with a large screen, seats in the center, and aisles along on the sides.

      If movie theaters were easy to run, everyone would do it. Right?

  2. I love going to the Film Forum in NY, and heard awesome things about the Alamo Drafthouse. If its anything close to that, the Phila. film community just got a major upgrade.

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