There was a time in my life when I spent more of my weekends going to concerts than going to the movies. And many of those concerts were fittingly at a venue that had previously been a movie theater. Back then, though, I never thought about the significance of seeing The Mighty Mighty Bosstones in the same place I once watched A Nightmare on Elm Street 4. There was a fine distinction between live music and cinema.
Unlike now, when there's an ever growing feeling that for the exhibition industry cinema is dead, while live music is, umm, live. The signs have been visible for the past year: Garth Brooks selling out multiplexes; a Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert coming in at #1 at the box office. But nothing made the future seem as clear as last month's news that National Amusements is going into the live entertainment business.
The theater chain, which also technically owns most of Viacom, has apparently seen enough interest in live entertainment through "experiments" at its fancy Cinema De Lux locations that it will begin operating venues strictly for live entertainment, which will be called Showcase Live! (a name similar to the company's Showcase Cinemas brand of multiplexes). The first is set to open this August, and while it's the only one apparently planned out so far, the company expects to open three to five more within the next few years.