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I don’t know and truthfully don’t care about THX certification which is a scam by which most, if not all modern multiplex screens would qualify for certification if they’re willing to pay George Lucas for the rights to the brand. But I did see a movie a smaller Cinema Suites auditorium and have a few notes: the Fork & Screen/Cinema Suites experience was very comfortable but ultimately a bit distracting.
The main entrance was re-done and the box office removed with an automated box office only (I suppose if your paying cash you can at Guest Services, inside, they re-did, adding a wall to the area that used to be the long closed/removed Sound Stage Cafe. The snack bar is now a real bar, and there’s a bit of seating around the lobby.
They retiled the bathrooms, and repainted some walls. The seating was modified and is about, if not less than what the theaters had (Cinema Suites, the complex’s four smallest sat about 50-60). As for value: the food was a slight upgrade from the chicken fingers and fries at other AMC’s (in fact that’s what we had). It was okay but the prices are movie theatre prices, so your getting mediocre Applebee’s kind of food at movie theatre prices.
Service was a tad slow, including a wait from start to finish for an hour for popcorn (by time I pushed the seat-side button, the server came, then they told us they were popping more, and ultimately it came out an hour from when I first pushed the button). We arrived about 25 minutes before the show and had our drinks (strangely the wine was the only thing similarly priced in value to a restaurant) and appetizers with the previews. Our meal came out about 15-20 minutes into the feature, and from there plates sat, which is a little annoying. The service was friendly, if not slightly distracting, when the bill comes around it’s towards the end of the feature – imagine what revelations you might miss in the distraction.
The seats themselves were plus recliners that reclined at the push of a button as well. The idea of eating a whole meal with the swivel table is a little distracting from the movie, as your trying not get any food on you. The theater itself is an okay experience, the food is pretty boring for the most part especially since they advertise “Cinema Suites” as an upscale evening out, Gold Class looks more interesting on the cuisine front.
Did I dislike the concept? No, but I there are some kinks AMC needs to work on before this can go prime time (I don’t think it ever really can). While I like having food options in the theatre, I did have to say the idea of eating a meal is distracting, perhaps next time I’ll go for finger food, the idea of cutting and worrying about not dropping food on you is enough to take you out of the picture.
The main floor has the gift shop, an exhibition hall (currently Tim Burton, the last exhibition coordinated with TIFF’s Essential 100 Films), box office and Canteen (excellent place to grab a quick bite). The second floor has Luna (a sit down restaurant), Theaters 1, 2, and 3 (I’ve been in 1 and 3 – both screens seemed a bit higher than the could have been but otherwise flawless sound and design, I think 3 was a reel to reel house), and a snack bar. The third floor has theaters 4 and 5, classrooms and offices.
Upon opening 4 and 5 were used for exhibitions, including 8 ½ Screens, an instillation by Atom Egoyan in which the seating area was draped with white screens and the projector (placed on the stage) projected images from 8 ½ directly onto the screens.
I’m hoping at some point in my academic career to explore the resources they have for film scholars, it’s also worth noting this is in the same neighborhood as the National Film Board’s Toronto Mediateque.
It works for certain theaters and films – I for one liked reserving an IMAX seat for the Dark Knight and showing up 10 minutes before the show opening weekend. They also had staff to assist folks in finding their seats.
For most films and showtimes at most theaters it’s probably a non-issue, however I do know a few megaplexes that could use reserved seating system on weekends. It looks like Rave abandoned it at most of their Cinema De Lux sites they acquired.
I visited the theater this afternoon – Magic Lantern refurbished much of it including installing new seats, carpeting and other changes including more seating the lobby area (removing Alan Smithee’s a bar that was there as Cineplex, however closed when I was there last), a new mural, and a new paint job. The place looks good – the screens are still small, but the theater is comfortable and far cheeper than their competitors ($9 adult price verses $13 elsewhere in town), hopefully it’s filling a niche because the programing is excellent.
It’s also worth noting it’s showing features day and date with many competitors including AMC Younge & Dundas, Scotibank, Varsity and even (currently) TIFF Bell Lightbox.
I hope they don’t especially in areas where patrons claim there’s no theatre for 30-50 miles. I hope they’d do the honorable thing and sell to a local operator.
Due to close on Nov 28th per View link
Unless revived will close as an AMC – one of a few that will be purged from the Kerasotes sale that doesn’t live up to AMC’s business model (which doesn’t include discount houses and small rural theaters).
Looks like it’ll be closing – don’t know what other AMCs from Kerasotes will be on the chopping block but I assume many that don’t have online ticketing are in play – the complete list of acquired sites is at: www.amctheatres.com/welcome
The article on this one closing is buried on this page with a few more interestingly odd stories at: View link
This one was already reported: http://cinematreasures.org/news/25077_0_1_0_M/
I’m thinking a smaller regional operator will come in and make a deal if it’s still profitable. I assume Kerasotes must have though it was still a viable operation, and I don’t think small theaters in rural neighborhoods are unprofitable if correctly run, it’s just they don’t produce the margins to warrant AMC overhead and attention, especially if they’re going to upgrade (or install) computer systems or digital projection.
Per www.amctheatres.com/welcome – this site didn’t offer online ticketing, so I don’t know if their systems are as integrated as they would be in a newer Showplace where I’m sure real time data on large popcorn sales can be relayed to Kansas City. I assume that might be an accounting headache for management – but they’re not the only small non-online ticketing – this list includes a few twins, two four-plexes, and a single screen (Kennett, MO).
An internet search reveals that another theatre in Harrisburg, IL (4 screens) is also closing and another 4-screen AMC from Kerasotes in Princeton, IL is endangered as Showplace Cinemas (not the Bros Kerasotes) is opening a new site in the same town: View link
I’m willing to bet that the rest of the aforementioned small non-Showplace locations are living on borrowed time.
I got a very quick response from Joe (next day) – and passes in the mail. What happened (a projection issue) could have happened at any theatre, before digital alleviating many common projection problems I counted National Amusements and Dipson Theatres (Western NY) as the best in the country for 35MM projection and even they had the occasional problem screening. There is one theatre I regularly comment on because for the past 10 years they’ve been providing poor projection at first run prices. The Palace is one that I don’t know that well, and secondly I doubt it’s the norm – I had been here twice before under Bow Tie and didn’t have any issues.
Despite the higher ticket prices and no student rate which I think is a shame with the colleges in the area including UHa which has an excellent Cinema Studies program, things look to have improved especially with the addition of Cinema City at the Palace, an additional screen for art/indie film makes me happy to see. (Film culture in Hartford is alive and well with the announced addition of a new Cinema Grill and with the growth in attendance at Hartford International Film Festival, which I was in town to screen my film at)
closed, demolished….and not missed.
Great news for Hartford – was in town last week and was glad to see Rave kept everything that made the Showcase/Cinema De Lux Buckland Hills awesome (the food court and bar and grill). I’m so glad to see cinema culture is alive and well (I was screening my film at HIFF – the Hartford International Film Festival) between HIFF, the new Cinema City, and Buckland looking as crowded as ever – another theatre in the mix is great news.
I believe that and what used to occur and might start to be relaxed is that an exhibitor was given essentially a franchise over a certain territory by IMAX. Therefore AMC has Manhattan and Regal had to go RPX. I believe IMAX and Cineplex couldn’t come to an agreement on renewing their contract so AMC was able to build IMAX locations in Canada. Now AMC is getting greedy and putting in IMAX and ETX theaters in the same complex – are customers confused? One such location that was confused was AMC Garden State where the usher couldn’t figure out if I should get Real D glasses or IMAX 3-D glasses for Hubble 3-D.
As for IMAX’s “standards” – I don’t know what they are. I know Cinemark was shut out of many markets, saw how pathetic Digital IMAX is and said ‘we can do that’ – and so they did with XD. AMC did it when they at first couldn’t built an IMAX in the same territory as a Cineplex in Toronto, Regal facing the same thing in Times Square developed RPX. Cineplex in Canada has Ultra AVX (the IMAX screens they own were all from Famous Players). And now….Carmike has Big D and Rave is getting Rave Revue Big Screen. To be fair others had in house big screen formats showing “35MM Enhanced Prints” – such as Crown Theaters of CT (one of which – The Palace is still open) and Marcus Theaters UltraScreen.
A quick note on the rebranding: they actually replaced the “Showcase Cinemas” sign on the door with “rave motion pictures” – however for the marquee on Redstone Road (ha ha – no longer the owners of the property…) they simply painted over the “Showcase” name, as I had seen at their Hazlet site. Truthfully it looks a bit ghetto – like a cheap discount operator came in and took over. As for the other rebranding – they also have covered up verses replaced the “Cinema De Lux” branding with temporary-looking signage that I suppose will now be permeant. This is better though than some sites where they simply just took off the letters “Showcase” or “Multiplex” and left on “Cinemas”.
I visited this evening and for now I’ll tell you the Cinema City section consists of part of the left wing – theaters 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15. They have their own concession stand, a few bits of remodeling and more poster cases were added, as were a pictures of the original Cinema City which I think is a nice touch in addition to the Cinema City branding that appears. Cinema City also has a dedicated box office – the box office (although I was there slightly earlier than prime time) seems to be running more efficiently than it was under Crown who would schedule every movie to start between 7 and 8 – a mess on weekends. I do have a legit complaint that I’ve voiced to corporate first – I wouldn’t want to be accused of pulling a Tomas Kent or anything.
Was here this evening – good digital projection (still not sold on digital, but it was sharp and in focus, more than I could say for another screening I had prior that I will talk about once that theatre’s corporate gets back to me). The theatre really hasn’t changed much – aside from digital projection and the removal of the reserved seating (even though some Rave’s have rebranded them as “Rave Reserved”). Did solid business it looks like, probably now more than ever with East Hartford gone (that was always plan B if a show was sold out here). Chatters is now “Bar & Grill” with a smaller menu with the words “cRAVE”. The quick service concessions are all still open. The popcorn is larger but not as good, and the fountains are now coke.
Still a good multiplex experience much as it was under National Amusements.
From what I heard other family members sold their steak to a private equity firm that wanted out of their investment (and a rather attractive rate of return). Rather than refinance to buy out the equity firm, they sold most of their chain and some properties off to AMC. Foreseeing this I assume the three theaters they kept were structured under a different entity and managed by Kerasotes Showplace, therefore they sold off the main company and its subsidiaries including land on which they previously owned theaters to AMC, and kept three of their new theaters.
This isn’t the first time a chain has sold out and restarted. Cobb sold out to Regal and then re-entered the market taking over a theatre project Regal while in Bankruptcy couldn’t commit to. The dude that owns The Grand and Am Star Theaters sold off his former chain to AMC and re-entered the market a few years later. Hopefully National Amusements will make a comeback and open a new theatre.
I do know interestingly enough that a few sites Kerasotes were planning were taken over by other chains: one in PA is listed on the developers website as being a Bow Tie Cinemas location, the other in Edison, NJ will be opened as an AMC (I’m guessing they wanted to keep their strong foothold along Route 1 with the 18-plex and Fork & Screen at Menlo Park).
As for the experience at Kerasotes, I found the Secacus Theatre to be very good: excellent popcorn, clean, solid (but digital) projection, free popcorn and soda refills (which is bad because the popcorn is so excellent). It’s a worth competitor to the nearby consistently excellent Edgewater Multiplex and they keep their prices low enough to compete with Columbia Park up the road. The annoying thing is they have a ticket taker and then another person that checks you ticket at the door: if they had reserved seating I could understand.
Does anyone know if Kerasotes has announced any new theatre projects? As for Chicagoland – they have one theatre in Chicago proper still operating – a brand new Showplace Icon.
I always thought Sandusky was over screened, perhaps not in the summer time with Cedar Point down the road. I had visited a few summers ago, both theaters were decent. I know the Carmike that’s about to close is all digital.
I do think if someone were to pick up the old Movies 10 it could work as a discount operation. I believe there is also a few drive ins near by, and a couple of big Regals in the vicinity.
Wow – Gold Class was acquired with little press (not nearly as much press as it had when it entered the market place with the now famous $30 ticket!). iPic is run by the dude that used to run Muvico before he was ousted from the company which itself probably should have accepted AMC’s buyout offer years ago.
While I like the idea of options and Gold Class sounds like the type of place I’d go to celebrate my birthday or go see a movie that I really wanted to see in baller style (it wouldn’t be an all the time kind of experience for me, but it’s a nice option for date nights).
It’s only been about 10 years that Clearview has been charging a first run ticket price for a poor quality experience. Meanwhile the concession stand has been upgraded a few times since CJM’s ownership.
I’m glad right as 35MM is dying that Clearview is investing in bringing the theater up to the standards that say, General Cinema had in the 1960’s. I’ve had more bad experiences with this theater than good ones from the film ending before the credits (a manager once told me “there’s nothing I can do, you saw the whole movie” – someone this disrespectful to filmmakers should not be presenting films for a living) to several projection issues ranging from framing to focus problems. The front two houses are generally decent, while the back houses are in general kind of awful (except 10 and 11 which I don’t believe have the aforementioned construction problem).
As I’ve said before I could be more forgiving if this was a second run discount house (Teneck has pretty poor projection, they’ve always had – but they are a second run house and priced accordingly) – but for $10.75 a seat, which is about the going rate for a first run ticket in the area, you’d hope to have a good experience. I should also note that there are two theaters that had opened in the last 12 months in Northern New Jersey, they have no issue offering proper aspect ratios, sharp focus, good sound, and stadium seating and are able to do all this at a cheaper price point ($10 for adults).
The theater gets away with providing a crappy experience because they have in the past provided such terrible answers to projection complaints as “the movie was sent to us this way” – and sadly people don’t question it, or demand a refund and see the film elsewhere.
ETX is almost as pointless as digital IMAX, I saw Fredrick Wiseman’s Boxing Gym on the ETX in Toronto (granted not a highly visual action picture that requires thumping base) but it is just that: a large screen with a good sound system. For the most part AMC Garden State offers that without paying an upgrade fee. Of coarse the worst thing is that AMC now charges $12 and soon Clearview will think they can for their crappy discount house quality Bergen County theaters – Tenafly which is downright awful in terms of comfort and projection is now $11.50! (two new stadium seating theaters in Northern New Jersey do a better job for an adult price of $10)
I can’t wait for this weekend when I get to experience the high quality clarity that IMAX was made for with Paranormal Activity 2: An IMAX Experience. If there was ever a movie requiring a high definition image it’s Paranormal Activity 2.
Two moron spammers on the same page – there needs to be better vetting here.
True, but it sounds like Harry Potter was going to be a converted job and they didn’t want to have another Clash of the Titans or Last Airbender on their hands which had minimal (if at all) 3-D effects. Jackass itself is a performance art spectacle, just what 3-D was made for (although I haven’t seen it yet).
Secondly I wish spammers would speak better English so it was less obvious that they were spammers. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to help this exiled billionaire in Niagara get back home to London….
Fun times – spent many a summer as a patron of the Colonial, right around 1993 (nice seeing Dennis The Mennis in one clip on the big screen downstairs, I probably saw it there with my grandma one summer afternoon).