Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal Champlain Center theater closing for upgrades on Jul 13, 2010 at 9:29 am

I’ve seen this when a theater upgrades and they only have one mens/women’s room that they are redoing along with the rest of the complex. Clearview (who didn’t upgrade to stadium) closed a few theaters in Northern NJ at various points, for a few weeks at a time while they upgraded seating, restrooms and concession stands. Regal is probably going to overhaul the whole Hoyts plex and make it look like a new Regal (if it’s anything like other Hoyts it’s probably, ugly, 80’s, and utilitarian.)

John Fink
John Fink commented about Ann Arbor 20 + IMAX on Jul 11, 2010 at 8:26 pm

I just figured something about about this theater while looking at pictures on Cinema Treasures: I believe that the short lived CyGamZ entertainment center which closed prior to the sale to Rave was housed in the original lobby. Therefore it looks like 6 screens and a lobby were tacked on to one end of old Showcase 14. The old lobby housed CyGamZ. (CyGamZ still lives on in images on its myspace page). Please someone correct me if I’m wrong.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Scotiabank Theatre Toronto on Jul 10, 2010 at 11:24 pm

They’ve shut down NY Fries, KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in favor of Pizza Pizza and a smaller concession stand that offers chicken fingers and fries (where NY Fries was). Surf City and Burger King are still in operation.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Former AMC Star Taylor reopens as the Spotlight Taylor on Jul 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm

While I certainly wish them all the best I’m always weary of operators talking about lower price points as a means of attracting business on first run engagements, I find most then charge more at the concession stand. I’m not sure if people are motivated by price, although they complain about it for sure. I find that the majority of movie goers and I’m using my friends as an example gravitate towards the “new” “comfortable” stadium plexes or to the local theater that has a convenient showtime, and away from older theaters. I’m not sure bargain days work – Clearview certainly packs them in on free movie Tuesdays (for cable subscribers with an Optimum card), but I’ve seen other chains with minimal attendance on special nights. I guess it’s all about how you get the word out and continue to promote.

Sure, theaters that are second run and advertise $2-4 shows seem to do well on that price point, but I find advertising “low prices” which are only a dollar or two lower doesn’t work, although I will point to a Loews Richfield Park which became a first run theater with a $6 ticket price while everyone was approaching 9-10, that worked. Now that AMC runs the show I believe they come in slightly lower (last I was there I think they were 9 verses 11 at the nearest competitor National Amusements), but it’s not something to brag about in print, for $2 more I’ll take National Amusements.

But I do wish any theater operator willing to go into the market all the best, perhaps they were able to negate a better deal which makes the site a more viable operation than AMC had. I’ve seen smaller operators that try and fail and others that are successful for a variety of reasons, I wouldn’t look at the airline industry, I’d look at theater chains (Harkins comes to mind first) that turned themselves around and how they did it.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Factoria Cinemas on Jul 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Cinematour mentions SRO Theaters (which Cineplex Odeon bought out in the Pacific Northwest)

John Fink
John Fink commented about RC Maumee 18 on Jul 3, 2010 at 11:48 pm

It depends on a few things – Rave sold the land the theaters sit on to Entertainment Property Trust, if they sold this one they’re still paying rent on it, if not EPT could be free to lease it out to another chain (like they’re doing at the Grand 24). But my guess is having another operator come in would defeat the purpose of closing up here, but I’m sure this is a nice multiplex that’s still in good condition (National never ran their theaters into the ground).

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Stroud Mall 7 on Jul 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I’m guessing that main auditorium would hold 299 (the magic number to avoid having to build in top access). I’m also guessing the new theater would get an entrance directly across from the Food Court.

It is the end of an era – Music Makers build really crappy looking theaters, acquired by Loews, while Red Bank is still in operation, this is the last still run as Loews/AMC. The only reason this theater did well is because no one came in and opened a modern multiplex within 10 miles, if that happened I doubt it would survived (then again a location in a still active mall with 7 screens is helpful).

AMC it seems has no interest in reviving many of their formerly viable locations: they let Cocowalk to go Paragon, Kerasotes build a theater the parking lot of their plex in Secacus, and Magic Johnson Crenshaw close up because they couldn’t agree with the mall who should pay for the cost of renovating the complex. Although in NJ Bridgewater and Menlo Park might be getting upgraded the Fork & Screen concept, AMC perhaps is more likely to build new than to upgrade.

I’ll have to check this place out when Cinemark reopens it (I tried to see something here a few weeks ago but nothing I hadn’t seen was starting within the half hour, I did snap a few pics of both theaters that I’ll send to Cinema Tour)

John Fink
John Fink commented about RC Maumee 18 on Jul 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I don’t get it, I assume Fallen Timbers which was new was built because if they didn’t somebody else would have (like Rave). But I have to imagine National which was prudent in building sites examined the situation and decided to go Cinema De Lux here at roughly the same time it was building Fallen Timbers.

Of coarse in CT they closed 14 screens at East Hartford and added two and Cinema De Lux-ed Buckland Hills. Rave however only seems interested in continuing the cool Cinema De Lux stuff at The Bridge in LA and from what I’ve heard closed the other bars and restaurants, which leads me to think one of two things: having a lot of food offerings isn’t profitable (AMC did this when they took over Loews and General Cinema, they consolidated/cut back on food offerings), or Rave is stupid and they don’t get what purpose the Cinema De Lux concept served, which flourished when an adult oriented film like Sex & The City is out. I suppose there are different corporate attitudes and goals: Rave is digital, digital, digital – fine, but I personally like adding more of a social experience to the movie going which you would have to leave the theater complex to expand on.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Menlo Park 12 on Jun 29, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Due to get a Fork & Screen and Cinema Suite upgrade – I know AMC had plans for this at Bridgewater (I don’t know if those were approved) but it’s a good idea in an over screened area in an upscale mall that is still is as crowded as ever in advance of the Edison Town Center project that will happen down the street. I believe AMC will open a location that Kerastoes had been planning (tragic that Kerastoes won’t be opening one of their Showplace Icon sites). Here’s the article about Menlo:

View link

John Fink
John Fink commented about Randhurst 16 Theaters on Jun 29, 2010 at 10:03 pm

There was a time when AMC was closing 10-12 screen theaters because they were “too small” for their focus (24-30 plexes…that was a brilliant idea!) But it’s weird, I imagine the theater as described was of the same vintage as General Cinema’s Essex Green 9 and Clifton Commons, two fine theaters that are still in good condition. Are they relocating to a better location? Is there another reason (ie: something moving in to the location the theater currently sits on?)? It’s strange that it would go unless there was some other issue there, if a screen reduction was what they were after they could simply close part of the building and convert it to retail.

AMC has been making a lot of weird decisions lately.

John Fink
John Fink commented about One theatre gone, another rises up on Jun 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm

I guess National Amusements didn’t have a restriction on a future multiplex on that site like they do everywhere else. Then again – who cares? It’s now Rave’s problem (not that Rave and the Angelika would go head to head on bookings).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Midland Theatre on Jun 26, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I found this, not sure if anyone else has posted it, but this an interesting bit about the theater under Durwood’s ownership from 1965:
View link

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX on Jun 26, 2010 at 1:40 pm

According to this story, this and Empire are due to get an ETX screen. Then again this theater doesn’t have stadium seating in any other theater apart from IMAX and the balcony in Theater 1. I hope they leave Theater 1 “The Loews” in tact, it’s a beatiful auditorium.

View link

John Fink
John Fink commented about Batavia Mall I & II on Jun 20, 2010 at 6:07 pm

I stopped by for a visit the other day: two decent sized theaters, seats from a General Cinema with the Pepsi logo scrapped off (ie: an AMC era purchase, my guess is the University in Amherst). Non-discript and uncomputerized with a small snack bar and lobby. I hope other folks can offer some insight, the building itself is non-discript with no name, only a marquee with features listed next to roman numerals, the adjacent mall needs to be listed on deadmalls.com – there was nothing short of JC Penny’s, a dance studio, a candy shop and a restaurant inside a perfectly preserved 70’s era mall space.

John Fink
John Fink commented about More voices weighing in on issue of theater ownership by studios on Jun 19, 2010 at 8:21 am

Thanks Ron, correct me if I’m wrong but I assume in the case of Paranormal Activity 35MM prints weren’t struck until they had to be (which might explain why it took a while to go wide once it was clear it was a hit).

With that said I’ve noticed more and more festivals and art houses screening off SD and HD DVDs and other digital formats which have some advantages. In the case of the new Rush movie, it was digitally released so theaters had the flexibility of showing it at times when they weren’t typically crowded. I think in the move to go digital this could be a model for releasing documentaries and art films in a low risk way which is good, but I have no doubt this is the reason many don’t open wider or (I’ve seen this in Buffalo) there are these new digital film cafes popping up: if art films can’t play at art houses which only have pre-show projectors then perhaps this is an option.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Rockaway 16 on Jun 17, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I haven’t seen it (felt it?) in action but some multiplexes have DBOX (as opposed to D-Bags which there’s no shortage of anywhere) seats for action films: where you can feel the action! (Not sure if that’s a good thing). I might try to find an excuse to visit the Cineplex Queensway outside of Toronto for the experience.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Child-size 3D glasses for Toy Story 3 release on Jun 17, 2010 at 2:10 pm

An excellent idea but I wish they would create sturdier Real D glasses one could purchase and perhaps get a $1 off the up-charge when used. I remember when the first Real D movie (the awful Chicken Little) came out and they made green framed glasses to resemble those warn by the title character. I thought it was a shame when U2 3-D came out they didn’t do awesome Bono 3-D shades for the experience (I’d pay for a pimp pair of Real D glasses).

I suspect the only reason this couldn’t work is because theaters use different systems, while the majority of those I’ve been to use Real D, there’s a few others out there that might polarize differently.

John Fink
John Fink commented about More voices weighing in on issue of theater ownership by studios on Jun 17, 2010 at 2:04 pm

This is such an awful idea, just look at IFC Center. I paid $12.50 to see the excellent new Safdie Brothers movie in a theater with 32 seats, projected from a cheap digital projector and Blu Ray DVD player (I know because before the feature we saw the Blu Ray disk logo appear – it’s becoming a common art house format).

IFC has a monopoly in the New York area anyway on this film: you want to see it – either come to our theater, rent it from our on demand cable channel that’s on our cable system. I suppose the alternative is not seeing it at all or waiting for it on netflix. But imagine what studios owning their own theaters might do – there’s a reason there is indirect ownership now (joint ventures, holding companies owning theaters and studios, ect). IFC and Clearview have only tried it with indie films (look back at The Baxter, it was playing exclusively at the IFC Center and Clearview Cinemas – both owned along with its distributer by Cablevision, if Paramount released Iron Man 2 exclusively to National Amusements for two weeks there would have been anger.

These things can happen and would happen, another example I give is a territory where theater chains split bookings, granted bigger chains sometimes get more pull in this area each film should be booked independently so that Summit can’t say “you have to show The Ghost Writer to get the new Twilight flick”. Haven’t we proved deregulation leads to all sorts of bad things – sure film is also a business but its an important piece of our culture and serves to preserve our cultural, morals, and really the zeitgeist. Allowing the studios again to be vertically integrated controlling the chain of supply and delivery will lead to the tightening of windows, more day and day content and less options. Look at IFC – they acquire too many films, give many films by master filmmakers a token release just in NYC and as a result the theatrical experience is something only a privileged few can partake in, the rest will have to see it on demand. This allows its distributor to spend less on marketing and starves art cinemas of quality products by auture filmmakers with name recognition.

John Fink
John Fink commented about University City 6 Theatre on Jun 16, 2010 at 4:54 pm

That sucks – what you mentioned above: the Media Immersion Room, lounge, atmosphere and directors halls made this a really cool place. I agree with Sheri Redstone’s position on making movies more of a social event as a means of appealing to a more upscale market, and it’s worked for them.

The Bridge created a vibe, which Rave doesn’t get: they’re taking a first rate sophisticated take on the neighborhood multiplex and making it fit the mold of one of their boring neon multiplexes.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Walden Galleria 12 on Jun 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Thanks – I also assume Hoyts had a solid relationship with Pyramid as they were operators at their other malls but retreated from here. Regal picked up those locations and interestingly enough they won back this former Hoyts site. I guess I can’t fault Regal for the name, I sat in a slopped seating theater this weekend Rave bought from National Amusements and saw the pre-show slide reveal “Rave: The Ultimate Stadium Theaters” um no – they just bought some high quality non-stadium theaters, they need to change their marketing and deal with it.

As Paul mentioned, AMC of coarse still has Maple Ridge which is always clean and well run but a bit of a mystery: this type of 80’s era AMC were closed years ago, it’s rare to find AMC still running a theater that looks like this (it’s atmosphere is similar to Morristown, NJ’s Headquarters 10 which is now run by local chain Clearview Cinemas).

I’m not sure what AMC’s long term goals are in Buffalo, while Maple Ridge has a 3-D projector which would indicate a sign of confidence and long term stability (there are other AMCs that don’t have one) they also are now doing “weekday escape” pricing – all shows are $4.50, which might have other indications. I suppose it still does alright.

I secretly hope AMC allows it’s lease to expire and Dipson takes over Maple Ridge. Then again there is the possibility that one of the two theaters Regal is going to trade to AMC (as a result of the Kerasotes deal) could be in the Buffalo region (I’m thinking Elmwood or Niagara Falls), it certainly would avoid any DOJ conflict.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Worldgate 9 on Jun 15, 2010 at 12:28 am

Scott D. Neff has a comprehensive CinemaTour of the place at: http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/5801.html – it looks to be a late 80s era theater, I only say this because it shares some similarities in terms of auditorium appointments to their once flagship (now AMC dumping ground) – Richfield Park from the photos. The seats I would be willing to be were installed by Phoenix.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Studio Movie Grill Northwest Highway on Jun 15, 2010 at 12:23 am

Entertainment Property Trust announced it has a signed letter of intent from another exhibitor to take over the complex. EPT had been talking about downsizing the property or maybe a VIP/dinner section there. I don’t know if that’s right for the market but it appears that the screens won’t remain dark for long.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cedar Grove movie theater closes after 12 years on Jun 14, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I agree, but it’d be nice if someone could come in and challenge Clearview and AMC, it would have to be a local operator. I wonder if Community Theaters which opened the excellent theater in Center City has any aspirations to branch out.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Worldgate 9 on Jun 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I believe this was formerly a Loews Theatres.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Rave Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15 on Jun 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm

N/A had monster auditoriums, consider West Springfield, MA which was cobbled together from 3 older buildings – the two largest theaters which I consider to be monsters for stadium seating era multiplexes (they may even have larger screens that the nearby retrofit IMAX at Buckland Hills/Manchester, CT) – were once one major auditorium. Now that I’d love to see a picture of.

But back to Scott’s point and I’m not sure if in the move to CinemaTour the National sites that Rave just bought this came up. I don’t know how some Cinema De Lux sites were converted, but at Buckland they removed an auditorium for Chatters and the food court, took out the center snack bar and put in a new one at the halfway point the lobby and built a theater in what was once half the lobby. That’s the only example I could think of in the modern stadium era, most Loews additions were add-ons only because the theaters weren’t that large. If anything the stadium era downsized itself when AMC, Regal and Cinemark figured out anything over 20 screens wasn’t really sustainable.