Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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VincentParisi on December 21, 2004 at 9:45 am

CC were you ever in the Warner Cinerama or the Rivoli or Criterion before they were twinned?
Then you’ll know why we give the Ziegfeld a bad rap. Though today its the best game in town. I was hoping they would have a Todd AO retro next year for the anniversary but I doubt it. They should have had MFL for its 40th in Super Panavision 70 which they had in ‘93 and it was an enormous success. And how about the restored Mary Poppins for an engagement before its release on DVD(a re-premiere with Andrews and Van Dyke in attendance?) That of course would have been perfect for Nov at the Music Hall along with the Christmas show (which could have been cut in half with no loss.)But that would make too much sense. These high paid execs make too much money to actually know what they’re doing.

veyoung52 on December 21, 2004 at 9:10 am

“Can anybody remember which Manhattan theater showed the 3-projector Cinerama?

1 the Broadway beginning 9/30/52. Then the Warner in June 53. Then the Capitol which was temporarily renamed Loews Cinerama in Aug of 1962. The 2 MGM films, Bros Grimm and HTWWW played there. Single projector “Cinerama” 70mm opened at the Warner 11/63. 3-projector CineMiracle ran at the Roxy from April through the Summer of 1958. The Russian Kinopanorama played – however briefly – at the Mayfair (before it became the DeMille). 3-projector Cinerama also ran at the Syosset (Long Island) and the Claridge (Upper Montclair NJ).

Myron on December 21, 2004 at 8:55 am

YankeeMike mentions that he saw “How The West Was Won” in Cinerama. I also saw it in Manhattan in Cinerama but I can’t remember the name of the theater. I thought it was named the “Loews Cinerama” but there is no listing for such a theater. It’s true that 3 projectors were used and often the images did not exactly match and the colors of each were slightly different; making it annoying to watch. I also saw “2001, A Space Odyssey” at the same theater in Cinerama. Can anybody remember which Manhattan theater showed the 3-projector Cinerama?

Myron on December 21, 2004 at 8:47 am

I visited the Ziegefeld many times and never had problems with the film being out-of-focus. “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was very clear.

chconnol on December 17, 2004 at 5:18 am

Again, why the HELL couldn’t they open “The Aviator” at the Music Hall? Can you imagine seeing that there? Oh, that’s right…they have the “Spectacular” there and it would interfere…

But as much as The Ziegfeld gets somewhat of a bad rep here on this site, I was there in 1995 to see “Braveheart” and I have to say I was mightily impressed with it’s size, the screen and the sound. It was very nice inside though you’d never guess it from the outside. It’s so plain.

RobertR on December 16, 2004 at 8:11 pm

As much as I cant wait to see the Aviator, I would not have wanted to see it at the Angelika. Oh by I miss the Syosset 150.

br91975 on December 15, 2004 at 7:32 pm

While ‘The Aviator’ was having its ‘premiere’ at the Ziegfeld last night, its little-publicized 12-day run (four-walled by Miramax for award-voting committees but with all remaining tickets to the public) at the Angelika was coming to an end.

khando on December 15, 2004 at 5:50 pm

why didnt you tell me about the Aviator premiere at the Zeigfeld yesterday ;[

rcdt55b on December 4, 2004 at 7:27 pm

I have been hearing that Digital Cinema will be at every theater for 12 years now. If you are telling me that it will replace every screen in every theater, it will not happen. Digital Cinema is not film. You will always be able to tell the difference. I have seen the real Digital Cinema. I am not talking about the cheap imitations.

longislandmovies on December 4, 2004 at 5:53 pm

movieboss you hit the nail on the head

movieboss on December 4, 2004 at 5:23 pm

Digital Cinema is HERE and like it or not it’s soon to be at every theater near you. In fact numerous theaters currently receive their digital fature and trailer files via satellite including the Loews 42nd Street E-Walk on two screens locally. the Ziegfeld is not satellite equipped, but receives their digital “prints” on a hard drive which is loaded into the media servers. The files are compressed, encoded and encrypted. They are protected by “keys” which prevent any other specific equipment from playing back a pirated or duplicated file.

Theater owners have never been seriously thought by anyone to be required to pay for the conversion to digital. Sometime soon one or more studio backed financing plans will be in place to provide the funds. While people may not flock to DLP vs. 35mm, they will notice an increase in light output, more even light distribution from corner of image to corner of image and a rock steady picture without any degradation after multiple showings. Also, since the distribution cost will be significantly reduced vs. film, more theaters and markets will be able to show a wider variety of movies that otherwise would receive only limited distribution.

An earlier poster mentioned sound … with a pristine digital sound file, the quality of sound will only be limited to the quality of the sound processing and speaker equipment in an auditorium.

There are limitations with the current 1.3K resolution DLP projectors in use. These will however, soon be replaced with newer 2K DLP projectors allowing screens the size of the Ziegfeld’s to be completely filled and not cropped and still retain light, brilliance and clarity at least matching if not exceeding that of 35mm “analog” film. Furthermore Sony has in the works a 4K projection system.

Before “assuming” the world of cinema quality digital cinema is anything like internet based movie downloads, or even DVD like quality, consider the massive file sizes required for a cinema screen vs. a computer monitor or even a large screen HD television. DO not confuse “digital” home entertainment media with Digital Cinema.

One final thought for now … those “pre-show” advertisements and mini-commercials shown at many theaters around the country are being projected via small NON Cinema grade projectors. They are low on light output and in most cases not designed to project the distances they are now being used for. On top of that, the source material is grainy and usually poor in quality as it was designed for use on television and has too low a level of resolution to be projected any actual distance and size.

The circuits using this pre-show technology to show “movies” are doing a disservice to the public and diminishing the quality of the experience. I suspect that the poor box office they have to date realized from their experiments may curtail it’s use in the future, but that may be giving too much credit.

dave-bronx™ on December 4, 2004 at 3:01 pm

What the Ziegfeld has is a stadium, which is the technical word that theatre architects used. Today the public thinks of that word meaning the entire auditorium on steps.

Years ago when big-splash premieres were done as a reserved-seat benefit with hard tickets at the Ziegfeld and Cinema I, the seat locations on the ticket were “Orchestra” or “Loge” and the row and seat number.

In the big old palaces where there was a real balcony (a cantilevered structure over the orchestra with the seats on steps), the seats were divided into loge (in the front), mezzanine (middle) and balacony (at the top), with the sections divided by cross-aisles.

RobertR on December 4, 2004 at 2:20 pm

Sound balcony-esque to me LOL

stevebob on December 4, 2004 at 1:28 pm

A number of entries here describe this theater as having a balcony.

There is NO balcony, only a rear area that rises at a steeper angle than the main orchestra level, and which is separated from the main area by a cross-aisle.

dave-bronx™ on December 4, 2004 at 12:14 pm

They want the theatre owner to pay for the equipment (last I heard, about $60,000. per screen, probably less now) that will enable the distributor will save the cost of manufacturing, shipping and storing prints – and that is not going to happen. Even if they get it to look exactly like film, the theatre has nothing to gain other than saving the cost of having an usher make up a show. Plus, they are going to have to have all the bugs worked out of it – theatres that got burned with the original SDDS unit, a $15,000. piece of junk, are going to be wary…

rcdt55b on December 4, 2004 at 4:36 am

I agree with Vito. One of the major problems with DLP is who will pay for it. If you make theater owner pay for it, you put all the independent theaters out of business. The theater owners definitely have nothing to gain because DLP is not going to attract more people to the movies. He is also right about possibly shared film and video. They will never replace film completely.

rcdt55b on December 4, 2004 at 4:20 am

Digital still has a very long way to go. Until I see some major improvements I won’t be preparing to switch over in my theater anytime soon.

Vito on December 4, 2004 at 4:16 am

Longislandmovies, When I wrote about the public’s lack of interest in DLP, I meant the theatre owners have little to gain here and therefore it will have to be up to thr studios to fit most of the bill to install the equipment. I suppose it’s possible some day it will all work out and we will see the end of film in the theatres but I for one do not believe that will ever happen. We will more likely see a shared film and digital presentation for many many more years.

Vito on December 4, 2004 at 4:04 am

The equipment installed in my theatres is run by a computor with the media (called platter) loaded on to the hard drive. So you might have one or two movies loaded as well as an array of trailers, both for upcoming movies and house specials, such as advertisements, which you would click on in order to show them. The “script” which contains the info you have programmed is them run each time you start the show. The movie is projected thru a lens either flat or anamorphic by means of the same type of Xenon light source, approx. 6000 watts, as film. I have not seen the system which is transmitted thru satellite as yet, I am not sure if that is being used yet.The entire operation is run by computor.

chconnol on December 3, 2004 at 5:32 am

Can I ask a question about digital? What exactly is the “medium”? Is it a DVD or something? How exactly does the movie get projected?

A few years ago, the NYTimes ran an extensive article about theaters that would receive the movie through a satellite transmission beamed from a source location. The issue was how to prevent hackers from getting the signal and sending it to some other place. Movie piracy of the highest order.

With digital, do the theaters receive a DVD or something of the movie to be shown?

longislandmovies on December 3, 2004 at 4:30 am

Vito the public does not have to care about it the theater owners do , and as SOON as digital is perfected you will see it in all your chains..

Vito on December 3, 2004 at 3:52 am

I would have to agree with RCDTJ, Digital projection may grow some, but it will be a long time, if ever, before it replaces film completly. Digital is flat and dull and yes it does have problems with breakdowns, and as I mentioned in another thread, the public just does not care about it.Automation and platters was the reason 25 years ago I switched from projection to management. I can still dable in the booth if I care to, but it is so boring now without lights, curtains and changeovers. I miss “putting on a show” The guys at the Ziegfeld have a platter which has to be, after the Maytag repair man, the worlds most boring job. Threading a projector once every two hours or so has to be dull. Even worse is digital, with nothing to do but babysit the thing.

br91975 on December 2, 2004 at 9:23 am

The next two bookings at the Ziegfeld are ‘Oceans Twelve’, beginning December 10th, and, starting December 22nd, ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera’.

rcdt55b on December 1, 2004 at 7:23 am

Automations and platters were the begining of the end for projectionists. I’m talking about the quality of the picture. Cost is an issue too. It will never look like film. There have been too many issues and problems with digital projection. Yes it looks good, but will never be as good as film. The whole transition to digital was supposed to start happening years ago. They were so up on doing it in the begining. Now I hear less about it then before. I,m not saying this just as a projectionist. I am saying this as a service tech, projectionist, and someone who has worked with and worked on digital projection. I do not see it being widespread any time soon.

RobertR on December 1, 2004 at 6:38 am

At Loews Raceway they run the promos before the film on video and the quality is very good but it does not have the kick that film does.