Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Marquee Theater in Springfield, MA Closes on Jan 18, 2006 at 5:38 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 4:58 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 7:03 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 5:25 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 10:15 am

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 6:00 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 5:33 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 1:02 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 12:44 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 11:55 am

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.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Showcase Cinemas 16-19 on Jan 8, 2006 at 8:39 am

I saw a listing for Showcase 1-11: I’m guessing that was the combined total between this and the former Showcase across the street (before it was replaced with the 15-screener across the street which is arguably one of the highest quality mutliplexes I’ve ever been to). So that had 6? and this one had 1, 2 and 4 at diffrent phases in its life. I also saw that the one across the street opened as a twin, there is a photo in the Cinema Treasures book.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons on Jan 8, 2006 at 7:21 am

Whats weird is it was on the bill, had showtimes listed and then “bam” wasn’t there. It’s pathtic that Larry Miller sites that it was a business decission to pull the movie – it had the highest per screen average of any release, face it the movie is a success. I also laugh when people call Brokeback Mountain a propaganda movie – the people involved with this movie are streight as a matter of fact, they just wanted to make a good film.

Other theaters have refused to book movies and they have the right not to show something, leases have provisions against NC-17 rated movies for example. AMC refused to show The Aristocrats last summer and Friedly Theaters refused to show Fahrenheit 9/11, but they didn’t schedule proformances and then pull it on opening day. Miller aparently (acording to KUTV) didn’t even know what the movie was, and then later claims that he pulled it because he didn’t think in that market it would do much business. I have to disagree, in conservative markets it has done well acording to Focus Features, the movie is succussful.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Any other 'Urban Outfitters' theaters? on Jan 6, 2006 at 5:51 am

Now if Urban Outfitters launched its own chain of movie theaters…think about how cool that’d be…

John Fink
John Fink commented about Slate on the 'Popcorn Palace economy' on Jan 6, 2006 at 5:50 am

Another observation I observed is staff doesn’t care about picture presentation. I went to see Memoris of a Geisha at the Clearview Kinnelon 11 last Sunday and told some idiotic usher about about a problem with the framing, he interupted me in the middle, calling his manager by saying “yo, we got a problem up in some theater in the back, go check on it” – thats all. It wasn’t fixed, I didn’t want to sound snobby and get into the importance of mise-en-scene in a movie like that, but… as a young person myself though I take offense to that last comment, I’m ussually the first person to go out and tell them the pictures out of focus or framing. Some chains are high quality, customer driven and they do care (National Amusements), other chains are trying to get you in and out (Regal Cinemas and Clearview). N/A’s aproach is interesting – make going to the movies an event, by doing so they charge significantly more but it’s worth it for the high quality snacks and atmopshere, they encougage you to hang around (and spend some money).

With that said I’d love to see the return of the intermission. Peter Jackson has enough clout, if he said “mandatory 10 minute intermission” they’d do it, even though chains themselves are reluctant to. Bollywood movies ussually have one built in to the story, National Amusements choses it off and keep the film going, but if they did offer an intermission I probably would be inclined to get candy for the next half of the show. If anything Peter Jackson can be unfair to the bladder after that Pepsi you upsided because it was only a quarter more than the medium.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Parsippany Cinema 12 on Jan 3, 2006 at 11:26 am

I was there over the weekend, in theater #4, one of those larger houses and had a problem finding a seat, the theater was only 25% filled but a lot of the seats (which have been in opperation for 11 years now) are falling apart or bent in odd ways from use. And this is a first run house that charges more than Clifton Commons and Essex Green (due to the fact they don’t offer student rate anymore, the adult rate of 9.50 is equal to that of Clifton). The customer service is good and the snack bar has been upgraded several times (they now serve chicken fingers), but quite honestly I spend more time in the auditrium then I do at the concession stand or in those repainted hallways.

Clearview is a small and frugal chain, they’re building two new screens at Cinema 10 (without stadium seating) and have replaces the seats there, yet Cinema 12’s seats are uncomfortable and in need of retirement. The theater I was in was in simular shape to that of an 11 year old discount house. Granted they are a small chain, but they charge the same price (or more) as the larger chains theaters so we should all demand the same quality movie going. I probably won’t be there again for a while.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews East Hanover 12 on Jan 3, 2006 at 11:17 am

East Hanover opened in December 1993, one of the first in what the company called the Star design, which became the standard (the curved signage reading Loews Theater). This one actually oppened as Loews before Sony aquired the company (and the name was changed to Sony Theaters before eventually being changed back to Loews with the opening of the New Brunswick 18-plex).

It was nice at the time, now its standard and even outdated, the seats are still original (although better mainatined than Cinema 12, which is starting to become as run down as a discount house). Parking is a mess, they used to have security directing traffic on weekend nights, with a sectioned off “drop off zone” around the back to facilitate the movement of traffic in front of the theater.

I agree with Justin, all the current theaters in Morris County will most likely take a hit, but East Hanover, as you point out has always showed a bit more upscale product like Brokeback Mountain then the new Rockaway theater will (aside from that standard one or two rare films they’ll undoubtably show early in their opperation to decifier if there could be a market for it at the theater). If Rockaway becomes too popular I wonder if they will look in to upgrades or discount pricing (Loews responded to Edgewater Multiplex by drastically lowering prices in Ridgefield Park), but Route 10 is a well traveled highway itself, as is 46. Cinema 12 and Cinema 10 will survive, it’ll just be easier to find a parking space (although you have to wonder if AMC’s prices are lower or equal to Cinema 10 and 12’s $9.50 – will Clearview be forced to adapt by offering stadium seating and a rewards program like Moviewatcehrs?).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Loews and AMC to Sell 10 Theaters on Dec 29, 2005 at 4:06 am

See, I disagree with you in that I think the history of any theater is important to cinema studies, in the 1950’s when people started moving away from the cities and you had chains such as AMC and GC building suberban theaters (in malls ussually) that had to have an effect on the types of films made. Until Cinematour and Cinema Treasures the study of exhibition was really just a small footnote in Cinema Studies. So any theater impacting any culture could be determined to be a cinema treasure in that we can study its effects, not just those that are grand movie palaces of the studio era.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Woodbridge General Cinemas II on Dec 28, 2005 at 6:19 pm

..sounds identical to the old GC on Route 46 in West Patterson, now also an Office Max. Thanks for clearing that up I was wondering about it since the Movie City seemed very un-GC like, but I hadn’t noticed any listings for it in newspapers (the Movie City theater) so I had just assumed that it that was what they referred to. GC was at one time the largest chain in the country, and this proves it, they must had a nice market hold with theaters in Woodbridge, Menlo Park, and at Brunswick Square.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Woodbridge General Cinemas II on Dec 28, 2005 at 9:11 am

Actually, this one was behind (I think) Toys R Us and lasted a bit longer than the early 90’s, opperating as Movie City (before Howard Grant sold a chunk of the chain to Clearview and others to focus on Mega Movies at Brunswick Square) then a discount house for Clearview Cinemas.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Meadow 6 on Dec 28, 2005 at 9:09 am

Regal’s venture in to North Bergen is flat out one of the stupidest movies in the history of cinema exhibition, I’m guessing they thought that Secacus and North Bergen would be considered two diffrent booking terratories, I remember when Bergen Plaza (now Cineplaza) opened, it was showing Titanic on two screens, after it had finished its run in Secacus, it has found its place though successfully showing Indian movies, whereas their other complex (opened just as Bergen Plaza switched its pricing to 3.50) Columbia Park is in a successful mall that is in a low income (3% sales tax urban enterprize zone) which eventually found success when Innerstate Theaters took it over and charged $2.00 for movies that were just comming out on DVD.

Both complexes have stadium seating but had this misfutune of not being able to run product on the same day as Loews. For a while Fox opened their movies in North Bergen (There’s Something About Mary played on 3 screens at Bergen Plaza presumably because it was the only movie making any money there, I doubt demand was that strong). Regal also played art films too, bassicly showing anything they could.

These theaters went discount I’m guessing because it needed to keep up with Ridgefield Park (a Loews house that also showed first run pictures for a lower price) and Clifton Commons and Edgewater which were successful (as they were in good locations) and had stadium seating.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Wayne 14 on Dec 28, 2005 at 8:58 am

Okay, that didn’t make sense, bassicly one theater is behind the other, projecting on to what would have been the left side of the former auditrium wall, it wasn’t expanded out but the theater’s sight lines are good enough that you the divsion isn’t a hiderance (except for that long, dark hallway you have to walk down to get past one theater to the other).

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Wayne 14 on Dec 28, 2005 at 8:55 am

Possable but these were larger than the current largest theaters there 3 and 4, they were split so that one theater is behind the other, in half, creating two shallow theaters.

Visual example:

| | | 7 |
| 6 | | _ |
| | to: | | 8 |
__| |

note: not anywhere near scale, but you get the point.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Loews and AMC to Sell 10 Theaters on Dec 28, 2005 at 8:48 am

Fanny Mae sounds like the housing organization (?) but if these theaters were to close (like for example if Boston Common outright closed or was bought by Interstate Theaters and became a discount house) AMC would have a stronghold over first run movie going and thats what the sale of these theaters is trying to dissolve.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Loews and AMC to Sell 10 Theaters on Dec 28, 2005 at 5:02 am

Actually I think a condition of selling the theaters is that they have to remain first run, full priced houses. If all 10 were to become discount houses it would have the adverse effect of allow AMC to set prices in that region.