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My family attended a 5:05pm showing of “Alvin and the Chipmunks” in one of the 4 smaller theaters. I didn’t know that 5pm was the cut off of matinee prices. I always thought that 6pm was the cut off, but their prices are lower than the chains. There is freshly popped popcorn as you are welcomed by the waft of it as you pass the ticket booths.
The interiors haven’t changed since AMC opened this place up 22 years ago, except the stadium seating and Dolby Digital sound upgrades. When they first opened up this place, they had a 70mm booking of Top Gun that showed in two auditoriums of the four largest auditoriums. It was a great theatrical experience to hear and almost feel the roar of the jet fighters do their thing mated to the great score by Giorgio Moroder score and Kenny Loggins' title song. I wonder if they still have the same projectors there.
There was an annoying buzz like an old alarm clock alarm that eminated from one of the speakers at the top of #8 where we were. It came and went during the show. Another annoying detraction is the lack of proper sound insulation between the theaters. You could hear the other auditoriums soundtrack at various times during the movie. Not a good thing.
Lastly, their Customer Service Email address is either not accepting email or its closed.
When I lived in the area, I could have sworn that this theater was a twin operated by the Roth group in the early 80s. I don’t think as a twin, either had stereo, which was probably why I never went back.
I’m not 100% sure about this, but I believe this place opened in the mid 80s? I’m thinking ‘87 or so and it was under the APEX or KB name. My friend and I attended a movie on opening weekend, but I can’t remember what it was! The theaters are upstairs and are about the same size..I’m guessing 150-250, maybe 300. If you attend on a Thu evening-Saturday, do visit the Amish Market that’s right below the theaters. They have wonderful fresh farm produce and dairy, along with snack foods such as fresh made pretzels (with or without salt or butter) and a variety of freshly baked-on-the-premesis cookies, breads, pies and cakes! Ian says he enjoys Pot Bellys and, yes, their sandwiches are good and reasonably priced, but they only have bottled and canned drinks. I prefer the fountain variety.
When Crown took over, they completed a remodel back in ‘04 or so, which included a refurbished concession stand area and sound systems. I believe they all have digital sound (at least Dolby) that I am aware of. They do play the Dolby Digital trailer the last few times I’ve seen movies here. I read on a website on 70mm capable theaters, that the projector from the old MacArthur supposedly made its way to this venue back in '97 and that auditoriums 1 and 2 were 70mm capable. Unfortunately, I don’t recall this venue ever booking 70mm anything.
BowTie took over in late ‘06 and the programming has remained art house-type fair, which would explain the lack of teens attending this place..as if that were a bad thing? The Mall gets the popular films but this is not always the case. Last year, this place got Dreamgirls as opposed to the Mall, so go figure. BowTie installed new rocker type seats, which are very comfortable. The last film I saw here was Sweeney Todd, in #1, to an almost empty theater but enjoyed the movie and the sound. It was nice to lie down and enjoy the show.
Ken, as far as your post to a link about underaged ticket buying, I’ve seen cashiers at the ticket counter ask for ID to those who look underaged. Maybe on that particular night, someone slipped up but I probably can guess who asked for ID upon entering the theater, too. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a film that is Rated R states that no one under 17 is allowed without a guardian or parent? If thats the case, then the parent legally should have gone to the showing with the kids. Or, maybe he did go with them to buy the tickets then decided not to go to the show thinking that once the kids had been cleared to buy tickets, his presence was not required for the actual show.
I honestly think he has no standing since legally, his child was attempting to watch a movie that legally required a guardian or parent to be with him and his friends.
During my years of frequenting the Mall 11, I’ve had to ask for a refund only one time and that was because they advertised Superman Returns as being in digital projection, yet it was not. I was told that the “key” to the digital projector had expired and that the last show of that movie of the day was on film. The ticket taker tried to explain to me that there was “no difference” between digital projection and film but I was not having it. The Manager was going to give me money back, but I opted for passes because I frequent the place often. If that offended parent had seen the General Manager, I’m sure he would have gotten his money back.
Tonight, my ears are ringing as if I’ve been at a loud rock concert, but alas, it was due to the loud but excellent presentation of the movie, “Cloverfield”, in DP. The audience of mostly 20somethings and naval academy kids enjoyed the sold out show, which was introduced by one of the managers, but had little to say other than to move closer together to make room for others. I primarily wanted to see the new Star Trek teaser trailer and knew it would be attached to this movie being that J. J. Abrams and Paramount is involved in both films. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and am looking forward to more trailers for this movie as well as more movies at this, my favorite multiplex.
Juno was very good. I saw it in DP at Landmark Balto. I’m glad its doing well at the AFI. I’m surprised to see its calendared to run well into February.
On the issue of what is showing in the Historic Auditorium, we’ve been over this subject over and over, over the years and its not going to change, unless they’ve booked a 70mm movie. Posting here may be a good outlet but one has to call AFI management and voice your protest or start an organized petition for what you want.
How depressing. When they first came into our area, I received a nice Email from someone who touted how much of the family is involved in the business and how dedicated they are to showmanship in motion picture exhibition. While their newest plex opening in Hyattsville MD is a nice place, it doesn’t displace my favorite and closer theaters that have state-of-the-art DP and THX cert. Its just not worth the drive. Now, they’ve been gobbled up by Regal.
The Regal nearest to me, which I’ve frequented for years has gone downhill in quality since their people took over. At least comments were acknowledged and complaints were addressed by a corporate Customer Relations person…a Lisa Beeler? But I think she’s been long gone as my latest comments and complaints have gone unanswered. Saturday nights are a hit or miss affair if they have enough staffing at the concession stand, or if they know how to make coffee and if the restrooms are going to be flooded with waste matter. Security seems to be top notch as there are plain clothes policemen everywhere eyeing everyone as if we’re all people of ‘interest.’ To be fair, at least one of the auditoriums in the plexes around here is DP outfitted. I suppose that is some progress.
I suspect the Indian staff that are there may be the same ones that were running the theater when I saw the last SW film there back in ‘05. They do speak English, but I think the better question to ask is if they know how to run a theater..the projector, make sure the picture looks and sound the way it is supposed to. If they offered Indian snacks like samosas and pakoras, along with the usual theater food, I would buy them! :)
They should at least mix up the programming to include classic films (70mm) and not just the latest Hollywood offerings.
I’d have to disagree with you about the MacArthur losing its charm after it was triplexed. Granted, its nice to be in a nice large auditorium and take in the sight and sounds of the environment BUT, I think the theater gained some in that the two smaller auditoriums did not detract a whole lot from the original. In fact, you can recall, they opened up the upper level to balconies and had decent Dolby systems and I believe the screen was replaced in the big auditorium, with a larger one. And the smaller auditoriums had curtains that rose and fell during their respective shows (at least the times that I saw movies in them, which wasn’t a lot..I probably can recall three showings.. Flashdance, Eleni and Heaven Help Us) and it was a vertical rise and drop at that.
In any case, with three screens, you should be able to balance some decent programming between the first run and classics. As nice as the Landmarks are, they aren’t that much different to me than your usual multiplexes.
With the Dupont Circle 5 closing, maybe this venue could be viable once again. The other night, there was local news coverage of the closing and it was stated that there are more screens in the city than ever! I suppose they’re factoring in the large multiplexes at Gallery Place and Georgetown. But those venues are on the other side of town and I’d hardly consider them treasures by any stretch of the imagination. If the Avalon can be brought back and made a success, the MacArthur can, too, with the right support. To be honest, the MacArthur is more of a treasure than the Avalon is and, of course, holds more favorable memories. There was talk about turning the place into office space, maybe they could partially do that to make the theaters more of an economical viability. I’d think they could clear up the empty space at the top of the building and back.
Giles, SHH! Don’t suggest any more venue closings. I like Shirlington and the surrounding restaurants and public library.
Jack, are you sure the pictures you have depict an original single screen venue? The pictures you have are of the Roth’s/Loews, now P&G plex that opened up back in 1987 or so. I remember being there opening weekend to watch Batteries Not Included in one of the theaters…thats why. I always thought they were brand new theaters from the ground up.
Nice pictures, Howard! So..maybe after CVS lease runs out the theater will return? It seems as if it would be an easy conversion since the CVS shopping floor takes up only a small part of the theater..probably just the lobby area.
Pierre, you have quite an exhaustive list, but something is amiss. Chicago had a 5 month run back in ‘02? I thought the movie was good, but I doubt it played that well with NYers to play for 20 weeks.
Also, there’s no mention of Blade Runner playing here, which was just a few months back.
The East mezzanine picture is ½ of the twinned balcony? Or is it the main auditorium? It seems cut off in the middle. The hallway pictures and ceiling fixtures look quite good. I suppose someone is maintaining the theater.
DC Metro area (NoVA, MD and DC), I’d say we have three. possibly four; Washington DC’s AMC Uptown, the independent Greenbelt MD’s P&G Old Greenbelt and Baltimore MD’s Senator and lastly, DC’s Avalon. I’d say the Avalon is single screen given the fact that it originally was that and that an upstairs auditorium was added years later not changing the original auditorium’s set up in any way.
Actually, you could count AFI’s Silver, too. The original auditorium is still showing first fun movies..Juno comes to mind.
This multiplex is quite young and looks thoroughly modern. It looks almost like the White Marsh multiplex in MD. I suspect the reason for its demise was lack of patronage? The address of it leads me to think that it was or is near the 7-Eleven world headquarters.
Unfortunately, I was too young and my parents yielded quite a heavy right hand, on my bottom, if I even broached the subject of “going to the movies,” much less one about “aliens” from another planet. Though, my oldest brother, had the good fortune and better persuasive skills (heck, he was the older brother) to allow us to go see Rocky, only a few weeks later. BLEH.
I don’t think I ever saw CE3K in the theater in any of its versions. In 1980, when there was the special edition and the look inside the mothership (and when I was allowed to go to movies), I wanted to see it but it didn’t last very long in area theaters from what I recall. Michael, you have quite an exhaustive list there but I could’ve sworn that we got a 70mm print at our Uptown during its initial run. If I have the time, I’ll check the Post archives.
Probably my first time seeing the movie was on ABC. If memory serves me correctly, the network version was a combination of the special edition and original. Being very young and with a youth’s shorter attention span, my initial reaction to the movie was slow. It took awhile to get to the BIG finale where everything, everybody comes together..literally. As far as the look inside the mother ship that seemed to get the ire of some critics and fans, what is the big deal? I’m sure everyone wanted to know what it was like inside and when Spielberg went back to do the Special Edition, he pretty much satisfied that curiosity.
If AFI would get its act together and put on a decent sci-fi retrospective, it would be nice to include this film. I’d probably go for the DVD version, which I’ve read, has a combination of both versions and is the preferred Spielberg cut.
Its a dead link.
This may sound strange/funny, but at some of my favorite frequented theaters, I have the box office or manager numbers on speed dial on all my phones. So, I end up calling to see if such and such a movie is playing in DP or in my favorite THX one.
On closer examination of the ad, it appears there was something called a “Columbia” room for private screenings of smaller groups.
According to opening day newsprint ads, this theater boasted a 1400 patron seating capacity, which would make it larger than the Uptown’s, including balcony seating, with evening admission prices of the cost of 75cents!
For years, I was complaining about this since you and I both know some auditoriums are nicer than others and have better offerings (Digital sound, projection, etc). What I’ve found out from places like Movietickets.com and Fandango is that it is up to theater management as to how they post the information. I suspect it is the same with newspapers, too. I doubt they (newspapers) advertise auditorium info at a plex as a public service.
So, if management wants to advertise that Movie A is in auditorium #1, with THX/DTS or Dolby Digital EX or Movie B is in DLP, then they need to inform the website of that fact.
We saw the National Treasure sequel in #1, my favorite auditorium to a small audience given the size of the place and time (last showing). They debuted the new Horton Who THX trailer (I think). As usual, the presentation was virtually flawless, excellent surrounds. Sitting in my favorite seat, we were immersed into the adventure unfolding before us. The Goofy pre-movie cartoon was a pleasant surprise and showcased the theater’s sound capabilities given the theme was setting up your home theater.
Another plus is they don’t have pre-show commercials anymore! Now what multiplex does this nowadays? They need to bring back the personal introductions that Crown used to have. The Mashers have yet to reply to my suggestions to bring this aspect of showmanship back. Though one tid bit of welcome news is that their chain may go all-out Digital in 2008.
I thought I had posted comments about my experiences here but they’ve GONE! I’ve seen Panic Room, Day After Tomorrow, the first Transporter and, according to my Moviewatcher records, Fracture, earlier this year. I’m sure there are more, but thats the most I can remember now. The last film I saw in the Adult over 21 section with the nicer seats. I’ve never had a bad experience here presentation wise but they seldom play the THX trailer before shows even though they tout certification. They used to have a THX poster at the top of the escalator to tout the high presentation standards for certification.
One nice thing about the location of this theater is that you’re surrounded by various stores to suit your shopping interests and some nicer chain restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory and Maggianos, both across the street.
On another note, this place is next to another closed favorite theater of mine, the Jenifer, which is in the very next block next to Booeymongers…and two blocks further the much larger and treasured Cinema. How times have changed.
I went to the Majestic when it first opened and was not impressed. It was nice to be greeted as you entered but that’s about it. Yes, its a megaplex and there are some huge auditoriums but the two movies that I saw there were disappointing presentation wise and have never went back.
As for Juno, I want to check it out at the new Landmark in Balto. Supposedly, they’re running it in digital projection…maybe with the often talked about 4k projectors.
But back to the Flower, it is fondly remembered as I’ve said above.