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I can’t believe I missed this news. The Crown Theatres in Annapolis XI and Harbour 9 are one of my favorite theaters and probably have the best projection and sound in the DC Metro area. They have several THX certified screens, digital projection in two auditoriums and have a somewhat personal touch to showing movies as they have an employee introduce shows (at least on the weekend evenings that I go).
The Harbour 9 shows art movie fare and went through a recent renovation but the screens and auditoriums, though numerous, are rather small. Supposedly the 70mm projectors that were at the now closed DC MacArthur theater found their way to this venue. What is interesting about that transfer is that this theater never used them to the best of my knowledge. Unfortunately, I have not been able to confirm any of this and the employees look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language when I mention the DP70 projectors.
Based on the previous posts, if the change in ownership means a return to improved showmanship and programming, it would be great to see movies in 70mm again, even if they are at the smaller Harbour 9. The Crown Theater website makes no mention about this acquisition. Let’s hope the best comes out of this change.
How on earth is a theater that hasn’t even been open, much less ‘experienced’ is placed on a site that is supposed to ‘discover, preserve and protect’ ones that have been in existence for a long time?
It goes against what this website is about.
The idea of continuing submissions like this one seem more like a plug for patronage than for protecting a venue’s history and memories. Its as if we’re supposed to get excited about the opening of a new McDonalds.
I’m just reading that the running time of Dreamgirls is only 125 minutes. That to me seems hardly long enough to warrant an intermission. I can’t believe that people can’t hold their attention span and/or bladders for at least two hours, without a break. I drank a 44 oz drink watching the final Lord of the Rings and sat through it all without a break and that movie was over 3 hours long!
The Clearview website indicates only two shows a day, at 2 and 8? If you figure 3 hours for the show, plus intermission, surely they can squeeze in more shows to make more money given the two week exclusive run in town.
I went to the NA Fairfax Cinema Deluxe 14 within a week of its opening a few years ago. The advertisement of the ‘Director’s Hall’ was interesting and different, so my friends and I made the drive into VA for the ‘experience.’ They didn’t follow policy if we were allowed to choose our seats. We were assigned and seated way up in the back of the theater. I didn’t like being so high up so I decided we’d move down, as did some of our neighbors. The same Usher, who led us to our seats recognized some of us and proceeded to ask for our stubs and returned as back to our original seats. I felt like I was in 1st grade with the assigned seating and later being returned to my seat. Needless to say, I don’t plan on going back there or recommending that venue anytime soon…unless they have a 70mm festival (grin).
Anyway, my question/comment was directed primarily towards the Ziegfeld’s roadshow engagement reserved seating system and my single moviegoing experience with a ‘reserved seating’ arrangement and was curious as to how they had previously worked at this particular venue. After digging around the Clearview site, it seems that for the Dreamgirls engagement your ticket purchase gets you a seat, but once you get your ticket at the theater, the “system will select the best seating available in the auditorium.” That doesn’t sound like a choice to me.
The concept of reserved seating for the Dreamgirls engagement means that a computer will assign me a seat at random? Or, can a patron choose his seat and be guaranteed THAT seat for a particular showing? If its like National Amusement’s Director Hall reserved seating system, it sucks. You are told where to sit and an usher will come back and move you if you’ve moved even one seat over.
My memory of watching the last Star Wars movie in DP here was the best (either film or at the DC area DP theaters). If the Dreamgirls engagement is truly a special roadshow presentation, perhaps even with one of the newer 4K projection projectors (wishful), I’ll make the drive up :) Looking at the technical specs of the film’s shooting format (Super 35) perhaps it may not be as pristine when projected as opposed having it shot in HD, but I’m sure it will look very good.
I don’t understand why the listings for this theater, both in the newspaper and online, have it listed as the Uptown 1. Why bother putting in the 1? If you leave it off and look at the listings, you know it is just a single screen theater. Washingtonians know it is a single screen theater, so its of no use to anyone unless you’re looking at showtimes and are outside of the area. On the other hand, maybe there are plans to carve up the theater????
If it were my theater and I had the proof, I’d have everyone of those people locked up for theft and made sure they were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I guess there was no video to record the ticket/soda trading schemes!
Just read the posts above as to why people don’t travel to see movies at the Uptown, or downtown for that matter. The quality of projection and sound, as well as the programming choices just plain suck. They should be booking classic movies ala NYC’s The Ziegfeld and make use of that wonderful 80' screen to show 70mm movies during the slow period such as now. Or, offer them during the weekdays and the traditional Hollywood fare on the weekends, maybe even mix it up!
Even Wisconsin Ave had 70mm projection in #4 and 5. They could offer counter programming to the traditional fare. How many screens do you have to have to show Saw 3, or similar garbage anyway?
If you offer something that you can’t see in your neighborhood multiplex, or even at home in HD, and drum it up, people will come, which includes myself and, I’m sure, many others in this market.
AMC has a similar program in the DC area, but who is able to go to a 10am weekday showing of a movie? The only people who’d be attending such an early show are probably the retired and/or unemployed. They should make such discount shows say, like a 5pm matinee or so. Its not too early and its not too late.
I’m not 100% sure about the original BTTF, but remember II and III were filmed back to back and at the end of II, it did, indeed, have the “To be Continued” script. The movie then proceeded to show clips of III and its Western theme, which was disappointing after the futuristic setting of II. III was a dog.
How was Superman? I haven’t seen that film on the big screen since..1979. I take it that the film wasn’t 70mm or is it? If so, someone and a friend will be driving up tomorrow…. :)
And where is this theater located and is it listed on Cinema Treasures? Does it currently have its own website?
I happened to be leafing through a Jan ‘89 edition of the Washington Post (the first George Bush’s inauguration) and happened to find an ad for the newly opened Union Station and that it touted 70mm capability. This would presumably be in the largest “Grand” auditorium. Unfortunately, I don’t recall management ever booking any 70mm film at anytime.
After some thought, the ads and preshow shorts aren’t all that bad as long as they are played BEFORE the movie start time. Otherwise, its boring just sitting in a theater with nothing to do except stare at a curtain or blank screen. There isn’t even pre-show music or ovetures in films nowadays anyhow. From an economic standpoint, its increased revenue for the chains or independents (if they have ads). Citing my earlier Regal chain example, they sometimes have some interesting behind-the-scenes bits on upcoming movies and tv shows that make you appreciate them more or want to see them if its something completely new.
Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing “Hollywoodland” at this theater. And I’m pleased to report that someone either read my Email or posting here about in-house advertising the theater to bolster its support and continued patronage. The presentation was excellent as was the sound. As noted in my previous visit, the AC system does interfere with the sound somewhat but you learn to ignore it as the movie progresses. I doubt there’s anything they can do short of spending a lot of money redoing the heating and cooling system, which would strain their finances.
As for 70mm presentations, I’m still waiting…………..as well as other patrons for some classics in the wide screen format someday….
Are these high-def systems just for advertisement? If so, what’s the point? It just means we get to see scratchy film prints at the lousy National Amusement plexes in northern VA. The Regal chain here has their pre-show ads and short subject making of presentations in digital, but they are low quality. Low enough to see the pixels!
In the DC area, I’ll take a decent digitally projected movie over a scratched up movie that is projected off the screen any day…which is the case in many of the DC area theaters. And of the digital movies I have seen, they don’t have the pre-show ads in DLP (yet).
Tonight the Uptown hosted the world premier of the Kevin Costner-Ashton Kutcher film “The Guardian.” The local news here reports that Disney spent $1 million on the premier event this evening. I suppose the Uptown still has some meaning to some even though AMC seems to be neglecting this theater.
I remember when this particular theater and the Mt Vernon Multiplex opened, they touted 70mm projection in the larger auditoriums and THX certification back in 1986. The two largest auditoriums had 70mm, but rather small screens. I believe the last time they booked a 70mm movie was “Dick Tracy” back in 1990. The movie was quite colorful with its bright and bright costumes and makeup (paying obvious homage to its comic strip roots) and the soundtrack that had Madonna singing catchy older tunes.
In 1993, they had one of the first digital sound system installs in NoVA, and I made the trip to see “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” The movie was riveting to watch with great performances by Angela Basset and Lawrence Fishburne. They were robbed of their Academy Awards! I can vividly remember the Dolby Digital train sound trailer they played before the movie began and the crystal clarity of the sound system as it engulfed you in sound that truly enriched the theater experience.
That was then. Now, they have the same interiors that have fallen into a state of disrepair. No longer THX certified, but having the only other DLP (for now) auditorium in northern Virginia. They have curtains but don’t bother to open or close them for shows. I saw X2 in DLP, back in ‘02 and was disappointed with the bad sound quality. The Uptown’s regular 35mm presentation was superior mostly due to the fact that its wrap around screen and louder sound levels drew you into the action on screen. The DLP system is installed in one of the smaller theaters off to the end of the plex. I am curious as to why they were unable or unwilling to install it in one of the largest two auditoriums that previously had 70mm capability, THX certification and currently, Dolby EX. The latter sound system, though installed and advertised for Star Wars: Episode 1 back in '99, could not be experienced when I visited there. When I saw that movie there, there was virtually no surround sound at all, in comparison to Baltimore’s Senator and the area’s Regal chain’s largest auditorium’s EX set up.
The last time I’ve visited this plex was three weeks ago to see M. Night Shymalyan’s “The Lady in Water.” The presentation was quite good with decent sound levels. It was worth the trip to experience it in this format and at this theater. I enjoyed this film better than Night’s last film, “The Village,” which was rather boring save for Adrian Brody’s Rainman-ish performance.
The DLP auditorium’s ceiling showed signs of leakage as there were water/rust stains. The seats are still the same as they were when they opened 20 years ago, but they are of the comfortable rocker type variety. Given the investment to install their system, I am astonished they don’t do more to advertise the digital bookings they do get. The Washington Post has consistently labeled their digital projected movies as “DPL.” The marquee gets no distinctive signage probably due to management disinterest. In years past, they did advertise “70mm”, the Dolby Digital icon and DTS icon for those movies that had those distinctions.
Of all the discussion threads, this is the liveliest by far! I have a question, for the projectionists, that is off topic for the Ziegfeld but is pertinent I think to the movie going experience.
What determines the sound levels set for the audience in a theater? Is it based on the number of tickets sold? Or does management/projectionist/attendant set the level for a show? I have noticed that if a movie is sold out and the house is packed, the sound levels are almost always up loud as opposed to when there are maybe a handful where the sound level is sometimes minimal. It seems that way. In the THX certified theaters I go to, they seem to be consistent with the sound level whether its packed or a much smaller group. I have also noticed that if the sound level isn’t high enough, you lose some of the subtleties in the soundtrack that could be drowned out by audience noise and bad theater acoustics.
I doubt how effective this program will be especially if implemented in one of the more urban plexes. It’s hard to imagine one of the ushers (who is usually a teen ager or very young employee) asking a patron, who is loud and boisterous and who could very well be an individual with, criminal tendencies, to be quiet or leave!
At the grand opening of downtown DC’s Regal plex in Chinatown, there was a ruckus between an older mid30s white professionally dressed female and a 20something black man, over his talking during the movie. She went to get a manager or usher, at least twice, but it seemed no one ever came back to do anything. She eventually sat at the far end of the row, next to my friend and I.
As stated above, the system is destined to be abused as you’re going to have hyperactive kids constantly push that button as if it were a toy. And when you push the button, does the employee come right to your seat, wherever it is in the theater, to deal with your issue? Or, do they stop the movie and make an announcement? Now, if they had computer screens where you could text message someone…or multiple buttons for say, “sound,” “picture,” “disruptive patron” then that would make more sense.
That was done already, it was a little film called “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
Other than the Mobster marathon, I don’t see any listing of upcoming ones.
Hey, bring it here to DC, I’d be glad to see it. Landmark Theatres would be great to see it, plus I’m sure they have digital projectors to show it.
How could they downgrade the sound system? If a system is already in place, why take the time and expense to install inferior equipment? Englighten us, please.
Its depressing to read all of this, but I already knew this place was going down hill for awhile. The interesting thing about all of this is that this movie theater still hosts world premieres and benefit screenings. They must hire a projectionist for that.