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This theatre was built during the Regal Cinemas building craze that eventually led to the downfall of the chain. Regal Cinemas Pohatcong Cinema 12 has both stadium and sloped floor auditriums (an odd mix), and standard Regal Cinemas atompshere, there really isn’t much special about it except for the theatres, they are nice looking themselves. The hallways connecting them are dark and lifeless (simular to the Regal Bergen Plaza/Cineplaza- built roughly around the same time).
This was a new Regal construction, whereas the Northampton 14 was built by Magic Cinemas (that site has evolved a few times if I recall correctly, I remember it as an 11 theatre, but I think it may have even started with 8). This site puts up decent numbers from what I recall, it’s mostly teen hang out, probably a fun place to see Lords of Dogtown.
I got confused, I got that information from this montage of old news ads that used to sit in the loby of Cinema City, thanks for correcting that. I ought to add Cinema City, despite the fact I hate it (such a weird place to put an art theatre). That montage isn’t in the loby since they repainted the walls (the only renovation Crown did at Cinema City!).
Criterion Cinemas at Blue Back Square will do well, even though its sad, West Hartford gets all of the devolopment while Hartford suffers in poverty. I wonder how this new cinema will effect Real Art Ways (which shows most of the same pictures as the Criterion Temple Square). I know they won’t touch Cinestudio, which has a loyal following (and is quite often one of only two second run houses in the Greater Hartford area). Hell, anything is better than Cinema City. And the Criterion has got amazing popcorn.
Not all the screens at the Regal Phillisburg have stadium seating, I know of atleast one, #3 which has standard sloped foor seating. Weird, I know. That’s Regal Cinemas, they built locations too quickly without seeing the bottom line.
Actually ‘Top of the Empire" isn’t even always the case with those art products, AMC in their efforts to streamline will move a picture around during diffrent showtimes- fequently there are Hollywood movies playing on the top level and indies playing on the bottom levels, it depends on the movie, time of day, and antispiated audience.
The “Top of the Empire” was just a catagory in their showtime ads for their first year of operation, still most of the films I see there are art movies and I do have to travel up all those escalators to get there (I think 7, if I counted correctly, its unreal). I think though, that by being in Manhatten a theatre, especially a multiplex has to carry some exclusive bookings- even the Loews State in Times Square (the new 4 plex, when it first opened before E-Walk and Empire) would play a new art pictures as well as mainstream pictures, although I do agree if Loews E-Walk wasn’t a factor you would see less and less art pictures at the Empire.
retractable roof, typo, sorry. And, too natrual fiber seats. If you look on the page that Ron Newman posted theres sure to be articles about how “brillent” his ideas were.
Atleast The Bridge in Phildephia is a great theatre, despite not having the Sundance name, indie films, the confrence center, the jazz bar, the natrual fiber seats (that weren’t fire resistant!) and the retractable roof.
Any word on who’s going to be opperating that new theatre (in Blue Back Square, right?)
A few months ago The Hartford Advocate wrote an article on this theatre citing that its missleading from the outside- it looks like it could be an art house cinema. Then again instead of being R.A.W. (Real Art Ways- Hartford’s alternative movie theatre), I’m sure it’s just raw in a gross way.
It’s just weird seeing a new theatre (a great theatre- amazing popcorn, comfortable seating and good customer service) without stadium seating, but I suppose when you’re dealing with exculsive bookings like they have here its good just to see them in a comfortable environment (unlike NY’s Quad Cinema- which has no leg room at all).
I do stop by whenever I’m in the area. Interestingly enough too BS Moss Company once owned Hartford’s Cinema City (a terrably rundown art house, don’t get me going on that one), ofcoarse this was a generation or so ago. Now a Crown Theatre, Cinema City and Criterion are pretty much competitors in the art film market in CT, Hartford is losing out though, and a lot of those prints are now being shown in the New Haven market first as New Haven is over-screened. (Criterion, Temple Square, and Showcase Cinemas Orange show art films verses Cinema City, Real Art Ways, and Cinestudio in Hartford- aprox. 8-9 screens vs. 6.)
A 35MM projector costs about 75,000-100,000 to install, whereas I think digital is somewhere in the 200,000+ range. Doesn’t seem like this is in Clearview’s budget for their NJ operation, they don’t even have video projectors at the Clairige (which limits them from getting really indepenendent with what they show, even distributors like Wellspring will sometimes release a film theatrically via DVD). And those theatres are small in Mansfield.
In NJ digital projection can currently been seen at the Loews Jersey Gardens and Edgewater Multiplex in some of their larger theatres. I saw the new Star Wars at Edgewater Mutliplex, it looked amazing. A few Clearviews have it in New York (Ziegfeld and Chelsea), maybe soon we’ll get it in NJ, but I doubt that if Star Wars didn’t warrent it that any other film will for a while.
This was when the theatre first opened, this 15th screen- back when it looked like every Clearview (with a sort of pink and red kinda of look to it). The theater I belive was orginally a Jamesway (a sort of Wal Mart store).
There is a new snackbar down the right hallway that wasn’t there when the cinema first opened. Now the place has a sort of Regal Cinemas feel to it (Washingtown Township and Cinema 10 all have been remodled in this style as well with the colorfully tiled snack bars).
Its rare that Clearview builds a new theatre complex, ussually they aquire an existing cinema (thats how this chain was built, which explains why I think Northern NJ is deprived of megaplexes it should rightfully have). Even their “new” theatres rarely have Stadium Seating- such as the Caldwell Theatre (a closed cinema that became a retail site and then was reborn by Clearview). They all have that small town independently owned feel to them- except their multiplexes of coarse (like this and Cinema 10) which are pretty run of the mill.
I belive that, I always knew it as a Nelson-Firman and Clearview location, its just interesting that design is simular to that of two former General Cinema locations I know of, both closed: Ocean County Mall and Leigh Valley Mall. Somebody ought to write a book on the history of General Cinema (if it hasn’t been supressed by AMC…).
It never happened, General Cinema went bankrupt before the expensive cinemas could be finished. The two that were in construction became a Regal Cinemas (in Portland, OR) and The Bridge: Cinema de Lux in Philadelphia (which is a really nice theatre, its in the Cinema Tressures book). But his ideas were out there: in Portland it was roomered that he wanted to construct a cinema with a retractable room.
The goal was to make each Sundance Cinema a Sundance extention, with lecture halls and all. The IFC Center seems to make the same claim although I don’t think they planned to take it outside the New York market as Cablevision seems to be all about the greater New York area.
The Cinema Latino idea was quite an interesting one, but they chose to release films that had little or no US exposure (I’m not suprized to hear most were projected from video). They had an ambitious plan to show a new picture every week. It’s a great idea, maybe in a multiplex where you can give a film a 100-seat theatre and if the audience grows bump it up to a 300 seat auditrium. But the apeal is limited as I don’t think these films were reviewed in the local papers (simular to the aproach taken with Bollywood Cinema). Clearview plans to show self-distributed and works in progress at their IFC Center…although, somehow, some buzz-worthy film from Sundance will find an audience, I’m sure. These films, especially some of the more obsure fare are a hard sale.
Additionally, before being aquired by Clearview Cinemas this was owned by Cineplex Oden. Upon merging into Loews Cineplex all, if not most, Manhatten Cineplex Oden locations were sold to Clearview. In New Jersey Clearview aquired sites in Cranford and Ridgewood.
I think this was a General Cinema site at one time. The clue, the word CINEMA instead of “Clearview Cinemas” above its name. Also the bathrooms upstairs, a typical General Cinema architectural design.
It’s ironic, look at the features of this cinema, the meetings halls and all, its simular to that of Redford’s Sundance Cinema vision (even though while working with General Cinema he forced them to build new locations instead of converting old ones). I wonder if Clearview’s art cinemas will slowly become IFC Centers, I hope. The Clairige in Montclair is diffinatly in need of some renovations.
Actually The Bridge: Cinema de Lux is a joint venture between Cinebridge Inc (which also opperates the Kino Star Line), they are National Amusements and some venture company. This location was set to be the first “Sundance Cinema” – it orginaly intended to offer a 7th screen in the basement.
This is one of my favorite places to chill when I’m in Philadelphia, the classiest movie theatre on this coast- it proves once again that National Amusements knows how to run a theatre.
Hoyts had a weird contruction flaw that I’ve noticed in this and the almost idenitical looking Simsbury Commons 8- the large theatres feature true stadium seating, while the smaller cinemas (in the back of both buildings) feature half-risers. Yet, the screens are roughly around the same height, making for an awkard experience in those smaller houses, and the seats don’t tilt back.
This theatre is okay, better now that N/A owns it.
Two small little weird things about the Criterion Cinema, this is the only “new” movie theatre I’ve been to without stadium seating, and secondly, the large drink doesn’t fit in their cup holders. Other than that, this place is great, the popcorn reminds me of the old days of movie going and the film selection often rivials that of Hartford’s three art cinemas.
Weirdly, this theatre is on the same highway at the Regal Cinemas Commerice Center 18, which leaves poor movie-goers going “oh, it was at the other 18 Plex at 9:30, damn.”
Also too this theatre in its ads claims to be the first in New Jersey to have stadium seating, wrong again- not only were several balcony converts open, but so was The Screening Zone (now closed), by my calculation this was the first in NJ to be built with stadium seating.
Opening night features were Jingle All The Way, Space Jam, Star Trek: First Contact, The Miror Has Two Faces, Ransom, The English Paient, and 101 Dalmations. Everything showed on atleast 2 screens that night.
AMC Empire 25 started its second phase at life on April 21, 2000, opening night attractions were: U-571, Gossip, Mission to Mars, Ready to Rumble, Pitch Black, Being John Malkovich, Beyond the Mat, Boiler Room, Drowning Mona, Family Tree, Ghost Dog, Price of Glory, Three Strikes, Tigger: The Movie, Trois, The 9th Gate, Cotton Mary, Me Myself I, All About My Mother, Casablanca, 10 Commandments, 42nd Street, and Topsy Turvy.
In responce to the other posters who claim AMC’s art products are just there to fill space, I assure you they fequently sell out and/or at near capacitity. Although most of the screens on that top floor (except for #25) are quite small, I’d say some as small as 80 or so seats. Still, this monster plex is the best in Manhatten, even though I hate Times Square.
Opened as a General Cinema location the theatre features a symetrical design; six screens have 291 seats, two 250, two 225, two 190, and four with 90. The cinema opened with a self serve stand, Pizzeria Uno Pizzas, and a full serve coffee shop. Opening night (April 30, 1999) attractions were Entrapment, Matrix, Shakespear In Love, Life is Beatiful, Pushing Tin, Analyze This, Idle Hands, Never Been Kissed, Life, The Out of Towners, Doug’s First Movie, Forces of Nature, Cookie’s Fortune, and Go.
Weirdly I remember this theatre opened with 15 screens. Sometime in there they cut out one of the screens and updated the theatres with “stadium seating” – three or so rows contained true stadium style seating while the others in some theatres rose about half the distance of the others. Weirdly too, there are two diffrent style seats in this place.
It offers hot foods and is the largest Clearview Cinemas remodled to look more like a standard multiplex (it used to have that home town cinema feel that Clearviews all have in some way). This remodeling style can also been seen in the lobby of their Washingtown Township theatre.
The theatre had two long, narrow theatres on the first floor, and the rest rooms were on the second floor. Orginally I think this was a Loews house.
The second floor contained two more narrow theatres, although they were small and crammed.