Criterion Theatre

1514 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 351 - 375 of 416 comments

RobertR
RobertR on December 8, 2004 at 6:54 pm

Who ran the Embassy 2-3-4 when it was the Mark 1-2-3?

William
William on December 8, 2004 at 5:46 pm

Well they are going to put in a Restaurant and bar into the space that once was the north side of the building where the fire exits once stood. It’s signage has already been put up, going tobe called Bond 50 Restauant.
The Times Square church really maintains the old Mark Hellinger, really well. They painted the lobby and relamped the lobby light fixtures in the last two months.
Disney may do what they did to “Beauty and the Beast” when it left the Palace and moved-over to the Lunt and Fontane Theatre. They down sized the show from what played and opened on Broadway at the Palace. So it could still play on Broadway but smaller to fit the other theatre.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on November 12, 2004 at 9:30 pm

The most logical theatre for the Disney organization is the old Mark Hellinger which is now the Times Square Church. The church doesn’t want to give it up at this time. Disney has two productions coming to Broadway in the next couple years “Mary Poppins” and “The Little Mermaid”. The New Amsterdam will likely run “The Lion King” for several years unless they move it to another theatre.I doubt Disney would run a theatre in New York like the El Capitan as the cost would be so expensive.brucec

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 2:46 pm

It was after Walter Reade gave it up. It was in Aug 75. The opening was a doubel feature for $1.00. I remember one film was Jacquele Susan’s Once Is Not Enough. I don’t think it lasted long as a $1.00 theater. Right after that it became the Mark 1,2,3 and that didn’t last long. The last owner was the Guild organization.
Sorry I gave the wrong year in my earlier post.

RobertR
RobertR on November 12, 2004 at 2:04 pm

Wow who was going to run the Demille as a dollor house? Peter Ellison?

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 2:00 pm

Warren
The Demille did have a stage before they split it up. I interviewed their in 1976 when they were going to reopen as a dollar house. I rememeber the big stage and the redcurtains which were kept in the downstairs theater when they split it up.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 1:59 pm

Warren
The Demille did have a stage before they split it up. I interviewed their in 1976 when they were going to reopen as a dollar house. I rememeber the big stage and the redcurtains which were kept in the downstairs theater when they split it up.

br91975
br91975 on November 12, 2004 at 12:46 pm

I imagine the main reason why the El Capitan is such a draw are the stage productions which accompany most, if not all, the Disney flicks shown there. If a renovated Mayfair/DeMille/Embassy 1-2-3 were to become a studio o/o venue, it would most likely be run by a someone other than Disney – a studio whose product is 99% straight action, drama, comedy, etc., and doesn’t lend itself to any sort of theatrical accompaniment. I suspect the property’s ultimate fate will be conversion into retail space but maybe I’ll be proven wrong…

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on November 12, 2004 at 12:35 pm

Has anybody else noticed that Broadway has turned into Branson for the middle aged and that Andy Williams has become ABBA?
New York lost Times Square and it now has lost its culture.

Goodbye greatest city in the history of the world.

RobertR
RobertR on November 12, 2004 at 11:54 am

Obviously the El Capitan must be making money, why wouldent that work in New York?

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 10:56 am

I remember the Palace having movies in the late 60’s until they booked Applause with Lauren Bacall. It’s been a legit house ever since.

Vito
Vito on November 12, 2004 at 10:36 am

Warren, The Palace will open the musical “All Shook Up” on
March 24 2005 with previews beginning on February 20, 2005
In the meanwhile, Vanessa Williams and Linda Elder have scheduled concerts in December. Wouldn’t it be fun to use the some of the dark time till Jan 20 with vaudeville shows and a movie? like the ole days. Yeah … that I’ll happen.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 9:05 am

Which theater r u talking about Warren?

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on November 12, 2004 at 6:21 am

Marty,
The Criterion was a very elegant Art Deco theater with excellent sightlines. A spacious but not too large theater where the large screen was perfectly placed head on in front of the theater. It showed of its product as if they were jewels. Unless you were there during it’s heyday it’s hard to see in pictures what is more obvious in the old black and white photos of the Roccoco spectaculars built in the 20’s.
It was one of New York’s great movie theaters.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 5:18 am

I agree with an earlier post, Disney should purchase the Embassy 2,3,4 aka Demille and restore it like the El Capitan in CA. They could have also purchased the Times Square theater.

Vito
Vito on November 12, 2004 at 5:13 am

Marty, we are all in mourning for these magnificent theatres, the likes of which we will never see again.

broadwaymarty
broadwaymarty on November 12, 2004 at 4:42 am

The Criterion was better known for it’s 50’s and 60’s attractions rather than it’s interior beauty.Like the DeMille (previously the Mayfair, since devided and now left to rot)it was basically 3 walls and a screen. Where was everybody when they demolished the Roxy, the Rivoli, the Paramount,the Strand, (the backstage of which became a porno house in the 70’s!)and the State?!

sethbook
sethbook on November 2, 2004 at 9:40 am

UA certainly did run down the Criterion. The last films I saw there was “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Ten Things I Hate About You.” Here’s what I wrote about it in the late 90s.

The one and only time I was in this theatre, until last year, it was to see Presumed Innocent. That was a few years ago, and it was a rather abysmal experience. Times Square was a much different place, and at any hour, even the early afternoon, was an opportunity to be surrounded by teenage delinquents or worse. The one time I was there, the fire alarm went off during the climax of the film. Of course, there was no fire, and of course, there was no one getting up to leave the movie either.

All that has changed, although the theatres themselves do not seem so different. A recent trip (to see My Best Friend’s Wedding) shows a whole different sort of clientele. The couple in front of me where speaking Russian and the man behind me only spoke French. The seats are still old; not the newer more comfortable ones theatres are installing when they renovate or are built new.

There are six theatres and they are split into two levels with separate entrances. This helps reduce sneaking into extra screenings, although once inside, it seems rather easy to walk into a second movie after having just seen one.

sethbook
sethbook on November 2, 2004 at 9:40 am

UA certainly did run down the Criterion. The last films I saw there was “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Ten Things I Hate About You.” Here’s what I wrote about it in the late 90s.

The one and only time I was in this theatre, until last year, it was to see Presumed Innocent. That was a few years ago, and it was a rather abysmal experience. Times Square was a much different place, and at any hour, even the early afternoon, was an opportunity to be surrounded by teenage delinquents or worse. The one time I was there, the fire alarm went off during the climax of the film. Of course, there was no fire, and of course, there was no one getting up to leave the movie either.

All that has changed, although the theatres themselves do not seem so different. A recent trip (to see My Best Friend’s Wedding) shows a whole different sort of clientele. The couple in front of me where speaking Russian and the man behind me only spoke French. The seats are still old; not the newer more comfortable ones theatres are installing when they renovate or are built new.

There are six theatres and they are split into two levels with separate entrances. This helps reduce sneaking into extra screenings, although once inside, it seems rather easy to walk into a second movie after having just seen one.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on September 1, 2004 at 10:15 am

Its to bad that some of the historic movie palaces of Times Sqaure weren’t given air rights the way most of the historic Broadway Legit theatres were given. This encouraged the Legit theatre owners to restore/renovate many of there theatres.The Palace and the Broadway were encorporated in a build over of a new building,this may have saved the Rivoli and a few others.The Criterion and the Rivoli were the perfect houses for the big musicals,but they didn’t have stage houses.I think the master plan in NYC was to revive 42nd St and many of its theatres and rebuild Times Square with new buildings. The revival of the Times Square moved much faster than people imagined and I think it caught the City by surprise. The revival of Times Square was good for the Legit community which had been pushing for a cleaner Times Square for many years,but caused us to loose the last of our big movie palaces in Times Square. Los Angeles is now the only big city to retain most of its big time movie palaces both Downtown and in Hollywood.Downtown Hollywood has restored/renovated all of its movie palaces with the exception of the Hollywood Pacific(Warner).The restored movie palaces of Hollywood would include the Chinese,El Capitan,Pantages and ongoing work on the Music Box(Henry Fonda).The Egyptian had been renovated but not restored and the Cinerama Dome though not a movie palace has also been renovated.The Vogue,Fox,New View,Holly,Hollywood and Vine are not movie palaces and have either closed or are used for other purposes. The Holly has been gutted and only the Vine still show movies.brucec

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on September 1, 2004 at 8:27 am

It was very frustrating during the 70’s and 80’s seeing two beautiful NY buildings like the Criterion and the Rivoli being so badly utilized while the comparatively worthless Astor Plaza and Ziegfeld were treated like jewels. For some reason when the 60’s became the 70’s both these theaters became undesirable dumping grounds but they were exactly as they were in the 60’s when they were the most desirable bookings in NY. Is it simply location? The destruction of the Astor Hotel was the worst thing to happen to Times Square and it has never recovered(unless of course you consider a New Jersey by way of Tokyo shopping mall an improvement.)

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on September 1, 2004 at 7:49 am

Thanks BR. I didn’t know they split the orchestra. I rememebr seeing Bette Midler in Divine Madness there in 70mm. I sat up in the balcony. I am glad I got to see it before they carved it up. I was also lucky enough to have been to the Rivoli many times before they carved that up.

br91975
br91975 on September 1, 2004 at 7:17 am

The Criterion couldn’t have survived after the AMC Empire 25 opened and had already begun to suffer (as did the other Times Square movie houses) after the opening of the Loews 42nd Street E-Walk in November of 1999. Two harsh realities helped contribute to the downfall of the Criterion: studios always want to book their product into the top available venues, and the best ones at that (i.e., ones with stadium seating, etc.), which means that older sites within or close to the same booking zone traditionally become little more than move-over houses or dumping spots for films that stand zero chance of doing bang-up business and of turning any sort of profit. Studios also, quite often, won’t book their product into two sites within the same zone (the E-Walk and Astor Plaza double-bookings being a unique circumstance because of their Times Square location, along with the movie-going crowds drawn to the area; the prestige house the Astor Plaza was – as opposed to the carve-up job the Criterion became; and Loews keeping the revenue the Astor Plaza strong, or at the least, solid, by limiting most of the films it ran in concurrence with the E-Walk to 2-3 week engagements).

(To answer your other question, Mike, the Criterion’s layout, at the end, was as follows: orchestra split left/right – auditoriums 1 and 2; balcony – auditorium 3; basement/former lounge area – auditoriums 4 through 7.)

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on September 1, 2004 at 5:47 am

If the Moss family still owns the building, why did they allow the theater to be closed and a stupid toy store open? When they first divided the theater in the 80’s they just divided the original theater in 2. The orchestra was kept intact and the balcony was made theater 2. Did UA divide the orchestra after they took over?