Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Ritz Center 16 on May 9, 2007 at 7:15 pm

I have to say the so-called “mature” “sophisticated” audience that frequents this place is very militant and close-minded from everything I’ve read. This move could have been worse – imagine if AMC or Regal bought the place! National has committed to showcase art pictures and will continue to, the real loss is that smaller art films will be lost in the mix – those from such “micro distributors” as Strand Releasing, New Yorker Films, Kino, Shadow, ect. But, if patrons frequent the art films and they consistently out gross the mainstream pictures, National will be likely to show the types of movies that sell out. This could be a good thing. I have been to both The Bridge and a few other Cinema De Lux style locations, they are first class. I think its unfair to assume as locals have and I quote directly from a moron on The Courier Post’s website that the theater will have “Graffiti on the walls, arrests for possession, public intoxication, assault and battery.” – the answer that these so called “sophisticated” movie goers fail to see is this: see the art films here, see the mainstream ones that interest you elsewhere. This is one way to get National (who by the way will be restricting admission to “Cine Art” films, even those that have potential teen appeal including In The Land of Women, Hot Fuzz, and Year of the Dog) is to support the art films and demand more of them. But seriously, if AMC bought this place there is no way they would have given this as much attention and care as National has. With sixteen screens a smaller chain wouldn’t be able to afford it. Landmark for whatever reason wasn’t interested in it, nor did the recently relaunched Sundance Cinemas. If you should feel betrayed by anyone it should be the Posel family. Under a different chain, it would have become a run of the mill suburban multiplex, and any upscale amenity would be removed. So you should be happy with the deal that you got. The only Ritz fan who has given much thought to this thing is FlickGirl, who has a great interview with Sherri Redstone on her blog.

National is looking for ways to improve the experience here, including upgrading it to a Cinema De Lux. They are truly interested in running this type of complex – why, because if its successful it could be introduced in other markets. How so? Sherri Redstone is quite brilliant improving the state of movie going making it more upscale, granted National is a bit pricier than Ritz, they run higher quality cinemas than Regal and AMC – I should know, I see 200 movies a year at a variety of chains including independently run art houses. The Ritz theaters had nothing on New York’s IFC Center or the Landmark chain – I was unimpressed by Ritz’s Philly theaters but I see why they are popular, they are the only game in town for indies. Had Sundance Cinemas actually opened they would have changed the game in Philly.

National is truly a first class theater chain with high quality projection and better popcorn than Ritz sites had – yes, you may not be able to see the smallest indies but it’s still not your run of the mill suburban multiplex. After the demographics for movie going are skewing older and chains have been adapting to class up their theaters to appeal to an aging movie lover. I doubt that you will get rowdy teens seeing Away From Her, and if any teens do show up, they will likely be like me at 15,16,17….: well behaved and interested in the film. Why would you mind that?

The way to segregate and isolate the audience is to not appeal to teens. Spider-Man 3 appeals to everyone, I doubt teens rushed to a place because now they could get in. Do teens really care? In the past they probably thought, “why should we go there, there’s a bunch of old militant film fans that hate us and weird movies playing there” – they now know that National owns the and they want to check it out? I doubt it, but if there are any “Ritz heads” that still attend Showcase at Ritz Center, I’d be interested to find out more. If I were you I’d be happy that a major chain runs a multiplex that continues to show art films and hasn’t converted the place to show only mainstream garbage.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Paramus Route 4 Tenplex on May 7, 2007 at 3:07 am

Depends which picture is showing, its the largest theater in the complex and I doubt anything at the new complex will come close in terms of its size (the screen size could be surpassed, however).

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Paramus Route 4 Tenplex on May 6, 2007 at 8:06 pm

May 25th this will all be history. I saw a poster at Clifton Commons announcing the opening date of the new AMC Garden State 16 (and the new Pirates movie). Despite the mold I’ll miss the huge Theater #1 – the last film I saw in that theater was Borat, on opening night, with a sold out crowd.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Ritz Center 16 on Apr 23, 2007 at 6:22 pm

Yep, National Amusements is buying the Ritz Sixteen, Landmark bought the houses across the river. I will say this National has committed to running an art wing of their 18-plex in Wooster, MA with a seperate upscale concession. They also have have the Cinema De Lux brand (Philly area residence know The Bridge at UPenn which a great multiplex ruined by rowdy crowds). I’m guessing they’ll rebrand this one as “Showcase CineArt” – which is what they’re calling the art wing in Wooster. Cinema De Lux implies it would have director’s halls. Thats possiable too at a later point, they’ve been converting multiplexes to Cinema De Lux in other markets, but thats really an upcale type of cinema for a mainstream crowd. It should be interesting – they don’t run a theater that just shows art pictures, but as a chain they are inventive, have high quality projection and sound, and good customer service. I think they could keep the magic alive here, and hopefully bring this experience to other locations (up North at Edgewater Multiplex, where they do show some art movies, would be great!).

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Rockaway 16 on Apr 2, 2007 at 5:32 pm

Is AMC Rockaway successful? It takes about a year for a theater to stablize, but I think AMC is making a huge mistake by not building upscale complexes the way National Amusements is, they aren’t thinking of the big picture. Yes, they permit you to bring in your own snacks, but if they had a bar/grill like Chatters or 12 Lounge I might be apt to hang out there before the show. The area in general has a ways to go in terms of growing into an entertainment district, there needs to be more dinning options in the area (if you don’t like Fat Burger, Sizzler, Panera Bread or the Food Court you’re in trouble). Therefore I don’t think its later shows do all that well (I saw Shooter on Saturday night at 9:55 and the theater was only about 20-30% full). If the theater isn’t doing well (and hell, it cost some 20-million to build) then why invest in Real D. Cinema 12 is still doing healthy business, as is Cinema 10 from what I see there. The area has a lot of shopping but lacks dinning, which will make people stay around longer, to see those late night shows. Clifton Commons, which got a Real D system has that and is growing that, and the theater is still very successful despite the fact its showing its age. AMC Rockaway 12 did very well with the Twilight Shows (which AMC ceased right after aquring General Cinema), but this new theater, with the second highest ticket price in the state (behind 10.25 at the much better Edgewater Multiplex) may not be performing up to expectations. This wouldn’t be the first time Loews did this, go read about Loews North Versailles. I doubt this place would close but I’ll tell you I was at the AMC Empire 25 the other night and forgot just how ahead of the curve AMC was in building cinemas. This theater may be newer but AMC’s original megaplex design had better seats, sound, and projection. Needless to say the AMC name will be tarnished by them aquring Loews. Travis Reid and company built third rate theaters, some in pooer shape than discount houses (ie: East Hanover and Wayne). This new Loews construction isn’t up to par with what AMC was doing ten years ago, and the projection is horrable and blurry. If you tell the staff this they don’t care. Loews and chains that are this poor in quality are the reason people are drawn to stay home. Its a shame AMC couldn’t see this and fix the problems here. I actually perfer Cinema 12 and Clifton to this place. Clearview has finally figured out going upscale, having good projection, popcorn and luxerious seats are a draw and they have rapidly turned their opperations around making them (shockingly) one of the best chains in the area.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cineluxe Theater on Feb 24, 2007 at 11:53 am

If I’m mistaken this was a early Muvico site that was sold off when the company started to focus on megaplexes like Point Orlando. Over at they claim that the California Club garnered national attention for its stadium seating, THX sound, and expanded concession menu, it also informs that the site opened in 1988.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Rockaway 16 on Feb 19, 2007 at 12:57 pm

The prints are blury because the lenses probably let too much light in – they claim to have HD lenses (everything these days is called HD because HD sounds cool, I guess). But I’m glad someone else noticed this, its a problem, so much so I really don’t go here as much as I would – that and the theaters aren’t as comfortable as they would have been if AMC built this from the ground up. But hopefully AMC won’t let this one because rundown like virtually every other Loews site they have (Loews started it) – East Hanover and Wayne these days look worce than a discount house, I can’t imagine what that crappy theater they own in Stroud Mall looks like now. Meanwhile Clearview, who I used to not be a big fan of has vastly improved the quality of their projection and the comfort of their theaters. They still aren’t at National Amusements-level but at least they’ve turned themselves around majorly.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Rockaway 16 on Jan 17, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Or because there is no market for them in Rockaway. I saw Fast Food Nation at the theater opening night and was one of about ten people in the theater. I don’t know how the other “AMC Select” movie playing that night did (the Dixie Chicks doc Shut Up and Sing). Art movies generally do better in an area with a highly educated audience or in an area with a college and arts culture: Rockaway is as mainstream as areas come, family movies probably do very well here. Bigger art movies probably would hold their own at this theater and if Pan’s Labryinth crosses over and expands out to 1,000 or more screens you’ll likely see it at AMC Rockaway. In general the only muliplex that really plays art movies on a consistance basis in Northern NJ is Edgewater.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC fires (then rehires) veteran ticket-taker with tattoos on Jan 2, 2007 at 3:19 pm

But who cares, THX is a scam anyway.

I’ve been hearing for years this theater was going to close, it used to be something, back in the 90’s – but now its out of date. AMC should consider building a new megaplex at Bridgewater Commons, I’m sure the mall attracts enough crowds to sustain a brand new construction, the mall itself I imagine is still pretty nice (I haven’t been there in a few years) and attracts an affluent crowd in one of the fastest growing areas in the country.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Bow Tie Cinemas acquires 95 screens from Crown Theatres on Dec 26, 2006 at 3:21 pm

In Hartford they only ever once had the personal intros, to about 5 people (the rest were lined up waiting to get in) for Roll Bounce, bassicly the manager said “please turn off your cell phones” – since I was in line, I only heard the last part of it. It’s nice, they used to do this too at (National Amusements) Edgewater Multiplex in New Jersey when they first opened, but that since has gone away.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 on Dec 12, 2006 at 6:42 pm

But Yahoo movie is showing it as Regal E-Walk 13: View link

John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 on Dec 12, 2006 at 6:24 pm

Moviefone is wrong, just look at the way they spell “fone”…..have the other former AMC, now Regal sites changed? I know when AMC took over General Cinema it was a few months before the exterior signs switched over, and considering this is a huge sign in times square there are probably other issues there. It’s better to keep something up there (AMC didn’t cover the General Cinema signs) than nothing – Regal/UA ran the Columbia Park theater in North Bergen without a sign on it as it was “transitioning” to UA (even thought it never did and transitioned back to Regal, which made calling it UA Columbia Park pointless, where as Battery Park did actually transition to being a UA, including sign changes, but the signs now have changed to Regal). But there is no way in hell AMC would permit the site to be known as Regal Loews E-Walk.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Strand Theatre on Nov 27, 2006 at 4:18 pm

This was once part of Hoyts?? I didn’t know this. Were others part of Hoyts that are now and were owned by Frank’s Theatres? I’m confused. Hoyts' American operations were based in MA, and they had a financing deal with BCG for some of their MA/CT theaters, which were than reaquired. I know Hoyts was also going to build the Bayone theater that Frank’s Theatres finished. (Most newer Hoyts sites are run by Regal Entertainment Group, others are now opperated by National Amusements, Crown (now Bow Tie), and BCG’s Entertainment Cinemas/NorthEast Cinemas). Can anyone clarify the corporate relationship between Frank’s Theaters, Hoyts, and BCG?

John Fink
John Fink commented about Bow Tie Cinemas acquires 95 screens from Crown Theatres on Nov 25, 2006 at 8:53 am

Any word on the remaining Crown sites that Bow Tie didn’t aquire?

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Rockaway 16 on Nov 19, 2006 at 6:24 am

I saw Fast Food Nation in one of the smaller theaters – the screen was pretty big, the seats weren’t AMC style, but they were comfortable and had the love seats (the backs weren’t as high as they are at the Empire 25). The theater itself was well done – important to this site, Jordarmoviefan, because it could serve as a model for rebranding Loews sites, the Loews Cinemplex’s searchlight logo is shadowed in the art work and building design, while everything else is AMC. I don’t know if they ever will rebrand the Loews sites (I guess if they can get out of the Fandango/Screenvision deal, perhaps), but this is a good new theater, and one of several new complexes slated for Northern NJ (SOPAC is currenly open and is nice but its disapointing that Clearview is the only chain not building new theaters with stadium seating, the others on the way are the Muvico at Xanadu and a new theater at Garden State Plaza)

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Rockaway 16 on Nov 12, 2006 at 8:28 am

Originally to be opened as Loews (the name will likely be abandoned for any future new construction as the Loews name implies that they’d be a Fangango and Screenvision theater verses a and National Cinemedia theater) – it has a few key design features of a new Loews including the billboard sized movie posters. The design is also simular to that of the Loews Alderwood site near Settle, WA. I’m curious to see (and will see, I guess this weekend) if they’ve furnished the interiror AMC style with their seats and designs or if it will be Loews without the name.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Abby Cinemas on Nov 4, 2006 at 5:45 am

What do we know about New Day Cinemas? What sort of special programing will they play?

John Fink
John Fink commented about 'Death of a President' struggles to find exhibitor support on Oct 30, 2006 at 1:44 pm

This is an odd case: the film has gotten mixed reviews. On one hand I want to see it, on the other hand (from reading the reviews) it sounds like it’s not a well made movie. It sounds like a gemick to sell tickets (although some reviewers say its thoughtful). Perhaps the chains (and I hate censorship, by the way) didn’t think it was very good. The trailer doesn’t grab me, personally. Still I’d like to be able to make up my mind. The distribution is odd – really its playing at any theater that will show it, which are mostly small regional chains (Entertainment Cinemas, Cobb, Great Escape) – Angelika and Landmark are showing it too. If it received a wide release on over 400 or so screens I bet it would have done pretty well with people curious about it. I’d be interested in seeing its per screen average, but its worth noting that a cinema as liberal as the Angelika Film Center in New York is only showing it on one screen, and they are the only cinema in Manhatten showing it, then again their audience is mostly driven to see films by their reviews and in this case the reviews were mixed, at best.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinema owner protests new films by shutting down theater on Oct 3, 2006 at 2:56 pm

This guy is engaged in a publicity stunt and a poor one. I agree why not show art pictures then if you dislike Jackass and Beerfest. If your community wants to see these types of movies and you don’t find them intelligent enough for an art picture than what are you doing in business in this community? This guy, quite honestly, an idiot. There are many other films out there, he’s not being forced to show Jackass Number 2 or Beerfest.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal Fenway Stadium 13 on Sep 19, 2006 at 4:12 pm

Regal is putting money in to the theater? Are they re-paint/wall paper everything to coordinate with the Regal colors like they did at Union Square and at Brass Mill Center in Waterbury, CT? I can’t imagine this theater is run down, General Cinema built theaters in such a way that I don’t think they ever looked run down, I imagine its simular to Clifton Commons in New Jersey, which is still in great shape and AMC (which hasn’t really put any money in to remodeling theaters) only installed new carpeting in theaters.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Brass Mill Center 12 on Sep 5, 2006 at 7:02 pm

Opened as Hoyts Brass Mill Center, but remained under Northeast Theaters opperation for about 9 months when most other Hoyts were sold. Three other Hoyts that didn’t become Regals were Enfield Mall (now run by National Amusements), Cinema City (closed for a week in September 2005 and reopened by Crown Theaters) and Simsbury Commons (still run by Northeast Cinemas).

Brass Mill Center underwent a renovation under Regal, implimenting a new color scheme and building a new snack bar. Hoyts opperated a gormet concession stand which is now gone (its a party room). The theatres themselves are okay with stadium seating and all the ammenties you’d expect of a modern theater. It’s on the third floor of Brass Mill Center, directly in the center of the building and visable from Route 84.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Bow-Tie Cinema Palace 17 and BTX on Sep 5, 2006 at 3:14 am

Best theater in CT?? Crown Palace is okay but I still contend the best theater in CT is down the street, Real Art Ways (good movies, projection, and the place is kept very clean). Crown Palace has obnoxious people who talk on their cell phones even during movies like The Passion of the Christ. That to me was kind of amazing. Although you can’t beat Crown Movie Madness – 4 bucks for a student ticket, you can’t even rent a video for that. What incentive do you have not to go to the movies.

Buckland Cinema De Lux/Showcase was better but at more than double the price. Still my rule was this: Crown during the week when it was empty, Buckland on weeekends – they had a nicer crowd there in Manchester anyway…and when the movie was sold out at Buckland – East Hartford, but that option is no longer there.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Showcase Cinema 14 East Hartford, CT To Close on Aug 28, 2006 at 2:47 pm

Yeah but this is the last of its kind – a 70’s style multiplex, I for one liked how retro it was when I was living in CT. That and they had, for some unknown reason the best popcorn in the area. There was something about driving past that huge theater on 84, all lit up and empty on a weekday night (ussually on the way to the Showcase in Manchester). That and Hartford will be losing screens for Indian movies.

Now what would be great is if R.A.W. and Wadsworth Anthemium teamed up and opperated a huge art house/art gallery combo.

To be fair I had a feeling this would be gone when I heard Manchester would be expanding, apparently they are building four new theaters on to it but I’d imagine they had to cut a theater or two out since the lobby was a bit small for the new food features. Showcase Buckland Hills (which opened in 1998) has always been a quality theater even though its I-Max is tiny. Maybe the Palace will take on the Bollywood movies?

It should also be noted that Cinema City, the commerical art house in Hartford will likely soon close when Criterion Cinemas opens at Blue Back Square in West Hartford. At one time Cinema City and East Hartford were the only game in town, and still to this day they have a policy of not playing the same movie at the same time.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 on Aug 16, 2006 at 1:36 pm

It seems unlikely Regal will keep the Nathins menu items around – I don’t know Regal Cinemas as well as I know Loews, AMC and National Amusements but I don’t recall any Regal Cinemas serving hot foods. AMC did keep the hot food items around when they aquired Loews and further back when they aquired General Cinema but as far as I know didn’t add a fast food line up to any new constructions.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Bow-Tie Washington Township Cinemas on Aug 3, 2006 at 4:04 pm

Yes. But Clearview Cinemas charges higher prices than AMC, which lowered a few of the Loews sites (Pallisades was once 10.00 as Loews, AMC lowered it to 9.50 – evenings). Since Clearview doesn’t offer quality projection (they simply don’t care about proper framing – I know, tragically if you want to see an art picture in Northern NJ you’re likely going to a Clearview site) or even stadium seating. They charge as much as the larger chains but don’t offer the same quality movie going, yes they have invested in revamping lobby areas but the core problems at Clearview still remain. That “nice crowd” you talk about at Washington Township, the type of people that see art movies is likely no more, not saying its gone ghetto but they’ve stoped showing art movies focusing on what Emerson used to show.