National Amusements Is Going ‘De Lux’

posted by Ron Newman on July 18, 2005 at 5:21 am

A front-page article in yesterday’s Boston Globe discusses National Amusements' high-end ‘Cinema de Lux’ concept, now operating in the small town of Millbury, Massachusetts.

The 14-screen theatre features a piano in the lobby, reserved seats, wine and cocktails, lounges with free magazines and newspapers, plasma TVs showing baseball games, and a concierge who can book reservations at nearby restaurants.

‘'The idea is to change from a movie theater to a community entertainment experience,“ said Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements Inc., the Dedham operator of Showcase Cinemas and Cinema de Lux theaters.

The company plans to open three more ‘de Lux’ cinemas in Massachusetts over the coming year. All of its future theatres will be based on this ‘de Lux’ concept.

Boston Globe: Hold the popcorn, pass the cocktails: With market slipping, cinemas try to create new experience

Comments (36)

JodarMovieFan on July 18, 2005 at 2:45 pm

We have one of those ‘De Lux’ multiplexes in Virginia and, to be honest, it’s nothing great. The plasma tvs just show ads and movie trailers. The food court is just that..a food court. Sbarros, Nathans, the usual mall food fare at movie house prices!

The movie screens are decently sized, with stadium seating, nothing special. The presentation was in the Director’s Hall. The sound was muted and none of the auditoriums were THX certified, which would explain the lackluster presentation. The reserved seating is just that. I couldn’t choose where I wanted to sit and even though there were other people, the usher would check our tickets to make sure we sat in our assigned seat. I felt like I was in elementary school being told where to sit and not to move!

Is it worth the extra cost for the ‘De Lux’ treatment? Not in Virginia. Maybe it is better at the other locations where there may be at least DLP and/or IMAX.

sdoerr on July 19, 2005 at 9:59 pm

IMO it’s a step in the right direction.

Wouldn’t mind trying this concept here in Detroit.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on July 21, 2005 at 6:13 pm

The first Cinema de Lux theatre was The Bridge located on the westside of Los Angeles, a few ticks down the road from Los Angeles International Airport. It’s a very popular (and pretty expensive) theatre.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on July 21, 2005 at 6:19 pm

There’s another “Bridge Cinema de Lux” in Philadelphia. It was originally intended to be a Sundance Cinema.

longislandmovies on July 22, 2005 at 5:23 am

one of the best run chains of today.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on July 22, 2005 at 5:59 am

Perhaps, but also one of the least imaginative. I can’t recall ever seeing a Showcase Cinema run an exclusive premiere or promote an undiscovered small film.

JodarMovieFan on July 23, 2005 at 7:07 pm

The first three National Amusement multiplexes, in the DC/VA area started out in the mid 80s were state-of-the-art for its time. I recall they boasted at least two big auditoriums that were THX certified and had 70mm capability. I remember catching Star Trek IV, Terminator 2 and Dick Tracy in 70mm at one of those venues. Today, they are just run of the mill operations and have lost their THX certification. The Arlington VA Multiplex has DLP but its in a small auditorium that is shoe box sized. I saw X2 there, in ‘03, and was disappointed with the muddled sound though the picture was vibrant and colorful and didn’t bother going there to see Revenge of the Sith.

If they build another one in this market, they could take a page out of the Arclight Cinemas book and offer all stadium seating, with at least THX certified auditoriums, if not better, and at least one with IMAX and/or DLP. Perhaps an auditorium or two could be kept for art house classics, with 70mm capability to show older widescreen favorites. Then you can call it a ‘De Lux’ venue. :)
Okay, I’m projecting a wish that may not come true…

DOS76 on October 29, 2005 at 6:17 am

i went to a cinema deluxe in milbury ma and was not very impressed with it all.

James Fisher
James Fisher on January 18, 2006 at 4:03 am


Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 18, 2006 at 4:19 am

I don’t really understand what you are saying.

MovieMatty on February 2, 2006 at 9:22 am

RE: Perhaps, but also one of the least imaginative. I can’t recall ever seeing a Showcase Cinema run an exclusive premiere or promote an undiscovered small film.
posted by Ron Newman on Jul 22, 2005 at 8:59am

I agree with you, Ron. National Amusements/Showcase Cinemas has always been one of the most mundane exhibitionists in terms of style and selection. I’m not knocking them for it. It just happens to be a fact.

But I do remember in August of 1998, Showcase did host a limited engagement of “The North End” a low budget, Boston-set film directed by Frank Ciota. It’s marquee value stemmed from a token appearance by Frank Vincent, a character actor known mainly for his mobster roles in Scorsese films such as “GoodFellas” and “Casino”. The film played for about two weeks in Showcase’s Revere cinema and also their newly opened Randolph complex (which is where I saw the film). It may have played in another one or two of their local theatres (Woburn, perhaps) but the memory starts to get fuzzy at this point.

It was a fairly decent film, one that presented the local flavor just as well as the much more esteemed local film from that time, Good Will Hunting. To date, it has not been released on video and I have seen hide nor hair of this film since my 1998 Randolph viewing. If you like more information on the film, here’s the IMDB page:

Aside from The North End, the only other Showcase “exclusive” I remember was that they hosted the Boston-area engagement of the 1987 nomadic vampire film Near Dark in it’s area theatres, despite the fact that a couple of General Cinemas outside of Showcase’s booking jurisdictions also played the movie.

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