New York’s IFC Center is expanding its venue from three to five auditoriums, augmenting the arthouse theater’s capacity by 25%. Construction is underway, in the space once used as a bar and restaurant, and the new theaters are expected to open to the public in early 2010. Operators tout the expansion as a boon for its specialty-oriented programming, giving more capacity to films such as “Gomorrah,” “Inland Empire” and “Che” which have opened at the venue in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.
Originally built as a church in the early 19th century, the IFC Center building first became a cinema in 1937 as the Waverly, a grand, single-screen neighborhood theater that later embraced the countercultural cinematic movements of the ’60s and ’70s when it gave “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” its original midnight launch. The Waverly closed and stood idle in 2001, but the building re-opened and refurbished as IFC Center in 2005. Bogdanow Partners Architects, PC were responsible for the renovation design in 2005, as well as the current expansion project. Today, the venue is one of only a few independent theaters that projects from the DCI-compliant DCP format. Operators said via a release, that the venue has increased its box office sales, with 2009 “up significantly” from 2008.
IFC Center has also attracted well-known filmmakers for its series of specialized programming, including as David Lynch, George Clooney, Steven Soderbergh, Michael Apted, Terry Gilliam, Isabella Rossellini, John Malkovich, Jane Fonda, Spike Lee, Michael Moore, DA Pennebaker and Albert Maysles. Among the popular ongoing series at IFC Center are its repertoary series and retrospectives as well as Midnight movies and its focus on documentary, Stranger Than Fiction, a project spearheaded by Toronto International Film Festival documentary programmer, Thom Powers.
“We’re very proud to be both a neighborhood theater for the West Village, as well as key destination cinema for cineastes from all over,” commented John Vanco, VP & GM of IFC Center in a statement. “With the addition of these two new screens, we look forward to being able to show even more great movies to even bigger audiences.”
Offerings this weekend at IFC Center include “Interviews with Hideous Men,” “Paris” and “In the Loop” from its sister division, IFC Films.