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I visited last week for the BNFF and the theater is still in limbo – it’s in a strange predicament because the building is technically owned by the city, operated by a NFP-board and managed by Dipson. The city, wanting to get out of the exhibition business has requested proposals from interested parties to acquire the building (which includes the cinema and some additional storefronts).
Officially the city hopes it’ll remain a theater (and that could be viable as this block of Main Street is about to reopen to motor traffic), but it certainly requires updates including at the very minimum digital projection to continue to operate. (The lobby with its Angelika fixtures is generally in good shape, while the auditoriums are all original GCC including seats, carpeting and walls treatments – not in poor repair but certainly could use a refresh). I’ve heard some speculation as to the theater’s future, truthfully I’d like to see something innovative happen here (WNY doesn’t have a single luxury cinema and only one microcinema that serves food and alcohol).
Rumors are Starplex is taking it over
The presentation has greatly improved since Bow Tie’s take over – clear, bright, in focus, and in frame (digital of course allows a certain degree to correct for poorly divided theaters). The once infamously awful KinMall is now a theater I frequent a few times a month because the presentation is now very good (I never thought I’d say that!).
It’s been converted to a Church – here’s a current interior photo: https://www.google.com/maps/preview/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x883c775c9ebffb4b:0x2f7136381679cdb8!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4shttps://plus.google.com/115202883054903662450/photos?hl%3Den%26socfid%3Dweb:lu:kp:placepageimage%26socpid%3D1!5scalvary+church+maumee+–+Google+Search&sa=X&ei=ZZYxU5Qk4qbSAZXTgJAK&ved=0CJ0BEKIqMA0
RE: Optimist008 – Hudson Mall is currently open despite the revolving door of operators over the years – they’ve have covered to digital.
Western New York is a region where a few GCC locations of various vintages can be found – the most “vintage” of the bunch (all are digital by the way!) are Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, NY (including a big auditorium with a shadowbox screen!) and Chautauqua Mall I & II in Jamestown. A few others in Buffalo-Rochester were either of the 80’s vintage or evolved towards that “look” (Movieland 8 – formerly Thruway Mall has quite a history – it’s a GCC of two eras….although sadly its in very rough shape as a very popular discount theater – while I don’t recall it having a shadowbox screen, they still an original giant auditorium that seats about 600!).
I can’t speak for Hudson Mall but one location that has a few GCC touches lurking in a wing (including original style bathrooms) is Starplex Brunswick Square – the auditoriums recently underwent an extensive renovation (I’m not sure if they had a Shadowbox screen and if so it survived several renovations and divisions).
Currently the plaza is under construction – I had caught a flick here the other day. Its a perfectly utilitarian National Amusements design complete with corrugated steel walls. It appears seating ranged from 190 to 480 – I was lucky enough to be in #5 -the largest theater in the house. The layout of the mall is uninviting and looks as if it was designed to accommodate lots of crowds (and potentially problems). The walk up to the theater looks like a prison, the theater is 2 floors underground). The theater itself has a central concession stand (it looks newish) and the 10 theaters flank the stand along with two sets of restrooms. Overall the experience was – well – an interesting one, I can’t say I’ll be back but the theater was clean (even if the auditorium I was in smelled a little like a hospital), but they left the Real D polarizers on a 2D presentation – ugh – I wish they would make projectors that would refuse to start up if a 3D polarizer was left on for a 2D movie.
The theaters are still awkwardly chopped up but the experience has vastly improved over the years – Clearview remodeled the theaters a few years ago (new seats, carpets, concession stands and restrooms) and Bow Tie has installed digital projection which has been a big improvement (although I haven’t seen a show in theater #4 which had a poorly placed port window that greatly distorted the image – digital projection can correct for keystoning). Over all I enjoy the theater now – the staff is friendly, the place is clean, and they’re the first to show some great movies (although I admit I miss the days when Montclair had 11 art house screens….even if I don’t miss The Screening Zone).
No improvements as of yet – in fact some minor downgrades currently (no soda fountains, not sure if that’ll be the case until they install the Coke Freestyle machines with the upgrade). The theaters are currently showing 35MM (they may have two digital houses from Clearview remaining but I don’t know – we saw a movie in 35MM, no pre-show or AMC branding – just one trailer and the movie…wish it was always this simple). A packed house too with a sold out crowd for American Hustle.
The good news is we were warmly greeted by the one and only Fluffy – – very glad to see him!
A photographer caught the extreme makeover (I apologize if this link doesn’t work or changes) –
(Or search Facebook for Janet Joyner Photography and the album “Teaneck Cinemas”)
The theater had been in very bad shape last I visited in the spring of 2011 before they closed (I had seen a movie in the main auditorium where they used the curtain – cool, but the projection was out of focus, the sound was too low – especially for a dialogue driven Wit Stillman comedy, and the theater was freezing).
From the photos this place is looking great – with a complete modernization and a restoration of the some of the original art deco elements that were buried 20-40 years ago. I can’t wait to check it out this week!
Starplex is taking this over as of today, now listed as Town Center Plaza 10. Upgrades planned are luxury seating and digital projection.
Bow Tie has solved the major problem I had with many of the Clearview locations – Kinnelon has gone all digital and the picture is sharp, bright and most importantly – in focus! I look forward to seeing what they do circuit-wide as they continue to work on the Clearview sites.
Speaking of which: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/downtown-buffalos-only-movie-theater-may-soon-go-dark-20131128
Last place in town to see a first run show in 35MM! (Movieland is 5/8ths 35MM – – and everyone else is fully digital)
Visited tonight – it appears to be a bit of a work in progress (or not….Starplex’s other NJ location – Brunswick Square, also saw very few changes beyond the auditoriums). Great presentation and extremely comfortable black leather-ette recliners – side masking for those that care about that kind of thing (at least in theater #2) along with the promised video monitors in the lobby, snack bar and guiding us into the auditoriums. Once in the hallway no atmosphere what-so-ever- – new carpeting and the removal of the small concession stand downstairs, also no posters or signs beyond (temp?) auditoriums numbers.
Many touches remain including (like Brunswick Square) the bathrooms – which could use some remodeling and other lobby touches. Hopefully they’ll class up the joint a bit more. The customer service however was excellent tonight and the staff was friendly explaining the Starplex rewards card and greeting folks prior to cleaning the auditorium (and showing off how the seats worked for those that hadn’t been in this kind of theater before). Good experience and great value – the adult ticket price at $10 is, I think, the cheapest in Bergen County for by far the best seats. If only the theater wasn’t in such a weird location.
A bar and expanded concessions may be on the way (lobby space is certainly in no shortage). An awful lot to like about this theatre so far – and hopefully Starplex’s work isn’t done yet.
Bow Tie unfortunately departed from Central Plaza so Alamo can pretty much show whatever they want now. I had originally thought Alamo would be the place for genre kinds of films, while Central Plaza might get more family friendly stuff – even though Alamo does play both (in fact I spoke with families when I was the director a tech camp two summers ago in Austin and many families make the Alamo a theater of choice for a day out).
I had visited Yonkers opening night and had a good experience even if it wasn’t perfect (it was opening night – and they took 75% off our bill so I’m not complaining). They have pictures up on Facebook – and while they didn’t install Stadium Seating they made extensive lobby changes while keeping some of the vintage charm of this one painting the brick walls red and installing a theme (this one is Dr. Strangelove). Over all, like the locations I visited in Austin, this is first class operation.
Still I regret not getting to Central Plaza before they closed – I’ve been told much of the GCC charm is in tact :(
It does suck (although I would have likely been more apt to travel to Yonkers than the New Metro, all things being equal).
I was at Yonkers opening night and briefly suggested to Tim League they look into Headquarters Plaza in Morristown – which I think would have been an ideal spot (AMC is moving back with those great luxury recliners – which is pretty great news as well).
I’m hoping they’re behind the new Paramus Park 13 but suspect not as Alamo’s largest complexes have 10-screens each. Paramus Park would make sense as a more civilized alternative to GSP, which really should have been a 20+ screen theater (it, along with Clifton Commons and Rockaway is constantly packed…even on weeknights).
It’s worth noting iPic is planning a luxury cinema in Fort Lee, they seem like the kind of theater that might take over this project if the developers still really want a theater. And with their ticket prices ($35 in some markets verses Alamo’s modest $12 in Yonkers) the numbers might make sense for them.
For better or worse its now slated to become a luxury facility run by iPic Entertainment – http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ipic-entertainment-announces-visionary-movie-theater-escape-to-debut-in-philadelphia-225958491.html
Now closed – or at least off the AmStar’s website?
Opens Sept 20th – it will still have 12 screens, with one auditorium featuring Barco’s 4D sound system and an adult 2D evening ticket price of $10.00. Other future plans a press release mentioned was a bar and expanded concessions – – all and all, I hope they do this one right (the whole complex was in pretty shabby shape last we visited in April) – because if they do, they’ll take this place back to its former glory. Once upon a time this was the coolest theater in North Jersey, with a coffee shop and a motion simulator ride in the lobby – if anything they’ve got an awful lot of lobby space (perhaps they could later carve out a 25-seat micro cinema for indie films).
Probably, that and the area is on lockdown after a certain point with security check points, etc – and once it reaches a certain capacity they close the street – thus, I doubt anybody would want to deal with the those crowds, just to see a movie one NYE.
(Then again you could be stopped and frisked anytime you’re walking down the street in NYC! – thanks Mike Bloomberg!)
The lobby (and those great outdoor patios) are taken over and I believe the NYE party offers a variety of packages, etc on each level – I believe a private organization rents the space from AMC.
By the time NYE rolls around I have very little energy to party truth be told, but I did look into this out of curiosity (I believe the package also included a pass into the secure zone should the NYPD close the area to the general public – those going somewhere were permitted in).
Not sure this will take off (Pun Intended!) – surely a small multiplex or boutique theater might do well on occasion if there are heavy delays, but my experience is no one likes to spend more time than they need to in an airport so I’m not sure adding a 2 hour experience would be fun (especially if you’re checking an app to see if your next flight is going out on time). It might be fun to have a venue for short films with travel updates between films, but again many folks are traveling with entertainment loaded on their iPad, computer or phone (I know I load my iPad full of movies without nudity and excessive offensive images before a trip).
That and flying requires a lot of sitting – often not in great comfort: that last thing I want to do is add another 2 hours of sitting – I’d much rather go see a movie that night when I get into wherever I’m going.
Starplex has upgraded the auditoriums to digital projection and luxury seats (black leather recliners) – capacity has been greatly reduced, tonight we saw The Internship in an auditorium with 32 seats!
The lay out is pretty interesting – 1-4 on one side, on the other: 5-8 ahead and 9-13 to the right, comprising the old “Movies at Brunswick Square” subdivision of the original GCC. The theater still has a few GCC touches including the steel “curtains” in the lobby of the 9-13 side, along with a GCC style concession stand. Not sure if they have a picture window screen (I didn’t want to peep around too much) – but the bathrooms are original GCC in that wing… with much smaller doors and stalls. The letter (black on a white door) for the men’s room is still vintage GCC as well. Interesting complex!
The Ben & Jerry’s is gone, however the Nathins in the lobby is still there along with tables and arcade games. The D-BOX seats were removed with the addition of the leather recliners. Also to Starplex’s credit they lowered prices ($8.50 for full price adult evening admission). I’m happy they kept a few GCC things in tact for us cinema geeks!
Cineplex in Canada is leading the way on integrating social media, customer data, etc. They have the US beat and have a mobile app called Time Play.
The other app I dig (although not social media) is Cinemark’s MovieMode, which essentially bribes you not to touch your phone at any point in the film in exchange for a free small popcorn. Not a bad deal by any means.
Great news is although it had been reported Dipson is closing it on June 6th, the building’s owner and a local restauranteur are planning on upgrading and restoring this beautiful cinema (which sadly isn’t in the greatest shape): http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130523/CITYANDREGION/130529619/1010
It might have been Dec 17, 1993 – the first film I saw here was The Pelican Brief, potentially opening weekend of the complex.