Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Magic Johnson Capital Centre 12 and IMAX on Jan 30, 2013 at 8:32 am

That design has origins in Canada – I’ve been to a few Cineplex Odeon sites in the GTA that have similar design to AMC Rockaway (Cineplex Queensway and Cineplex Niagara Square) and sites were on the drawing board before the AMC merger.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Doors to new Showroom Cinema open on Jan 29, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Great programing – a nice mix of commercial art house films and micro-budget films. I’m slightly jealous we don’t have anything like that in Northern NJ and have to travel to the city or do VOD. Hopefully the promise of digital will mean more smaller films released in a low risk kind of way…..

John Fink
John Fink commented about Rutgers Cinema opens on Feb. 8, seeks student input on Jan 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm

That’s very cool and opens up the opportunities to screen non-traditional works in conjunction with academic departments. Hopefully the owners will make that accessible, although its 100% digital so my guess is its not going to be conducive to experimental filmmaking the way a traditional college screening room may be (I used to teach in media study’s screening room at UB and had my choice of digital formats, 35MM and 16MM – – although not always having the luxury of a projectionist, running back and forth between the projection booth and the classroom was exhausting for showing film prints).

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Chestnut Hill 5 on Jan 23, 2013 at 9:40 pm

@Ron – it’ll be a new concept “Showcase Super Lux” – which I think might be all dinning, reserved seating, etc like iPic (Gold Class) – so the 6-screens makes sense for a high end luxury theater. I wish National had further developed The Bridge brand, although it probably didn’t make sense outside of urban areas – the Philly location was pretty awesome and ahead of its time.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Channelside Cinemas 10 on Jan 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Didn’t Regal originally run it as an arthouse? I remember they got a lot of bookings from smaller distributors like Strand Releasing when they first opened (where they splitting product with someone else?).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Ellsworth Air Force Base movie theater to close on Jan 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm

** aren’t first run – that should read….

John Fink
John Fink commented about Ellsworth Air Force Base movie theater to close on Jan 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm

It’s run by the Army Air Force Exchange – which has several theaters on army bases (some bases have privately corporate theaters) – but I’m not sure if these venues will convert to digital. Hollywood should do the right thing and as most of these theaters are first run, offer them the option of screening non-DCP (i.e.: BluRay0 with cheaper video projectors. Smaller theaters can get away with it – I was at Cinema Village the other night and on those screens BluRay on a decent projector (total cost 2,000 vs. 60,000+) it works.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre on Jan 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Frequently only showing 7 movies (screen #4 still has 35MM equipment but is more frequently used for the Road Less Traveled Theatre – – and has a big stage that has cut that auditorium’s capacity drastically). One screen has a high quality non-DCI digital projector that they use for film festivals, local independent film screenings, and the theatre’s signature program Buffalo Film Seminars (although they occasionally do show a 35MM print at BFS).

Sadly I don’t know what the future for this complex is – and if it will make it and convert to digital (Dipson manages the complex for this NFP – – and Dipson has fully converted Amherst, Eastern Hills and Flix).

John Fink
John Fink commented about McKinley Mall 6 on Jan 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm

A nearly intact General Cinema site – and it did well when they had the right picture (prior to becoming a discount house last year it was splitting product with Quaker Crossing, which unfortunately led to this one often getting lesser Hollywood films they’d have to hold on to – and fortunately a good amount of art house stuff that would sometimes move over from the North Park). Two screens have digital 3D, four are digital, and two are presently 35MM with a digital conversion coming soon.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Batavia Showtime on Jan 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Dipson is trying to sell the theatre (I’m guessing they’ve made the decision they won’t be the ones to convert it to digital projection)

John Fink
John Fink commented about Hudson Mall Cinemas 7 on Jan 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm

And it’s back!

John Fink
John Fink commented about RKO Theater on Jan 6, 2013 at 8:34 am

It was a nice alternative for our art house movies to Montclair – now Palisades thanks to cheaper digital distribution is getting more and more art house films (including a few that didn’t come to Montclair). It had originally split bookings with the UA in Spring Valley, and both tanked when Loews opened. Both theaters were successful and became ghost towns when Palisades opened: now Regal is trying its hand at a 12-plex with an RPX screen at the revitalized mall (which will be a hybrid mall and outdoor life style center) – and it will probably work (the AMC at Palisades has seen better days but still serves its purpose).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Springfield Cinemas on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:40 am

I just read a post-script to an incident that occurred in 2001 in which an 11-year old was stabbed to death (by another 11 year old) in the lobby of the cinema. I’m guessing that didn’t help the theatre (although the brand loyalty to Showcase Cinemas has been cited as a reason why this Regal didn’t work).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Teaneck Cinemas on Dec 9, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Interesting the Teaneck Film Fest is interested: they used this theatre and a few other venues around town (we saw a screening at the fest a few years ago that played in a conference room at a law office – yet the audience was very engaged and the Q & A following the movie was great).

If they had deeper pockets (and/or found money for this kind of project) a real art house eliminating that “4th theatre' (and converting it into a gallery or reception space) might be something the community could support with filmmaker events and family programing. Despite parking being a little bit of a pain, the location is viable, it just requires an extensive remodeling job. Or, perhaps its on Alamo Drafthouse' radar – they have 3 projects under construction in the area now (Yonkers, NYC and Brooklyn) and they like to redo historic theatres.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinemark signs deal to buy Rave Cinemas on Nov 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Cinemark is generally okay – apart from their new builds which don’t contain proper masking for scope features, at least I was told this by a manager at their Stroud Mall location (I hope he was wrong, his logic is “because most movies aren’t made for scope these days – this new location doesn’t contain masking for scope movies”). Um-kay: there’s someone who has no idea what he’s talking about, it’s not like the academy ratio.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinemark signs deal to buy Rave Cinemas on Nov 19, 2012 at 8:43 am

They aren’t buying the whole company, there will still be at about 10 Rave Cinemas sites that Cinemark isn’t picking up (not sure which).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Digital Cinema Destinatio​ns may be eyeing acquisitio​n of Clearview on Nov 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Mayo is an pioneer in the arena of digital exhibition and I like Digiplex’s commitment to alternative content and independent film. More screens more ways to leverage this material could make it work in a low risk way. Clearview (mostly do to a lack of digital screens) really didn’t leverage the IFC connection enough. I don’t think you can show an indie film 6 times a day for a week – but a new indie, foreign film or doc at 8PM every wednesday – that could work if you cultivate an audience for it.

Digiplex has the chance to do that (they run the DigiNext project) and perhaps expand that mission out by market and even multiplex. From what I’ve read is they seem to get it and expanding screen count (although I hope they make some major changes at Clearview – apart from the popcorn, Clearivew has good popcorn) – a real commitment to interesting alternative programing could be great and Mayo and team get this concept for sure. Worth noting is Clearview serves some diverse markets – and it would be great to see more diversity reflected in the form of weekly screenings of non-Hollywood content tailored to a specific audience at a specific plex, the possibilities are endless especially for smaller high quality indies with very limited distribution.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Ziegfeld Theatre on Nov 4, 2012 at 9:58 am

I don’t know if DigPlex improves theaters apart from digital projection – Clearview is such a mixed bag of good and awful locations. Maybe they could partner up with Bow Tie, who I also think has a likely candidate to take over Clearview and split up the chain accordingly. Alternative content probably would be a benefit for the Ziegfeld which is a premiere house managed by one the worst theatre chains. I do like Bud Mayo’s ideas including his proactive approach to indie films (I’m not sure what the audiences are like for them, but they’re doing it in a low risk way).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Regal Opry Mills 20 & IMAX on Nov 3, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Regal has been downgrading to D-IMAX circuit-wide. It sucks on huge screens where all the pixels are showing.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Penn Square 10 on Oct 26, 2012 at 8:57 am

AMC is taking it over with power recliners and stadium seating.

John Fink
John Fink commented about West Nursery Cinemas on Oct 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm

This one and Simsbury Commons (Simsbury CT) still operate as “Hoyts” – I know “Northeast Cinemas LLC” ran all of the non-Regal purchased sites until they were taken over by others. Bow Tie and National Amusements took over sites that fit their business model that Regal didn’t – leaving ultimately a few. Whomever is running these though is converting them to digital – it’s not entirely unlikely its Hoyts Australia – – after all AMC is stuck with one location in Canada and one in the UK.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Theatres at Mall of America on Oct 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Phase 2 is set to include “state of the art theaters” – – no word which exhibitor they are courting (or if the mall’s developers Triple Five will operate any new cinemas – – Tripple Five is also involved in the new (well very very behind schedule) American Dream complex.)

Cineplex runs a Scotibank location at Triple Fives' other mega mall West Edmonton – but Ellis Jacobs has stated Cineplex has no desire to return to the US even though they are interested in expanding to other english-speaking territories).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Tejon Theatre on Oct 17, 2012 at 11:49 am

Here’s another article with details about the Tejon as the Leauges expand their awesome Alamo concept:

It is great to have a theatre run by people who care so much about the experience on every level – right down to in-theater pyrotechnics and themed food specials.

John Fink
John Fink commented about “Halloween” returns to the big screen at Classic Cinemas! on Oct 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

Other theatre chains are showing it. Screenvision is presenting it.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cinemark buys sixteen theaters from Rave on Oct 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

I was wondering if they’d go for the mess that is Clearview Cinemas. They currently don’t operate cinemas in NJ and only have one way out in South/West NY. That would be bad in that Carmike doesn’t really have a serious commitment to art films (Clearview does, all be it with awful presentation) – and I believe they may have a policy against showing unrated and NC-17 films.

Otherwise it should be noted the theaters Carmike is buying from Rave were owned by “Rave Reviews” – the former parent company and owner of the “Rave Motion Pictures” brand. When “Rave Cinemas” was formed through refinancing (which led to the expansion via acquiring half of National Amusements) – they bought a few sites and left these 16 with their parent company. Rave Cinemas was managing these sites.

It should be interesting in certain markets: Leigh Valley has a Rave (in an upscale shopping district) and a Carmike (by the airport) – – the Carmike isn’t well regarded (it’s a bit dated) – – should be interesting to see what happens there.

And here’s where I must disclose I own a small amount of stock in Carmike. The analysis in the theatre sectors points to further consolidation of regional operators, and its unclear if Carmike will be consolidated into one of the larger players or become one. The stock is considered undervalued by some analysts – along with the believe that Regal is as well (they also thing that spike two weeks ago in Regal Stock was related to some speculation that RGC might be acquired by private equity now that they are finally profitable).

Longterm I’m wondering if the US evolve into what Canada has – two major chains (Cinplex and Empire), a smaller one with a focus on discount operations (Rainbow/Magic Lantern), a strong regional exhibitor in QB (Guzzo), and very few independent chains/operators. (and one AMC just left there – – actually in the US that exists now, Hoyts has two sites still operating)