Critically acclaimed filmmakers (and QC natives) Scott Beck and Bryan Woods are behind the plan to convert a prime vacant property in downtown Davenport into a new movie showplace.
Their planned Last Picture House, at 2nd and Iowa streets, won $600,000 in state funding to support the $3.72 million project. It’s among four Destination Iowa projects announced Friday by Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority, totaling $14.1 million in new grant funding.
The $100-million Destination Iowa program, announced in April, invests in transformational projects that will bolster the quality of life in Iowa communities and attract visitors and new residents.
The new two-screen movie theater, across from Bechtel Park and next to Half Nelson restaurant will be the home of first-run movies and independent films, exclusive events featuring actors alongside local filmmakers and film screenings. The space will also include a social lounge, cocktail bar, and a rooftop bar with another movie screen.
Beck and Woods, Bettendorf High School and University of Iowa alums, are most famous for co-writing the 2018 horror hit, “A Quiet Place,” directed by and co-starring John Krasinksi. On a $17-million budget, it brought in $340.9 million at the box office, spawning a sequel (which Beck and Woods were not involved in), directed and written by Krasinski, producing $297 million in box-office receipts.
The 8,700-square-foot downtown Davenport building has been vacant since March 2019, and was last used as a garage by the Downtown Davenport Partnership, said owner and developer Pete Stopulos.
Since Stopulos owns the nearby building where the Raccoon Motel is, Scott Beck asked Raccoon concert booker Sean Moeller about the corner site’s availability, Stopulos said Friday.
“I’ve said since day one, I’m happy to build the bus and they’re driving it,” he said of the new theater plan, including one 190-seat theater and another seating about 80.
“We feel it’s a perfect complement for the area,” Stopulos said, noting all the residential options downtown, including the new Urbane210 apartment building on East 2nd Street. There are a variety of bars, restaurants and shops along the popular corridor, including the new Mississippi River Distilling Co. downtown lounge.
“This really was a marriage of opportunity,” he said of bringing the project partners together. “They’re really trying to create a community, to appeal to the film community in general.”
Kyle Carter, executive director of Downtown Davenport Partnership, is ecstatic about The Last Picture House.
“This is a real amenity. This will draw people in,” he said Friday. “This is another reason to make a destination for downtown. Cinema is kind of a lost art in the Quad Cities. We’re proud of our live music and art scene.”
A cool independent movie house is another key building block for downtown and the region, Carter said.
“To have a dedicated theater like this, especially on East 2nd Street, it will continue to be a huge magnet for energy and investment,” he said. “I’m really happy to see it. I would certainly hope if people have a choice to see a first-run movie, this would be the preferred choice. This is super cool and it’s very rare.”
To see several renderings of the planned theater, click HERE.