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I would beg to differ with Christophersepp’s assessment of the new Garden State 16 – which has undoubtably larger, more comfortable theaters and bigger screens than the tenplex (aside from maybe Theater 1). Garden State 16 is a better multiplex, still a multiplex with its faults.
Most of the theaters AMC acquired from Loews were in poor repair long before AMC took the keys. With that said, there are a few they haven’t done much with. Palisades Center saw a new carpet and paint, but that’s the only modification I’ve seen. I’ve heard they did correct some sound problems in other markets at new Loews sites. The Plaza 8 still seemed to be in good shape – it reminded me of the National Amusements in Orange, CT, I suppose it was well constructed so it didn’t look run down. A few blocks down though, at the Meadows 6 – well that’s another story. Between the leaky roof, and the teenagers sneaking in through the front door from the outside, and the musty smells…it might be better off leveled. It’s a shame because they were once the flagship of the Loews chain. Sony ran the theaters pretty well, but when they got out and the investment bankers bought in the chain went to hell. Perhaps AMC knows it time is up, and they’re pulling out. The new theater will be built by Keratoses, a chain building momentum in the Midwest. I’ve seen pictures of their builds and can assess it’ll be pretty comparable to Garden State.
Noting is like seeing a big event picture in a 1000+ seat theater and I wish chains would bring this experience back. They have to some extent on a smaller scale by incorporating IMAX theaters in some builds, and Harkins has the Cine Capri theaters that have wider screens, but they lack the detail and the excitement of seeing a film at the Ziegfeld (then again the last time I was at the Ziegfeld was for the premiere of The Butterfly and the Diving Bell – so that on its own was pretty darn exciting).
Soon all 14 screens will be in one facility when Kerasotes brings their racist brand of movie going to the Meadows. Both AMC Loews sites are due to close at the end of the summer with Kerasotes Show Place 14 arriving for Summer 2009. It seems as if every regional, out of market chain aside from Pacific and Harkins have operated in the area with Columbia Park changing hands between Starplex, Cinemark, Interstate, Regal/UA, and now Phoenix. And of coarse we’ll have Muvico soon in the mix at in already over screened area, where neither AMCs or Columbia Park are charging full price for first run features. My guess is Kerasotes' notoriously wacky, racist and anti-teen policies, not to mention full price tickets, won’t put a dent in Columbia Park’s box office, and Muvico at Xanadu will be successful on its own groundbreaking terms.
I’m sure Clearview will find a way to screw up digital – projecting on film has only been around for what, like 100+ years – and they still have yet to master that.
It looks like after one week of general admission pricing Clearview has reinstated senior, children and bargain pricing. While I found it groundbreaking, the Clairidge otherwise is an entirely ungroundbreaking theater – sure it shows good movies but the venue itself is finally comfortable with the upgrades they did last year. Still my condolences to anyone who gets stuck in Theater 4 with its distorted views and awkward framing, at a price thats more expensive than AMC Loews Wayne which, while being unpleasant due to the security checks by the Wayne, PD and the crowds, does know how to frame a picture
In a movie that will surly piss off their core market (seniors) – I discovered today that Clearview has eliminated bargain pricing all together, now charging a general admission of $10.25, all ages, all seats, all times. This is sort of unheard of for a first run theater, it might be the first full price, non-luxury (Cinema De Lux, Lux Level, Muvico Premiere, ect) style theater in the country to do this (Hudson Mall for example is a first run, off-price theater charging $6, all seats, all times) – but what are the other alternatives for these kinds of movies? Wait for video or see it in the city.
I’m sure Clearview will find a way to screw up digital, I mean hell we’ve only had 35MM for over 100 years and they haven’t mastered that. I’m sure digital is idiot proof but those idiots will figure out a way to botch it. I saw Baby Mama at the Headquarters opening weekend (strangely on one of the smallest screens, so much for the number one movie in America that week) and complained twice about the framing, the film started half off the screen, they “corrected” it and we saw lights/boom mikes. Finally they got it right, but the first 10 minutes of the film was a waste.
Also they only had the upper concession stand open – on a Saturday night! Is Headquarters loosing its popularity to Rockaway?
This one is splitting films with Scotiabank (Paramount), which I was impressed by at last year’s TIFF (perfect for a film festival since you can survive all day with that food court). AMC though I noticed is getting some better bookings including this week Leatherheads and The Ruins, whereas Scotiabank is stuck with Shine a Light (on its IMAX screen) and some other indie film. I wonder what this will do – this is essentially the Toronto version of what happened on 42nd street in Manhattan with AMC Empire 25 and the Loews (now Regal) E-Walk. Not to mention the Varsity isn’t that far away, sharing a few of the more “upscale” titles (Varsity did share with Scotiabank as well), and The Carlton. If AMC elects to pick up more art product (they do at Empire), even on say 3-4 screens, could that spell the end for theaters like The Carlton and the Cumberland? (Then again would art film goers venture to Dundas Younge square which seems to scream “tourist hotspot”?) Also too the Bell Lightbox is schedule to open in for the TIFF in 2009 – with 5 screens that could, I assume, pick up some art bookings on a regular basis (and confirm what Toronto natives mentioned to me in line at TIFF: the festival is moving further South away from the Cumberland and former Uptown theaters). Personally I think 24 screens is way way too many, I thought AMC was getting away from these huge complexes? Cineplex LP seems to be building smaller and more luxurious theaters while AMC really hasn’t committed to such concepts as VIP seating, fine dinning, bars and expanded concession menus the way that Famous Players/Cineplex and in the US, National Amusements and Muvico have.
Are you really that desperate to buy your advanced tickets for 21? You should address these things with the theater management or with AMC Corporate in Kansas City instead of hijacking this site with pointless ramblings.
The theater has a 4-theater wing with an upscale concession stand. “Showcase Cine Art” – art and finer studio fare play in these theaters.
Is AMC going to undertake costly measures to join two theaters together? I always assumed they’d modify ONE larger theater, removing the bottom rows and slanting the screen upwards. This is what National Amusements did when they converted a regular theater to IMAX at Showcase Buckland Hills in Manchester, CT.
Then why would you position speculation or a blog rambling as fact?
This is probably the record for the largest closed multiplex, I’ve heard of the Regal Hollywood 20 in Lutz, FL and another megaplex Loews had in North Versailles, PA. But those only lasted a few years, at least this made it 12. Still its a short life span and they had all the modern amenities including an expanded concession menu from what the images at Cinema Tour suggest.
Hope they replace the seats, I stopped going here because my back always hurt after sitting in them for two hours. But now with the Palace at full price (verses “movie madness”), and the 6 (8)-screen in Bristol closed, central CT is in need of an off-price first run theater.
The closure on March 2 has been confirmed by the Hartford Courant – the theater which opened in 1994 had since been updated with stadium seating. It was a very nice operation. It’s roughly the same layout as Berlin which upgraded its snack bar to offer an expanded menu a few years ago. This one was the of the traditional popcorn/candy concession variety. The theater consisted of two big theaters on opposite ends, next to those medium sized theaters, and sandwiched in between those 8 smallish theaters (150 seats or so). The retrofit was nice, and the screens were a really great size, and the theater was well kept. National never ran their theaters into the ground, and this was a first class operation.
They are shifting their focus on the Cinema De Lux/Showcase in Buckland and Enfield I suppose, although in my experience Enfield didn’t draw huge crowds either – perhaps they are consolidating the audience as the two were close together. As Tomas Kent points out they may consider making Enfield a Cinema De Lux – which I’m quite surprised they haven’t done in West Springfield – all they need to complete that is a Chatters and a director’s hall or two. My guess is they are waiting to gauge the reaction to the Lux Level concept before they move ahead with any upgrade. Enfield thought doesn’t seem like an upscale enough place to do it though – just judging by the stores in the mall. West Springfield though is a cinema with an interesting history with a strong culture of dedicated showcase moviegoers.
I’m glad to see a policy put in place, I do wish there was additional rules for posting comments. Often you’ll see too much repetition that doesn’t contribute to the overall knowledge base. On one hand I’m interested in reading about a theater’s history, further plans, crazy/memberable experiences and over all quality.
While on the other hand rants over cinemas not adopting DPL projectors or not programing certain films, as some members choose to write about have made certain threads painful to read. I’m glad the site has remained “open” – open access is a good thing, while other sites are highly moderated for a professional audience (Film Tech), however I do think a general guideline should be drafted for member comments, firmly stating the mission of Cinema Treasures. Regardless, as a fan of the site I do realize resources are too limited to moderate each and every post for usage and I’m glad to see steps are being taken to enhance the consistency of information. Also, I think where applicable information provided by a member should accompany a citation, either credited to a staff member at a given theater or a news article. Too often roomer and speculation is inaccurate and clouds actual facts leading to misinformation, I have found myself frustrated with information provided by members.
Where did you hear of these plans?
To revise what I had written early, there is no evidence of it but the layout and the mix of stadium and slope flooring leads me to believe that it was a site Magic Cinemas might had developed as well. I’ve just read Magic Cinemas developed Regal Bergen Plaza/Cineplaza (now the ghetto retailer Forman Mills) in North Bergen.
The golden age of movie going has been over for a long long time – the ending was signaled long before AMC Rockaway was on the drawing board, just look at the original AMC Rockaway shoeboxes designed not to be too distinctive so that they can be easily converted to retail. Unfortunately we don’t have many chains around that are doing things differently like the excellent The Bridge in Philly.
As for digital I-Max, Justin you’ve driven the point home about digital – and my guess is this site won’t see a non-IMax 4K digital projector until the collation lead of AMC, Regal and Cinemark, headed by former Loews chairman Travis Reid can figure out the financing terms for the new equipment (which from what I heard involves taking out a loan backed by the future savings to the studios). The last few AMC sites to open have been all digital – not a good thing – why would you want film projection to die? Early adopters that have gone all or nearly all digital (Carmike, Rave, and a few smaller chains) have opted to go 2K verses 4K – and 2K looks artificial, like watching an HD TV, I don’t think its particularly a good thing and there are some filmmakers I wouldn’t like to see in digital projection (Guy Madden comes to mind first).
Defiantly a General Cinema site from the cinema tour pics.
Cinema City allegedly is getting a remodel by its new owners who are (shockingly) keeping it open for art films. Criterion’s programing mirrors that of the Palace, with a few exceptions (No County for Old Men, Before the Devil Knows Your Dead). I’m just glad to see Bow Tie isn’t veering into Real Art Ways territory. I suppose with 14-screens gone here and 8 in Bloomfield shut down for a few years now they figure the area can support 8 additional screens (2 additional ones at Buckland and 6 at Criterion). East Hartford was great, when the show was sold out at Buckland or the Palace, this was the place to go, and it was well maintained right up to its closing for the most part. I used to go here just for the retro feel of the place, it was like going to the movies in the 70’s/80’s, reminded me of going to General Cinema when I was growing up.
Back to Tom’s point, National upgrade a similar style of theater in Seekonk, MA (Seekonk 1-10) with stadium seating, its a little odd give the lack of riser’s height (think of the smaller theaters at Buckland) and the long narrow style of the theaters (or at least the one I was in in Seekonk), they also upgraded the color scheme to the blue and teal of Showcase/Mulitplex sites circa 1997-2002, it was like someone combined Buckland’s wall treatments, stadiums eating and lobby pre it’s Cinema De Lux upgrade with East Hartford’s lay out – with a much smaller square lobby).
Off the top my head movietickets.com does it for certain theaters (IFC Center) and I think Film Forum lists what shows in what theater, but there is no online source to the best of my knowledge and I really do wish their was – especially for Union Square. However, I don’t think would theaters want that out there (unless they are advertising its on a “Super Screen” “I-Max” or in “DLP Digital Cinema”) – its like a bait and switch. Sometimes you can figure it out if you call the theater and get their recorded show time line, but too often those lines refer you into a central call center which sucks because I’ve had an experience where a theater chain has made a data entry error and the wrong film was reported online, to the papers and on the theater’s voice recording. The result, I showed up to an AMC in New Jersey to see Idiocracy only to be told I had been sold a ticket through movietickets.com for Jackass (even though I had my confirmation stating I had 2 adult tickets for Idiocracy). There is a world of difference there, I wouldn’t trust such a listing if it existed, sorry because theater size changes at some locations daily and by showtime, and even at the last minute. You know who would have this information, the movietickets.com and the fandangos that offer the ability to print your tickets at home, I wish they’d offer that up without having to drop $12 and a service fee per ticket.
Not only the average Joe but the average film student at UHa, I doubt that was they were the problem. If anything you’ll have to start selling drugs on the side to afford the $11 Odyssey admission price and snacks. So I guess according to Joe they’ve added proper masking in the Odyssey, which like the I-Max at Buckland used to project things on the very large screen and it would be like watching a letter box movie on your TV. It the proper ratio but it only fills up part of the screen. Now if they were to convert it to a full I-Max (they used to show “enhanced 35MM prints” with more detail for the larger screen) they could compete with Buckland since I’m sure their screen is larger than the mini-I-Max there (I even argued to National Amusements that I bet the screens 7 and 8 at the Showcase West Springfield were larger than Buckland’s I-Max).
I knew the theater was on the verge of being sold when the operations improved and the prices was lowered, in its final months as Crown the place was spotless (I really haven’t been there much since the Bow Tie take over but things there seem to be the same and I’m glad to hear they have plans to improve Cinema City which I don’t think has ever been improved since it opened 40 years ago). But now with East Hartford out of the picture (also old, but very well run) and Bloomfield, it does make sense to me that they can play films day and date with Criterion and still keep Cinema City open, all without veering into Real Art Ways' type of film.
I guess Bow Tie is trying to more upscale movie goers to the Criterion. R.A.W. is a great venue, always sharp picture, well run, great concession stand and just overall a great scene. The Showcase/Cinema De Lux Buckland is nice too, even before the construction that was my top choice, I went to the Crown Palace back in the day during “movie madness” where on weekdays students could see movies for $4 – with prices that low there was no reason to stay on campus and rent DVDs. (I also had a RAW membership and saw films for $4.50). I’m shocked they removed security from the Palace, often they were good to report distractions to (sometimes they were the distraction, the Hartford PD was standing in a theater with their radio on during a showing of A History of Violence, I complained to the manager who took care of it – the lack of common sense by hired security astounds me sometimes).
I’m guessing they keep the Criterion in top shape with security in the complex. But even before the security pulled out I remember being warned when I first moved to Hartford that “the Palace was ghetto, its no uncommon to witness a fight or a distraction or whatever” – this complex was part of Crown Theaters' strategy a few years ago and the 7PM block on Saturday nights seems to be popular (often they have 17 screens starting within an hour of each other, a fact I pointed out when a box office line in January stretched out the door to the manager who instead of understanding my point was proud they had 17 films all starting within an hour including Saw on three screens, 20 minutes apart). This was always a strange multiplex and for the record, I always avoided the digital projection and the Odessy (big screen) theater – the film takes up half the screen and even in the last row you had to crane your neck. I understand they now charge more for that experience, what a shame, maybe Bow Tie will get one of those new digital I-Max systems to compete with the tiny I-Max and Real D system at Buckland.
It’s gotten slightly better since the AMC take over, but its still dirty, and its showing its age (they have been improving it a bit though). Still, the theaters are tiny, 7 has 50 seats (I have been in smaller though). It’s an odd theater yet it still draws crowds (the Theatery section of the mall, the 4th floor is like Times Square on a Saturday night, impossible to walk through). They have reduced their snack offerings though (the AMC theory is that since they allow you to bring in your own food….. – personally I look forward to importing Jamba Juice with my popcorn).
He has a point: early digital was awful – it sucked the life out of the movie (when I had been going to see movies at the what was Crown Palace in Hartford I always bought tickets to the non-digital show – but this was years ago). I’ve seen improvements, last time I was in Hartford, Showcase/Cinema De Lux Buckland Hills has a digital package from Dolby that’s really great and really sharp (but that theater always had pretty flawless projection). AMC Rockaway doesn’t have great projection, in fact I avoid it for that fact – digital might save it as the systems become more sophisticated. I saw Beowulf at Garden State and thought the presentation was great, they seem to jack-up the brightness to compensate for the polarization.