Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinepolis Parsippany on Jul 16, 2005 at 6:56 am

I just thought of this last night when I was there: that glass lobby design is a homage to General Cinema- which formerly sat on this site (see General Cinema Troy Hills) from what I gather. If it was built before the 80’s it probably had that open glass lobby design.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Voorhees 16 on Jul 12, 2005 at 4:04 pm

This is probably the first all art/higher end product type of megaplex in the country, it simultaniously shows pictures that are playing in the three Ritz sites in Phildelphia. Mostly art films the theatre also aims to provide a more mature audience than the average multiplex, they don’t allow children in unless they are with an adult.

John Fink
John Fink on Jul 11, 2005 at 4:14 am

Could this have been another name for what is Valley View Cinemas. I just saw an add linked off the Cinemart website that listed this site as a United Artist theatre- I know they owned the cinema at Preakness for a while.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinema I, II and III on Jul 10, 2005 at 12:00 pm

Was the bowling alley owned by GC Companies?

John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal Union Square Stadium 17 on Jul 10, 2005 at 6:20 am

Yeah, Robert, I agree with you about those screens, especially the auditriums with balconies (4 and 8) – 8 is larger, I think and sitting in the balcony actually makes it dificult to see the screen (I wonder if subtitles are cut off) whereas theatre 4’s screen is too high so sitting in the balcony is actually a good viewing experience. As for those prices- DOESN’T MOST OF THE TICKET PRICE GO TO THE STUDIO? I don’t see the benifit of having unreasonable (10.75!) prices. I once e-mailed National Amusements to protest a price increase at one of their sites (9.75 in Manchester, CT, making it the most expensive theatre in CT). They claimed they were being “competitive” when in all honesty all the cinemas in CT are pretty much N/A sites, everyone else at that time was pretty much charaging 8.75. These folks are greedy and want to look good in front of the studios by putting up high per screen averages. As well know they are now being burned as folks are resisting the high prices and renting DVDs.

As for Regal’s concession prices, they are also the same outside of Manhatten as well – no where else does a large popcorn and a large soda cost 11 bucks. This is true not only of Regal Union Square but also at the Regal in Waterbury, CT atleast, so I’m sure its everywhere. It’s a shame the largest movie chain in the world doesn’t make movie going an affordable activity. They have the power to and they don’t.

John Fink
John Fink commented about UA Crossbay on Jul 9, 2005 at 7:34 pm

Same goes for IFC and Clearview Cinemas (also a cable vision company) yet IFC Center isn’t a Clearview location in the least. It doesn’t even offer the same type of cola. As for this discussion on going art house or not, another sign that a theater isn’t compleatly 100% well is if they start showing Bollywood or porno. Bollywood and Porno are interestingly enough the only two genres that you know exsactly what you can expect before you enter the theatre because there is a list of conventions that go along with the genre.

As for second run- we need more of them. Interstate Theatres is one chain (a division of Cinemark) that is a true discount chain (showing movies often weeks before they are on DVD) and they have had great success at Columbia Park in North Bergen- the place is packed every night for $2.00 movies. This pricing structure may not work for N/A or Regal but it does work.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Empire Cinemas Columbia Park 12 on Jul 8, 2005 at 9:30 pm

We might wana consider changing this one to reflect its current status at 10-screens. Instead of displaying a movie title above the door Theatre 1 displayed “Do Not Enter” – when I asked an usher why they weren’t using the theatre his responce was “It had burned down” apparently it had sustained some fire damange, as did the theatre located directly above it #7.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Wayne 14 on Jul 5, 2005 at 7:22 pm

Loews Wayne and Medows 6 are pretty much identical in design, that was until Loews Wayne cut the two largest houses in half to become 8 and then later added 6 to become 14. The Medows 6 is still open, as is the Plaza 8 (down the street) – both are low price first run houses, hanging on until Muvico comes to town.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC, Loews Cineplex To Merge! on Jul 5, 2005 at 5:50 pm

The only theatres I expect to close are those that are already not long for this world, I doubt AMC would close a profitable cinema just because its old and only has 5 screens. If anything, if a cinema still puts up a profit and a deveoloper/land owner still is interested in having a theatre on the property it’ll have a life with some other chain. Look at the many General Cinema locations that found life in other forms (many are bar/grill types of cinemas) – I don’t think many folks have to worry about losing their jobs except those in New York. (And hey, Loews Theatres are currently poorly run- why would they want those people hanging around tarnishing the AMC name).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Wellmont Theatre on Jul 3, 2005 at 8:52 am

I figure they’re only using about half the theatre in the current configuration, whats behind those two theatres downstairs, is it being used? If so they can atleast put in two more screens (with stadium seating probably) or, even better take down that sad screen in the balcony and recreate the balcony with this new space with a huge new screen- that’d be the way to go.

Still, I admire that this the loby is pretty much nicely in tact.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Abby Cinemas on Jun 28, 2005 at 3:46 am

I remember wen it was Loews, during its last days this was a discount house. It closed (and newspaper ads still ran for it for three weeks) and remained closed for about a year or so until Magic Cinemas aquired it (they were building a fleet of cinemas including this one, Bergenfield, Northamption Crossings, The Colony, and Hadley 11). Regal later took over Magic Cinemas' operations and sold the Bergenfield, Colony Theatre, and this one to Clearview. Clearview closed it later, as Joe Masher notes.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Abby Cinemas on Jun 27, 2005 at 8:40 pm

Also known as Loew’s Abby, Magic Cinemas, Regal Cinemas, Clearview Cinemas, and I think one other chain before Galaxy Theatres. Is it successful if its changed owners so many times?

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Stroud Mall 7 on Jun 27, 2005 at 4:09 am

Hoyts built ugly theatres too (Enfield Mall in CT a good example). National Amusements ought to change the game up in Eastern PA and put in a Cinema De Lux, that’d be a nice culture shock coming from this rundown house to high end luxery. Stroud Mall itself has a retro feel to it, the whole place seems trapped in the 60’s except for those kids dressed in black hanging around Hot Topic.

Maybe the entire mall ought to be persurved as a musem or 60’s themed shopping and entertainment destination. Too bad they remodled it a few years ago.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Clifton Commons 16 on Jun 26, 2005 at 6:53 am

Funny story about the projection at Clifton Commons. Back when it was General Cinema I went to see a movie called Charlotte Gray there, the projection was fine until the end of the movie when Charlotte goes back to see her long lost love, whom she had been lieing to the whole time (even using a diffrent name). The projection was scrambled almost, like something had fallen out of sinc.

By time I got out to the manager’s desk and informed them of the problem the projectionist had started working on it, I came back in the theatre and the cleaning folks were starting to walk in. The partrons at the bottom had told them “no, we still have to see the end of the movie.”

A few minutes later the movie started up, Cate Blanchett returns to the villa and the only words she utters “I forgot to tell you, by the way, my name is Charlotte Gray” then the credits start to roll.

But I like this theatre anyway, its the only cinema in the county with stadium seating.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Headquarters Plaza 10 on Jun 23, 2005 at 2:12 pm

Clearview does show art movies, but the ambitious plan for the Headquarters didn’t really happen. It’s a multiplex, simular to when it was run by AMC, they added a few touches to make it more Clearview-like, but no major upgrades/improvements really (excpect new seats).

Morristown is very cool, but its not a college town (all it has is CCM), if it were like Montclair, perhaps it would be showing more art films. I did see Amalie there years ago, so they will once in a while play something like that but when push comes to shove its more likely that you’ll be seeing something like Unleashed there than the Enron movie.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC, Loews Cineplex To Merge! on Jun 22, 2005 at 7:36 pm

Ron, things need to get shaken up at Loews, from a customer stand point AMC is a far better chain than Loews, I could go on and site atleast 10 bad movie experiences at diffrent Loews across NJ, NY, and CT. I didn’t know Budco Theatres, but Loews, in all honestly has run its coarse. It’s brand name is even spelled wrong (for the puriests, it should be Loew’s!) The days of the Loew’s movie palaces are over, the new cineplexes they built are ugly and cheesy looking, they did all this to themselves, bassicly. Their operations are flawed. Hell, they can’t even keep open a little ice cream and coffee stand and thier hot foods kitchen at their Paramus Ten Plex while the National Amusements down the street keeps pretty much an entire foodcourt open (four diffrent concessions offering real food). Loews is flawed, their theatres smell (part of the reason is that Nacho Grande they offer), and the quality just isn’t there (they were well run under Sony’s ownership). I say bring on AMC, they have a corporate philosphy. They usshered in multiplexing (they weren’t the first, ofcoarse), but they used it as their marketing ploy- they have a corporate idenity. Loews, quite honestly sucks these days, always a problem, really bad popcorn. Say what you want about AMC, the experience there is second only to National Amusements from a multiplex operations point of view.

Then again I know what its like to lose a movie theatre or chain you really loved, but AMC is so much better than Loews, essentally we’re losing the WORST CHAIN CURRENTLY IN OPERATION. And this is a very good thing.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC, Loews Cineplex To Merge! on Jun 22, 2005 at 4:02 am

AMC was one of the only chains that didn’t fall in 2000, they were smarter about how they built and managed their theatres. They are sort of the Wal Mart of multiplexes, they offer 28 screens of movies at slightly lower prices than REG, they have their nitch. Loews' prices were higher (for, in my opinion a lesser quality experience). AMC isn’t in CT (and will only have two locations in that state) so they seem like a likely candidate to aquire Crown, but remember with Crown they own a few older sites, its' not just megaplexes like the Palace 17- they’d also have to deal with the awful, rundown, misrable Cinema City. Can other chains survive in this Regal/AMC universe? I don’t know, it’ll be interesting to see with this expansion of the AMC brand if theater have to lower their prices to be competitive with this giant.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC, Loews Cineplex To Merge! on Jun 21, 2005 at 4:25 pm

Isn’t Muvico coming to Leigh Valley, it was weird seeing the Leigh Valley Cinema close, I wish somehow it could have been perserved, its important in some way to the history of exhibition, current history, it had many GC design features that are now gone with the AMC closures. I can’t blaim them though. They closed Rockaway Mall when the rent doubled.

They are all about attracting crowds, and often times are smart about their programing (especially at Clifton Commons where they stagger showtimes and interlock, they do their best to keep shows from selling out despite the fact the theatre lacks an screen larger than 300 seats). I think AMC controlling Pallisades Center (a theatre you often have to buy tickets in advance for, especially on a Saturday night) they’ll make that theatre bareable again.

I do understand your frustration, the center city phildephia lacks movie theatres (except for The Ritz chain, really). Although, you gotta dig The Bridge. I think this new move will force N/A to build more/convert their chain to include more CInema De Lux locations to seperate themselves from AMC and Regal which are pretty much offering the exsact same product. This move will diffinatly impact the future of cinema exhibition.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC, Loews Cineplex To Merge! on Jun 21, 2005 at 2:48 pm

I wonder if a Clearview take over of some NY houses is possiable. When they merged with Cineplex Oden most of the Oden houses were sold off (as Cineplex Oden had, I think the most locations in Manhatten). What about 42nd street? Clearview Empire 25? Man, thats scary.

(Especially after Cablevision just spent a few million on the IFC Center, which is so tottally unrelated to Clearview they don’t even serve the same kind of soda)

AMC will probably do when they did with GC, keep the houses open and quitely close them off when their leases were up. They essentally are a chain of large houses, most with 16+ screens. I’m still shocked they’re opperating the Essex Green cinema in NJ (they sold off the Headquarters 10, only to a few years later aquire a 9-plex).

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Chestnut Hill 5 on Jun 21, 2005 at 2:44 pm

I actually am going to have to disagree with Bigred here about AMC. In Northern NJ they actually lowered prices! At GC Clifton Commons they held the same adult price as GC did (for a year and a half after they merged) and lowered prices by 8.50 (from 9.00) at GC Essex Green. They also started to offer student rate. Their prices are cheaper than Regal, Loews, and National Amusements.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC, Loews Cineplex To Merge! on Jun 21, 2005 at 2:18 pm

I suspect the Loews name will disapear as well, AMC wants to get its brand out there. I like AMC more than Loews, granted there is a historical context there (even though its name ought to be Loew’s! So all that mess about LCE celibrating 100 is crap, considering all their theatres at one point swiched to the Sony name). AMC offers student rate, movie watchers and significantly lower prices than the other chains have (if you don’t belive me price out a large popcorn and soda there verses at Regal).

Say all you want about AMC but they actually moved a movie palace and incorporated as part of a megaplex instead of building a tacky looking building with movie palace themeing. I supsect some of their locations may swich operators (maybe E-Walk will be sold off to either Clearview or Regal). This new company will still only be the number two exhibitor in the US, REG is just that huge. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t know, AMC seemed to embody the big box theory that America seems to have been taking a liking to lately, yet they provide a good quality movie going experience everytime. Loews, in my opion does not- their theatres are ussually dirty, the pictures are framed wrong- atleast with AMC I know what I’m in for. I welcome this change, although I’m sad to see the Loews name go as well in a way. And, ofcoarse AMC has better popcorn.

Getting off topic, anybody here about the second comming of General Cinema as supsected on the Chestnut Hill Cinemas page? They were the best.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Empire 25 on Jun 21, 2005 at 2:10 pm

Clearview wouldn’t go for it. Sell off the E-Walk, that theatre sucks. I hope this means Loews will start offering Moviewatchers. Loews theatres quality has declined shaply after they were sold off from the Sony Empire. I look foward to the AMC changes.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Clifton Commons 16 on Jun 21, 2005 at 4:30 am

General Cinemas loved THX (which is sort of a scam, a theatre can techincally be up to THX standards but the owner may not pay for certification, in which it cannot claim THX). This one has two, so does the new (as well as the old) GC/AMC at Essex Green in West Orange.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Loews Stroud Mall 7 on Jun 21, 2005 at 4:25 am

The only reason this theatre does well is because its in a mall, I remember going here a few years ago and it was the worst Loews I’ve ever been to. I was in the 5 screen part of the building, seeing Pirates of the Caribian (opening weekened, so I have to assume I was in one of the largest screens in the house). The sidelines were okay, they had high raked style seating (sort of like a primative form of Stadium Seating, but uncomfortable cup-holder-less seats.

The walls were made of some sort of blasted rock- I can imagine this is a retro delight for many but it was a shocker for me, even Loews has standards, this one was dirty, small, cramped. Maybe its been remodled? I don’t know. Music Makers sure knew how to build them- small and ugly. It had style, I will say that- it was the ugliest movie theatre I had ever been to.

Lord knows I’m not a Cinema Treasure puriest who belives only classic pallaces ought to be added to the list but Loews Stroud Mall is both a Treasure and a curse- would I be interested in taking an online tour of the theatre at, sure, would I be interested seeing a movie there first run, probably not. An experience, I will say that. (And the smallest bathrooms this side of the tragic set up at Island 16).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Little Cinema on Jun 20, 2005 at 2:10 pm

I think this house was where the food court currently stands and closed around the time Loews Wayne opened.