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I hope the Washington DC Market will be part of the initial roll out, but the screens at the two Landmark multiplexes here are a bit on the small side. And the admission prices are some of the highest, if not the highest here, even during so called ‘bargain’ matinees.
Does anyone know if any theater in the US has this projector? How does it compare to the 2K projectors that are already out? You’d think this new one is 2x as sharp.
If the theater had better programming, films that showcased its capabilities; 70mm & classic films that other theaters were not showing, then perhaps it would’ve survived. Maybe the local P&G theater group will take it over after its gone. Anyone know what will happen to the theater when it is closed?
As far as the Uptown is concerned, maybe it will be twinned; a theater upstairs where the balcony presently is and the curved screen below. Oops. I probably shouldn’t have suggested that…
If enough people write, like I did, perhaps someone will notice and make the necessary changes. Otherwise, people just won’t go there anymore. I rarely go downtown anymore to see a movie. Since they don’t have films in 70mm anymore, whats the point travelling all the way to see it in a place where management doesn’t care?
Ahh. Now this drive-in brings back some memories. No, I’ve never been inside of it but I do remember passing by, on my way home, from school. The view, from Central Ave., was obscured by sections of board. Unfortunately, there were these big gaps between the boards where you could see xxx-rated action as you drove by. And, yes, there were people who would park their cars, on Central Ave., where the biggest gaps were to see portions of the movie for free!
Awesome, it even works on my Mac using Windoze Media Player! I guess not all Microsoft products are that bad.
They are closing this theater as of this Thursday, 9-23-04.
I’d like to go, too, but CA is on the other coast and don’t have the funds, but do have the frequent flier mileage to go ;) Hmmm. The last time I was in H'wood, they were just remodeling the Dome.
It would be nice to visit the refurbished theater and other palaces there.
I wish our (Wash DC) Uptown theater would have events like this. They used to have Cinerama projection capabilities and the curved screen to do it.
I saw two movies this week at the AFI: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and the digitally restored THX1138.
I caught a sneak preview screening of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, in Auditorium 1, the Historic Theater, on Tues., 9-14 and enjoyed the presentation of the movie but still don’t understand why they don’t play the THX trailer before the movie starts! It is THX certified, according to the THX website. My only minor quibble was that the projection of the film went a bit off the upper left edge of the screen. Since this film has digital composites, I’m surprised that there isn’t a digital presentation anywhere.
Now, THX1138 I saw in Auditorium 2, which was my first experience in this newer theater. The presentation was DLP, which showcased the restoration efforts of this 32 year old film quite well. And, surprise, they did show the THX and DLP trailers! The THX trailer was the older Terminator one, which did show off the auditorium’s sound system.
If only the programming included more 70mm films other than 2001 and Lawrence of Arabia. sigh
I remember this theater when it was a single screen venue. It had 70mm capability as the first Poltergeist film had the only 70mm presentation in the DC/MD/VA market. The next film I saw here was Robocop, in a relatively new sound format (for its time), Dolby Spectrum, in 1987. Parking was difficult, if non-existent at the time. You had to walk blocks, through some not very safe neighborhoods, after parking your car, to get to this theater. Or, if you were lucky enough, wait until the previous show was done so you could park your car as patrons exited.
The last time I went to this theater was to see Margaret Cho’s first concert film “I’m the One That I Want,” in ‘00. The theater had reopened as a twinned venue serving food and alcohol. The dining area decor seemed decent and the menu selection was adequate. Since the movie wasn’t an event film with a busy soundtrack, I could not compare it to my experiences of the past.
Yes, the first Star Trek movie premiered at the MacArthur, but it also opened at other theaters in the DC Metro area. I saw it, on opening weekend, at the now closed KB Langley and later at the Jenifer, which I believe had the movie longer than other theaters in the area. The Jenifer played the movie on both screens starting at 8 or 9 am, on opening weekend, too, if I remember correctly.
I remember the Jenifer. Maybe it should be listed on Cinema Treasure, too. I saw the first Star Trek movie there several times as well as a few other movies. It had a killer dolby sound system that was turned up nice and load..the way I like it :) And, yes, the second theater didn’t have Dolby, if I remember correctly.
I think Superman played at the Uptown in 70mm. I was too young to go downtown when it came out and saw that film at a shoebox multiplex theater called the Landover 6, now thankfully closed.
For those of you who are close enough to one of these screens, just how big are they? When I hear IMAX, I think of the huge multi story screens that our Smithsonian Museum has.
It would be nice to have a more commercial IMAX screen in our area. We have several; Baltimore, two at the Smithsonian in DC and in Virginia, but they rarely, if ever, show commercial, first-run releases in this format.
I’m not sure if this theater was part of the General Cinema chain, during the 60s, but I’m sure it was part of the KB chain during the latter part of the 70s and most of the 80s.
If memory serves me correctly, the GCC chain had just a few theaters in the DC area; namely the Springfield Mall (VA) multiplex (now AMC), Mazza Gallery (now AMC), Columbia 9, in MD, and I think the Fair Oaks Mall 10.
The Elks Theatre looks like quite a treasure. The semi-circular theater arrangement reminds me a bit of the old Showscan theater we used to have in Virginia. Are there still any of those around?What I can’t believe is the $3 admission price! We don’t have anything priced that low in my area, not even matinees!
Gene, can you post some pictures of your theater? Inside and out? I’m curious to see what your theater looks like.
The information hasn’t been updated for a loooong time. The info posted is still the same. No new news.
Interesting article. I’m looking forward to the book’s release. Are you going to promote it on the AM shows or radio programs? Or, how about posting a preview of the cover and some of its contents? :)
I believe the street name is spelled V-a-r-n-u-m. I know because when I was a teenager, I used to work at the store across the street from this former theater! On the other side of the street there was a Buddhist temple and on Sundays, the store would be packed with hundreds of church goers going in to get hot dogs, sodas, nachos and chips. I have always been curious as to what the interior of this theater looked like. If someone has posted pictures of the interior on the internet, or the venue’s website, please advise. Thanks.
I’m sure the sci-fi festival will be a success! I’m hoping we will also have one in the DC/Balto metro area soon. I didn’t see mention of this theater having 70mm projection capabilities. Does anyone know if it does? Their website doesn’t indicate that it can.
I now remember the name of the sound system. It was HPS-4000!
The project seems rather daunting. I hope that it succeeds, too. It would be nice to have yet another gem of a theater in Baltimore restored to its former glory. If the refurbished Ambassador and new six-plex are THX certified and, at least one theater has DLP, you can bet I’ll be seeing movies there on a regular basis.
A few questions:
Are there any known pictures of the interior (then and now) that someone could post?
If this theater is the Senator’s sister, is it safe to assume that the interiors are the same?
Does anyone know if there are any posted artist renderings on this new entertainment complex? Is there a timetable as to when the project will start and be finished?
I had the privilege of revisiting the Uptown to see the midnight opening of Spiderman 2. It has been a year since I’ve been to this theater and was looking forward to being enveloped by the big screen that this gem has to offer.
The single most irritating item about watching a movie at this theater is the constant stream of commercials. While I have not been to another Loews/Cineplex theater to confirm whether it is an isolated incident, the commercials just keep coming and were in bad quality and were not even in stereo.
While the picture was good, the sound was not. As mentioned, the commercials and previews were not played in stereo. The sound, for the most part was very tinny and muddled. It was centered but some of the dialog was almost intelligible. The only time that the sound came alive was during the fusion reaction scenes with Doc Ock. You could feel the theater come alive at that time. It was like the picture played in mono and was only turned on towards the middle and end of it.
I did contact customer service at Loews/Cineplex and received an Email response from an intern, who stated that they apologized for the commercials and that the chain has to show them to compensate for the “$20M salaries that stars are demanding…” There was no response as to the rather disappointing sound presentation.
Will this second bad experience hinder me from going back to the Uptown? I don’t know. But I will think twice before travelling downtown again. I think our suburban theaters have better sound presentation and picture, albeit in a smaller and less grand setting.
St Louis isn’t that small of a city is it? Besides, if the two multiplexes aren’t that close to each other, I’d think the respective companies have done enough of an economic survey to determine if there is enough demand, without hurting each other’s business.
Its nice to have choices really. I prefer the moviehouses that have the best picture (DLP, 70mm, or largest screen) and sound (Digital THX) even if it means I have to travel a bit (less than 50 miles).
The 70mm revivals aren’t as frequent as they used to be. Actually, I don’t think they’ve had a 70mm series since the 90s? I imagine, if the Uptown does host a 70mm series, it will be after the summer movie season, since attendance will drop and there won’t be any event films coming out until Thanksgiving.
If I had a wish, I would hope for a science fiction/fantasy series starting with the Star Wars films, Star Trek, Superman, Alien, all in 70mm. I read that 20th Century Fox was going to re-release a director’s cut of Aliens in theaters like they did the recent Alien one. Perhaps, they could show it here. Even older films would be nice to revisit. I remember watching Vertigo, in a restored 70mm print with a remastered soundtrack. The movie looked like it had just been shot yesterday. The print was so sharp and scratch free!
What would be really cool is if this theater had digital projection capabilities.