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NISSAN SPONSORS RE-OPENING OF HISTORIC FRANKLIN THEATRE: WEEKEND CELEBRATION BEGINS FRIDAY

The Franklin Theatre today announced that Nissan Americas will sponsor the historic theater’s grand re-opening on Friday, June 3, including a 1930s-themed celebration in downtown Franklin.

Nissan, which opened its Franklin-based Americas regional headquarters in 2008, will help underwrite the Franklin Theatre’s family-friendly events planned for that weekend. As a symbol of the company’s support, the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first affordable, mass-market, all-electric vehicle, will be the official vehicle of the theater’s re-opening festivities. Two zero-emission Nissan LEAFs will be displayed on Main Street on the evening of June 3.

“Middle Tennessee is Nissan’s home in the Americas and Franklin is the heart of that home,” said Jon Brancheau, vice president, Nissan Marketing. “The historic Franklin Theatre perfectly represents our community’s strengths – including a commitment to environmentally conscious preservation and a vision for a vibrant future. Nissan is proud to take part in celebrating its rebirth with our neighbors.”

Built in 1937, the Franklin Theatre is re-opening to the public following a four- year multi-million-dollar restoration. The 300-seat movie house will resume its tradition of showing current-run and classic movies and, thanks to a new state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, will expand its repertoire to include concerts and plays.
A complete rundown of the theater’s grand re-opening details can be found below in this release.

The newly restored Franklin Theatre includes new energy-savings features, including efficient lighting and water systems, making it one of the most environmentally friendly historic preservation projects in Tennessee.

“Like Nissan, the Franklin Theatre is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, which owns the venue. “We couldn’t think of a better partner than Nissan to help us reintroduce the theater to the public.”

Outdoor festivities for the Franklin Theatre’s grand re-opening — scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT on Friday, June 3 — will include free live entertainment as well as extended hours for Franklin’s downtown merchants and restaurants. A swing band will perform on a stage constructed adjacent to the downtown Square.

Giant outdoor movie screens will create Franklin’s version of a Hollywood back lot. Side streets where Fourth Avenue crosses Main Street will feature free showings of two classic ’30s films — the original “King Kong” (1933), starring Depression-era diva Fay Wray, and everyone’s favorite musical fantasy “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) in Technicolor.

A third screen, at Five Points, will feature “Swing Time” (1936), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. All three movies are listed on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) top 100 movies of all time.

Inside the Franklin Theatre, moviegoers will enjoy a late-night 9:30 p.m. screening of “Gone with the Wind,” the 1939 classic starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. The four-hour epic won 10 Academy Awards and is the leading ’30s film listed on the AFI’s top 100. The late-night screening, as well as an encore presentation the next day, sold out within one hour of tickets going on sale last month.

Also on that Friday evening, the Heritage Foundation will host a red-carpet reception for major donors who helped underwrite the Franklin Theatre’s multi-million- dollar restoration.

About Nissan Americas
In the Americas, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and was recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 and 2011. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.

About Nissan
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second largest Japanese automotive company by volume, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan and is an integral pillar of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 150,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4 million vehicles in 2010. With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award.

About the Franklin Theatre
Built in 1937, the Franklin Theatre is part of the Franklin Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The theater is owned and operated by the nonprofit Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. For more information, go to www.franklintheatre.com.


FRANKLIN THEATRE GRAND RE-OPENING Weekend Schedule

Friday, June 3
• 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT: Downtown Franklin street party featuring live swing music, extended merchant hours, and outdoor screenings of “King Kong,” “Swing Time,” and “The Wizard of Oz”
• 9:30 p.m.: Indoor late-night screening of “Gone with the Wind”
Saturday, June 4
• 10 a.m.: Morning kids’ movie “Charlotte’s Web”
• 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Town & Country Tour of Homes (w/Franklin Theatre as added
feature)
• 6 p.m.: Encore screening of “Gone with the Wind”
Sunday, June 5
• 7 p.m. and 9:20 p.m.: Two evening screenings of “Casablanca” ###

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SCREENINGS OF ‘GONE WITH THE WIND’ SELL OUT IN LESS THAN ONE HOUR

LIMITED SEATS STILL AVAILABLE FOR OTHER MOVIES ON JUNE 3-5

Less than one hour after launching its new web site, the newly restored Franklin Theatre sold out two screenings of “Gone With The Wind” — the four-hour Hollywood epic anchoring the historic theater’s grand re-opening festivities in June.

Seats are going fast for two more classic films scheduled for the June 3-5 re-opening weekend — “Casablanca” and “Charlotte’s Web,” the last film that was shown at the 290-seat theater before its doors closed four years ago. Tickets to Franklin Theatre movies, music and merchandise can be purchased online at www.franklintheatre.com.

The Franklin Theatre, a 1937 landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, closed in 2007 but is set to premier again following a multi-million-dollar restoration. With just 36 days remaining, anticipation is building for the theater’s re-opening in the heart of Franklin’s Main Street, winner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s coveted Great American Main Street Award.

“Today’s overwhelming ticket sales online signal that our fans are more than ready for the return of movies, music and romance on Main Street,” said Mary Peace, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. “We appreciate our patrons’ support and look forward to seeing them this summer at the movies.”

The Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit preservation group, owns the Franklin Theatre and spearheaded its restoration. On April 14, the foundation announced that it had selected “Gone With The Wind” to re-open the legendary theater. The 1939 film classic, starring film legends Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, won 10 Academy Awards and is the leading ‘30s film listed on the American Film Institute’s top 100 greatest films of all time.

On the Web: www.franklintheatre.com

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GRAND OPENING PLANS ANNOUNCED

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The Franklin Theatre unveiled plans for its grand re-opening on the weekend of June 3-5, including a 1930s-themed street party in downtown Franklin and a late-night screening of the Oscar-winning film classic “Gone With the Wind.”

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, which owns the newly restored Franklin Theatre, announced plans to close Main Street on the evening of Friday, June 3, pending approval from the city of Franklin, to celebrate the historic movie house’s re-opening with a swinging ’30s-themed party. The Franklin Theatre originally opened in 1937.

“Beginning June 3, the Franklin Theatre will be back bigger and better than ever, and Hollywood will meet Main Street all over again,” said Heritage Foundation President David Garrett. “We’re going to throw the party of the decade to celebrate the theater’s rebirth and the return of movies on Main.”

Outdoor festivities — planned from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT that Friday — include extended hours for Franklin’s downtown merchants and restaurants as well as free live entertainment. A swing band will perform on a stage constructed adjacent to the downtown Square. Sidewalk beer vendors will cater to adults with proper I.D. And an old-fashioned speakeasy will operate in Gray’s Drug Store nearby.

Giant movie screens will create Franklin’s version of a Hollywood back lot. Side streets where Fourth Avenue crosses Main will feature free simultaneous showings of two classic ’30s films — the original “King Kong” (1933), starring Depression-era diva Fay Wray, and everyone’s favorite musical fantasy “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) in Technicolor. Both are listed on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) top 100 movies of all time.

Inside the Franklin Theatre, moviegoers will enjoy a late-night screening of “Gone With the Wind,” the 1939 classic starring Hollywood legends Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. The nearly four-hour epic, set in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction, won 10 Academy Awards and is the leading ‘30s film listed on the AFI’s top 100.

Friday night’s screening of “Gone With the Wind” is open to the public and begins at 9:30 p.m. CDT, immediately following a red-carpet reception for major donors who helped underwrite the Franklin Theatre’s multi-million-dollar restoration. An additional showing will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets in the 290-seat venue will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be purchased online when the theater launches its web site on April 28.

“Indoor and outdoors, we couldn’t think of more iconic films to set the stage as we raise the curtain on the new Franklin Theatre,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation. “We’re grateful to the city’s leadership for their support and efforts to make this very special night a reality for the entire community.”

Rounding out events for the theater’s grand re-opening weekend will be a Saturday morning kids’ movie on June 4, “Charlotte’s Web” (2006), followed by the additional showing of “Gone With the Wind” in the evening. On Sunday, June 5, the theater will offer two evening screenings of the film classic “Casablanca” (1942), starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

Tickets for all of the grand re-opening movie screenings, as well as future movies and events, can be purchased online April 28 when the theater’s new web site goes live at www.franklintheatre.com.

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FRANKLIN THEATRE UNVEILS NEW MARQUEE

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Downtown Franklin’s Main Street is rekindling a vibrant chapter in its history with today’s lighting at dusk of the new Franklin Theatre marquee, a full-scale replica of the iconic art-deco sign from the 1930s.

And in a major show of community support, the Beth and Preston Ingram Foundation, of Franklin, is committing $1.5 million to accelerate the historic theater’s ongoing restoration. Additionally, businessman Cal Turner is pledging another $500,000 to the theater on top of an earlier $1 million commitment. Organizers say the latest gifts will move the theater substantially closer to completion. The anticipated opening date is June 3.

“Preston and Beth Ingram’s and Cal Turner’s generous gifts are the latest in a series of extraordinary commitments that are bringing the Franklin Theatre back to life,” said David Garrett, president of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, which is spearheading the multi-million-dollar theater-restoration project. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the progress to date, and we can’t wait to usher in the grand re-opening this summer.”

The latest contribution follows other “lead” gifts including $2 million from Heritage Foundation board member Emily Magid and $1.5 million from philanthropists Charlie and Shannon Martin. The community at-large has provided roughly $1.7 million in financial support through a combination of large- and small-dollar gifts. Total price tag for purchasing, restoring and opening the Franklin Theatre: $8.7 million.

Despite the lead contributions, Garrett cautioned that the Heritage Foundation cannot relax fundraising efforts until supporters raise another $400,000 in order to meet the overall financial goal. “Large contributions are critical but we need support at every level to make this project work,” Garrett said. “The campaign to ‘Save the Franklin Theatre’ goes on.”Organizers planned to publicly announce the Ingram and Turner financial gifts during today’s ceremony celebrating installation of the theater’s new marquee.

Beginning at dusk, gold and ruby-red neon will illuminate downtown Franklin for the first time since 1970, when the old marquee was dismantled to make way for a modern façade. The lighting ceremony returns the landmark building’s exterior to its former elegance — and begins the four-month countdown to the theater’s official re-opening.

The 40-foot marquee — a burgundy steel case trimmed with about 300 feet of neon — is a gift from Next Generation Heritage Foundation, a group of young Williamson County professionals ages 21 to 40. Next Gen is raising funds to cover the sign’s $100,000 price tag.

“We can’t think of a better way to support the Franklin Theatre than by underwriting the new marquee,” said Tracie Dycus, president of Next Gen. “We’re proud to bring back a piece of community history, a neon work of art that will be the theater’s calling card for the next generation.”

Nashville-based Joslin & Son Signs, along with Batten & Shaw and Hastings Architecture Associates, re-created the old marquee’s signature look by relying on a combination of historical black-and-white photographs as well as interviews with longtime Franklin residents who recalled the sign’s original colors. The result: a new Main Street icon with a soft glow and cool vibe.

“Nothing says ‘let us entertain you’ quite like a traditional theater marquee,” said Aubrey Preston, interim director of the Franklin Theatre. “It’s a nod to the past and a glimpse at a very bright future.”

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving historic landmarks. In summer 2007, the group launched its campaign to purchase and restore the historic theater, which first opened in 1937. When the theater re-opens in June, it will offer a mix of movies and live music, and serve as a resource for community programs.

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