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Fun with 35mm

by Scott Brown 0 Comments
Fun with 35mm

Last Sunday, February 18th, we had the pleasure of having Stephan Shelly from Grand Lakes theater (in conjunction with American Cinema Equipment) come up to our humble theater and fire up the Christie 35mm projector. It was an absolute thrill to see the ol’ girl fire up and project a loop reel onto the back wall of the theater. According to Stephan, it is in decent shape and can be reconditioned to have regular 35mm print screenings. How great would that be!

Part of what we can do as a non profit community organization, is raise money for the reconditioning of the projector, as well as the purchase of a new digital system for regular film screenings. More to come on that and other projects in the works, later.

Thanks again for the incredible community support and excitement.


The new owners are throwing a grand reopening party!

by Scott Brown 0 Comments

On February 10th, the new owners of the El Rey are throwing a big re-opening fundraiser. They want to reintroduce the theater to the community, show off the work that has been done and raise money for theater renovations. They are selling three levels of sponsorship and holding a silent auction. So far, 3 bands are playing and we are hoping to host a film screening as well.

From the owners announcement….

The El Rey Theater is proud to announce our Grand Opening for 2018! On February 10th we’ll
be hosting our Grand Opening Community Fundraiser. All proceeds from this event will be
donated to the El Rey Theater to assist in improving and preserving a Chico performing arts
landmark. Since the building’s purchase in the summer of 2017 we’ve made quite a few
changes on the inside spending over $500,000 to structurally improving the venue’s
foundation, securing the roof from any further water damage to the majestic fairy murals,
extending the stage along with adding in a large standing room area in front of the stage,
sandblasting and uncovering the original natural brick to give the stage the perfect backdrop
a historical building such as this deserves, and installing a professional level audio and visual
The venue now features a state of the art RCF line array sound system, a 10×20 foot high
definition LED video wall, and additional ceiling mounted trussing, pars, spots, and moving
lights. This is just the first phase in continuing our journey to make the El Rey Theater Chico’s
premier performance and event venue, but we need your help to keep our dream alive!

Event Overview
• The event will begin with a silent auction and all guests will be invited to participate.
Auction items will be given to the El Rey from local businesses as a donation to help promote
their own product or service.
• Following the auction, our partners will be discussing the current state of the theater and
the improvements we plan on making in the upcoming years.
• The remainder of the event will support our local bands and groups involved in the local
music scene and showcase some of the area’s best talent. There will be dancing as well as a
no-host bar.

Sponsorship of our Grand Opening Community Fundraiser will promote your
business or product by inclusion in our marketing campaign as well as at the
event itself. We want you to be a proud sponsor of this event and expose your
brand while helping us keep a piece of Chico history alive. We hope this event will
help grow and sustain a long- term relationship between the El Rey Theater and
your business.

More info can be found at their Facebook event listing.

ATTN: The El Rey Theater Alliance is NOT hosting this fundraiser. We ARE however encouraging everyone to be a part of it.

Some Great News

by Scott Brown 2 Comments

More details to come later, but suffice to say….it looks as if the El Rey will remain a live performance/event theater according to the new owners. I had the opportunity to meet one of the new owners this afternoon and got to see their initial interior renovations. They seem very passionate about keeping it a theater and are hoping that the community can rally behind their enthusiasm to make the El Rey a centerpiece of our downtown community.

ERTA will continue to work with them to be sure it remains a vibrant, accessible and economically sustainable part of the community.

More to come…..

Progress Update

A quick progress update

We have locked in two investors and plan to have proof of funds within just a few days. From there we will assist in drafting a formal offer for the theater. We are working from a solid business plan that shows that the theater will be profitable and bring larger numbers of locals and tourists downtown during normally slow business days, helping to enhance our downtown’s national visibility and economy. We feel that this, along with the support of the community that has been both vocal and supportive, will usher in a new vitality to our amazing city. It’s taken us a bit longer than we’d hoped, but it looks like all the pieces are finally coming together.

Thanks again to everyone for the continued support.

More to come soon.

Kids getting ready for a matinee – 1963

Update – National Event Day Screening of “1984″

by Scott Brown 0 Comments

We’ve overcome some hurdles and are incredibly excited to bring this amazing National Event Day Screening of “1984” to Chico!

Tuesday, April 4 at 7 PM – 10 PM
Chico Theater Company
166 Eaton Rd, Ste F, Chico, California 95973

Tickets are $5 and available at the door, or at www.chicotix.com

On April 4, 2017, over 90 art house movie theatres across the country in 81 cities and in 35 states, plus one in Canada, will be participating collectively in a NATIONAL EVENT DAY screening of the 80’s movie “1984” (www.imdb.com/title/tt0087803) starring John Hurt. This date was chosen because it’s the day George Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith begins rebelling against his oppressive government by keeping a forbidden diary. These theaters owners also strongly believe in supporting the National Endowment for the Arts and see any attempt to scuttle that program as an attack on free speech and creative expression through entertainment. This event provides a chance for communities around the country to show their unity and have their voices heard.

Progress Update

by Scott Brown 0 Comments
Progress Update

We are still working day and night for the El Rey!

Hey everybody, we’ve been out of the limelight for a bit, but wanted to assure you all that we are still persistently working to keep our amazing historic theater from becoming just a memory.

We’ve spent the past couple of months in discussions with investors and the current owner. These discussions are moving slower than any of us expected, but are definitely progressing in a positive direction. Our business plan is in its 3rd draft and disseminated to everyone involved, and we are continuing our due diligence, along with the investors, to make sure it is implemented with the greatest chance of success.  We have also compiled quite a large amount of resource (historical, financial and booking resources) that we are making available to everyone connected with the acquisition.

Needless to say, it has been a ton of work so far, but worth every bit if we end up with a operational, rejuvenated Chico landmark.

There have also been many requests from the community wondering what they can do to help. Earlier this year we established a fund at the North Valley Community Foundation and plan to begin a fundraising campaign soon to help with the eventual purchase and renovation of the theater. Every penny raised will be used for that purpose.
You can also leave a comment below to let us know how you feel about the theater and the effects of its potential loss to the community. Your comments go a long way to letting those involved know how important the El Rey is to our city and its residents (it is really important and believe it or not, makes a huge difference)

Thanks again for all your support!

Update 11-23-2016

by Scott Brown 0 Comments
Update 11-23-2016
Just a quick update on our progress. We know we have been a bit silent for the last month or so, but rest assured it’s not for lack of tireless work on securing a future for the El Rey Theater.

We have finished drafting our business plan as well as a 5 year financial projection, and are currently working with an investor to secure the purchase of the theater. Unfortunately,  more details regarding the sale can’t be divulged at this point.
We have also joined the League of Historical American Theaters (LHAT) which offers a community of other historical theater operators as well as some amazing operational resource that we’ve already been able to take advantage of. We’ve also been graciously invited into the Sundance Arthouse Convergence, another incredible resource of theater operators created in connection with the Sundance Institute in Park City Utah.  We are certain that with our own efforts as well as our collaboration with these, and other prestigious national organizations, the El Rey Theater can become a local and state landmark with regular programming that rivals the most well known and profitable theaters in the country.
As most of you already know, our El Rey Theater is the oldest continuously operated movie theater in California, as well as 3rd in the US. We plan to use this distinction to make it a destination location for cinema and performance audiences worldwide not just for the theater itself, but for all of downtown Chico.

Thank you all for your continued support!

The El Rey Theater Alliance Team

Our recent Letter to the Enterprise Record

by admin 0 Comments

Recently, Councilwoman Ann Schwab asked that the City Council agendize the “El Rey issue”, at the request of constituents.  The city was charged to discover if they could protect the theater as a historical resource for the city of Chico.  In response, the city stated that the El Rey Theater is within a historical overlay zone, and acknowledged that the interior murals are historically significant. Information was also provided during the Council meeting proving that the El Rey is currently the oldest continuously operated movie theater in the state and third in the U.S. Any changes to the theater would be subject to the usual procedure for historic buildings in this district. It was also stated that the city does, in fact, have the jurisdiction to declare the El Rey a city landmark.

The El Rey Theater Alliance, a non-profit corporation, is currently negotiating a possible purchase of the theater with the current owner. It never was, or ever has been, suggested that the City of Chico purchase the building, or force the current owners to maintain a business that they no longer want. We are dedicated to finding solutions that work for everyone, and will continue to do so tirelessly in order to keep the El Rey intact, restored, and vibrantly serving our community.


Lisa West, President

El Rey Theater Alliance