PlayStation Theater

1515 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 151 - 175 of 545 comments

dave-bronx™ on April 15, 2005 at 2:22 am

Ahh – the old bathroom question – Theatres designed by office building architects have that problem – they don’t recognize there is a different usage pattern in a theatre and use the standard office building formula for determining the configuration of the restrooms. If the client isn’t on the ball, or doesn’t consider the ‘facilities’ a priority (or if the client isn’t the operator of the theatre), you end up with what the Astor and Ziegfeld had/has. The old time architects like Lamb, Eberson, the Rapp brothers, specialized in theatres and understood these things – those old palaces always had plenty of potties.

hardbop on April 14, 2005 at 9:43 am

I patronized the Astor Plaza and remember catching Coppolla’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” here and remember people clapping after the movie.

Also, Warner Brothers quietly released (dumped) Kubrick’s 2001 into theatres in 2001 (I heard they were contractually obligated to re-release it in ‘01) and I caught it here. That was a treat to see it in a “movie palace” or what passed for a movie place in NYC in '01.

And when they re-released Friedkin’s director’s cut of “The Exorcist” it played at the Astor Plaza.

I also caught Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” here the day it opened.

Also caught “Platoon” here the day after it opened to Canby’s rave review in the Times. I remember going to the first show on Saturday and then there was a huge crowd in the lobby waiting to get into the second show. A real vibe in the theatre that day.

One problem with the Astor Plaza (and the Ziegfeld)is the fact that there was only one bathroom in a theatre of that size. What were they thinking when they designed these theatres?

theatrefan on April 6, 2005 at 4:07 am

In the Star Wars Trilogy Bonus Material DVD, there is a documentary called: “The Force is With Them – The Legacy of Star Wars. In this documentary is a shot of the Loews Astor Plaza Marquee with a huge line of people waiting to see the first Star Wars film. The Marquee shows the name "LOEWS” all in caps on top, with the original Star Wars logo underneath. It must have been an awesome experience for the folks waiting on this line in 1977. It’s a shame we won’t have the same pleasure of seeing Episode III Revenge of the Sith at the Loews Astor Plaza.

Vito on March 28, 2005 at 5:08 am

dave, that was the practice for a long time. Films were rarely shot in 65/70mm, the cost was just too much. However a 70mm blow up is still better than no 70mm at all, I suppose.

dave-bronx™ on March 28, 2005 at 4:56 am

70mm was worth going out of your way to see only if the film was actually shot in 70mm. In the mid-80s we played a couple of films at Cinema I, the titles of which escape me at this moment, that although we had a 70mm print, it was shot in 35mm. The studios objective was to take advantage of the 6-track mag soundtrack in the pre-digital days. The projected image of this type of print was, to me anyway, always a little grainy.

Vito on March 28, 2005 at 3:42 am

Michael, With the exception of IMAX, 70mm is dead, there have not been any prints available, other than a short run of “Playtime” in 2004. We have had a few 70mm prints such as “A Space Odyssey” in 2001 and the DTS re-issue of “Lawrence of Arabia” in 2002, but no movie has had a wide 70mm release since 1997. The most recent releases have not been Dolby encoded, the sound has been DTS which does not have a magnetic track, but a CD Rom which plays with a time code printed on the print. I know of no new theatre built in the New York area that has installed 70mm since the mid 1990s. It is a shame, since watching a film in 70mm is magnificent way to see a movie. However, with the added cost of the prints and maintenance of the projection equipment 70mm struggled for some time. Multiplex operators did not want 70mm because after a few weeks, when the grosses on a new film begin to drop, they move it to a smaller auditorium and make room in the bigger houses for the new incoming movies, with 70mm usually installed in only one of 10-12 auditoriums, that could not be done. Then along came Dolby Digital which became the last nail in the coffin for 70mm. DTS manufactured a sound reproducer for 70mm, Dolby did not.

Coate on March 27, 2005 at 8:35 pm

QUOTE: “70mm Dolby-encoded prints were around untill the late 80s.”

70mm Dolby-encoded prints are still being made. I think you meant to write: “70mm NON-Dolby-encoded prints were around until the late 80s.”

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 26, 2005 at 1:39 pm

Passed by the Nokia Theatre on Thursday, and right by the front doors, the old Loews Theatres carpet is still there.

Vito on March 18, 2005 at 3:28 am

70mm Dolby-encoded prints were around untill the late 80s. I can remember working in at a theatre that did not have a Dolby processor, Universal shipped us a 70mm non-Dolby 6-track mag print of “E.T”.

Coate on March 18, 2005 at 12:13 am

“Longest run at the Astor Plaza: "Star Wars” – 65 weeks in 1977-78.“

Minor correction: the “Star Wars” engagement was sixty-ONE weeks.

View link


Coate on March 18, 2005 at 12:09 am

“Logan’s Run” played the Astor Plaza in 70mm during summer 1976. Some of the film’s batch of 70mm prints were Dolby-encoded (as a test?). The Los Angeles run (and I think also Boston and Toronto) advertised the engagement as 70mm and Dolby Stereo. The ads I’ve seen for the NY run, however, did not include any references to Dolby, suggesting the NY area 70mm prints were of the non-Dolby variety common for that era.

I guess my point is that it’s possible the Astor Plaza ran “Logan’s Run” in 70mm-Dolby Stereo and if so, this predated the Ziegfeld’s 70mm-Dolby run of “A Star Is Born.”

dave-bronx™ on March 16, 2005 at 12:45 pm

How are they going to squeeze another eight-hundred seats in there? Even with the old Griggs seats, which were much narrower than the Irwins that were there at the end, it was only another hundred. Are they going to hang seats from the ceiling??

William on March 16, 2005 at 11:30 am

Warbled sound would only happen if it was running in analog Dolby SR, not digital. It sounds more like a mistreading in the projector.

YMike on March 16, 2005 at 10:48 am

I saw “Titanic” at the Astor the last night it played there. I would guess the problems Bobt had with the sound were corrected by then.

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!