Roxy reopens in time for Christmas rush of films

During the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, many people will probably engage in the annual, time-honored tradition of catching up on movies.

Just in time for the cinema rush, the Philadelphia Film Society has reopened the newly renovated Roxy Theater in Center City.

It cinema on Sansom Street opened one of its theaters to “Saving Mr. Banks,” a major motion picture with Oscar buzz, starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks in a story about the making of the Disney film, “Mary Poppins.”

It will open its second theater the day after Christmas with the new Martin Scorsese film, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

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“This year is probably the best year for films that I can remember,” said J. Andrew Greenblatt, executive director of the Philadelphia Film Society. “We absolutely wanted to be part of that, and shine a spotlight on some of the ones we loved the best. So we opened on the Friday before Christmas, on Dec. 20.”

The renovations are not quite finished. While the two new auditoriums, digital projectors, and bathrooms are all updated, the concession stand still needs some work. Nevertheless, the small downtown cinema has reopened for year-round programming similar to that of the Philadelphia International Film Festival, which the film society produces. That means first-run films, plus a smattering of foreign and art film offerings.

Greenblatt says the film society is still raising money to pay for the renovation, which took longer and cost more than anticipated.

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