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Tull family sponsors naming rights for planned Sewickley movie theater

| Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 10:45 a.m.

A partial owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and founder of Legendary Pictures has sponsored the naming rights of a proposed two-screen nonprofit movie theater in Sewickley, leaders announced Tuesday.

Previously named the Vanguard Theater, the project now is known as The Tull Family Theater, named for Thomas and Alba Tull, who sponsored the naming rights with a $500,000 donation.

Thomas Tull is a partial Steelers owner and founder of Legendary Pictures, which produced “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Jurassic World.”

“It's about much more than a name,” theater executive director Carolina Pais-Barreto Beyers said in a statement.

“The Tulls' participation is rocket fuel. Our initiative is now stronger and poised to make a more powerful impact in the region.”

In a prepared statement, the Tulls said they are “honored to invest in the Village Theater Company.”

The theater, near Walnut and Thorn streets in Sewickley, is set to open in September.

“The theater and its programs will be the centerpiece of the community and this is our first step in being part of the cultural, educational and artistic programs here.”

In November, the Tulls purchased a century-old stone Edgeworth home for $5.5 million. Initial plans called for the home — known as “Muottas” — to be torn down.

But after residents and the Sewickley Valley Historical Society complained, Tull announced plans to move the home to a different section of the property and build a new home.

A Tull spokeswoman in January said the family would construct a home “more suitable for a 21st century family with young children.”

The home was built in 1904 by William and Jane Walker — a prominent Sewickley Valley couple.

Last June, organizers broke ground on the 12,000-square-foot theater near Walnut and Thorn streets which will have two movie screens and a community room allowing for additional programming.

Leaders first announced plans late in 2011 to bring a movie theater back to Sewickley after a nearly 30-year hiatus. Since then, the group raised $1.5 million in donations and pledges.

Bobby Cherry is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rcherry@tribweb.com.

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