Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Showing 126 - 150 of 4,064 comments

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 7, 2014 at 6:18 am

When the Rialto was showing The Devil in Miss Jones nobody seemed to complain about subway noise…!

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 7, 2014 at 4:15 am

Yes, that one.

It was a wonderful brand new 70mm TWIN theatre with brand new seats and trademark Cineplex faux marble that failed miserably because it was too close to 42nd Street.

The two biggest hits I can remember there were “UNCLE BUCK” and the move-over of “LAWRENCE” in gorgeous 70mm.

Twin 2 (Rialto 2) never made it pass day two due to subway noise.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 7, 2014 at 3:39 am

The Warner nee Rialto? Entrance on Seventh? I went there a few times after Cineplex Odeon revamped it, but don’t remember that Lawrence played there.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 6, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Let us not forget that Walter Reade and Cineplex Odeon used their clout to drive films to the Ziegfeld, something Clearview and Bow Tie don’t have.

Also, when “LAWRENCE OF ARABIA” moved to the loser Warner on 42nd street late in that run, business picked up.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on September 6, 2014 at 3:50 am

I’m proud to be a faithful Ziegfeld customer. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was the most recent time I went out of my way to see a movie there. I understand all the reasons why, but it’s still sad to see so many empty seats. I’ll never forget people desperately hunting down a place to sit before a sold-out Lawrence of Arabia show began (1989). Those were the days.

It’s easier to get home from the Empire 25 on 42nd St. – it should be, anyway, but it takes about 10 minutes to get out of that building. It all evens out. Better off going to the Ziegfeld.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 6, 2014 at 2:57 am

Property values are a curious thing.

I love the Ziegfeld. It was my office for many years and the best screen in Manhattan. It is the best theatre in Manhattan for people who love big movies. That does not take away from reality.

The Ziegfeld is still there ONLY because nobody wants that location.

Yet.

But it is NOT a choice location to open a major movie. And it never was.

NYer
NYer on September 6, 2014 at 2:30 am

AlAvarez you seem to take glee in repeating other theaters out gross The Ziegfeld. The Coronet was smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood, surrounded by high rise apartment buildings and 42nd Street has had a neighborhood resurgence over 8th Ave. People who go to The Ziegfeld, go because they want to be there, even if it’s not next door. The one thing you haven’t mentioned about the much more successful Coronet, it ain’t there anymore.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 6, 2014 at 1:40 am

Not really a matter of finding it but rather finding a better located place to see the same movie.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on September 5, 2014 at 11:33 pm

No one has a problem finding the theatre, it’s main problem is the shifting movie patterns in the city . I have worked there when we have done $60,000 a day

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 5, 2014 at 11:26 pm

I have stated before, audiences DID have a problem finding it, hence the Coronet day and date openings in the eighties and nineties. A 100 seat screen on 42nd street can still outgross it.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 5, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Hello to All-

I thank all of my fellow posters who commented on my question as to how “off the beaten track” the Ziegfeld is. the reason the Ziegfeld rarely has anything amounting to a decent sized audience is because any “big” film which opens there also opens at a dozen other theaters in Manhattan. my point being said lack of a decent sized audience has nothing to do with it “being off the beaten path” in the strict sense of the term. after all people had no trouble
finding it in the 70s and 80s when it still played exclusive 1st runs.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on September 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I went to two Ziegfeld morning shows this summer (around 10-10:30 AM): Jersey Boys and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. But there were no pre-12 noon discounts. There were also just a handful of people at both shows.

mhvbear
mhvbear on September 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

The only bargain priced tickets on 42nd and Manhattan theaters are shows before 12 noon. Bowtie offers these prices at the Chelsea. I can’t remember the last time there was a morning show at the Ziegfeld. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is back at the Ziegfeld in 2D. Definitely worth checking out again.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 5, 2014 at 3:25 am

Back then, Disney didn’t want “WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT” on 42nd street. Universal didn’t want “THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST” on 42nd street. Major screens like the the National and the Astor simply could not deliver the audience. The Ziegfeld could.

That is no longer the case.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 5, 2014 at 3:12 am

The Ziegfeld didn’t usually play day-and-date with the Broadway houses, so even on a national run, they were still “exclusive” in Times Square.

Plus, since they rarely have an exclusive nowadays, most of the pictures they play are readily available in your own neighborhood, or at one of the 39 screens on 42nd Street. (And often with a bargain matinee offered, which unfortunately the Ziegfeld does not.)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on September 4, 2014 at 7:29 pm

The big difference is that back when the Ziegfeld was showing exclusives of major films, the Times Square theatres were thriving on exploitation films that did even better than big budget Hollywood films and the Ziegfeld was a better choice for the “GANDHI” and “BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY” crowd. This is no longer the case as in the new Times Square theatres on 42nd street even art films do well and exploitation films are few and far between. “GANDHI” today would do better on multiple screens at the Empire.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 4, 2014 at 6:55 pm

to CConnolly1-

you certainly make a valid point about the foot traffic around the Ziegfeld once the workday is over. but and there’s always a butt.

though Marooned was the theater’s one reserved seat engagement studios continued to use the theater for exclusive 1st runs even after the reserved seat policy was discontinued. these exclusive engagements were for both new films and restored classics(My Fair Lady, Vertigo etc..). so if people were able to easily find the Ziegfeld when studios still used it for exclusive 1st runs I don’t see why people should have trouble finding it now. plus I bet the foot traffic after the work day was over was no different then than it is now.

CConnolly1
CConnolly1 on September 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm

In reply to bigjoe59’s reply to my comment on July 28, 2014: I should have further defined my use of the term “off the beaten” path when referring to the Ziegfeld’s location. What I mean is that it is off the beaten path for people seeking a movie or some kind of night life. In NYC, neighborhoods change sometimes within mere blocks of one another. Example: on weekends, Times Square (7th Ave and 47th Street) is jammed but just one block over on 6th, it’s much, much less crowded (and that’s why I always walk over to 6th to get around the crowds). I don’t know what the neighborhood was like when the original Ziegfeld was opened but I would guess it was different than what it is now (likely it was more mixed use: residential, small businesses, nightclubs). Today, it’s pretty much all office space/corporate area and after 5PM or so, it’s kind of quiet (I should know. I worked right around the block from The Ziegfeld for years). Yes, there’s some foot traffic at night but nothing compared to Times Square (not even close) and most of the foot traffic involves people going through the area to other locations. Additionally, there’s really not a lot of residential areas nearby like you see down on 23rd Street which would help a theater like The Ziegfeld to thrive because it would be part of a neighborhood’s identity.

Others are correct that there would be a huge protest if The Ziegfeld were to be closed and demolished.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 18, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Hello-

this question is for devotees of the good olde reserved seat policy or to use the trade term roadshow policy. of course the only roadshow engagement this theater hosted was its initial film “Marooned”. so for the Oct. 1955 to Dec. 1972 prime roadshow period did anyone attend or know of a reserved seat run that did not have a souvenir program?

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on August 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm

I believe none of the 70mm prints had on-screen credits.

Confirmed in Michael Coate’s excellent article posted above.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on August 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm

One extra thing that helped make “Apocalypse Now” a special event: there were no on-screen credits. None except for a tiny copyright notice at the bottom of the screen at the very end (C Omni Zoetrope 1979). But I still have my free program book, with all credits listed, that every patron at the Ziegfeld got. I believe none of the 70mm prints had on-screen credits.

Congratulations to the Ziegfeld for being the first theater on Cinema Treasures to reach 4,000 comments. An honor well-deserved.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on August 16, 2014 at 2:52 pm

My dad went to see Apocalypse Now at this theater during that engagement and enjoyed the 5.1 analog surround sound and the movie too. Having watched the movie on DVD I can say that this movie holds up even today.

NYer
NYer on August 16, 2014 at 1:53 pm

“The Rose” opened in NY exclusively but also opened on Long Island and New Jersey. “Apocalypse Now” & “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind” were east coast exclusives. Opening ads in photo section.

Coate
Coate on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Thirty-five years ago today, the Ziegfeld was among three North American theaters to open Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” in a reserved-performance, guaranteed-seat exclusive engagement. A 35th anniversary retrospective article was posted today at The Digital Bits.