Renovation work now underway at Oriental Theatre, now leased by Milwaukee Film

Oriental Theatre

MILWAUKEE — Renovation work got underway Monday, July 2 at the iconic Oriental Theatre.

FOX6 News was there as crew members were up on lifts, checking out some of the plaster work that needs to be done on the ceilings. They also plan to add a women’s restroom on the first floor and renovate the men’s room.

Work will continue in several phases, but the Oriental is expected to reopen on Aug. 10.

Oriental Theatre

Oriental Theatre

On June 21, the 91-year-old theater displayed the final marquee under its longtime owner, Landmark Theatre. Milwaukee Film became the new leaseholder on July 1.

“It is a wonder movie palace, and our plan is to continue operating it as a film cinema. You can expect to see as many as three times as many film titles per year,”¬†said Sara Meaney, chief marketing officer of Milwaukee Film.

Milwaukee Film is paying for a $10 million overhaul of the space. Meaney said the Oriental will become a true “calendar” theater with more film titles screening each month.

“We plan to go back to that style of programming and we will be releasing calendars each month in advance for consistent and repertory programming. Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been a part of that story. We expect to and plan to have that continue,” said Meaney.

Opening week films¬†will include daily first-run screenings of Spike Lee’s new feature BlacKkKlansman and the new documentary McQueen.

When Milwaukee Film assumes operations on July 1, the Oriental Theatre will be temporarily closed for renovations, which kickoff a multi-phased plan to revitalize the historic cinema, according to Milwaukee Film officials.

As of the re-opening, Milwaukee Film will have upgraded projection and sound equipment and added a first floor women’s restroom.

Milwaukee Film’s new lease of the Oriental Theatre is good for 31 years.

Below is information on the films, via a news release from Milwaukee Films officials:

BlacKkKlansman

From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, as he bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.

McQueen

A personal look at the extraordinary life, career, and artistry of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals, and music, McQueen is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary.