Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Carmike Bloomfield on Mar 3, 2006 at 3:16 am

I guess Crown Palace 17’s discount policy during the week (6.00 for adults, 4.00 before 6 and for everyone else at night), their new student rate (since the theater is close to a few schools), and the fact the theater was in poor repair, had bad sound, and uncomfortable seats was the reason it hasn’t been a top proformer lately. I agree a cinema cafe would do well in that location.

I had also heard of rumors years ago that Entertainment Cinemas wanted to expand the theater to have 12 screens (this was during the multiplex boom (1998-2000) that brought the Hartford area a bunch of new multi and megaplexes – including the Palace 17, Buckland Hills, and Loews Plainville). Also too BCG owns (I belive although I am confused about) the nearby Simsbury Commons 8, even though the signage still says ‘Hoyts’ I belive the rights reverted back to Boston Culinary Group.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Parsippany Cinema 12 on Mar 1, 2006 at 12:36 pm

Finally, but Clearview will have a problem I think in that now that AMC has taken over at Loews and prices are either lower or equal that to Clearview without offering the same ammenities (especially if AMC goes to town and retrofits some sites with stadium seating) this could be problematic for the company that brings neighbors to the movies.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Feb 18, 2006 at 6:41 pm

Sadly the intermission is a thing of the past for most chain cinemas. Here in CT National Amusements does the exact same thing with Indian movies which is stupid. If people have a 5 minute break they may use it to go buy some snacks……right? Beside the point the whole idea of presenting classic movies that have ovatures and intermissions at a single screen theater as part of a program should be to perserve the big screen experience. By the way how is the expermient going for Clearview? Have the showings attracted a crowd?

John Fink
John Fink commented about Sunshine Cinema on Feb 14, 2006 at 7:25 am

My experiences have been good there, but since its a Mark Cuban owned house…they better be able to do better than watching it in your living room on DVD or HD Net Movies….

I have always liked this house, I ussually go on weekends the crowds are good as are the staff and the seats are comfortable, it’s better than the Angelika (even though i have a soft spot for the Angelika for some reason). Even the most high-end movie houses can have their off days.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC North Park 7 on Feb 12, 2006 at 10:35 am

Who ran this before Interstate/Star Plex?

John Fink
John Fink commented about Crown Abacoa 16 on Feb 10, 2006 at 6:27 pm

The theater had a history of operating losses aparently and Crown cut it’s losses and bounced out of that location. Before closing they had Crown Movie Madness – adults were $6.00, children/seniors/students and shows before 6PM were $4.00 – everyday. They also had an Odyessy screen (Crown also has one of these LSF theaters in Hartford, CT).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Loews State Theatre in Virgin Megastore in Times Square on Feb 9, 2006 at 5:09 am

Columbia Park 12 in North Bergen, programed by the owners of the former Cineplaza is the place on the East Coast to see Bollywood movies.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Empire 25 on Feb 3, 2006 at 6:06 am

AMC has 4 months to sell off E-Walk

John Fink
John Fink commented about Loews State Theatre 4 on Jan 30, 2006 at 12:30 pm

Clearview would be a likely buyer but who wants The State with all of its problems (bad location, ect) and the fact your compeating against bigger and better theatres. Clearview probably could not afford E-Walk – it’s likely a national theater chain will grab that one (probably Regal but maybe Cinemark as they were previously interested in Loews). As for the Loews/Loew’s name – I doubt Loew’s is tradmarked anymore (Loew’s Jersey uses it, but it’s diffinatly not a Loews Cineplex Entertainment house). All this controversy about 100 Years of Loew’s is invalid, the name changed when the Loews Corporation was formed and the theaters were no longer urban palaces. Loew’s held some creadability but the Loews name holds as much nastalgic value as AMC Theaters. And most sites were poorly managed. I’m not sad to see the name go, AMC always ran a better theater if you ask me.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cineplaza 13 on Jan 29, 2006 at 11:10 am

It’s closed, as of this weekend they are screening the Indian movies at the Columbia Park 12 and have closed this facility – this is a loss for Northern NJ as those additional screens would play anything and everything – I saw a lot of revolutionary world cinema there including movies like Oldboy, Kings and Queen, and City of God. This place will be missed.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Angelika Film Center on Jan 29, 2006 at 6:51 am

Just a hunch: but those front speakers vibrating could have been the subway. This house is notrious for that reason.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Mark Cuban asks "What business are theaters in?" on Jan 28, 2006 at 4:45 pm

RE: CJC – I saw Glory Road in Hartford, CT opening weekend, the late show. Kids were running around the theaters and their phones were ringing. I informed security three times, they kicked them out the second time, then they returned again somehow. The third time did nothing. I probably won’t return but security staff is incompitant as are other workers when you complain about projection problems. They are also less apt to give you a free pass if you’ve had a problem that they could correct (unless you take the time to point this all out to the corporation). The experience at some theaters has been cheapened, and those are the theatres that honestly have no business charging top dollar, wheras I have no problem paying $10.00 a ticket for a top quality movie experience where everything is infocus, aspect ratios are respected, and the audience is clearly there to see a movie. I think the thinking behind going to the movies needs to change.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Mark Cuban asks "What business are theaters in?" on Jan 28, 2006 at 5:16 am

Well Landmark Theaters provides a more “adult” experience, I don’t know if age seperation is the answer. I hate when a cell phone rings during the show (and these days they don’t just ring, they ring to a polophonic impression of Laffy Taffy Remix) – at the same time I’d be sad if the window between theater and DVD vanished. In fact I considered seeing Bubble in the theatres and decided against it – why pay $10.75 a ticket (21.50) to see it at the Sunshine in New York when surly Best Buy will be selling it for $19.99.

But I agree – the movie experience needs to shift, the direction I think we should be going in is diffrent price points. Kids aren’t going to pay $20 bucks to see a certain movie at a high end luxery theater, they’ll opt for a place charging $8 bucks. I think we need high end luxery palaces and low end Regal Cinemas-types of theaters (that charge less than Regal). If you create an experience thats diffrent, that adds the excitement back in to the movies where people are well behaved (sort of like Landmark Theaters) then people will go. NATO has little faith in themselves to create that experience. I have always belived that if a first run theater doesn’t have stadium seating it shouldn’t charge as much as a theater that does, the movie theater industry needs to be more broken up by price points, charging more for high end, first rate experiences and drastically less for lower-end theaters.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC - Loews Merger to Close Soon on Jan 27, 2006 at 9:09 am

Will they rebrand? AMC’s website still sites as “Loews Plainville 20” – the phone message thanks me for calling Loews Cineplex Plainville 20. And how could they have closed the merger when Fenway and E-Walk are still operating as Loews/AMC sites? It also apears the State has closed as well and that the Magic Johnson theater in Harlem has been changed to the AMC Harlem 9.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cineplex Odeon Route 17 Triplex on Jan 26, 2006 at 3:47 am

I figure AMC will try to put a multiplex in Garden State Plaza (Loews was trying to as well) and do away with the Ten Plex down the road – this one has been closed for two weeks now, it would have been shocking to see the AMC name on this one.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC - Loews Merger to Close Soon on Jan 26, 2006 at 3:16 am

Route 17 – a 60’s style tri-plex has been closed for a few weeks now I think. There was talk of opening a multiplex at Garden State Plaza (which is in the same parking lot as the Route 17 triplex) – theres a chance AMC will try again with that.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC - Loews Merger to Close Soon on Jan 25, 2006 at 10:46 am

What about the Star Theaters brand?

Secondly AMC gained several strong locations from GCC including Clifton Commons in NJ, GCC had a few new stadium seating theaters that were new, they took the good with the bad. GCC’s problem is they were locked into leases and expanded in the late 80’s/early 90’s before the stadium seating boom, leaving them with out of date 6-10 plexes and Regal and AMC were going crazy building new style megaplexes.

AMC has a lot of work to do on Loews to bring them up to their quality, just from a customer service point of view. I remember when the topic was brought up in an earlier post someone had complained that AMC brings in their management – the answer, Loews Theaters are dirty and poorly managed (it’s not just true of one theater – I have been to LCE theaters in five states). AMC is pretty good. General Cinema was always quality, and they really are missed.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC - Loews Merger to Close Soon on Jan 23, 2006 at 10:16 am

AMC didn’t close any GC theaters outright but it did close a few that were a bit out of date including the Leigh Valley Mall 1-8 in Allentown, PA.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Wayne 14 on Jan 22, 2006 at 3:47 pm

Really? They’ll probably make it look more AMC-like. AMC’s new constructions have awsome seats.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Wayne 14 on Jan 22, 2006 at 4:54 am

It’s a problem with all Loews Theaters actually – the worst is the ill designed Pallisades Center, but even in CT it’s a problem – the ticket line at the LCE Plainville takes 20 minutes to buy tickets. Hopefully this will all change, AMC is pretty good at running a movie theater, Clifton Commons is well run. They also know how to schedule showtimes so that things aren’t all starting around the same time. Theres a reason why AMC is the most successful chain in the country…

John Fink
John Fink commented about Mansfield Cinema 14 on Jan 22, 2006 at 4:52 am

Even Regal Cinemas in Phillipsburg charges less ($8.75) – considering this one is kinda of in the middle of nowhere it is weird that they charge $9.50 – they may bring neighbors to the movie but they don’t have prices (or customer service) that are very friendly to the neighborhoods they serve, they are more expensive than the big chains that provide better customer service and have nicer theaters.

This one doesn’t even have “true” stadium seating (with 18 inch rises throughout), Clearview’s attempt at stadium seating here is a joke.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal Union Square Stadium 14 on Jan 22, 2006 at 4:44 am

Yeah and a few years ago they upgraded the theater to look more like a Regal, including changing signs, lobby areas and the color scheme of the theaters themselves.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Marquee Theater in Springfield, MA Closes on Jan 19, 2006 at 5:53 pm

Also too Marquee Theaters has been closing others, including a 14-screener (formerly owned by UA, the McAuthur) in Texas.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Utah Theater Cancels 'Brokeback Mountain' on Jan 19, 2006 at 9:28 am

Bassicly Jnjeisen your saying your customers aren’t smart and would boycott your cinema because you showed a controversal movie? I was offended by Get Rich or Die Trying but I didn’t boycott any theater showing it. People aren’t dumb – if your customers knew how insulting you were to their intelligence essentally calling them backwards, they wouldn’t spend a dime in your theater even if you are offering popcorn, soda and a movie ticket for five bucks.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Utah Theater Cancels 'Brokeback Mountain' on Jan 18, 2006 at 6:08 pm

The more postings I read and respond to I think I wonder if we’ve proved an important point or have abused this message board for attacks. I think that the fundamental importance of site like Cinema Treasures is that it studies the evolution and history of cinema exhibition. What this message board has proved is that hurdles still exist to films, but one breakout film can change that. Brokeback Mountain is a modest hit when put up against King Kong and War of the Worlds as jnjeisen contends. His theater is currently showing The Ringer, which has made less money than Brokeback Mountain.

While Brokeback Mountain is it a commercial film it’s subjected to attacks. The film, to me, doesn’t glorify homosexuality â€" it’s simply a good love story. I always find it ironic that those that attack certain films are the ones that never see them. Context is an important consideration when addressing any work of art â€" you may be offended by a lyric in a song but without the context it sits in the meaning cannot really be understood. On the surface The Ringer it appears may be making fun of the mentally retarded, it doesn’t- but someone who watches commercials casually may think the film is mean spirited. (The Ringer isn’t, it nicely develops all of its characters)

Brokeback Mountain says these things happen. If it was the story of an interracial heterosexual couple it would only be the target of the Klan. (I wonder if Focus will come under heat the way Miramax was for having an anti-Catholic agenda with Priests, Dogma, and The Magdalene Sisters because there next film is a romantic comedy about an interracial couple, Something New). I doubt this film will “convert” anyone to homosexuality; it didn’t convert me or any of the other people I know who have seen it. On those grounds I don’t think it’s controversial, it may take you beyond your comfort zone a bit (I’m not saying it’s an easy film to watch) but it’s certainly a good one for intelligent audiences hungry for bold entertainment.

Yet, if anything these posts conclude that topics are still taboo. In the South, pre-Civil Rights it used to be scenes in which African Americans weren’t portrayed as slaves. Theater owners don’t have the right to omit scenes from a print now, thankfully. The fact this film is so controversial is stupid to me. For better or worse Brokeback Mountain has become a landmark, not just in American pop culture, but also in the study of cinema exhibition. Noting that most of the posts here are valid, I still have no idea what this ‘Pooh Bear’ business is, nor why people its poster godsmonster has only chose to post on this issue. The core of the debate, however is valid and from this thread you get a sense of how cinemas are programmed â€" what its owners think will be successful and what won’t. Sadly I think the audiences’ intelligence is underestimated, I’m able to put aside personal politics and see a film that I disagree with because I’m always interested in hearing a viewpoint I’m not politically comfortable with. I don’t think it’s a sin to admit Brokeback Mountain is a good film that people want to see.

Jnjeisen runs a twin screen second run theater. I don’t know what type of product he books but I’m willing to assume that Brokeback Mountain isn’t the type of film he’d typically play unless it won the Oscar for Best Picture (even then he wouldn’t, we know). This is not because of the film’s sexual politics but because the film is a word of mouth film, not one that is booked on 2000+ screens it’s first weekend.
When a first run 17-plex doesn’t show a movie that’s been widely successful it’s not only a bad business decision but also one that is one based on homophobia. Strange personal attacks aside this has been a valuable debate on the issue proving that movies can still be controversial, debated, and shocking, even in this day and age of instant access to pornography online and uncensored satellite radio. Knowing this I’m prepared to conclude that films that are mature, honest, and frank are in danger of being considered controversial no matter how desensitized we become.