Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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William
William on April 27, 2004 at 7:23 am

The 1973 re-issue of “This is Cinerama” was a single strip 70MM version which slightly cropped the original image. The three Cinerama theatres here had ground floor booths. To put Cinerama into the Ziegfeld, you would cover the front half of the theatre with drapes and a larger curved screen. The Ziegfeld was not designed for those larger aspect ratio films.

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 27, 2004 at 7:20 am

Let’s not be too hard on Clearview or any other operators of movie houses these days; the cut-throat competition by the movie makers and distributors now spell the rules by which exhibitors (movie houses) live! The distributors are in cahoots with the movie makers, of course, and now make exhibitors sign huge, terrible contracts that make the distributors the virtual owners of the theatres, and almost no theatres can play what they want when they want. The ‘big fish’ will always seek ways to eat the ‘little fish’ and now with DVD/tapes out almost as soon as the title appears ont he screen, the theatres are mere fodder for the big fish. Have sympathy. (And read all about it at www.bigscreenbiz.com))

RobertR
RobertR on April 27, 2004 at 7:11 am

That could be an issue but I seem to remember seeing a picture of a Cinerama theatre where they shot all three projectors from an elevated booth. Does anyone else know? Also what did the Zeigfeld look like when they ran “This is Cinerama”. Was it a screen hung in front of the one now? Also without curtains it must have looked really odd. Back then all theatres still had curtains even the cut up ones.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on April 27, 2004 at 6:52 am

Remember that when the Ziegfeld showed Cinerama it was the one strip version which I assume was some form of 70mm. They didn’t even have a curtain to give you the impression of an everexpanding screen. Also the fact that there is no back to the orchestra only an aisle separating it from the elevated loge would probably preclude it from the proper presentation of Cinerama unless it was feasible to project it from the very back.

RobertR
RobertR on April 27, 2004 at 5:27 am

Lets get Clearview to put in Cinerama (3proj) and give the east coast a chance to see the magic the west coast sees at the dome.

YMike
YMike on April 27, 2004 at 5:09 am

Any chance they could program some recent classics there. Would love to see a film like Titanic on that big screen. They should try to get the new Harry Potter movie. Bet they could make money showing that film.

philipgoldberg
philipgoldberg on March 20, 2004 at 5:35 pm

I would assume that Clearview makes back some of its loses on the Zigfield when it four-walls the place for the many red-carpet world premieres it does for studios. The theater has a lot of prestige in the industry for these star-studded events, and I am sure that the theater is going anywhere…yet.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 20, 2004 at 1:52 pm

Most multiplexes have at least one screen change per week. The Ziegfeld seems doomed unless the industry comes to its rescue by permitting a weekly change of program. Each week, the Ziegfeld could be part of one of the new saturation openings. I don’t see how that would hurt any rival theatres because the Ziegfeld really isn’t near any that play mainstream movies (the artie Paris is probably the closest). With a new show every week, the Ziegfeld would stand a better chance of making a profit. That was what made theatres of old like Loew’s Paradise and Loew’s Valencia successful. As soon as they had to run their programs for more than a week, they became big losers.

br91975
br91975 on March 20, 2004 at 9:21 am

One quick thing to keep in mind when having noted in the past that the Ziegfeld was ‘closed for renovations’ – quite frequently (in the NY Post and Time Out NY, at least), when a theater closes, even if it’s closing permanently, publications which run film listings will, as a placeholder, note that the theater is ‘closed for renovations’. Why that’s done I’m not quite sure (except perhaps for a lack of basic research) but I suspect it’s at the discretion of the listings editor.

br91975
br91975 on March 20, 2004 at 9:15 am

We might be looking at the destiny of the Ziegfeld from this point on. Much like the El Capitan in LA – which isn’t open at all times, but instead is ‘closed for renovations’, sometimes for weeks-plus stretches – with the exception of not showing exclusively Disney product (unlike the Mouse House-owned El Capitan), maybe the Ziegfeld will only be open for special engagements (say, a three-week run of ‘The Alamo’ come April 9th, and then closing or moving directly onto the next appropriate big-screen-type film).

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 20, 2004 at 8:59 am

What great experiences I had watching APOCALYPSE NOW and the revival of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in that empyrean. At the Ziegfeld on Sunday, October 15, 1972, I was the first person in line for the opening of FELLINI’S ROMA; so I bought the first ticket sold in America for that film! The night before I had seen the world premiere of Bertolucci’s LAST TANGO IN PARIS (untrimmed)at the New York Film Festival. After the Fellini film I went to Truffaut’s TWO ENGLISH GIRLS at the Fine Arts on 58th Street. Good weekend!

Peter
Peter on March 20, 2004 at 8:13 am

I just spoke to someone at the Theatre and she said there are no “renovations” going on.She said people come but not enough to cover their operating expences.

It made me feel very sad.It may not be a “movie palace” like the Roxy,Paramount or Loews Paradise,but it is one the best places to see a movie in the city.Sitting in the balcony area with a full hosue as the rich heavy gold curtian parts and the movie magic begins. I have enjoyed many movies there.There is an atmosphere in a large one screen house that can’t be mached even in the largest screening room in a multi-plex.

We will soon loose the Astor Plaza,which has the best sound system I have ever herd.If the Zig goes we will all be loosing the last great theatre in the greatest City in the world.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 20, 2004 at 7:39 am

If that’s the new Disney movie, I predict another quick closure. The Ziegfeld might do better with an exclusive 70mm revival of the John Wayne epic of the same title.

joemasher
joemasher on March 20, 2004 at 5:38 am

The Ziegfeld will reopen on 4/9 with “The Alamo”.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 19, 2004 at 2:55 pm

After a discouraging re-opening with “Hidalgo,” the Ziegfeld is again “Closed for renovations.” If it ever re-opens, it should be interesting to see what those “renovations” amounted to, if anything.

RobertR
RobertR on March 11, 2004 at 10:15 am

Some of the Manhattan theatres in more fringe areas like The Metro and Olympia when they were Cineplex theatres did have bargain matinees. I susupect you are right about the unwritten laws about cutting prices. It would take a chain like Clearview to make a statement by doing so.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 11, 2004 at 8:53 am

I’m just guessing at this, but I suspect that all first-run theatres in Manhattan, at least, have an un-written agreement to not cut prices except in the cases of seniors and adults. Distributors probably also insist on it because the boxoffice takings will be less. In the boroughs outside Manhattan, some price-cutting does exist. The Center in Sunnyside, Queens, for example, charges only $3.50 (or possibly $4.50) every Tuesday from opening to closing.

Orlando
Orlando on March 11, 2004 at 7:46 am

The problem with most Manhattan Theatres is that they charge the full admission prices right from the time they open their doors. In older days and up until the late 1970’s, There was a matinee price that changed at 5 P.M. to the evening price. Theatres that opened prior to 12 noon usually had an early bird special that changed to the matinee price at noon. This encouraged people to attend matinees since they could save a buck or so. Manhattan Theatres don’t offer the so-called bargain matinee where usually shows starting before 2 P.M. are at the children’s/senior price. It would make sense to do this since the theatres are empty anyway. This is why the corporate executives who run these chains have no idea of the art of running theatres and are not the showman and entrepeneurs of executives from past decades. After all, if there were a reduced admission for matinees, they would be able to sell more the over-priced concession items that they offer. How about it Clearview Cinemas in Manhattan, be the leader, not just a cable operator with theatres to sell home cable to customers.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 11, 2004 at 7:07 am

If the Ziegfeld doesn’t find a replacement soon for “Hidalgo,” which is currently also playing at eight other Manhattan theatres, I suspect that it will be posting another “Closed for Renovations” sign.

zoetmb
zoetmb on March 10, 2004 at 8:15 pm

It’s unfair to compare the Ziegfeld, built in the 1960s, with the movie palaces built in the 1920s and 30s. The fact is, plaster ornamentation, fancy carpeting, hidden basketball courts and cloud ceilings aside, those old theaters would be terrible places to see modern films with digital 5.1 channel soundtracks today, in spite of the fact that many of them played 70mm 6-track films.

Those old theaters were built with long reverberation times because amplifiers were very low powered in those days. Today, you want just the opposite: very short reverberation times to increase dialogue intelligibility and perceived channel separation within a broad sound field.

The Ziegfeld remains (IMHO) the best place to see a movie in NYC. My understanding is that it’s not profitable, but it is used for many premiers and it’s great that Clearview elects to keep it open as a single-screener. The single-screen Astor Plaza is closing soon and that is also a big loss.

Mike326
Mike326 on February 26, 2004 at 6:30 pm

Great to hear !!! Thank you for the good news, even I was getting a little worried..
Thanks again.

joemasher
joemasher on February 26, 2004 at 6:16 pm

I am the Division Manager for Clearview—-the Zieg is reopening on 3/5 with “Hidalgo”….not to worry, the Ziegfeld is here to stay!

Mike326
Mike326 on February 26, 2004 at 5:32 pm

The ZIEGFELD should return to it’s policy from back in the 1980’s and maybe earlier, which is that whichever movie was playing there, could not show at another theater in Manhattan.
The last few times I went, the place was pretty filled up, so hopefully they are just doing some basic renovations, and keeping it as a single house.
When I saw CHICAGO there, there was not an empty seat to be found, and when we left, the line went down 54 st, up 6th av, and back up 55 street.
I/m cautiosly optimistic !

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 26, 2004 at 1:19 pm

“Closed for renovations” is another way of saying that we’re not doing enough business to keep open. The Ziegfeld has been known to cancel performances, especially during weekday matinee hours, when not even one person turned up to buy a ticket.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on February 26, 2004 at 12:35 pm

I couldn’t agree more. It’d be a real shame to lose the Ziegfeld.