Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about RC Maumee 18 on Jul 3, 2010 at 5:48 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 10:02 am

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 6:17 am

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 4:12 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 4:03 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 4:16 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 7:48 am

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:
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John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX on Jun 26, 2010 at 7:40 am

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 12:07 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 – 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 2:21 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 1:16 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 8:10 am

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 8:04 am

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 10:54 am

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 4:05 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 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Scott D. Neff has a comprehensive CinemaTour of the place at: – 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 14, 2010 at 6:23 pm

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 8:17 am

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 7:28 am

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 7:28 am

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.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Kinnelon 8 on Jun 14, 2010 at 7:19 am

Well it’s good that the theater is adding DLP because Kinnelon can’t seem to get 35MM right. I had an awful experience here last night which caused us to leave before the feature: the manager had told us they changed aperture plates and rearranged the booth so that a scope film could only project on about 80% of what is already a pretty small screen.

The film was projected in the bottom right leaving much of the top and left side of the screen unprojected. The placement of the projector also slightly distorted the image. The kicker is that this isn’t a second run discount house where I could be more forgiving – I expect a quality experience at a first run theater with an adult evening ticket price of $10.75. We did receive a refund, and the reason we come here once in a while is that it’s local and the popcorn is good.

Howard B. Haas you’re 100% right with your comment, Clearview does do a better job elsewhere and I’m sure its new complexes are fine (I know SOPAC very nice). I would say part of the problem are the cheap sites they acquired such as this one – converted from retail it follows the old AMC model, it could just as easily be converted back to retail with projection booths only a few steps above the theater. Therefore the previous operators not thinking of advent of stadium seating boom in the late 90’s (which cased many a chain to go bankrupt) built the place on the cheap. I mean really this place competed with musty old Colonial Twin and the revolving door of operators at the Abby. This theater doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a modern cineplex, but the sound is fine (in one of the larger theaters staff often tell us to sit in the center to experience the full sound system) and there is a commitment to get that $3 upgrade charge by adding digital 3-D.

The problem here is it still holds its own because it fills a niche in the region, it’s the closest theater to me, which is why we went here first before driving to Garden State where we ultimately saw the film which filled the whole of a properly masked large screen. It has a pleasant atmosphere where parent feel safe dropping off their kids, so as a “community theater” it works.

With that said, and those are important qualities, I would venture to say that of every theater I’ve been to (and I see about 4 films a week in theaters) this is flat out the worst in terms of projection now that the (former Clearview) Screening Zone (which I dealt with only because they showed amazing films despite having outdated projection equipment and oddly placed screens) is gone.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Hazlet 12 on Jun 12, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I caught a flick here earlier today: what’s changed? Glad you asked. Strangely enough the theater is identical in design to the former Showcase Cinemas Berlin (Berlin, CT) and also has a new expanded snack bar with hot foods and ice cream, Rave kept that and changed the popcorn (not for the better) and now serve Coke.

I had last been to Hazlet about 5 years ago, since then the concession stand is new as are the electronic displays over the auditorium entrances, the ticket stands still have analog boards. They’ve also added LCD menu displays at the main concession stand. The theaters aren’t stadium, ironic since we saw a digital slide show (Screenvision) before the feature that told us Rave is the “ultimate stadium theater”.

As for outside signs they’ve pained over “Multiplex” on board near the highway and also removed that lettering from the building, they’ve also centered the word “CINEMAS” over the main entrance so I’m not sure if they will be changing any other signs (theres slight label scarring). The presentation was 35MM with no Rave logo (they did show the National Amusements exit bumper before the previews). I really wish Rave didn’t change the concessions, National has the best popcorn of any major theater chain, Rave’s is decent and actually larger but not as delicious.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Rave Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15 on Jun 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Harlem and Largo, MD – both being newer are still open. AMC is shifting direction but I’m not sure where they are going so I’m not sure how giving this one up plays into that shift.

Any word who the operator is going to – who understands the LA and urban market as alluded in the prwirenews release? Regal, Rave, Cinemark, Regency? Any guesses before the official word is out.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Tikahtnu Commons Stadium 16 & IMAX on Jun 9, 2010 at 6:18 pm

To be fair my local Regal has a genuine IMAX built before the push to retrofit (Transit Center 18, Williamsville/Buffalo, NY) – they exist but the retrofits has taken over. My major objection to this theater and I hope I’m wrong (I probably won’t have an occasion to be in Anchorage, AK to see it in person, but then again stranger things have happened) – is that it looks to be a new retrofit. There are a few pictures online at:

View link

Okay – so first clue – no “cliff” the way in classic IMAX theaters the audience is elevated from the street (there is a drop off between the first row and the screen). Second clue if you look at the photos – the theater that may actually be the IMAX auditorium is the same height as its neighbor across the lobby. The are also pictures of the IMAX auditorium as well, but those can be misleading.

Man I hope I’m wrong on all counts, but this looks like it was an afterthought which is a shame. IMAX should be the star attraction and it should be larger than life! It should be included in the early planning stages and these auditoriums should be larger than life monsters that aren’t comparable in size to other auditoriums.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinema City Moving to Palace 17 on Jun 9, 2010 at 6:07 pm

lol – those seats won’t be missed! Although they might have not been bad if there were re-apulstured, while the new Cinema City wing is said to contain artifacts of the old theater, I hope they don’t preserve the musty smell of the old place and pipe it in to the new Cinema City wing!

On a serious note: I do have confidence Bow Tie will be keeping the same programing, although the New Haven Criterion Cinemas started as mostly an art house and slowly slid more towards mainstream aside from the later added “digital screening rooms” – the theater started with 5 and grew to 9, although the screenings rooms originally were intended for private rentals). Of coarse it appears Cinema City itself is a little less daring (the enjoyable and beautifully shot Letters to Juliet is playing this week) with Showcase Cinemas East Hartford closed. I assumed historically Cinema City and East Hartford could not/did not play the same films at the same time. This agreement/booking territory probably extended way way back. Occasionally when they were under different ownership Cinema City (Hoyts) and the (Crown) Palace would show something day and date when it was of interest to their different markets – I remember Love Actually and Under the Tuscan Sun having books at Cinema City and not East Hartford in the Hoyts/Northeastern era.

If anything “Cinema City” can become a sort of brand, Crown tried that by calling it “ART @ Cinema City” – lame name if you ask me. I’m all for indie films getting more exposure and a label if it means more people will see them like “AMC Select” or the refreshed “AMC Independent” – but I’m not sure if the label helps without proper marketing. I’m more optimistic about a separate wing of Cinema City and wish it well, it has to succeed or you’ll be driving to New Haven or (sometimes for some flicks) Middletown to see these commercial indies.