Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal Commerce Center 18 on May 14, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Currently undergoing a recliner transition (I had been in one of the newly redone theaters #6 today – quite comfortable but not as plush as the AMC/Starplex recliners unfortunately). Peeked at the seating capacities on a few doors – the small ones are just under 50 now, the big ones are 207 now.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Middlebrook Galleria Cinemas on Apr 2, 2016 at 10:40 am

Currently undergoing a remodel under CineGrand – I believe recliner seats are on the way. CineGrand’s website is a bit odd (they run three others theaters, one in MN, one in CA and this one — talk about geographic diversity!). I think they fancy themselves as a luxury operator, they may be in Bulgaria — personally I think this site would have been a good one for a middle of the road dine-in theatre.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Mar 14, 2016 at 5:02 pm

I saw an advance screening of Hateful Eight at Cinema 1,2,3 and in 70MM and the presentation was flawless including proper masking (something lacking in standard multiplexes). Too bad they didn’t show it during the general release.

I believe the Zig’s equipment was donated to FSLC and installed at Walter Reade which is a nice screening room so they definitely have 70MM (IMHO – digital or film FSLC constantly has the best presentation in town – Loews Lincoln Center has the same crappy presentation all AMCs do with Real D filters left on for 2D).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Central Plaza Cinema on Mar 12, 2016 at 9:07 pm

Party City is moving in – the upstairs does not appear to be used for retail. The exterior walls also got a facelift.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Garden State 16 on Dec 24, 2015 at 9:00 pm

AMC Prime Theatre is now open. Theater #15 has a (temporary) 70MM projector installed for the Hateful Eight Roadshow – decent presentation (although awkwardly letterboxed – leaving the bottom ¼th empty).

The lack of masking was the subject of a few complaints – the image size was about ½ a flat image in this auditorium (I’m not sure QT would approve – I wish Harvey had booked Edgewater Multiplex instead – they have a few big houses with side masking that would provided a better experience for sure, even if they aren’t properly set up for Ultra Pannavision either).

The other oddity about Theater #15 – it literally is the furthest theater from the concession stand – I doubt during peak times (this weekend) that 12-minute intermission is going to be enough time. It’s quite comical how AMC boasts about “innovation” when they pay such little attention to details.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Palisades 21 on Dec 19, 2015 at 9:37 pm

I wouldn’t waste time on the “new” IMAX screen here – Garden State and City Center have decent IMAX retrofits. Clifton Commons is the worst – a downright scam. This one does have a big screen but awkward viewing angles – – between the light directly above the screen and the exit slights that backlight the screen, it’s baffling how IMAX could certify this auditorium. AMC should be embarrassed by both this screen and Clifton Commons…if only they cared about quality.

John Fink
John Fink commented about IMAX Theatre at Palisades Center on Dec 19, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Liberty Science Center, Regal New Roc City and Lincoln Square are true legacy IMAX theaters – the latter two have gone digital. LSC is a 15/70MM dome IMAX – they occasionally showed Hollywood films. This site is converting into some kind of role playing indoor amusement park that sounds compelling but kind of temporary – we’ll see if succeeds.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Roosevelt Field 8 on Dec 18, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Currently back open per AMC’s website

John Fink
John Fink commented about Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on Dec 17, 2015 at 10:43 am

Not sure if they are – Film Forum will have Son of Saul in 35MM per FF’s website.

John Fink
John Fink commented about City Cinemas Cinema 1, 2, and 3 on Dec 10, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Cinema 1 (still?) has 70MM installed – caught a flawless press screening of Hateful Eight today. Not sure if the theatre will get a regular engagement of the film but the experience of Ultra Panavision was great and the theater had proper masking to accommodate the extreme wide screen. Nice place – with some art work still in the lobby – Cinema 1 had a very General Cinema 70s vibe (reminded me of a Eastern Hills Mall outside of Buffalo – minus the picture window screen)

John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal Independence Plaza on Nov 25, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Regal will be reopening with recliners at some point in 2016. I’m sure they’ll succeed in ways Destina and Cinema Holdings Group couldn’t (I’m sure the later left the place trashed – they are the worst of the worst).

John Fink
John Fink commented about IFC Center on Sep 23, 2015 at 9:43 am

The Cornelia Street facade looks like one of the New School’s outposts in the West Village. I hope they can make it work – 6 new screens is great (I just hope they’re more like the original theaters and not theater #5 – which appears to be getting flipped around in the new design – hopefully that’ll will mean a bigger screen. They may want to reconsider how the theaters will be numbered too – it may be a confusing building to navigate with a few theaters downstairs, two theaters upstairs in one part of the building, and a few on floors 2 and 3 in another part of the building (presumably accessed differently – – although maybe not – it looks like they’re relocating the elevator).

John Fink
John Fink commented about IMAX Theatre at Palisades Center on Sep 20, 2015 at 8:05 pm

Closed and moved next door to the AMC in what was Theater #10. I saw Everest (2015) in IMAX on the new screen – its just not as good for many reasons (even if the seats are more plush). The mall is covering the former IMAX into some kind of role playing playground thing.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Palisades 21 on Sep 20, 2015 at 8:02 pm

I’ve been here a few times since the renovations – the restrooms largely look the same and AMC changed the ticketing counters to integrate more self-service machines (interestingly enough they only have two cash/pass registers open – the rest are credit only).

20 theaters have the second generation recliners – quite comfortable but the footrests don’t fully extend nor do the backs recline that far – still an improvement over the previous seating.

The IMAX however is terrible – I saw Everest on Friday night in 3D – they have the same style of seating as the recliners except they don’t recline – also there’s limited foot room (and you can’t place your feet under your seat – they’ve padded that part for some reason). The retrofit screen is about half the size of the previous IMAX and lacks the immersive view even three rows from the screen (where I eventually moved). The most annoying feature was a light directly above the screen that remained on, washing out the dark scenes. I wrote to IMAX and received a quick response – I hope the matter is corrected because the 3D was virtually useless. I tend to think it has more to do with AMC rather than IMAX – AMC’s presentation standards are downright atrocious (they’re the leader in leaving the Real D filters on 2D shows).

John Fink
John Fink commented about IFC Center on Aug 27, 2015 at 8:30 pm

An expansion to 11 screens is on the books:

John Fink
John Fink commented about Williams Center Cinemas on Jun 27, 2015 at 7:10 am

Williams Center Cinemas are officially closed as of June 22nd – one of the last theaters in Jersey to run all 35MM first run (I think the Lincoln Cinemas in Kearny are still 35MM but I have no confirmation on that) – article in the Bergen Record:

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Rivertowne 12 on Jun 18, 2015 at 6:36 pm

It fits AMC’s business model – they’ve been taking over one-offs, locations that in the 90s they would have closed “just because”. The new idea is if they’re in a good retail site, why not? Gerry Lopez, I suppose is applying the Starbucks model here. The strangest take over is the Oakbrook 4 — closed by 14 years ago by Loews Cineplex, reopened last year as an AMC recliner-plex with McGuffins.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Chautauqua Mall Cinema I & II on Jun 2, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Updated with all recliner seating – Dipson is also promising a few more upgrades including larger screens.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Movieland 8 Theatres on May 11, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Officially the end of 35MM projection in WNY – I don’t think anyone kept their 35MM gear (judging by Interstellar). It’s a shame the theater is in as rough a shape as it is otherwise another operator might be compelled to give it another go (although the plaza may or may not be helped by the departure of Wal Mart) – the model Movieland had didn’t seem all that sustainable when they had to ask for contributions on IndieGoGo to upgrade to digital (Dipson upgraded their whole circuit including McKinley Mall – now the only discount house in the region, while shedding a few of the under performing locations). AMC has been taking over smaller theaters to recliner-plex – – they’ve been taking over some strange location lately (like Market Arcade) – so depending on the future of shopping center who knows….

Last titles to screen: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, American Sniper, While We’re Young, Danny Collins, Fifty Shades of Grey, Run All Night, Big Hero 6, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas on May 6, 2015 at 9:17 pm

The former box-office on the ground floor now houses two Cineplex food concepts – Poptopia and a Frozen Yogurt bar. I visited the VIP section last September (I took a few hours away from TIFF to see “Captive”, the new Atom Egoyan movie that wasn’t playing at the festival…draw your own conclusions on that one) and it was a pretty nice experience – the food and beverages we had were fine, as was the service (although only available during the pre-show, a server took our order and settled our bill via an iPad). As for the dine-in aspect, the selection was not nearly as expansive a selection as the Alamo Drafthouse although the quality and experience surpassed AMC’s Dine-In Theaters. My only complaint would have been the price of tickets had we not gone on half-price Tuesdays.

On a side note: I feel as if the VIP market could be an area of entry for another exhibitor if one were to want to try to enter the GTA in those few market areas were Cineplex has some weakness (or if Landmark were to start investing in recliner seats like US exhibitors have been doing).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinepolis Chelsea Cinemas on Apr 19, 2015 at 8:58 pm

I’ve caught a few shows during Tribeca and I’m a fan of the new seats – wide leather rockers with large arm rests. A few major changes have been made: the box office was moved inside (where Clearview Cafe area had previously lived, to the right of the concessions). Cafe seating is now available on the first floor where the guest services counter had stood (guest services is now to the left of the concession stand). The outdoor ticket windows have been completely removed. The concessions stand was upgraded with new fixtures and now serves six varieties of flavored popcorn made on site.

Apart from the first floor lobby renovations the most notable changes are the auditoriums entrances have been reconfigured – perhaps to add some capacity back that had been lost with the addition of wider seats and generous leg room. The exterior renovations also are now complete and the signs officially read Bow Tie Cinemas. I prefer this venue for Tribeca, it has the sidewalk and lobby space to make all the queues work well without the maze of escalators and narrow hallways that Regal Battery Park has.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Edgewater Multiplex Cinemas on Apr 3, 2015 at 8:08 pm

I noticed tonight Theater #8 has a 35MM projector installed along side a Sony 4K projector (platter, not reel to reel which essentially means archival prints will will not screen here). Theater #8 was one of the first in the state to feature digital projection, a few years before 3D became the driver that it was in the conversion of analog screens. (I don’t recall what system they had but National Amusements mostly standardized on Sony 4K when the circuit converted – I believe Barco supplies the tech for XPlus).

The presentation is still excellent across the board and Edgewater’s flagship XPlus auditorium has been reseated with recliners.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cineplaza 13 on Mar 20, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Should be marked as closed – both the Pathmark and Forman Mills (which replaced the theatre) on site are now sitting empty. The big box shops only a few blocks away seem to be thriving, not sure why exactly this location failed so horribly.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Empire Cinemas Columbia Park 12 on Mar 20, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Still one the strangest theaters I’ve ever been to – went yesterday to see a film, as is the policy of Empire Cinemas they leave their theaters pitch black (I suppose they’re too cheap to install automatic lighting cues). The hallways are getting painted white and yellow. The seating is now a mix of second-hand seats from Kerasotes down the street (which recently installed luxury recliners) and rocker seating from somewhere else. The theater I was in had the later installed and they were quite comfortable. It appears despite the promise of luxury recliners that Empire Cinemas has abandoned the plan, Allwood has them in certain auditoriums (others I think got the second hand Regal seats from this theatre). Very odd operation these folks run.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Union Theaters on Mar 20, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Looks like Empire Cinemas is taking it over: