Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Alamo South Lamar on Sep 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Getting 3 new screens and a new lobby as part of the plaza redevelopment, slated to close in January for much of 2013 (this may present a problem the rapidly growing SXSW – which grew to include 2 screens at the tiny Violet Crown last year, now it’ll be down 3 screens with not much room at the convention center). Maybe The Dobbie (which looks to still be in tact) can serve as a temporary venue…

John Fink
John Fink commented about City of Aurora seeks citizen about what should happen to the Century 16 on Sep 5, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I agree with Tim O'Neill – – reopen the place except for Auditorium #9 which should be a memorial to July 20.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Essex Green on Aug 23, 2012 at 12:16 am

THIS actually isn’t a picture of this theatre. This is another Cinema Suites location. You really cannot trust what Jeterga is posting here.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Westfield Hawthorn Mall expansion plan includes movie theater on Aug 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Cinemark does – all be it with large screens, stadium seating, and no masking – a scope movie was shown on a flat screen at their brand new Stroud Mall because as their manager calmed “most movies aren’t made in scope anymore”. (I hope this isn’t what their “NextGen” is all about it, it makes premiere theaters look cheap).

John Fink
John Fink commented about New Mission Theater on Aug 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I have no doubt Alamo will do an excellent job on the preservation end – I personally think The Ritz in Austin is first rate (although it was probably an empty shell when they got to it) – but it’s a classy looking joint. It’s refreshing to have a company run by movie fans with excellent tastes and instincts – verses MBAs who manage every complex with a once size-fits all attitude.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Movieland 8 Theatres on Aug 5, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Boy this is still a popular theater underscoring the need for more discount theaters, but while they clean between shows – I feel like more important issues are largely ignored (like repairing wear and tare, painting, etc). Today the air conditioning was out in the 3 big theaters to the left of the concessions. The musty odor virtually makes it impossible for me to get through a show there – not to mention the humming sound and underlit projection. I’d say you get what you pay for but I’d say you get even less. Dipson owns several theaters of this vintage and guess what – they do the little things to keep them in good shape, Eastern Hills is equally as old and its both spotless and well maintained. With that said it appears Dipson is moving ahead and keeping pace with digital conversion (AMC and Regal in town I believe are all digital now) – with Amherst, Eastern Hills and McKinley almost at 100%. I’m not sure MovieLand and Market Arcade will make it once film prints become unavailable (although who knows – maybe the owners of this place are saving up to go digital by not taking care of the physical building). It’s a shame because people are very loyal to this theatre – perhaps another operator who specializes in discount movie theaters (PictureShow or StarPlex) could do better as they’ve also mostly converted their discount operations to digital.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers on Aug 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Taking a look at pictures from the neighborhood it looks comparable to the Alamo South Lamar, I imagine it’ll be programed accordingly. (Lamar is all digital, excellent presentation – with a few 35MM in place, they have a few special events but The Ritz, 1 ½ miles away runs events every night). They consider the Lamar location to be a bit more “family friendly” – and the Alamo is most of the time (not of coarse during Terror Tuesdays or Weird Wednesdays).

Think of the Alamo as a cross between the best movie theatre you’ve ever been to and The Cheesecake Factory (in that they have a huge menu, and it’s all fresh and delicious). They care about the presentation and movie selection – as well as having a world class beer and cocktail selection – and they have lines around the block because seeing a film there is just more fun than seeing it elsewhere. (I just returned from 3 weeks in Austin and every time I go to my local, and very good theatre chain, Dipson – I’m slightly pissed someone won’t bring me freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with a scoop of ice cream – 90 minutes into the movie – – the Alamo has spoiled me on other theaters). I can’t wait for Alamo to come to NYC so I can take my friends and show them just how awful AMC’s Dine In Theaters are.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Nearly-new all-digital quad theater up for auction on Jul 31, 2012 at 12:51 am

So what’s the deal with it, it’s listed as a “distressed” property that was in operation for a very short period of time. What is distressed about it? Is it DCI compliant? (I assume so but in Buffalo we have two small “micro-cinemas” that show movies off BluRay DVDs). And they have laser tag?!?! Looks like a fun place.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Alamo South Lamar on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:50 pm

The future of this theater is still in limbo as new developers were hoping to demolish the mall for apartments – they were hoping to keep the Leauges as tenants by including a new Alamo and Highball. That deal fell through which is great, I personally love this location and the plaza it’s in, the plaza retains a vintage funky-ness that Austin is slowly losing in favor of redeveloping areas into “mixed use” complexes. This theatre – like The Ritz is great, although the only thing that can be annoying is showtimes can change frequently as they bring in all kinds of special (often amazing) programing. Actually I shouldn’t complain, the Alamo is brilliant, it’s a theatre run by movie lovers who care about the experience and presentation, with surprisingly good food and drinks – it’s no wonder they have lines out the door on weekends (I recently saw Ted here with a delicious glass of agave ale and popcorn – one of the most enjoyable nights at the movies ever).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Century Aurora on Jul 26, 2012 at 2:55 am

Cinemark and the community are figuring this one out now. I think Theatre #9 should be the memorial and if they can they should separate the roof and back wall to create the memorial space, as that theater has lost the magic forever. Any time there has been a shooting death in a cinema, it’s been a one-off thing (sometimes gang related), not a massacre. There is no rulebook for this, but I don’t think leveling the complex and pretending a cinema never existed here is a way to honor the victoms either. I hope some how they can create a quiet space of reflection.

I’m not sure if Cinemark or the mall own the land, there’s always the possibility they could demolish it for a big-box store. Here’s some local coverage: http://www.9news.com/news/local/article/279470/222/Future-of-theater-shooting-site-unknown

John Fink
John Fink commented about Forbes lists 10 theaters worth traveling for on Jul 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Really kind of a boring list, many of which we know about – I’m sure there are other hidden gems around. It’s more of “if you’re in this hot destination, check out this theatre” – especially some of the multiplexes they listed.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Century Aurora on Jul 22, 2012 at 9:40 pm

I am really sad – I almost went to this theatre a few years ago while on business in Denver. I really hope NATO does something (they way they did after 9/11) to help the victims with a night where the proceeds are donated to help those especially those that may have lifetime disabilities as a result of this disgusting horrific terrorist act. The cinema for me is a sacred space, it’s a place where anything can happen (on screen) and where you go to leave your life behind and see the world in someone else’s eyes for 2 hours.

With that said, I’m not sure what the future of the complex will be: on one hand the show must go on, we must not let this terrorist win (I know he’s not a “terrorist” in the traditional sense, but he is a heartless cruel mass murder). I’m not sure if the complex can reopen, certainly not Theatre 9. Theatre 9 has really lost that magic forever – I’m interested to see what Cinemark will do next with this cinema, which once upon a time – less than a week ago, was just another modern big box multiplex in the suburbs.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cineplex buys four Canadian AMC Theaters in Ontario and Quebec on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:37 am

I’m surprised Cineplex was able to pick up Yonge & Dundas without having to sell Scotibank. I imagine Cinplex may creatively reduce screen count either with more fun centers or subleasing space. I knew the writing was on the wall for AMC’s Canadian operations when I attended a show at Winston Churchill last fall: no pre-show video or slides, no additional concessions beyond the usual and ice cream, the theaters were still mostly 35MM (and they showed a 35MM rolling stock advertising AMC Gift Certificates from the 90s), the awful Stubs program hadn’t replaced MovieWatchers in Canada, and one of the larger theaters was closed off.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown on Jun 26, 2012 at 1:03 am

This may be Alamo Drafthouse at the Village. It’s not the downtown location or the two I’ve been to during SXSW.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown on Jun 26, 2012 at 1:02 am

JETERGA STRIKES AGAIN – – this is the Alamo Ritz, not the Alamo downtown location. Please verify what you upload and/or do not upload copy written photos.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Interchange 30 on Jun 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm

I’m guessing this one is slated to close with the sale of the AMC Ventures to Cineplex – and this complex not getting picked up by Empire or Cineplex (along with Kennedy Commons – which from pictures almost looks like a Cineplex Odeon build). AMC really isn’t putting effort into programing this place, none of the first run features out this weekend are showing. If anything AMC leaving the market leaves only two major players in the whole country (three in QB) – I’m surprised that they were allowed to purchase AMC but given the lack of another player with the capital to acquire these theaters (many of which do sound as if they are loosing money – if Cineplex paid only a “nominal fee” to AMC as they claim in press releases). This allows Cineplex the programing muscle in Toronto (they certainly used their leverage to keep Scotibank heavy with first run films).

Cineplex seems to be a well run company and diverse company (they operate in areas other than cinematic exhibition) that knows their markets well – they build selectively (unlike AMC’s carbon copy model – at least they had the common sense to build indoor box-offices in Canada), on one hand it makes sense they’ve succeeded, it’s just disturbing that there is no stronger independent operators in Ontario beyond a handful of Magic Lantern/Rainbow locations.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas on Jun 21, 2012 at 11:55 pm

….speaking of Cineplex. This one is slated to become a Cineplex location along with 4 AMC’s in the GTA and one in QB. Two AMCs are going to Empire and two might just close all together.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Dolby reveals theaters set to install Atmos on Jun 20, 2012 at 1:53 am

@ Simon and @Mike – – you’re forgetting Cablevision is trying to sell off Clearview Cinemas….. Ziegfeld surely should have Atmos, but the gamble with Atmos is how many films as of now will be mixed to take advantage of the sound format. Just like 3D, when more product was on the horizon, more exhibitors made the investment. Same for other enhancements including sound. It will come on line as it approaches a standard. I imagine that Garden State Plaza’s Atmos install may be on the ETX screen? It’s rather limited with several big exhibitors not installing Atmos yet – including Regal, Carmike, Rave, Harkins, and National Amusements.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Future of Staunton Mall movie theaters unclear on Jun 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm

The reviews on Yelp don’t make this sound like a pleasant place to go to the movies (a manager yelling at patrons is mentioned on yelp, it sounds kind of like the one in the article – – which reminds of me that This American Life story about a women who managed a Quiznos after the owner essentially skipped town). The mall’s webpage still lists the theater as Regal Cinemas…

John Fink
John Fink commented about Loews 20 North Versailles on Jun 9, 2012 at 1:48 am

Check out their Facebook page – fascinating – it looks like they’ve half-gutted the theatre with venders popping up all over the corridors and lobbies, almost something out of the third world.

John Fink
John Fink commented about New Metro Twin on Jun 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm

The Ritz mentioned in the interview with Tim Leauge is a cool venue that was turned into two stadium seating theaters with great sight lines. I think they were working with a raw shell there but it’s a pretty classy-looking place, I’m sure The Metro will also incorporate elements of the original look. After all they are all about vintage.

With this said I love Alamo Drafthouse – they program everything down to the pre-show (imagine YouTube clips designed to get you excited about the film you’re about to see). While I also really like Nitehawk in Willliamsburg (it’s the closest thing to Alamo in the area) it’s always encouraging to see a movie theatre run by film lovers create a fun but respectful atmosphere (including kicking out talkers and texters), I think people will travel uptown for the experience. (and it makes sense to go uptown, below 14th is probably over screened so they’ll be massive compitition for product). The only thing about them that’s a little concerning is the pace at which they’re expanding….

John Fink
John Fink commented about The smoky world of Kabul's movie theaters on Jun 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm

“After years of neglect” – – I don’t know about you, but that theatre looked like it was in better shape than several Clearview Cinemas locations. Hey, in Kabul at least they came frame and focus a picture properly – (and the seats look pretty comfortable) more than I can say for Clearview’s Kinnelon.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet on Jun 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Hillariously AMC is loosing their “flag ship” – haven’t been to an AMC in a few months, so I wonder if they’ll change their pre-show “magic chairs” ads. Good thing for the Power and Light District is they are getting a far better operator, Alamo Drafthouse is moving in: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/04/3641045/alamo-drafthouse-cinema-to-take.html

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Bridgewater Commons on Jun 3, 2012 at 1:30 am

PS: some of the photos posted here ARE NOT OF THIS THEATRE but of Essex Green. First clue is this isn’t a Cinema Suites location. This should be taken care of and photos submitted (I suspect) should be taken by those providing them to avoid this type of mistake.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC to be sold to Wanda Group on May 23, 2012 at 12:51 am

The comments on Facebook are kind of hilarious – especially ones about AMC deleting comments as a “communist” move. But I don’t see how this is any different than their present ownership. I remember Loews after Sony sold it (I think to Bain Capital….they there’s a name that’s been coming up lately) – over night it went from being well run to being dirty, short staffed with little care for presentation. There are other foreign firms running cinemas in the US – including Big Cinemas (from India) and Cineoplis (from Mexico), and a few chains run by owners whose values I don’t share (Kerasotes racist decision in certain inner-city neighborhoods for one).

With this said, culturally this is sensitive – AMC is one of the oldest exhibitors, an iconic brand that happens to be based right in the center of the country: I see this outrage even though I view the deal as nothing more than an equity stake in the company – if Wanda isn’t achieving a substantial rate of return on their investment they’ll sell it off to someone else. But because it is China (and I’ll give the protestors the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re mostly talking about human rights abuses in their opposition to China) – it presents a psychological problem.

Still the deal is slightly perplexing: I happen to think Wanda is achieving a few things – they are first testing the waters with a big American brand investment (they have been talking about acquiring hotels in the US next), and – to a lesser extent AMC’s management experience (which is somewhat spotty although perhaps they buy into Lopez’s new vision for the company). AMC has certainly learned from its mistakes (no more 20+ plexes), but a management team can be bought for much cheaper – a few million verses two billion+.

I don’t think Wanda will be involved in large day to day activities and programing as FB speculates, but I imagine American studios are excited and there is some synergy that might thaw US-China relations if we can expand the number of titles China allows us to export. Still, cultural protections are important for any film industry (I know, even communists) – but consider the mission of the NFB in Canada, it achieves roughly the same end (to foster talent and export an image of a nation to itself and abroad). It should be interesting to see what happens with this deal, but I imagine if AMC can’t perform (I don’t think its entirely a debt issue), Wanda will sell it off.