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Don’t blame Empire, blame IMAX. They have sold out their brand and ruined a once wonderful concept.
Exactly my point, bigjoe59. The crowd for “Les Miserables” on 42nd street didn’t have to wait at all. There was a screening starting every few minutes with immediate seating. That is how those two cash cows on 42nd street outgross most of the country with the possible exception of Lincoln Square.
If you were a distributor would you bypass 42nd street to protect the Ziegfeld? You may do it for a few days just for prestige as “DREAMGIRLS” did, but much longer. Moviemakers just can’t afford that anymore.
If you look at the ad NYer posted for “GIANT SHADOW”, it actually states that Kirk Douglas will appear at the Fantasy ‘at intermission’. So there you go.
Yes, that one.
It was a wonderful brand new 70mm TWIN theatre with brand new seats and trademark Cineplex faux marble that failed miserably because it was too close to 42nd Street.
The two biggest hits I can remember there were “UNCLE BUCK” and the move-over of “LAWRENCE” in gorgeous 70mm.
Twin 2 (Rialto 2) never made it pass day two due to subway noise.
Let us not forget that Walter Reade and Cineplex Odeon used their clout to drive films to the Ziegfeld, something Clearview and Bow Tie don’t have.
Also, when “LAWRENCE OF ARABIA” moved to the loser Warner on 42nd street late in that run, business picked up.
Property values are a curious thing.
I love the Ziegfeld. It was my office for many years and the best screen in Manhattan. It is the best theatre in Manhattan for people who love big movies. That does not take away from reality.
The Ziegfeld is still there ONLY because nobody wants that location.
But it is NOT a choice location to open a major movie. And it never was.
Not really a matter of finding it but rather finding a better located place to see the same movie.
I have stated before, audiences DID have a problem finding it, hence the Coronet day and date openings in the eighties and nineties. A 100 seat screen on 42nd street can still outgross it.
Back then, Disney didn’t want “WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT” on 42nd street. Universal didn’t want “THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST” on 42nd street. Major screens like the the National and the Astor simply could not deliver the audience. The Ziegfeld could.
That is no longer the case.
The big difference is that back when the Ziegfeld was showing exclusives of major films, the Times Square theatres were thriving on exploitation films that did even better than big budget Hollywood films and the Ziegfeld was a better choice for the “GANDHI” and “BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY” crowd. This is no longer the case as in the new Times Square theatres on 42nd street even art films do well and exploitation films are few and far between. “GANDHI” today would do better on multiple screens at the Empire.
All I can tell you about “CAST A GIANT SHADOW” is that it did open as a two-a-day Roadshow in New York. It was reviewed at 141 minutes by the NY Times and the vinyl soundtrack includes a prologue but no intermission track.
According to Curbed it is opening in January.
AlAlvarez on August 8, 2014 at 7:48 am (remove)
According to this NYT article, the 68th Street Playhouse was converted from an apartment building to a vaudeville and movie house in 1914.
It closed in July 1997 with “The Pillow book”.
The last one I can think of without looking it up was “MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON” in 1990.
Bigjoe59, it may go back as far as “MAROONED” (1969), unless you count the aborted attempts to revive the policy around 2001 by Cineplex Odeon. People refused to sit in their assigned seats then.
Cineplex Odeon forced distributors to take the Ziegfeld in order to get the Baronet. Not the other way around.
As has been mentioned before here, when the run was not exclusive, the Ziegfeld was out-grossed even by tiny houses like the Baronet and Waverly. The 54th street location even required hired ‘screamers’ for premieres since not enough passers-by mobbed the entrance to see celebrities.
Bigjoe59, you can catch it on TCM once in a while. It is not great but, hardly as bad as its reputation.
By the way this link has some great vintage Times square theatre shots;
Techman707, you are correct, but the Capitol name was not changed back until later in the year so the early ads suggested a Cinerama presentation.
“CHEYENNE AUTUMN” opened on December 23, 1964 on a two shows a day (three on weekends) roadshow basis at the Capitol. It did run a NYT full page ad on October 4, 1964 announcing the holiday opening at the Loews Cinerama. This may possibly account for bigjoe’s Cinerama conundrum. It ran until February 23, 1965 when it was replaced by “LOVE HAS MANY FACES”, a wide release.
“GIGI” programs are easily found on ebay. “CHEYENNE AUTUMN” not so easy.
According to the NYT in April 1955,
the Paramount VistaVision screen was 64ft x 35ft,
the Roxy Cinemascope was 64.5ft x 26.5ft,
the Warner Cinerama was 67ft x 24.5ft.
BobbyS, the Warner Cinerama was the Strand.
Zoetmb is off the mark. Most Manhattan theatres are threatened by property values, not quality presentation, film choice, nor attendance. The Cinema 1-2-3 will eventually go as it is prime real estate. The Regal Union Square is going nowhere anytime soon as it is one the highest grossing in the city and has small ground level footprint.
Theatre owners did everything possible to delay DVD windows but the market forces made this unsustainable. Who cares about the window when audiences lose interest after two weeks anyway. Less theatres will help the remaining ones survive, and eventually every neighborhood will have one single multiplex serving it.
The mega chains are not so concerned about profits in NYC as long as the theatre is a cash cow that can produce quick revenue that can be invested elsewhere before the studio share is even due.
Thanks for that clip rasLXR. It was fantastic!