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Hello Again From NYC-
thanks to my fellow posters for their replies
about the Chinese’s history. a number of grand old
movies theaters built during the prime 1914-1941
period are alive and well. for instance the Castro
Theater in San Francisco. the theater opened the
last week of Sept. 1922 and has been in continual
operation ever since but it was built from the
get go as a 2nd/3rd run neighborhood theater. so
apparently of all the grand old theaters built in
prime period noted above that were built from the get
go as 1st run venues the Chinese is the only one that
has continued to operate as such since the day it
I am a bit confused. I always thought the Chinese
was built as a 1st run venue from the get go. after
all it held the premiere of Demille’s “The King of
Kings” May 18, 1927. so what does Coate mean by
referring to the Chinese as a neighborhood theater
during its early years? granted Hollywood is a
neighborhood to the people who live there but that
does not make the Chinese a “neighborhood” theater
in the accepted sense of the term.
I thank Coate for his input on the subject. so it
seems that when the Village and Bruin first opened
like the Uptown in D.C. they were essentially neighborhood theaters and only became “1st run” venues
decades later. so it seems that the Chinese is the only
grand old movie theater built in the 1914-1941
heyday that was a 1st run venue from the get go and
has continued to operate as such since the day
Hello Again from NYC-
I thank Cliffs for the info on the Village and
Bruin in Westwood. to which I have another question.
if I understand your comment correctly the Village
and the Bruin which opened in 1931 and 1937 were built
from the get go as 1st run venues and have operated
as such since the day they opened? the reason I ask
is simple. I thought the Uptown in D.C. which is
a 1st rum venue and been one since it opened in
1936. but it opened as 2nd/3rd run neighborhood
theater and only reinvented itself as a 1st run venue
with the dawn of the modern roadshow era in
Oct. of 1955 with Oklahoma.
Hello to Cliffs-
thanks for your informative reply. another question
I hope you can help me with. I discovered this
wonderful website the last week of January 2012.
after browsing it briefly I created a project for
myself. the Golden Age of building grand old movie
theaters was approx. 1914 thru 1941. this is what
I set out to look for. how many such theaters that
were built from the get go as 1st run venues have
continued to operate as such. so far the only theater
i have found that was built during this period as
a 1st run venue and has continued to operate as such
since the day it opened is the Chinese. is that
thanks to Danny B. for your reply. the reason I asked
if the attendance had picked up all that much after the
IMAX redo is simple. in Nov. of 2013 two months after
the conversion was unveiled Catching Fire opened. now
as you know CF is tied with Iron Man 3 as the highest
grossing film of 2013. but a regular at the Chinese
went to see CF with two friends the Sun. after the
film opened. he stated on this page that it was an
afternoon showing and was shocked the theater was
at the absolute most 10% full.
I thank Escort N. his reply. if I am not mistaken
The Avengers: Age of Ultron had the 2nd biggest
opening weekend in history. now I wanted to see it
at the IMAX theater in the Loews Lincoln Square
complex but the first show of the day was way to
early. so I saw the first showing of the day at
the Loews which is the main and largest of the
complex’s 12? auditoriums. now has I stated the
film had the 2nd biggest weekend opening in history
yet for that 1st showing on Sat. May 2 the Loews
was virtually empty. I found that highly surprising.
Hello From NYC-
I thank Escott N. and Cliffs for their replies. I
was guessing the upgrades increased the attendance
somewhat but wondered exactly by how much. so since
you two appear to be regulars at the Chinese what
would you say the increase is percentage wise? for
instance do Sat. and Sun. afternoon showings have
an increase of 15% or even 20% over the same from
before the IMAX conversion?
in Manhattan I consider the Ziegfeld the place to
see any big action flick especially superhero films.
but the Ziegfeld hasn’t had an exclusive engagement
in years so matter how well reviewed a film is or
how well liked it is by the public I haven’t seen
anything even approaching a sell out crowd in years.
the biggest recently was the day after Christmas 2012
for the first showing of Les Miserables. the theater
was maybe 25% full.
another case. eventhough Star Wars VII: The Force
Awakens is the most highly anticipated film this
year I’m betting even if it gets reviewed as the
best Star Wars yet the crowd at the Ziegfeld won’t
be anywhere near a sell out. the reason is simple-
whatever big film is playing the Ziegfeld is also
playing at 12 if not more theaters in Manhattan.
I was wondering if all the sound and projection
upgrades the Chinese has gotten in the last year
and a half have really increased the patronage
that much. I’m thinking that however well done
the upgrades are whatever big film is playing
the Chinese is also playing at several other
theaters in the surrounding area.
Hello- speaking of a little tibit of info. I went to
the 12p.m. show of TAAOU in the main Loews auditorium
and was shocked it was virtually empty.
its funny you should mention the Paris since the
Ziegfeld and the Paris are the only two single screen
1st run theaters left in Manhattan. and to answer
your question as to why the Paris unlike the
Ziegfeld still gets exclusive 1st runs. the Paris
has always been an art house and has never to the
best of my knowledge shown big studio type films.
so while it has shown many prestigious award winning
films, most recently The Imitation Game whatever
films play at the Paris only get art house releases.
I am dating myself but I can remember quite well
when screenings at the Ziegfeld were close to capacity
if not actually sold out. the reason this has not
happened in years is simple- the Ziegfeld no longer
gets exclusive runs of big studio film. the reason
for the low attendance at this theater is that
whatever big studio film is playing is also playing
at 12 other theaters in Manhattan. it has nothing to
do with the theater or the location.
I think the new set up at the 84 St. theater is a
rip off. even if a particular auditorium has 5 people
in it the basically force you to pay more for a
reserved seat. its the same at the Cinema 1 on
3rd. Ave. the regular price is now $17 making it
the most expensive regular ticket price in the city.
in fact I went to see Mr. Turner there. I arrived
several minutes before the film was due to begin
but the line at the box office was sooooooo long
since everyone was forced to pick a reserved seat
that I missed the beginning of the film. in my
opinion this reserved seat policy is just theater
onwers way of squeezing more $$$ out of moviegoers.
i assumed this website was for people interested
and wanted to chat about the history of movie theaters of which roadshow engagements played a significant
part at least for the 7 theaters I listed.
so to answer you question i am just curious. i don’t
appreciate your assumption i’m trying to squeeze info
from you for a book.
Hello to Coate-
as you have suggested i now define the prime
roadshow period with having started with the
Sept. 1952 opening of This Is Cinerama rather
than the Oct. 1955 opening of Oklahoma. to which
during this period there were 7 Times Square
movie theaters that the studios used for their
roadshow engagements- Criterion, Loews State,
RKO Palace, Demille ,Warner , Rivoli and the
Loews Capitol. now do you know of any roadshow
engagements that played the 7 theaters listed
during the prime roadshow period that did not
have a souvenir program and or intermission?
I suppose you’re right and that the modern roadshow
era as I call it should start with the release of
This Is Cinerama Sept. of 1952 and not the Oct. 1955
opening of Oklahoma.
likewise I suppose The Last Tango in Paris should be
considered the last prime roadshow by a big company
namely United Artists which also released Man of La
Mancha. but Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter’s
exclusive Manhattan runs were actually reserved
performance engagements not traditional reserved seat
ones. likewise Napoleon’s engagement at Radio City
Music Hall was a special limited run not part of a
also have you actually read Movie Roadshows by Kim Holston from cover to cover? I find it a fascinating
book since its the only one I have ever come across
on the subject but its loaded with factual errors.
for instance he states the 1962 film version of
Gypsy opened on a roadshow run but doesn’t state
where. plus here’s a big no no-one of the last
traditional roadshow engagements in Manhattan
The Trojan Women which opened Nov. of 1971 at the
Fine Arts is mentioned nowhere in the book.
I refer to the period of Oct. 1955 with the release
of Oklahoma to the Dec. 1972 release of Man of La
Mancha as the modern roadshow era. to which a question.
the release pattern for roadshow films basically
followed a three part process-a) the original roadshow
run b)a subsequent continuous performance run at a
1st run theater in Manhattan and c)spreading out to
NYC many neighborhood theaters. to which does anyone
know of a film other than The Sound of Music that was
never cut/tweaked etc….. at any point in the three
part release pattern?
the new admission price of $17 is a total
rip off. i don’t see what reserved seating
accomplishes other than more $$$ for the
theater. its not like the old days of 2
performance a day roadshow movies.
to put it simply i can’t stand reserved seating.
i don’t see what it accomplishes. its not like the
old days of 2 shows a day roadshow movies.
as a fellow poster said these large theaters cost
way to much to heat during the winter and cool during
the summer. plus the last nail in the coffin for
these large theaters was the end of exclusive first
runs whether roadshow or continuous performance and
wide or showcase releases. for the Roxy the cost of
heating it nowadays would be astronomical and far
more than any hit film could bring in.
on this site’s pages for many of the late but great
beloved movie palaces people are always lamenting
their demolition. but as grand and glorious as these
movie palaces were by 1959-1960 they had become just
plan economically unviable as single screen 1st run
movie theaters. in fact even as revival theaters
they would have been even more economically unviable.
people forget its called show “business” not show
that is most certainly true but those plaques
honoring former Loews theaters are in many cases
wrong. for instance the one for the Capitol says it
was torn down at the end of 1967 which we all
know is not true.