PlayStation Theater

1515 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 151 - 175 of 531 comments

RobertEndres on March 16, 2005 at 9:33 am

The Ziegfeld ran “A Star Is Born” in 70mm with 6 Dolby A encoded magnetic tracks. I was working there as a relief projectionist at the time.

Mikeoaklandpark on March 16, 2005 at 9:19 am

I livd in NYC from 76-81 and the first film I remember that opened in Dolby Stero was A Star Is Born at the Ziegfeld.

BobT on March 16, 2005 at 9:08 am

“Independence Day” opened at the Ziegfeld. “Titanic” was at the Astor Plaza. The sound for “Titanic” was better at the Astor then any other theatre I saw it at.

That’s funny because when I saw “Titanic” the Saturday morning after the opening, the sound, the best way to describe it “warbled”. It was very noticeable during the music parts especially the flute solos. There was laughing, it was so distinct. I might be completey wrong buy I believe they were using a DTS print. It was the only time I ever heard a problem with a presentation. They were first class for sci-fi and action pics, I saw the entire first run “Star Wars” Trilogy, “Logan’s Run”, “Altered States”, The World Premiere of “Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom”, The Premiere of ‘“2010”, and lots of not so great films. The most fun was watching Times Square and the theater I was in be destroyed by a meteor on the big screen during “Deep Impact”.

RobertEndres on March 16, 2005 at 7:28 am

Dolby used Radio City as a test site for their single channel Dolby A decoder and equalizer in 1974. Our Christmas film that year was “The Little Prince” which was three track mag, Dolby A encoded, using three of the mono units. Later we borrowed three more so that we would have the E.Q. section available when we ran 70mm, even though the tracks weren’t encoded. Our first stereo/optical film was “Mr. Billion” which Fox may have done as a warm-up to “Star Wars” in 1977 — it did precede the “Star Wars” opening at the Astor Plaza. The Ziegfeld also had 6 track Dolby equipment installed for “Close Encounters” and “Apocalypse Now” in 1977. Ioan Allen of Dolby says there were some split surround 70mm prints of “Superman” made in 70mm but none were played that way in cinemas, probably making “Apocalypse” the first wide release in 70mm with the reconfigured 6 track layout with split surrounds and only three channels behind the screen.

Coate on March 16, 2005 at 12:11 am

The first post in this thread includes a claim that the Astor Plaza was Manhattan’s first Dolby Stereo-equipped theatre. I believe both Radio City Music Hall and the Ziegfeld installed Dolby prior to the Astor Plaza, though the Astor Plaza was certainly among the first couple of dozen theatres anywhere to have it installed.

To help answer some of the questions posed in this thread, here’s a link to an article on “Star Wars” that includes details on the early years of Dolby Stereo and a reference to the Astor Plaza.

View link

Vito on March 1, 2005 at 12:03 pm

Myron, Someone may want to correct me here, but as I remember it, the first Dolby stereo optical film released was “Lisztomania” in 1975. The 1976 remake of “A Star is Born” along with a limited number of others followed. But it was “Star Wars” in 1977 that really generated a lot of interest in Dolby Stereo and theatre owners started installing Dolby all over the country.

YMike on March 1, 2005 at 5:05 am

“Independence Day” opened at the Ziegfeld. “Titanic” was at the Astor Plaza. The sound for “Titanic” was better at the Astor then any other theatre I saw it at.

Myron on March 1, 2005 at 4:50 am

Please help refresh my memory. I think I saw “Independence Day” with Will Smith and then “Titanic” at the Loew’s Astor Plaza, but I am not sure. I know I saw “Star Wars” there; as I saw it several times. I was intrigued by the Dolby Stereo. We actually heard tinkles,engines roar, groans,etc from different sides of the theatre. Was “Star Wars” the first movie in Dolby? I wonder. Thanks.

br91975 on January 28, 2005 at 11:32 am

In reference to Myron’s last post – wouldn’t a general forum be best for comments not related to particular theatres? I’ve often found it frustrating when I see comments posted completely unrelated to any particular theatre or not on the pages of those particular theatres. That, quite frankly, prompted me to discontinue the notification service for several pages on which I’ve posted comments; life’s too short…

moviebluedog on January 28, 2005 at 9:44 am

Mryon wrote: Incidentally, I saw “Alien” there. The Dolby-sound was so good that the whole audience jumped when the creature appeared from above.

This is where “Alien” played during its original engagement in 70mm in Manhattan:

Manhattan: [b.S. Moss] Criterion
Manhattan: [Loews] New York 2
Manhattan: [Loews] Orpheum

“Aliens” in 1986:

Manhattan: [Loews] 84th Street Six
Manhattan: [Trans-Lux] Gotham
Manhattan: [Loews] Orpheum I
Manhattan: [RKO Century] RKO Warner Twin

“Alien 3” in 1992:

Manhattan: [uA] Criterion Center

Here’s a very good article on where “Alien” opened in 1979. Do you recall seeing it at the Astor Plaza later in the year? Perhaps, if it played there later on in 1979, was it in 35mm & Dolby Stereo?

View link

This link will provide readers (if they haven’t had a chance to look at the site) with every year 70mm played at the Astor Plaza. The theatre indeed played a lot, including the “biggies” like the original Star Wars Trilogy and Indiana Jones Trilogy.

View link


Myron on January 21, 2005 at 7:42 am

This website is great but most of the comments here have little to do with the Astor Plaza Theatre. I had to scroll through over 100 comments having nothing to do with the closing of the theatre. Most of the discussion here seems to center on 70MM, theatres in New Jersey and California, which films deserved the Oscar, etc. What does this have to do with the Astor Plaza? If you guys want to read about various projection techniques, go to Here you will find much information about 70MM, Technirama, CinemaScope 55, Cinerama, VistaVision, etc. It is most enlightening. The description of how guests were treated at the last showing of “The Village” is disgraceful for customers to be treated like that. The staff was taking their troubles out on the theatre-lovers. That was a very interesting revelation. I simply wanted a list of films originally screened at the Astor Plaza. Incidentally, I saw “Alien” there. The Dolby-sound was so good that the whole audience jumped when the creature appeared from above. I never recalled hearing vibrations from the subway underneath and my hearing is superb! The loss of this palace is very sad!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 20, 2005 at 4:07 pm

>>They can’t use the RCMH due to the heavy bookings of shows well in advance.

It seems this house (RCMH) is dark most of the time.

Myron on January 20, 2005 at 11:01 am

Yes, it’s true, the marquee of the Loew’s Astor Plaza is gone. It will be called the “Nokia Theatre”. It’s a shame they don’t save the marquis but destroy them. Even in Las Vegas, they have been saving their old signs for an eventual Neon Museum. They already restored the “Aladdin” lamp and the “Howdy Pardner” cowboy and Las Vegas “Lil” sign. They even saved the “Treasure Island” pirate sign. The Siegfried & Roy sign I can’t get any information on. I also enjoyed “Star Wars” there; the Dolby Stereo was fantastic. I don’t recall vibrations from the IRT trains underneath; although they are nearby. I also saw “Alien” there and I believe the #1 film of all-time “Titanic”. What a loss to Broadway and to Times Square. They want to close the Ziegfeld too, but it’s the only theatre remaining in New York where ermieres can be held. They can’t use the RCMH due to the heavy bookings of shows well in advance.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 17, 2005 at 5:00 am

What would have been the big deal keeping the marquee. They are going to need one anyway. The Palace Theater on broadway had a great marquee until they remodeled in the 80’s. The one they have now is terrible.

Shade on January 16, 2005 at 9:59 pm

I walked by last week and peeked up to the Nokia construction sign and could see right through the back of it to Broadway. I walked underneath and yup: the marquee is gone. I wonder how they spirited that thing away? Doubtful it’ll be reused elsewhere.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 8, 2005 at 2:03 pm

I take it they won’t ask people to turn off cell phones before shows?

William on January 8, 2005 at 1:55 pm

The Astor Plaza Theatre will be renamed the Nokia Theatre when it reopens again. The construction around the boarded up marquee states the new name.

br91975 on December 14, 2004 at 5:28 pm

When the Astor Plaza reopens as a concert venue, its seating capacity will be expanded to approximately 2200.

moviebluedog on October 9, 2004 at 3:55 pm

Dear Cinema Treasures Readers,

After years of research, Michael Coate and I are proud to announce that “70mm In NY” has been posted on our site,

To navigate directly to this part of the site, copy and paste the following into your browser:

View link

We’ve included a number of interesting features about “70mm In NY,” including an introductory article about the history of 70mm In NY; a theatre list of 70mm equipped houses; a list of the longest running 70mm engagements in NY, and much, much more.

We feel the most exciting part of the site is the list of 70mm engagements. You can click on any year from 1955 through 2004 and find out information on which films played in the NYC-region in 70mm.

As we’ve seen on this wonderful site, there are quite a few 70mm fans from the New York/New Jersey region, and we hope that you will enjoy this look back on 70mm presentation in your area.

There are some sections of “70mm In NY” that are coming soon, so we please check back.

We encourage your feedback.

Best regards,
William Kallay
Michael Coate
“70mm In NY”

todorov on September 7, 2004 at 9:30 am

A shame — I liked it much better than the Ziegfeld — bigger screen, better sight lines.

I saw Star Wars there, the Matrix on openning night, and many, many other films, especially during the early ‘80s. Last film? LOTR:ROTK for sure and after that???

Sad, sad, sad… The best theater now in NY: The Walter Reade — if they evr close that, I’m moving.


bamtino on August 14, 2004 at 12:04 pm

At the time of its closing, the Astor had 1427 seats.

YMike on August 11, 2004 at 8:37 am

I saw Return of The Jedi at the 86th st. before it was demolished. Was this theatre similer to the 83rd st. Loews that was replaced by the 84th st. one?

William on August 11, 2004 at 8:20 am

I think they see $$$ signs, because with the Biltmore Theatre reopening and restored for Broadway. I really think they are waiting for some major name retail store to go into it. One problem I see is that building the theatre is located in is not a full building over the theatre. If you stand across the street near 48th Street and look over you can see the building is shaped like a backwards L and the theatre is in the rest of the missing part. So that building could be an easy building to be razed because of the theatre. So they could make a small tower type building on the site. The past operators of the theatre let the theatre go and its more like a old worn grind house than a former Roadshow house.
If our company had redid the theatre it was to feature a State of the Art projection booth. See that’s my part in this project with the company. I handle projection services for them and their clients.

Mikeoaklandpark on August 11, 2004 at 8:02 am

You would think that they would come down in the rent considering the building has been vacant for many years. Obviously these building owners in NYC have nothing but greed on their minds.

William on August 11, 2004 at 7:51 am

The company that has the Mayfair/DeMille up for lease wants over a million dollars in rent a year for the theatre. Our company looked into leasing it about two years ago. So it could be turned into a motion picture screening theatre. Like the DGA, Motion Picture Academy, WGA type theatres. With the cost of the rent and the theatre is not in that great of shape right now. The past operators of the theatre let major problem go without repairing them in a timely fashion.