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AMC Prime Theatre is now open. Theater #15 has a (temporary) 70MM projector installed for the Hateful Eight Roadshow – decent presentation (although awkwardly letterboxed – leaving the bottom ¼th empty).
The lack of masking was the subject of a few complaints – the image size was about ½ a flat image in this auditorium (I’m not sure QT would approve – I wish Harvey had booked Edgewater Multiplex instead – they have a few big houses with side masking that would provided a better experience for sure, even if they aren’t properly set up for Ultra Pannavision either).
The other oddity about Theater #15 – it literally is the furthest theater from the concession stand – I doubt during peak times (this weekend) that 12-minute intermission is going to be enough time. It’s quite comical how AMC boasts about “innovation” when they pay such little attention to details.
I wouldn’t waste time on the “new” IMAX screen here – Garden State and City Center have decent IMAX retrofits. Clifton Commons is the worst – a downright scam. This one does have a big screen but awkward viewing angles – – between the light directly above the screen and the exit slights that backlight the screen, it’s baffling how IMAX could certify this auditorium. AMC should be embarrassed by both this screen and Clifton Commons…if only they cared about quality.
Liberty Science Center, Regal New Roc City and Lincoln Square are true legacy IMAX theaters – the latter two have gone digital. LSC is a 15/70MM dome IMAX – they occasionally showed Hollywood films. This site is converting into some kind of role playing indoor amusement park that sounds compelling but kind of temporary – we’ll see if succeeds.
Currently back open per AMC’s website
Not sure if they are – Film Forum will have Son of Saul in 35MM per FF’s website.
Cinema 1 (still?) has 70MM installed – caught a flawless press screening of Hateful Eight today. Not sure if the theatre will get a regular engagement of the film but the experience of Ultra Panavision was great and the theater had proper masking to accommodate the extreme wide screen. Nice place – with some art work still in the lobby – Cinema 1 had a very General Cinema 70s vibe (reminded me of a Eastern Hills Mall outside of Buffalo – minus the picture window screen)
Regal will be reopening with recliners at some point in 2016. I’m sure they’ll succeed in ways Destina and Cinema Holdings Group couldn’t (I’m sure the later left the place trashed – they are the worst of the worst).
The Cornelia Street facade looks like one of the New School’s outposts in the West Village. I hope they can make it work – 6 new screens is great (I just hope they’re more like the original theaters and not theater #5 – which appears to be getting flipped around in the new design – hopefully that’ll will mean a bigger screen. They may want to reconsider how the theaters will be numbered too – it may be a confusing building to navigate with a few theaters downstairs, two theaters upstairs in one part of the building, and a few on floors 2 and 3 in another part of the building (presumably accessed differently – – although maybe not – it looks like they’re relocating the elevator).
Closed and moved next door to the AMC in what was Theater #10. I saw Everest (2015) in IMAX on the new screen – its just not as good for many reasons (even if the seats are more plush). The mall is covering the former IMAX into some kind of role playing playground thing.
I’ve been here a few times since the renovations – the restrooms largely look the same and AMC changed the ticketing counters to integrate more self-service machines (interestingly enough they only have two cash/pass registers open – the rest are credit only).
20 theaters have the second generation recliners – quite comfortable but the footrests don’t fully extend nor do the backs recline that far – still an improvement over the previous seating.
The IMAX however is terrible – I saw Everest on Friday night in 3D – they have the same style of seating as the recliners except they don’t recline – also there’s limited foot room (and you can’t place your feet under your seat – they’ve padded that part for some reason). The retrofit screen is about half the size of the previous IMAX and lacks the immersive view even three rows from the screen (where I eventually moved). The most annoying feature was a light directly above the screen that remained on, washing out the dark scenes. I wrote to IMAX and received a quick response – I hope the matter is corrected because the 3D was virtually useless. I tend to think it has more to do with AMC rather than IMAX – AMC’s presentation standards are downright atrocious (they’re the leader in leaving the Real D filters on 2D shows).
An expansion to 11 screens is on the books: http://www.indiewire.com/article/exclusive-new-yorks-ifc-center-plans-to-expand-location-more-than-doubling-screens-and-seats-20150826
Williams Center Cinemas are officially closed as of June 22nd – one of the last theaters in Jersey to run all 35MM first run (I think the Lincoln Cinemas in Kearny are still 35MM but I have no confirmation on that) – article in the Bergen Record: http://www.northjersey.com/news/business/rutherford-s-williams-center-cinemas-close-due-to-film-to-digital-conversion-1.1361373
It fits AMC’s business model – they’ve been taking over one-offs, locations that in the 90s they would have closed “just because”. The new idea is if they’re in a good retail site, why not? Gerry Lopez, I suppose is applying the Starbucks model here. The strangest take over is the Oakbrook 4 — closed by 14 years ago by Loews Cineplex, reopened last year as an AMC recliner-plex with McGuffins.
Updated with all recliner seating – Dipson is also promising a few more upgrades including larger screens.
Officially the end of 35MM projection in WNY – I don’t think anyone kept their 35MM gear (judging by Interstellar). It’s a shame the theater is in as rough a shape as it is otherwise another operator might be compelled to give it another go (although the plaza may or may not be helped by the departure of Wal Mart) – the model Movieland had didn’t seem all that sustainable when they had to ask for contributions on IndieGoGo to upgrade to digital (Dipson upgraded their whole circuit including McKinley Mall – now the only discount house in the region, while shedding a few of the under performing locations). AMC has been taking over smaller theaters to recliner-plex – – they’ve been taking over some strange location lately (like Market Arcade) – so depending on the future of shopping center who knows….
Last titles to screen: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, American Sniper, While We’re Young, Danny Collins, Fifty Shades of Grey, Run All Night, Big Hero 6, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
The former box-office on the ground floor now houses two Cineplex food concepts – Poptopia and a Frozen Yogurt bar. I visited the VIP section last September (I took a few hours away from TIFF to see “Captive”, the new Atom Egoyan movie that wasn’t playing at the festival…draw your own conclusions on that one) and it was a pretty nice experience – the food and beverages we had were fine, as was the service (although only available during the pre-show, a server took our order and settled our bill via an iPad). As for the dine-in aspect, the selection was not nearly as expansive a selection as the Alamo Drafthouse although the quality and experience surpassed AMC’s Dine-In Theaters. My only complaint would have been the price of tickets had we not gone on half-price Tuesdays.
On a side note: I feel as if the VIP market could be an area of entry for another exhibitor if one were to want to try to enter the GTA in those few market areas were Cineplex has some weakness (or if Landmark were to start investing in recliner seats like US exhibitors have been doing).
I’ve caught a few shows during Tribeca and I’m a fan of the new seats – wide leather rockers with large arm rests. A few major changes have been made: the box office was moved inside (where Clearview Cafe area had previously lived, to the right of the concessions). Cafe seating is now available on the first floor where the guest services counter had stood (guest services is now to the left of the concession stand). The outdoor ticket windows have been completely removed. The concessions stand was upgraded with new fixtures and now serves six varieties of flavored popcorn made on site.
Apart from the first floor lobby renovations the most notable changes are the auditoriums entrances have been reconfigured – perhaps to add some capacity back that had been lost with the addition of wider seats and generous leg room. The exterior renovations also are now complete and the signs officially read Bow Tie Cinemas. I prefer this venue for Tribeca, it has the sidewalk and lobby space to make all the queues work well without the maze of escalators and narrow hallways that Regal Battery Park has.
I noticed tonight Theater #8 has a 35MM projector installed along side a Sony 4K projector (platter, not reel to reel which essentially means archival prints will will not screen here). Theater #8 was one of the first in the state to feature digital projection, a few years before 3D became the driver that it was in the conversion of analog screens. (I don’t recall what system they had but National Amusements mostly standardized on Sony 4K when the circuit converted – I believe Barco supplies the tech for XPlus).
The presentation is still excellent across the board and Edgewater’s flagship XPlus auditorium has been reseated with recliners.
Should be marked as closed – both the Pathmark and Forman Mills (which replaced the theatre) on site are now sitting empty. The big box shops only a few blocks away seem to be thriving, not sure why exactly this location failed so horribly.
Still one the strangest theaters I’ve ever been to – went yesterday to see a film, as is the policy of Empire Cinemas they leave their theaters pitch black (I suppose they’re too cheap to install automatic lighting cues). The hallways are getting painted white and yellow. The seating is now a mix of second-hand seats from Kerasotes down the street (which recently installed luxury recliners) and rocker seating from somewhere else. The theater I was in had the later installed and they were quite comfortable. It appears despite the promise of luxury recliners that Empire Cinemas has abandoned the plan, Allwood has them in certain auditoriums (others I think got the second hand Regal seats from this theatre). Very odd operation these folks run.
Looks like Empire Cinemas is taking it over: http://union.empirecineplex.com
I believe this location is due to be taken over by global exhibitor CineGrand.
Recliner update is complete – I attended a show tonight – – very comfortable, although seat back doesn’t recline as far as Starplex but that might actually be a good thing – the foot rests do extend nearly flat. I suspect going this route they lost less seats in the conversion process and the theatre we were in (a medium-sized one) still boasted a decent seat-count. An usher enforced the new reserved seating policy and checked tickets upon entry to the auditorium.
The sight-lines in the upper stadium portion have changed (the first row is a good 6ft above the handicap rows, almost like a balcony) and made for a very good viewing experience. In essence, a nice, comfortable multiplex just got more comfortable – – I suspect this recliner-plexing with reserved seating may be kind of a test for Kerastoes who has plans to expand their Showplace Icon brand with new complexes in DC and Boston. The screens (proper masking here!), lobby, box-office, concession and rest-rooms haven’t changed.
They’re an exhibitor from the Netherlands – from the looks of their website they have four theaters – one each in India, Bulgaria, Romania and Ocean, New Jersey………