AMC Loews Boston Common 19

175 Tremont Street,
Boston, MA 02111

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Showing 101 - 114 of 114 comments

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 28, 2005 at 3:56 am

I found this Boston Phoenix article from June 2001, entitled “Muffled screens: Is it curtains for the movie theaters of Boston?”. It’s about the imminent opening of Loews Boston Common, and the disappearance of Boston’s other theatres, and the many theatre chain bankruptcies occurring around that time. It correctly predicted that Boston would eventually be left with just two movie theatres — Loews Boston Common and General Cinema Fenway 13.

This sidebar lists Boston movie theatres that existed in June 1971, and what is in those locations today. The list doesn’t quite appear to be complete; it omits the Mayflower (Modern), Pilgrim, and State, at least. (It also omits the RKO Boston/Cinerama, but that might have been closed by 1971 and not yet converted into the Essex.)

samgash33 on April 23, 2005 at 5:16 pm

I also was a manager at the Loews Boston Common. The facility is a total beast. I sometimes wonder if the area is cursed. The layout is pretty awful in parts of the building (hiding extra concession stands in areas where people don’t walk, putting the big theaters in the wrong spots). Things are constantly breaking (elevators, escalators, pipes, fire alarms, HVAC, plain vandalism). I’ll readily grant that big places always have maintenance issues, but it became fairly obvious working there that the company had bit off a bit more than it could chew. Thanksgiving 2002 a pipe burst in the ceiling and it was literally raining in the 3rd floor lobby, as well as in offices and kitchens. The exploding generator probably takes the cake though, as we had to shut down for nearly a whole weekend, and smoke could be smelled in the lobby for weeks. But I do assure you not a single person lost any sleep about Deliver Us From Eva being off screen for two days. (Saying that this particular power outage had a significant effect on the film’s run is beyond absurd.) Anyway, despite all the potential disasters awaiting you there, it’s still the best place to watch a movie in town. It’s also not hard to argue that it’s the best theater north of New York on the east coast.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 23, 2005 at 7:11 am

Digital? Yes, they are currently showing Robots in digital projection, according to an ad in last Sunday’s Boston Globe.

Indie films? Not really. Loews Boston Common is the epitome of mainstream Hollywood film programming, as is its competitor, AMC Fenway 13. For anything of specialized or limited interest, you usually need to go either to the Museum of Fine Arts or else out of the city, to the Brattle, Harvard Film Archive, Kendall Square, Coolidge, or West Newton.

However, the Boston Film Festival, which used to take place at the late unlamented Loews Copley Place, will probably move to the Boston Common this fall.

originnile on March 23, 2005 at 6:53 am

that’s some racist shit, I’m a filmmaker and I do not like to hear shit like that. But it’s ok. Black film is on the rise. We have love for all people, but it’s funny how people hate on the black man. I'ts embarrasing as a human being. Anyway, I wanted to know if the lews downtown took indie films and if they were equipt for digital cinema.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 7, 2005 at 5:33 am

I got a message from someone who says he was a former manager at Loews Copley Place. He says:

“I don’t think Loews always thinks in a big picture type manner. The [boston Common] complex is evident of that. They give out more refunds there than most of the northeast combined. When LA Fitness opened in the Tower, the steam in the saunas would set off the smoke detectors for quite sometime until they adjusted their locations. Each and every time that happened, the cinema had to be evacuated. Thats a huge loss! A power transformer blew out in the basement back in 2003. It took 4 days to be replaced…The entire weekend was lost. (Manny Ramirez sued Millenium for the loss of use of his home in the resident section.)

“Loews had a no-fault clause and lost the entire weekend. They had an exclusive on a new movie that weekend, Deliver Us From Eva, and it was exclusive for Loews at [boston Common], that weekend. The movie tanked and Loews was partly to blame. Loews & the distributor wanted Copley to take the prints, (which we did take their prints of Chicago and Narc), but Simons [owner of the Copley Place mall] refused to let us use the print of an urban-based movie with LL Cool J as the star!”

roger2407 on February 4, 2005 at 4:57 pm

Thanks for sharing Ian…I too was a theatre manager, but for Edwards Cinemas (now part of Regal Entertainment) and then later worked for AMC theatres in California.
Its good to hear stories from fellow managers that have been in the trenches. I for one started at a multiplex and eventually worked my way up to a megaplex.
I worked almost 10 years in the industry from 19 yrs old til 29 yrs. old
I am now 31 and glad I left the business 2 years ago. It can be stressful, it is about money and the bottom line.
I will say that it is one of the worst businesses to be in. The profit margins and cost and expenses are quite alot. Its fun to run a megaplex on the weekends or during the summer. But in the week days or slow a bitch!

Anyways thats my rant! i love this website its awesome and thanks to all the people for contributing to it.

IanJudge on February 4, 2005 at 4:44 pm

I should add this:

Not only is this theater on the site of the Astor Theatre, it also occupies the block where the State Theater was too.

IanJudge on February 4, 2005 at 12:26 pm

Ahh, the Boston Common. I was lucky/unlucky enough to be one of the managers there at the time it opened. It is a typical Loews prototype with some nicer screens. Whomever designed it obviously never worked in a movie theater, however. No freight elevator, despite stockrooms on the 4th floor, projection booths have all kinds of wonky ducts and pipes going through in wierd places that make it really hard to access some projectors.

The Back Lot was operated by the Ritz-Carlton, which owns the building (Millenium Partners own the Ritz). It was a nice bar, very modern and stylized. I think if they had carried those design elements over into the cinemas, it would have been a very cool and urbane modern cineplex. The Ritz has (I guess, naturally) better decor tastes than Loews, which stuck to it’s overblown-faux-movie-palace design. That kinda works in the burbs, but downtown needs something that is ACTUALLY a palace, not a pretender.

Anyhow, originally the Back Lot was to be part of the ‘premium seeating’ concept at the Loews. If you bought an assigned seat (each auditorium has a section of assigned and numbered seats) you paid more but could hang out in the Back Lot and have a cocktail. An usher would take you to your specific seat when you were ready and you could take your cocktail with you.

Upon opening the complex, the details of this operation were not finalized, and as the days wore on, it became clear that such an operation would be very labor intensive. That theater is a bear to operate anyhow, with multiple level concession stands, ticket takers, etc. and soon after opening the dictum came from NYC: lower your payroll big time.

The regional manager at the time made the very accurate comment that “if you build a monster, you have to staff a monster”. But the numbers for the first few months were evidently below expectations.

As mentioned on other boards here, the complex was constantly assailed by fire alarm evacuations due to continued construction in the towers above and also by residences once the towers were donr.

That is why I personally left, because I was having anxiety attacks just walking in there… nothing like having 4000 people want your blood because they paid 20 bucks for tix, 20 more for food, 20 more for parking, maybe more for a babysitter, and then their night gets ruined and they want to take it out on you. It got to be that if someone snapped a photo with a flash bulb, I would get tense because it reminded me of the fire alarm strobes. I figured for the money I was getting, it wasn’t worth my personal health. But enough about me.

The Back Lot probably couldn’t make enough $$$ once the premium seating thing failed, as it was expensive to operate to begin with. I believe it is still used for functions, which is why the furniture is still there, but that may not be the case now.

There’s more I could say about this place, but enough for now!

br91975 on February 4, 2005 at 11:37 am

As for why The Back Lot closed… of that I have no idea. I remember it seemingly being popular; perhaps it was shut down due to licensing and/or budgetary reasons.

br91975 on February 4, 2005 at 11:18 am

The Back Lot closed not terribly long after the theatre opened; in barely a year’s time, I believe. Oddly enough, when I passed it back on a Friday night in December, most, if not all the furnishings (tables, stools, etc.), were still inside.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 4, 2005 at 9:18 am

For some history of how Boston came to have only two movie theatres, both opened within the last five years, see the extensive comments on the Copley Place Cinemas page.

The short version: Sack Theatres (later called USACinemas) built a monopoly in Boston and Cambridge, then was sold to Loews, which over the following 17 years proceeded to close almost every theatre that Sack had built or acquired.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 4, 2005 at 9:00 am

Why did the Back Lot close?

br91975 on February 4, 2005 at 8:55 am

The Loews Boston Common also housed, on the second of its three levels, a short-lived lounge, The Back Lot, which, if memory serves, was open to ticket-holders only.

br91975 on February 4, 2005 at 8:51 am

The Loews Boston Common formally opened its doors for business on July 20, 2001; among its initial film offerings was the Julia Roberts-John Cusack comedy ‘America’s Sweethearts’.