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And it’s back!
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).
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
Regal has been downgrading to D-IMAX circuit-wide. It sucks on huge screens where all the pixels are showing.
AMC is taking it over with power recliners and stadium seating.
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.
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).
Here’s another article with details about the Tejon as the Leauges expand their awesome Alamo concept: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224235
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.
Other theatre chains are showing it. Screenvision is presenting it.
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)
We had gotten lost trying to find it many years ago upon visiting Tampa for the day – I believe it had opened as an art house in addition to its IMAX theatre.
Markp – they did call to apologize today after I submitted a feedback form that appeared in my email this morning. A GM or DM offered free passes (something the manager did not do for those 6 folks that hung around to complain about the light on last night).
I refused to take them up on the offer, telling him that Clearview should be ashamed at their presentation standards circuit-wide – – especially at Kin-Mall and Montclair. I really do hope they are sold to a good exhibitor (in a perfect world they’d be split amongst several good exhibitors whose business models fit each property). Digital in some respects may fix these issues, if they mount a projector and go “boothless” in a few auditoriums that have issues, they can fix the awful keystoning.
Awful experience at The Ziegfeld tonight – perhaps the reason its loosing money is Clearview is an awful operator. I want to like the chain – they and AMC own virtually every theater in NJ, but they make it so impossible with their awful attention to presentation. Tonight a blue anti-piracy light was shinning on the audience every two-minutes we were blinded for half a second, which management claimed to be a malfunctioning device that sat above stage right.
Can other folks involved in exhibition chime in – is this a normal thing, every 2 minutes? (Often Clearview has no idea what they are talking about, if a film is out of frame the staff will insult me by saying “the film was sent to us that way” or “we can’t change that, sorry”).
Uhhhhh – – I wish a really good exhibitor will take them over (National Amusements, Dipson, Kerasotes, Alamo Drafthouse —– please each take whichever site is suited to your business model away from this miserable chain!)
I saw The Master tonight in 70MM and wish I could say it was an excellent screening – – leave it to Clearview to screw up the premiere movie house in NYC.
They have an anti-piracy system that had malfunctioned, it essentially is a blue searchlight that sits atop the screen, stage right that scans theatre for anyone cam-cordering the film EVERY 2 MINUTES. So every two minutes I was taken out of the immersive experience of 70MM with a blue light in my face for a few seconds. According the manager it was a malfunctioning system, but still – WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS. How often does it shine a blue light in the audience (and it projected it up to the top levels of back of the theatre, like a search light) when it functions correctly. Once is even too often.
Way to prevent piracy – by making the full price experience unwatchable. I will be writing a letter to Clearview’s corporate office and sending a copy to the MPAA.
This venue sounds great, much like the Violet Crown in Austin which works really well within the Second Ave district, not sure if it’ll work as brilliantly in Hartford but it does make sense. There is no movie-going options in the city (apart from the occasional screenings at Wadsworth). I do very much like the way Violet Crown is programed, often with hip upscale movies (like Celeste & Jesse Forever) and I think thats a nitche that can give it an advantage over Art @ Cinema City and what was in the planning stages intended as an art house in Blue Back Square.
Programing for the community is key – I imagine if they replicate with great programing both on screen and live entertainment in the lounge they can build an audience of young professionals and folks on date night and it’ll be a cool place. Hartford could use that kind of venue. If they program it with multiplex crap you can see at Buckland Hills it will suck.
@ Hammer – the upstairs theaters were gutted back in 2005 (the whole building was closed for a few months while they built two new screens). I don’t see any evidence, with the refacing it looks like a normal modern multiplex. (inside it still has issues including sound bleeding from auditorium to auditorium, unless its been corrected in the last 5 years).
These news stories are all like a month behind….
One of 16 theaters Rave Cinemas operated on behalf of its former parent company Rave Reviews Cinemas, and was included in the sale to Carmike.
It’s actually 18 screens now – – two were added before Rave took it over (right around the time East Hartford and East Windsor shut down).
I still have no clue who’d want to buy Clearview Cinemas which is a mixed bag with several decent multiplexes and many more that were cheaply constructed, lack stadium seating – oh, and will have to be upgraded to digital – – like really soon. Interestingly when I was home last in NJ, two theaters I visited The Clairidge (Montclair) and Sunshine (NYC, run by Landmark Theaters) both showed first run films in 35MM. In Buffalo, NY – – a city otherwise a good 20-30 years behind the times culturally, our two main art houses (Amherst and Eastern Hills, run by Dipson) just went 100% digital.