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Starplex has upgraded the auditoriums to digital projection and luxury seats (black leather recliners) – capacity has been greatly reduced, tonight we saw The Internship in an auditorium with 32 seats!
The lay out is pretty interesting – 1-4 on one side, on the other: 5-8 ahead and 9-13 to the right, comprising the old “Movies at Brunswick Square” subdivision of the original GCC. The theater still has a few GCC touches including the steel “curtains” in the lobby of the 9-13 side, along with a GCC style concession stand. Not sure if they have a picture window screen (I didn’t want to peep around too much) – but the bathrooms are original GCC in that wing… with much smaller doors and stalls. The letter (black on a white door) for the men’s room is still vintage GCC as well. Interesting complex!
The Ben & Jerry’s is gone, however the Nathins in the lobby is still there along with tables and arcade games. The D-BOX seats were removed with the addition of the leather recliners. Also to Starplex’s credit they lowered prices ($8.50 for full price adult evening admission). I’m happy they kept a few GCC things in tact for us cinema geeks!
Cineplex in Canada is leading the way on integrating social media, customer data, etc. They have the US beat and have a mobile app called Time Play.
The other app I dig (although not social media) is Cinemark’s MovieMode, which essentially bribes you not to touch your phone at any point in the film in exchange for a free small popcorn. Not a bad deal by any means.
Great news is although it had been reported Dipson is closing it on June 6th, the building’s owner and a local restauranteur are planning on upgrading and restoring this beautiful cinema (which sadly isn’t in the greatest shape): http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130523/CITYANDREGION/130529619/1010
It might have been Dec 17, 1993 – the first film I saw here was The Pelican Brief, potentially opening weekend of the complex.
Where was it reported East Hanover was sold and is closing? AMC Ridgefield Park just closed and the landlord sold the building/property to Starplex who is reopening it with upgrades, while AMC is indeed upgrading 80s and early 90s style properties like Headquarters and East Hanover with those comfy (p)leather recliners they have at Cinema Suites. Leather recliners seem to have gone from high end luxury theaters to mid-market multiplexes in only a few years.
I doubt this is an actual picture of this theater….
It’s been granted a stay of execution with Clearview running it on a week to week basis for the foreseeable future.
Good news is they’ve signed a lease with a new operator! (Unnamed but they operate several theaters throughout the country….I have a guess….)
Rave is getting out of the movie theater business – they’ve sold off sites to Carmike, AMC and many of the former National Amusements sites to Cinemark (the sale is still pending, my guess is its tied up for DOJ reasons as they overlap in Ohio). Not sure why this one went to Starplex, but as Starplex usually does, they’ve lowed prices ($7 adult admission).
Now owned by Starplex
This will be Starplex' second try at North Jersey (they sold off Columbia Park which they inherited briefly from Interstate/Cinemark) – I like the concept is lower prices and luxury amenities, and I think with a remodel they could turn this place into a real competitor to Garden State and Edgewater. (The AMC Dine In Theater concept seems to be paying off – Essex Green is frequently sold out on weekends, if there was a market in the country for a higher end movie experience it’d be Bergen County, having new competitors in the market that improve complexes like Starplex and Bow Tie do, is going to be great for moviegoers).
MoviePass is starting to understand this data and track it in a way that makes sense – the other company you may look at is Cineplex in Canada which has a loyalty system tightly integrated with other customer transactions (including online downloads, and perhaps financial data as some loyalty cards are linked to Scotibank credit cards). I personally hate a monthly fee unless it was providing value: MoviePass sure does, whereas AMC Stubs….I don’t know why they care so much about my $12. I never get why companies nickel and dime you over $12 when there’s thousands of dollars to be made: they should provide one level for the general public and another (perhaps with a special card like Regal does) for the ballers who frequently come out. I’m all for anything that will inspire frequent movie-going, this is what exhibition needs.
The site was going to be Kerastoes then I think Bow Tie was developing it for a while – then Great Escape. Digging through the site its owned by Alliance Management, Great Escape’s former parent company. The theater from their Facebook page looks an awful lot like the Great Escape (now Regal) theatre outside of Scranton.
I visited tonight for Oblivion – the left side is closed, they temporarily moved over the ticket counter, not much on the left side has been done thus far (the lobby remains in tact, but it’s now a “hard hat area”). This week and next only four films are on the schedule.
Maple Ridge as of late has seen some new businesses open up near AMC – on a recent Saturday night I observed quite a crowd (mostly UB folks) at the cafes and restaurants in the plaza next to AMC, which had been empty just a few years ago when I first moved to Buffalo. AMC, since the infusion of capital to renovate theaters (from new owners Wanda Group) has been refreshing older theaters with these leather recliners. It appears this is AMC’s new business model: smaller and more luxurious complexes. I think the leather recliner may soon become the new standard, the way (p)leather seats have gone from a premium theaters like The Bridge (now Rave 18) in LA to a standard feature at a theater like Dipson Flix.
It’s great news – I’ve visited a few Bow Tie locations in CT – including their first “Criterion Cinemas” in New Haven (in its first 5-screen configuration) and found the theater and service to be first rate.
Oh in Buffalo, NY Regal is pretty good – always clean, the picture is sharp and in focus (better now I hate to say with digital, but they’re in large part doing it right including removing the Real D polarizers for 2D) and staffing levels most nights seem okay. On weekdays quite often its just managers. Now I should admit I see about 250 films a year in theaters – I’ve had some issues here and there but on a whole Regal is decent. Carmike I’ve noticed has the highest prices of any of the big chains (I think)
I really wish Amy Miles would quit her whining and innovate here. I’m happy with REG’s rate of return and dividends as a share holder but imagine what good innovative PR would do – – if they figured out a way to provide high quality low cost health care to their front-line workers, that’d be a good thing. I don’t get why big companies are so anti-labor, after all if people had more money to spend they’d have more customers. Very short term thinking on their behalf, but I’m used to that in the hooray for me and f-you world these CEOs operate in.
RogerA – the idea of clearance is if more than one first run cinema in an area (normally 1-2 miles) exists, they will compete for films. Sometimes this zone is broken by the studio (in the case of the two megaplexes in Ontario, CA) – in other areas like NYC (obviously zones are smaller than 2 miles) certain theaters will divide bookings amongst themselves. The most obvious examples being Times Square (the Empire 25 is showing different films than EWalk across the street) and Union Square – with Cinema Village, Quad Cinema, Regal Union Square, AMC Village 7 and City Cinemas Village East 7 – all sharing, none playing the same film.
IMAX which doesn’t guarantee a movie will be a huge success, but its a competitive advantage for sure (like anything in the movie industry its based on what product is available in the market place). An IMAX screen means you’ll get that title as well as the option to show it at the other theatre (the Chinese 6) – perhaps in a variety of formats (2D, 3D, HFR 3D, etc). I believe this and Arc Light have to compete for bookings – and from my last look the Chinese was showing Tyler Perry’s latest film – a hot flick maybe for the first week but probably not packin' them in three weeks out.
Installing an IMAX is one way to ensure top quality bookings for this theater and the next-door 6-plex: it’s a clearance model – when an IMAX is attached to a theatre they get whatever IMAX feature is out (which is normally a hot movie). I’m thinking this one will get laser projection as a dirty little secret I ran across in my research is the 2 X 2K D-IMAX image falls apart at 6 stories (why else wouldn’t IMAX let Bill Warren build the largest IMAX screen in the world when he wanted to). I’ve seen this first hand on a native IMAX auditorium that was converted to D-IMAX, it’s about 5-6 stories and you can see pixilation from dead center in the auditorium.
Good news is a new operator is coming in and with new seats, digital projection, etc. New seats being essential, the previous owners really ran the place into the ground – last time I had seen a show the projection was under lit, the sound was virtually inaudible (and at a dialogue-centric Whit Stillman movie – no less!) and I had an allergic reaction to how musty the place was. I have no doubt it’ll be awesome with some upgrades. I think this and Bergenfield fill a valuable nitch – Bergen County has some high price tickets and an operator offering an alternative to the $12.50 at GSP and $12 Clearview charges is a good thing (especially since the crowd here was typically older and I got the sense frequented the place weekly – – if only exhibitors would do things to cultivate a frequent audience instead of trying to kill off programs like MoviePass)
Ft Bliss now has a commercially operated cinema.
I can’t find it now but I did run across a site with DBox movie reviews – I’ve been frustrated by some titles to the point of really not seeking it out after a few bad experiences. When it works, it works, but often its pretty lame. Maybe for the new Fast & The Furious movie. I agree an $8 upgrade is a little too much especially since those seats can be for some flicks mostly dormant.
I’m glad they’re able to show new-ish films but as 35MM prints become less and less available for smaller titles, I should note, 2 of the last 4 films we saw here were projected on a pre-show projector in what I assume was BluRay. The image quality wasn’t great – the blacks weren’t black enough and the whites looked a little too pixilated. I know this is a work around but Clearview it appears is behind the curve on digital installs, so I imagine its either BluRay or nothing for some of these titles, but I don’t want to see this trend continue. (I believe most of these titles alternative would be available as DCPs as other art house theaters have gone digital).
I believe it was 6-screens that was later expanded to 8. It’s a pretty nice community plex run by a good operator (clean, well maintained from what I saw on my one visit). Dipson programs this and a former General Cinema in the mall about mile away like a 10-plex (with the mall getting lesser releases, a second screen for stuff at the 8 plex or move-over product).
Yes mike – Regal has been increasing the number of trailers – 20 minutes is the new normal and I think it’s a tipping point. Before The Last Stand we saw 3 trailers for upcoming Bruce Willis films PLUS a Regal commercial (Go Big or Go Home!) featuring A Good Day to Die Hard. As a shareholder I’m glad they’re a profitable company, but as a customer I wish they’d do a 3-minute montage of upcoming movies for the month like Alamo Drafthouse does followed by 3-4 trailers and the feature.