The Megaplex Turns “10”
The Associated Press takes an interesting look at the history of the megaplex…
While it seems as if gigantic movie theaters have been with us forever, the megaplex theater — defined as having 14 or more screens and modern amenities like stadium-style seating — turned 10 years old last week.
AMC Entertainment opened the first, the Grand 24 in Dallas, on May 19, 1995, ushering in a concept that used its scale to change how movies are shown. Ticket prices and audience expectations have gone up in the 10 years since, and megaplexes now face problems of their own.
The idea was to match the successful “big-box” stores sprouting across suburbia, said Peter Brown, chief executive officer of Kansas Citybased AMC, which now operates 229 theaters, 77 percent of which are megaplexes.
Pretty interesting read. There’s more at the East Valley Tribune website.
If megaplexes are the future, I’d be supportive of say a megaplex that incorporates a single screen gem and then building adjoining but distant, ornately-styled auditoriums that have the projection and sound that exceed THX cert standards like the Arclight, in Hollywood.
I did the installation work at AMC’s Barrington, Ill. 30plex. The theatres are very spacious and all have statium seating. We installed all of the movie screens and sound systems throughout the complex. All of the sound systems in AMC’s megaplex are dolby or dolby digital.
AMC uses a seamless screen system, In which the screen has a vacum system that pull out all of the air behind the screen. This gives the screen it’s curvature and enhances cinemascope presentations. By having a seamless screen, in areas where the picture is bright, you get a smooth and appealing presentation that does not distract the eye.
One interesting item of interest, was that before the theatre opened, the state put in a toll booth at the Barringtion exit. They understood the increased traffic count at that exit once the theatre was opened.
The First Megaplex opened in the late 1970’s in Canada at the Toronto Eaton’s Center, so how could it be only 10 years?
The Cineplex Odeon Eaton’s Center had at one time 22 screens.
Heres a link to the Eaton’s Cineplex In Downtown Toronto –> /theaters/850/
A toll booth…that’s funny. The government cracks me up! I wonder what the official justification was for doing that.
Hey Chad. AMC rewrites history every few years and everyone repeats it.
AMC also claims the first twin in 1963 “in a suburban mall”. Mind you there were several twins already operating by 1960 in remote places like Manhattan.
The Eaton and several other cinemas had more screens but did they have “stadium seating”?
Well, Kinepolis Cinemas in Europe certainly had stadium seating and over 14 screens years before AMC copied that first one.
I cannot say this is really something to celebrate. These theatres have really hurt the majestic single screens in the U.S. From what I read, NYC more than L.A. At least we still have Grauman’s Chinese, Mann Village, Bruin and National (Westwood), Aero (Santa Monica), Egyptian (Hollywood), Crest (Westwood) etc.
As flashy as these MONSTER-PLEXES are they will not hold up ‘look-wise’ 20 years from now. While Grauman’s Chinese and Mann Village will still be wonderful to visit and look at.
AMC claims they built the first twin? That’s funny. How about this one?
Hey AlAlarez. I know of only 3 of the 22 screens at the Toronto Eaton’s Center that had stadium seating. AMC thinks they can rewrite history but when it comes to their thinking they were the first to have a megaplex they are dead wrong. I never go to any megaplex anymore becaues I want to enjoy not just the movie but also the theater. Theres nothing worse then going to a megaplex that looks like your going to a shopping mall.
Some of these megaplexes may lack personality and feel like train depots but let’s face it, they have saved the exhibition industry by giving the distributors a showcase for their DVD product. In many cases the presentation is superior to the old palaces. Anyone who has sat through a movie at Radio City Music Hall can tell you what an inadequate experience that really is compared to those new Loews with wall to wall screens and Digital sound. Credit goes to Kinepolis and Cineplex, not AMC.
Worst thing to happen to the real theatre and showmanship business.I can handle up to four screens,and really don’t like that.Why does a theatre have to be a “showcase for DVD product”.