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City Hopes 'Girl With Dragon Tattoo' Will Save Lincoln Theatre

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DNesstah Fields, Lincoln Theater's stage manager, puts up a poster promoting the four-week run of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on the front of the theater.
 
Emily Friedman
  DNesstah Fields, Lincoln Theater's stage manager, puts up a poster promoting the four-week run of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo on the front of the theater.  

After the Lincoln Theatre has been losing money year after year, there's now a plan in the works to save the historic venue in Northwest D.C. City officials are betting on what they hope will be a blockbuster.

The new movie, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is showing at the Lincoln Theatre starting today. City officials had originally said in September that the venerated heart of "Black Broadway" would have to close due to lack of funding.

The venue hasn't been used as a movie theater in decades, though many Washingtonians, including Mayor Vince Gray, have fond memories of when it was.

"I came here as a child. You can look at me and see that wasn't yesterday," he says. "Having a first run film here for three or four weeks will help us test the market to see if that can be part of a viable business model going forward."

This run is the first step in what officials hope will be a new era for the theater. Starting Jan. 1, the theater will be temporarily operated by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Executive Director Lionell Thomas says they plan to lower rental fees and revamp all the programming. 

"Some of the stuff that had gone on before will not be here," he says. "Such as wresting, or boxing may not be something that's a part of the artistic identity going forward."

After the movie's four-week run ends, the building, which is owned by the city, will be shut down for a $1 million renovation, and reopen in the first half of 2012.

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