Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 226 - 250 of 4,124 comments

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 29, 2014 at 4:01 pm

As has been mentioned before here, when the run was not exclusive, the Ziegfeld was out-grossed even by tiny houses like the Baronet and Waverly. The 54th street location even required hired ‘screamers’ for premieres since not enough passers-by mobbed the entrance to see celebrities.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 29, 2014 at 3:00 pm

And how could I forget “Apocalypse Now”? Not only an exclusive run, but a special ticket price of $5. Way above average for 1979. And it filled the Ziegfeld for many weeks.

bigjoe59 on July 29, 2014 at 2:51 pm

to Bill H.–

thanks for the other titles from when the studios still used the Ziegfeld for exclusive 1st run engagements. since this theater is the place to see widescreen films that’s why it was frequently sold out years ago. it was the only theater in Manhattan if the not the city playing a film.

which prompts two additional questions-

*as I stated in my post if people had no trouble finding and getting to the theater 20-25 years ago how is it “off the beaten path” today?

*what was in fact the last exclusive 1st run engagement of a studio film at the Ziegfeld? the special 2 week runs of Dreamgirls and The Princess and the Frog before hey opened wide don’t count.:–)

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 29, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Bigjoe59: I went to all the shows you mentioned on their first night or first weekend. They were all exclusive runs, sadly a thing of the past for the Ziegfeld.

I’d like to add “Hair” to your list. It sold out at the Ziegfeld for weeks, yet played to almost-empty theaters when it branched out to New Jersey. Also “Gandhi”. See the comments above for stories about the sold-out Ziegfeld shows during one of the worst blizzards New York City ever had.

bigjoe59 on July 29, 2014 at 1:40 pm

to robboehm-

I suppose we all have different takes on what’s “off the beaten path”. being a native life long New Yorker nothing is off the beaten path for me.

per you comment the Ziegfeld is only two blocks from Radio City Music Hall. also when the Ziegfeld was still used by the studios for exclusive 1st run engagement people had no trouble finding it. you should have seen the block long lines for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The Rose among others. likewise the restored Lawrence of Arabia, My Fair Lady & Vertigo.

so if people had no trouble finding/getting to the theater 25 or 20 years ago they shouldn’t have any trouble today.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 28, 2014 at 11:26 pm

I wonder if the income the Ziegfeld generates from being the primary location (the only location, really) for current big studio premieres is the only thing keeping the theater afloat. The day I saw Jersey Boys there, with an audience of 6 people, the usher told me about the full house they had the night before with the premiere of the new Transformers movie, with Mark Wahlberg, etc. in attendance.

robboehm on July 28, 2014 at 9:45 pm

BigJoe- Anything other than 8th to Broadway and above 50th is off the beaten path for a go to destination. Music Hall being the exception.

bigjoe59 on July 28, 2014 at 2:50 pm

to CConnolly1-

like you I always like going to the Ziegfeld for the quality of the projection and sound. plus like you I am surprised the theater is still in operation. the overhead most be sizable. I’m guessing the reason the theater is still open as a 1st run venue is that Bow Tie Cinemas would have a revolt on their hands if it was twinned, demolished or converted to other use.

also no matter how well reviewed a film is and no matter how popular the film might be with the public there’s a very simple reason why the Ziegfeld is rarely if ever at capacity. any film it shows is also playing at probably 12 other theaters in Manhattan.

and might I be so bold as to ask you a question- you are not the first person to refer to the Ziegfeld via “its location is well off the beaten track”. how is a theater on 54th St. off 6th Ave. off the beaten track?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Hey man! Good to see you back. I’ve missed your witty and informative comments…!

CConnolly1 on July 25, 2014 at 7:06 am

I saw “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” here on Saturday, July 19th. My two teenage children were with me and I looked forward to showing them a very different kind of theater than the ones they were used to. They were both very impressed by the size and the interior of the Ziegfeld. I was disappointed by the sparse a attendance. Considering that “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was the #1 box office movie in the country the weekend we saw it at the Ziegfeld, the theater was nowhere near capacity and it was a 7:00PM showing. The presentation was first rate all the way. The 3D was one of the best I’ve ever seen (and I don’t usually like them) and the sound system was outstanding. I cannot imagine that this theater is profitable. Its location is well off the beaten track. As much as I like the fact that it is not over crowded like the Times Square theaters are, I worry that the lack of attendance dooms this place.

ridethectrain on June 29, 2014 at 10:03 pm

It would be nice they upgraded to Dolby Atmos, every major film is released in that format. Dolby is doing Atmos over 7.1 now for movies. This theatre needs Atmos

Mikeoaklandpark on April 27, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Did anyone go to the premiere of Spiderman 2? If so did they use the curtains?

cinscope on April 27, 2014 at 2:06 am

Oh, yeah, we sold out all three shows during that storm. People used skis to get to the theatre. Hi, Bob, this is Jean S. from the Ziegfeld box office.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 9, 2014 at 10:26 am

The storm was at its height just about when the movie was over – visibility zero – and I was seriously considering asking the manager if I could spend the night on the wide rug floor between the front row and the screen. I didn’t think I’d be able to get home, but I did. Now I regret not asking. What if they’d said yes? That would really be a Ziegfeld night to remember!

Rob, on behalf of all those people waiting in the snow, I want to thank you for running the shows that day.

RobertEndres on April 9, 2014 at 10:11 am

Bill: I remember that storm well. I alternated doing relief work at two theatres close to Radio City, The New York Experience and the Ziegfeld. The operator at the Experience asked if I could open or him the day after the storm, but then decided to stay in the city. I was expecting to stay inside when I got a call from the opeator at the Ziegfeld saying his car was stuck in a drift. I kept a set of Ziegfeld keys in my apartment and took off for the theatre just a few blocks away. I remember thinking there would be no one there after such a big storm, but was surprised when I got to the theatre and found the line for the opening show extending around the block. They had plowed the sidewalk, but the snow was piled so high you could just see the tops of people’s heads above the pile. I stayed there until closing that night, and every show was sold out. Nothing gets between a New Yorker and thier movies!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 9, 2014 at 8:28 am

Rob: Sorry to hear about your accident with the “Gandhi” reel, but I’ve got to say that movie was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen at the Ziegfeld. I saw it there 7 times, including the night of one of the worst blizzards in NYC history, a Friday night in February 1983. Maybe you were working that night? It was a packed house, too.

Vito on April 8, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Hey Rob I was just thinking we should have gotten together and modified a couple of those ole film lifts we had back in the three strip Cinerama days to lift those double 70mm reels which were made all the more difficult to handle with a full 70mm load on those floating hubs.

Vito on April 8, 2014 at 2:05 pm

We had double 70mm reels at the D-150 on Long Island after 3 double shifts of “White Nights” I needed a couple of days off; ouch my acking back. A shame Rob did not get to play “Master” in 70mm which I hope would not have been the Music Halls 70mm swan song.

RobertEndres on April 8, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Hate to be the dissenter,but having spent a lot of years in that booth at the Ziegfeld lifting double reels of 70mm onto projector spindles (and in one instance dropping a double reel of “Ghandi” on my foot as I was putting it on the rewind – I figure it was the first 20 years of Ghandi’s life) I can’t say that I’d miss that these days. While I’m still a working projectionist at 75, I really don’t think I could lift those anymore (although we can still do 70mm in my booth, and I did try to get a screening of “The Master” 70mm print in here last year.)

Mikeoaklandpark on April 8, 2014 at 11:55 am

I agree with you Vito. I didn’t pick up that the delivery was the digital film. I am glad I lived in NYC from 76-83 and had many wonderful times at the Ziegfeld.

markp on April 8, 2014 at 9:53 am

Boy I couldn’t have said it better myself. Vito and NYer, you took the words right out of my mouth.

NYer on April 8, 2014 at 7:03 am

A lot of us get it,Vito. So sad that new generations don’t get to experience what we treasure, when going to the movies and standing online early on a warm summer night to get your favorite seat with friends was as much fun as the show itself. They will miss movie palaces, roadshow “exclusive” engagements, Drive-Ins, and great double features! Time marches on. Unfortunately it marches right over us.

Vito on April 8, 2014 at 4:43 am

I had a different reaction to that commercial although I loved the old booth with reels hanging on the wall and the film projectors in the background but I had cold water splashed on my face when it showed the movie delivered in a single small box which is how unfortunately movies are delivered today. No more film cans just a box containing the media to load on to a computer. I am told that some theatres have already started to get the movie via satellite no need for any delivery. Just an old man feeling sorry once again for the loss of film I just can’t get my head around that. Oh well did not mean to bring down the conversation but seeing that projectionist receive a box instead of film cans just made me sad forgive me

Mikeoaklandpark on April 6, 2014 at 9:13 am

Loving the new USPS commercial that highlights the great marquee and wonderful larger screen. I would assume Spiderman 2 will have it’s premiere here.

moviebuff82 on March 18, 2014 at 5:52 am

12 years a slave is still playing at this theater after that oscar win. Just saw this theater featured in a USPS commercial promoting The Amazing Spider-Man 2. At the end of the commercial, Spider-Man delivers the print to Stan Lee, who is the projectionist. Hahahaha!!