Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Mark Cuban asks "What business are theaters in?" on Jan 28, 2006 at 7:45 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 8:16 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 12:09 pm

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 6:47 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 6:16 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 1:46 pm

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 1:16 pm

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 Wayne 14 on Jan 22, 2006 at 6:47 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 Wayne 14 on Jan 22, 2006 at 7:54 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 Cinepolis Mansfield on Jan 22, 2006 at 7:52 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 17 on Jan 22, 2006 at 7:44 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 8:53 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 12:28 pm

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 9:08 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.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Marquee Theater in Springfield, MA Closes on Jan 18, 2006 at 8:38 pm

This one has had three owners, Regal built in it 1999, in 2001 it was aquired by Megastar Theaters (which sold most of its theaters to AMC, this one remained a Megastar) then purchased by Marquee Theatres. From what I gather this was one of those random Regal locations built during the boom that failed as National Amusements rescreened with Eastfield Mall and the new West Springfield 1-15.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Empire 25 on Jan 18, 2006 at 7:58 am

There are plenty of worce theaters in New York. The lack of leg room at the Quad Cinema (as well as the lack of stadium seating with screens low to the ground…not fun since half the movies there are subtitled!) pops to mind. The Empire is probably the best mainstream mutiplex in Manhatten despite the fact there are hidden levels too it (theaters 7 and 8 are located on a half level that can throw you if your not paying close attention, but they have overstuffed leather seats, my guess is they are hidden away for special screenings). The presentation has always been good, Most of the time I’m ussually in one of those small upstairs theaters, but I have been in a few of the larger houses as well and I can’t complain about it…okay, one complaint, but not against AMC – that food court closed, I miss CPK ASAP.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Utah Theater Cancels 'Brokeback Mountain' on Jan 17, 2006 at 10:03 pm

It will be impressive considering that it’ll be nominated for Oscars and will probably go on to gross over $70M – much more impressive than Hoodwinked (the number one movie in America) or In The Mix considering the hurdles it had to over come to get there. Sorry, but can be considered a hit, after all it has taken in more than doubled its production budget, not many movies can actually claim this. Obviously there is a market for this picture, even in markets where indie film is rare (let alone films with homosexual subtext, but this is an A-list picture with stars, not a limited-apeal queer movie from Strand Releasing). If the film does $100M can you honestly say there is no market for it in a certain part of this country? If a film made $100M and I thought it offended my morals I think I’d be interested in seeing it just to understand why it did so well and why it caught on. I feel insulted by Napeoplon Dynomite and can’t understand why it caught on, but it did. Considering what it is 83rd is impressive – after all it’s still platforming out. If its nominated for enough Oscars it will be playing at every 6-plex in the country.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Utah Theater Cancels 'Brokeback Mountain' on Jan 15, 2006 at 8:25 am

Would you ever book a movie, advertise show times and then pull it even after you entered into a contract to show it because you found the content to be offensive? In a way that is doing a disservice to your audience by falsely advertising a picture.

And how would you even define morals- would you play a film that’s pornographic in terms of violence like Hostel because you think it’ll be a hit? Or a movie like Britney Spear’s Crossroads which is an evil tool designed to teach teen and pre-teen girls everywhere the one person to lose your virginity to is a dangerous looking older guy because he drives a nice car, and the film also grabbles with the abortion issue? Did you show that movie?

I’m Catholic and heterosexual, as well as a shareholder in GE and am disgusted by Larry Miller’s business practices in this situation. I feel Universal should pull all of his product, including his print of King Kong; we should be out of the business of Megaplex 17. If he were a bigger chain, like an AMC or a Regal the issue would be dangerous, if both AMC and Regal found the film offensive you’d be blocked from a good share of the market.

I wonder what he did with that extra screen, letting a theater go dark for a week is probably a good movie from an economics 101. If anything Miller created a demand for it at near-by theaters, calling attention to it. I think when people go to the movies they have some understanding of what a certain movie is, you don’t wonder into a film without any clue of what you’re getting in to.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Utah Theater Cancels 'Brokeback Mountain' on Jan 13, 2006 at 1:15 pm

The fact that is offensive is they passed after it had been booked. Nine Songs is a diffrent case – presumably it could be banned as a community standard (it has actual graphic sex). I wouldn’t expect Megaplex to play that movie but this one is a.– a hit, b.-crossing into the mainstream and c.-had showtimes advertised. To say all of SLC or Utah is uncultured is unfair (remember Utah houses the most important film festival to independent cinema!) What is so offensive is it was censored after it was booked and it was considred a busness decission. It’s dumb that it has been blown out of context here with religious attacks and attacks on Utah – any attack should be directed at and only at Larry Miller.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Utah Theater Cancels 'Brokeback Mountain' on Jan 10, 2006 at 9:00 pm

What does any of this have to do with theatrical exhibition.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Utah Theater Cancels 'Brokeback Mountain' on Jan 9, 2006 at 8:33 pm

YES, but they booked the film and had an agreement with Focus to show this highly successful (it has the number one per screen average in the country) and had even published showtimes for it. At that point they are doing a diservice to a movie going public by advertising something and then pulling it, it wasn’t a fluke, they had intended on showing it but got scared off. I suport the right that a theater owner has to not show a film (see the various posts that I have added to the Megaplex 17 site debating the isssue) but they should have known what the movie was and never opted to show it.

My anger over the issue comes as I am a GE shareholder and agree Universal ought to not grant a licence to show any more product at this site, give it to Cinemark or whoever else has screens in the area – they should not go back on their contractual obligation to run the film, even after they informed and misled the public by advertising showtimes for it. It’s astonishing that Megaplex doesn’t know what types of product it books, first of all and second of all that this film is controversal. The Family Stone, which is playing there, has a fairly complex storyline involving a family accepting of their queer son and his African American boyfriend yet it has caused no controversy and nor should it.

The best article on the issue is here:
View link

I don’t know of any theater that has ever had a contractual obligation to show a successful film and pulled it because of a business decission. It leads me to belive that there was potentally a threat of protest by SLC Mormons considering Larry Miller produces mormon pictures (which you might not know if you live outside of Utah).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons on Jan 8, 2006 at 4:02 pm

View link

Miller says that he’s not a “community censor” and belives that pulling a movie with the top per screen average in the country is a business decission, I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t preform as well as say Rumor Has It.. or The Ringer.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons on Jan 8, 2006 at 3:44 pm

Right but the theater had agreed to show it, posted showtimes and then pulled it breaking a licence agreement with Focus Features, whereas AMC didn’t play The Aristocrats and Friedly didn’t play Fahrenheit 9/11 because they didn’t like the content but they were responsable enough to know in advance what those movies were instead of pulling it at the zero hour like Megaplex 17 did. The danger is that if Regal and AMC don’t like your movie and say “we’re not going to play it” then you’re blocked from most American screens. Megaplex 17 should have never booked the film or published showtimes for it, it’s corporate headquarters should know in advance what type of product is going to be playing. If they had been better educated on a corporate level they could avoided all of this debate.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons on Jan 8, 2006 at 2:55 pm

Exsactly. And too Laurie, you forgot that The Family Stone is about a liberal New England family that is loveing and accepting of their gay son and they treat his interacial boyfriend like of the family. Rightfully so that movie didn’t garner any controversy. Both Family Stone (which truth be told I actually found a bit obnoxious) and Brokeback on certain levels are about tollerance, which seems to not be a business practice at the Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons.

I’m hoping this get national attention and Miller is forced to release some form of a statement beyond the fact he pulled the movie because he didn’t think it would preform well in the market and he had no idea what the movie was about.