Radio City Music Hall

1260 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10020

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umbaba
umbaba on May 5, 2004 at 7:02 am

You nkow, they have remastered and are releasing Around World in 80 days to DVD this month or next. I’m wondering if any of the big theaters are planning a special engagement screening. It won’t be in Cinerama, that’s for sure, but wouldn’t it be grand if RCMH, or Zeigfeld or Astor Plaza played the film…I doubt they will though. It would interfere with the Will Smith flick…..oh well

JimRankin
JimRankin on May 5, 2004 at 5:21 am

Rhett brings out a good point: in some smaller locations, it is possible for a non-greedy owner to put on successful shows and vintage films and still keep the theatre alive, but that option is gone for megalopolises such as New York City. In such places the property values and attendant taxes upon them are so huge as to make any enterprise strain at the need to bring in the maximum possible dollars per square foot, and believe me when I say that every theatre is calculated as being worth so many dollars per square foot in income. Overarching greed is everywhere, but some places such as NYC are so unfortunate as to have a business climate that does not much allow any property to be ‘marginal’ as to profits. I hope the LAFAYETTE continues in its success, but I am afraid that it cannot be easily transported to the much, much larger Gotham.

umbaba
umbaba on May 5, 2004 at 4:22 am

Jim, you should go to the Lafayette theater in Suffern NY, they show classic movies on the big screen, it’s an old vaudeville style single screen movie house and the owmers love movies, they put on quite a presentation. Go to…bigscreenclassics.com

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 4, 2004 at 10:04 am

That’s very sad, Jim, but I’m sure you’re right. It sounds like all the dire predictions about corporations that Paddy Chayefsky made in NETWORK have come to pass.

JimRankin
JimRankin on May 4, 2004 at 6:13 am

Many of the comments here maintain that BIG shows on stage will certainly bring back the big audiences and maybe could be combined with films, vintage or current. Sad to say, none of this works today from the standpoint of the operators of RCMH. Times have changed; theatres are no longer temples of amusement, and movies and shows are not produced by impassioned impresarios. Today everything is controlled by conglomerates which own the studios, film distributors, and often the theatre operators. A conglomerate is not interested one little bit in the nature of what it owns or its history; they exist solely for the acquisition of MONEY and all the power that comes from more and more MONEY. As one previous post said, the ‘nut’ (total operating expenses) for RCMH is too large to permit much more that the least expensive fare the management is able to find, and that fare must be so inexpensive to allow the ultimate owners, the conglomerates, to get as much PROFIT as possible, since that is their raison d'être. The Music Hall and thousands of other businesses are simply pawns in the international competition of one conglomerate to another to gain market dominance, and thus more power and MONEY, the real god of most people today. Shed a tear for our theatres and showmanship heritage, for less and less of it will remain in our future filled with ever increasing greed, corporate and personal. As God’s word the Bible says at 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things…”

umbaba
umbaba on May 4, 2004 at 5:41 am

Bill..I saw Psycho, Jaws and The Sting at the Music Hall in 97. It was awesome. The year before, I saw Bonnie and Clyde. I thought they’d have a yearly festival too, but I guess gave in to the demands of MTV and the hiphop youth culture. I can’t believe they didn’t make money on the flicks, as they were all sellouts and a success.

delamare
delamare on April 26, 2004 at 8:10 am

My first travel to New york was decided after receiving a post card with the picture of the radio city music hall in 1981.
Two weeks later i was waking up in a Time Square hotel and after a short walk i discovered the facade of the radio city and took a ticket for a tour .Of course i was amazed by the grandeur of the place,and the day after i had my ticket for “America” the summer show.
I had heard so much about these shows but it was far more what i imagined.Entering the stalls the pipe organ sound gave me such an emotion that i was near to cry and everything was exactly what i dreamed before.i saw the show twice that summer.
Years later i saw the Christmas show with the same pleasure and i hope a future travel will give me the opportunity to see the result or the restoration.The Radio City music hall of NY and the Tuchinski in Amsterdam are the most beautifull theatres i know.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 20, 2004 at 4:02 pm

For many years, the Music Hall operated an underground boxoffice for the convenience of those arriving by subway at the 50th Street-Rockefeller Center station of the IND line. The boxoffice was located at the NW end of the shopping arcade beneath Rockfeller Center. If a performance sold out, the boxoffice would close and you had to join the waiting line upstairs on 50th Street. After purchasing your ticket underground, you entered a lobby that connected to the theatre’s downstairs lounge and checkroom. Enroute, a doorman cut your ticket and handed you the stub.

RobertR
RobertR on April 20, 2004 at 1:06 pm

Actually in the days when I was in the theatre business I found that the studios were usually generous when you needed a print for a fund-raiser or for a charitable organization. Sometimes all they charged you for was a shipping charge, or at the most a flat $100.

William
William on April 20, 2004 at 12:57 pm

It depends on what type of screening. Like if it’s a one time festival screening or a theatre booking the as a filler or midnight. The rental might be, say a flat fee rental plus a percentage of the box office. We ran a few pictures with booked from MGM and Warner. They charged depending on title $125-150 flat fee + Box office percentage. While Warner charged $500 + box office percentage. Or what the studio wants to charge for the booking. Those numbers look small in size. But it depends on how much you want tickets to be and what is the cost of running a film in a large theatre as the Music Hall. Look at your payroll: Projectionists, Managers, Ushers, concessions, security, box office personel and maybe a stagehand.
Over at Loew’s Jersey City Theatre it’s a different. The people over there are volunteers and the Friends of the Jersey City are a non-profit company. So the studios might give them a break in fees.

RobertR
RobertR on April 20, 2004 at 12:11 pm

Normally with classics its a sliding scale around 35-40% but theres usually a guarantee.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on April 20, 2004 at 11:27 am

What about for rental on film classics? Do they work the same way?
Would they charge the same for Singin' in the Rain as they would for the new Kidman movie?

William
William on April 20, 2004 at 9:37 am

Today the main cost is labor to put on a live show and maintain the theatre. Today the distributor’s percentage of the weekly gross is 90% and works it way down for following weeks of the engagement.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 20, 2004 at 8:40 am

From the 1940s until the movie/stage policy ended, RCMH got a special deal on film rentals from the distributors. I can’t recall the exact details, but for the first two or three weeks of the engagement, the distributor got only a small percentage of the gross to enable RCMH to recoup the cost of the stage shows. After that, the distributor’s percentage of the weekly gross increased sharply, I think to a maximum of 60% of the takings.

William
William on April 20, 2004 at 8:02 am

Well look at the price of a Broadway show back in the 70’s, it was around $15-20 for a ticket. Now it is around $80-100+ for a top show. The cost to put a live show has gone up so high because of All the people you have to pay. The Music Hall is a Union shop, so you have the stage hands, lighting, sound, orchestra, dancers, ushers, security, concessions, box office personnel, managers. So if your selling out 6-7 live shows a day. That uses the theatre to the fullest. So if you place a 90-120 minute movie with the show, that would make a better show package for the price. But the company Cablevision knows it could sell out the live show more than the movie. And you could add more shows and make more money. As for concerts it could be booked better. Depends may be on the artist. Because the Beacon is a medium sized theatre and has a good booking history. The Music Hall is a classic, but is a little large for some artists. The Garden get all the giant shows because of the size. You might have to play 3-4 night at the Music Hall for one night at the Garden. So the cost of putting on the show or shows is a factor.
I would love to show films return to the Music Hall in some form.

Remember sometime in the 70’s the Music Hall was going to closed because it was not making any money. But they found away to keep it going.

RobertR
RobertR on April 20, 2004 at 6:38 am

Not only is the production the same every year, they are paying no film rental out to a film company.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 19, 2004 at 2:19 pm

I recall my first trip to the Music Hall, age 7, to see “That Touch of Mink” with Doris Day and Cary Grant. The ticket price was 99 cents if you sat in the balcony before noon. Talk about your bargains.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on April 19, 2004 at 2:08 pm

Well, you got a movie and a stage show for that five bucks. Which is what you paid for a first run movie at the time. Now a top movie is 10.25. So we’ve got a little over a 100% increase. So lets do the math. How much did the cost of the Music Hall Christmas show ticket go up? And they use the same production every year!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 19, 2004 at 2:04 pm

The overcharging for the Christmas show wouldn’t be so bad if it helped subsidize some classic movies being shown. And like I said before, the audience is out there. What a thrill it was to see “Psycho” in a theater that size with not an empty seat to be had.

RobertR
RobertR on April 19, 2004 at 1:59 pm

Whats shocking is the top ticket price for the golden circle is over $100. The last movie Chjristmas show was still only $5 now inflation has note gone up that much since 1979.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on April 19, 2004 at 1:41 pm

This is so amazing that the Music Hall has already started selling the Christmas show in mid April. It now take them almost a year to sell seats for this thing and then they end up giving away thousands of tickets through the Daily News or the Post. Maybe this is because people are sick of the same lame production numbers and the same children’s TV show sets and costumes every year. Except for the Rockettes this is amateur night on a grand scale.
Bruce I love your list but can we throw in a few RKO classics?

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on April 19, 2004 at 1:08 pm

I still think if done properly the classic film series along with the Rockettes and stage show could be a big draw. Did you know that I was looking at theatre grosses and found that the Detroit Fox has out grossed the Music Hall the last few years. The Detroit Fox has better bookings and even has The Radio City spectacular during the Holidays. This tells me that the Music Hall is not being used to its full potential. The Fox in Detroit,St Louis, and Atlanta also has film in there programming mix. The Music Hall on its big Screen could show films like Titanic, Gladiator,Funny Girl, Oliver, The Longest Day, Pillow Talk, Dr. Zhivago, 2001 , Planet of The Apes, Star Wars, The King and I, Anastasia, To Catch A Thief, The Sundowners, Charade, The Sound of Music. Patton, Magnificient Men in Flying Machines, How The West Was Won, A Star is Born, Lawrence of Arabia, The Ten Commandments, Bridge on The River Kwai, The Odd Couple, Giant, El Cid, Goldfinger, Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang, No Business Like Show Business, The Bandwagon, How To Marry a Millionaire , Auntie Mame, Ivanhoe, The Time Machine, Day The Earth Stood Still, Out of Africa, Close Encounters, E.T., Its a MAd Mad World, North By Northwest, Gigi, My Fair Lady etc just to name a few. Make the presentation of these features a big Event that can’t be duplicated on TV and the Megaplex on the Music Hall Giant Screen.Note I focused on the Wide Screen Movies.I think this could be a big draw if done correctly plus the stage show.Brucec

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 19, 2004 at 12:18 pm

The operating “nut” for RCMH is too high to show revivals of old movies. The management makes more money from renting it out for concerts and conducting sightseeing tours. In yesterday’s New York Times, they were already advertising the next Christmas Spectacular, which runs from November 4th through January 2nd. Curiously, though the ad gave a full calendar of performances, no ticket prices were mentioned.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 19, 2004 at 11:47 am

I hope some Cablevision executives are looking at these comments. It would be so great to have classic films at the Music Hall again. When they had the week of WB classics a few years ago, they advertised it as the First Annual Radio City Classic Film Festival. The Friday night showing of “The Exorcist”, hosted by Ellen Burstyn and William Friedkin, was a complete sell-out and a real blast. Then the next year they showed films from Universal: “Psycho”, “Jaws”, and “Animal House” all played to 5,000+ people. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any showings since then, and the recent 40th anniversary showing of “West Side Story” was invitation-only and not open to the public. Why not give the people what they want (and make lots of money besides) and do something like the Classic Film Festivals every year?

Vincent, I waited many hours to see “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” in January 1970. It was a Friday and I don’t remember the exact length of time, but it definitely took most of an entire day to get in. We got there in the morning and it was dark outside when we came out (and it was a very short movie).

Vito
Vito on April 3, 2004 at 4:11 am

Well actually Sinatra played there just recently, yes I know he’s dead but he performed anyway. Anyone see that show or know anything about the process used to create it?