AMC Chestnut Hill 5

27 Boylston Street,
Chestnut Hill, MA 02167

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Showing 51 - 75 of 81 comments

bigred on May 10, 2005 at 6:34 am

I don’t know Paul Del Rossi became pres. but it was before 1986 when I started with General Cinema and I think he stasrted in 1985.

AMC will build a 100 plex if it keeps anyone from building around any of their theaters and the prices tend to be much higher than General Cinema. Any small theater less than 10 screens is at risk of closing by AMC.

snorwood on May 9, 2005 at 11:08 pm

I believe that AMC owns the rights to the GCC logos and trademarks, which means that there is almost no chance that anyone else will be able to use them in the forseeable future.

dave-bronx™ on May 9, 2005 at 10:03 pm

The Chestnut Hill Cinema would be a perfect arthouse – when I went there it seemed to be an upscale neighborhood with the Chestnut Hill Mall nearby. Unless AMC ran it into the ground (I hope not), it was an upscale theatre compared to other General Cinemas.

Somebody ought to resurrect the General Cinema Corporation name and the old original logo. It’s kind of historic, in modern history, anyway. It’s almost like when Loews became Sony Theatres for a few years, what were they thinking?

IanJudge on May 9, 2005 at 7:42 pm

Northeast was indeed it’s own entity, as is Entertainment Cinemas.

BCG is all about financing theaters and sometimes they take them over if they are not paying back their loans. What usually happens is that BCG will lend a chain or a particular location money to get started or expand, build, etc, and as part of the deal they might be the concessions supplier or operator. When the location cannot pay it’s bills or has trouble operating, BCG steps in and operates the theater.

This is a fairly common way to finance theaters; there are other concessions companies that do the same thing.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on May 9, 2005 at 7:38 pm

Actually, they would probably hurt the Embassy, as there’s only about 5 miles between them. I wonder who will book the film?

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on May 9, 2005 at 7:36 pm

They could become the “new” General Cinema Corporation. I don’t think identification such as “brand identity” matters, and that theatre could play art like the Waltham Embassy and be extremely competetive in the market. Don’t be surprised if that’s the strategy. When Robert Redford’s Sundance Cinemas were beginning, Paul Delrossi developed a bit of a relationship and many thought Chestnut Hill was the perfect location for that product.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 9, 2005 at 7:22 pm

Entertainment Cinemas is a brand name long gone from the Boston area; they used to be in Cambridge (Fresh Pond), Quincy, and Stoughton.

The Northeast Cinemas brand disappeared from Boston Globe ads a few months ago. It used to adorn the ads for Sharon and Bridgewater cinemas, and maybe others I don’t remember. It seemed to be a temporary name for whatever Hoyts used to own that they didn’t sell to Regal.

IanJudge on May 9, 2005 at 7:09 pm

From a business perspective, they have enough theaters to have some booking strength in the northeast. From the branding perspective, I think they might someday come up with a chain name, but they have aquired so many theaters so quickly that they are still not ready to do so.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 9, 2005 at 6:56 pm

To compete against AMC, Showcase, Loews, and Landmark in this market, an independent theatre needs either strong local community ties or a strong brand identity — preferably both. I’m curious how a newly independent Chestnut Hill Cinema will approach this problem.

IanJudge on May 9, 2005 at 6:48 pm

They do not have a chain name; some of their theaters are Entertainment Cinemas, some are Northeast Cinemas, some are seemingly independent.

I don’t know when the change-over will be; I just heard from someone at BCG that they were buying Chestnut Hill (the business, I assume, not the building).

snorwood on May 9, 2005 at 6:32 pm

Interesting news. I suspect that a 5-screen house (even a successful one doesn’t fit into AMC’s business model of 16-30-plexes. I wonder what was actually “sold”; the building is owned by SR Weiner & Associates, I believe.

I, too, would be interested in any dates and additional details.

BCG apparently owns a number of theatres in various markets. The Tri-Boro Cinema in Attleboro, MA. is one of their houses.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 9, 2005 at 12:28 pm

It is still listed as an AMC theatre in today’s Globe and on AMC’s web site. Do you know when the transaction is supposed to close?

The Globe movie guide doesn’t show any local theatres belonging to a ‘Boston Culinary Group’ or ‘Boston Concessions Group’ or ‘Theater Merchandising’ chain. Do they operate under a different public brand name?

IanJudge on May 9, 2005 at 5:48 am

They are going to continue to operate it as a theater; they operate many theaters in New England.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on May 9, 2005 at 2:25 am

Sounds more like an insider knows how lucrative the investment would be. Joe ODonnell was a close personal friend of Paul DelRossi, former President of General Cinema Theatres.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 9, 2005 at 2:03 am

Does this mean it will no longer be a theater?

IanJudge on May 9, 2005 at 1:30 am

This theater has been sold. AMC has sold it to Boston Culinary Group (formerly Boston Concessions Group and also Theater Merchandising).

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on March 24, 2005 at 10:59 am

There a Container Store in there now.

dave-bronx™ on March 24, 2005 at 9:39 am

dwodeyla –
What is in the office space next to the theatre where the Home Office used to be?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 18, 2005 at 3:43 am

Local newspapers don’t agree on what town this theatre is located in. The Boston Globe movie directory lists it under Newton, but the Boston Phoenix says it’s in Brookline. Perhaps both are right, and the town line passes through the property?

(“Chestnut Hill” is not a town, just a zip code and neighborhood name that takes in adjoining parts of Brookline, Newton, and the Brighton neighborhood in Boston.)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 5, 2005 at 9:15 pm

To answer a much earlier question: General Cinema filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2000, less than four months after opening its new Boston flagship Fenway 13.

AMC signed a letter of intent to buy General Cinema in December 2001, and completed the purchase in March 2002. At that point, the General Cinema name disappeared from theatres around the country.

dscheifler on February 5, 2005 at 7:33 pm

Ian, it was and probably still is a fun business for a lot of people. Glad to hear you’re enjoying it. I left because I found I could no longer support the overall direction of the film industry (ever-increasing violence, sex, drug use, etc). I still miss it, as evidenced by my finding this site.

I remember when GCC sent out a memo to all theatres (around 1979) with a dollar bill attached, celebrating the chain’s average “per person” concession average reaching that lofty plateau. What is it in theatres now, about $4?

Theatre cleaning varied from market to market and theatre to theatre, as it does now. Some managers didn’t clean at all, and others picked up trash, swept and even spot mopped. In some you would lose your shoes walking down an aisle because the floors were so sticky, and in others I’d have eaten off the floor because they were so clean.

Overall operations improved when GCC’s new (about 1987) President, Paul Del Rossi began the “Reel Excellence” program. It detailed 108 operating standards, including cleanliness, maintenance, customer service, picture and sound quality, popcorn and drink quality, etc. Theatres were evaluated by secret shoppers, area managers, and home office personnel, and theatre teams could reach Bronze, Silver, or Gold award levels.

You want advice? Keep the auditorium temperatures comfortable, the popcorn fresh, the auditoriums clean, the spitwads off the screen, the babies crying in the LOBBY, the concession lines moving FAST, the major showtimes separated to spread out guest arrival, etc, etc. You know it all already, I’m sure. Hire good people, spend as much time training them on what you expect as you can, show them you appreciate their efforts, and have a good time!

IanJudge on January 12, 2005 at 8:53 pm

Mr. Wodeyla / Dave-Bronx –

I find this all to be amazingly interesting – you both worked some great theaters and through quite a bit of industry changes. As a young theater manager today, I’d love to know more, and also, any advice you can give to improve the whole movie-going experience. I have worked my way up from an usher like many in management, and I really love movies and movie theaters (good ones anyways).

I have heard from many people who have been in the business for a while how good GCC used to be, and my own experiences there before the AMC takeover were always very good.

Thanks for sharing all these memories.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on January 9, 2005 at 11:11 pm

Drinks from vending were 12 oz, the concession stand had 14 and 20 oz. Popcorn had plain boxes, small was 10 oz, large 25 oz. (correct me if my memory is off a little). Buttered came in 24 oz and 46 oz. cups.
People still left their stuff under the seats after a show, but there wasn’t as much sold back then.
I think I remember that memo, but in by ‘66, the Cinema in Shoppers World Framingham was already allowing all food into the auditorium.
When I was a kid going to the show there, I remember only buying popcorn and candy, but not drinks.
I think the drink vending machine was owned by ABC Vending, as we had ABC cups with the little character on it.

dave-bronx™ on January 9, 2005 at 8:41 pm

I remember seeing a memo from Stan Werthman with a date of 1967 or 68, that stated, in part, “…We have seen a dramatic increase in soft drink sales in theatres where the patrons are allowed to take their drink into the auditorium. Effective immediately, ALL theatres are to allow the patrons to take their drink to their seat…” – up until that time, if you bought a soda at the concession stand or from the vending machine, you had to stand in the lobby and drink it.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on January 9, 2005 at 4:29 pm

In the 1960’s and into the 70’s, the variety of concession items was limited to Popcorn, drinks, and candy. (sometimes a dixie cup or ice cream sandwich was sold) Sizes were smaller, too. A small buttered popcorn was 24 oz, large 46. Drinks were 12 oz and 20 oz. Volume of business for concession was less, as I remember Cinemas used to buy butter at the local supermarket to melt in the buttermat. I’m sure ushers in the auditoriums were sent to aisles to sweep up spills in the 1960’s but the need for entire crews to pickup wasn’t there.
Once they introduced buckets of 83 oz and 123 oz, and 32 oz drinks, as well as larger candy sizes, the litter became a problem. If you go back to the earlier years, in the 1930’s and 40’s, I think concession stands were nearly nonexistent, and I’ve been told food was banned from auditoriums.