Comments from John Fink

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John Fink
John Fink commented about Lehigh Valley Cinemas on May 14, 2011 at 6:29 am

I’m not sure what the AMC 14-plex above references but Carmike had at that time just opened a 16-screen theater by the Airport. AMC of coarse really did nothing when they took over the theatre and last I had gone their, the summer during AMC’s take over, the place was not nearly as busy as it was a few summers earlier. Two things I remember: there was what might have been an old lobby with a concession stand and the far left of the complex (a marquee above it directed patrons to the entrance with box office to the left). On that side of the complex they had (not sure if this was an expansion or not) up about five stairs two smaller(?) theaters and restrooms. Not sure these were ADA compliant. The remaining 6 were at ground level. The main restrooms I recall were upstairs (not uncommon in GCC sites – Buffalo where I presently live is like a GCC museum with the multi-era Thruway Plaza, the 80’s era McKinley Mall, and the 70’s era Eastern Hills Mall – which has the aforementioned restrooms on the second floor along with the former Ocean County Mall). This one did have a handicap restroom by the concession stand. Can anyone shed any light on the expansion and/or division it took to get to 8 theaters?

John Fink
John Fink commented about Towson Commons 8 closing on May 15 on May 12, 2011 at 5:52 pm

What evidence do you have that Clifton Commons and Bridgewater Commons aren’t doing well? I’m guessing Bridgewater Common’s Fork & Screen conversion came because AMC already has market saturation with the nearby Aviation 12 and they wanted to do something different at an upscale mall. Clifton Commons, also 100% digital unlike Towson Commons (did you only choose former General Cinema theaters with “commons” in their name?).

Clifton Commons seemed to be in fine shape last time I visited, fully staffed and crowded it seemed as busy as it ever was during the General Cinema days.

John Fink
John Fink commented about NCG Courtland Cinemas on May 12, 2011 at 5:04 am

NCG is reopening the theater on May 20th.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Landmark Theatres put up for sale - but only if the price is right on Apr 25, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Could be Sundance Cinemas big chance……

I don’t see Regal and AMC buying Landmark.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Nitehawk Cinemas to bring dine & view to Williamsburg on Apr 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

The Alamo Drafthouse has been talking about a NYC theatre for years – not sure what neighborhood they were looking but Williamsburg would seem ideal. The dine-in model has taken two forms: upscale and draft house – AMC has figured out a way to screw up both and I’m a little surprised they aren’t looking at exporting the model to a level at the Empire 25 (as far as I know anyway). Seeing how well the Alamo experience worked during its peak time (SXSW) I have to say it efficient, the food is pretty good (not great but good), the service is fast and not very distracting verses AMC which has over complicated a simple model. This project sounds pretty cool though.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Cineplex Odeon Route 17 Triplex on Apr 20, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Worth noting is the theatre closed with the RKO Century name. Cineplex Odeon had never put their logo/name on the place. I suspect this was due to the fact the theatre had been considered in renderings of the plaza circa it’s 1996 expansion. I had first come here in the 1990’s. I believe Cineplex also had run a theatre at the then Bergen Mall in the late 80’s/very early 90’s. There was also a drive in next to the GSP (which is now a parking lot off Route 4 – on the far right near Nordstrom).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Bow Tie Cinemas acquires Reston Town Center 13 on Apr 6, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Congrads – that’s a really great and ambitious plan at Reston Town Center – I hope somebody snaps some pics for Cinema Treasures – a National Amusements / Cineplex hybrid is something worth documenting!

John Fink
John Fink commented about Hartford to get Luxury Cinema with Grill on Apr 5, 2011 at 5:18 am

Mike – the Hartford International Film Fest is in November – that’d be an awesome way to open a new plex.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Moral hits rockbottom at the Colonial Twin! on Apr 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I was a patron of the Colonial Twin and I never really found the employees to be a problem (I take these videos as dicking around when there wasn’t customers around – in between shows, ect). Truth is they could have provided perfect customer service but the place was falling apart, it was so musty I really stand seeing a movie there so we’d go elsewhere. Although my biggest regret is at least not seeing In & Out there (filmed right across the street, this and The Game were the last attractions – my guess is it was victim of the recently, enlarged Loews Wayne, which went from 8-14 screens, and Kinnelon – even though that theatre is truly an awful experience).

I can’t say Pompton’s downtown helped – it still isn’t a large draw. The place now seems to be working out okay – the top theatre is the home of the Smiling Rhino Theatre company and the rest of the building is used by Windsor School and as a youth center. If they ever get their plans going to revamp downtown Pompton Lakes, I hope a 4-8 screen boutique theater would come into town, it has potential. As for these videos – it nice to see the theatre back, I’m sure you guys sold my grandma and I popcorn at some point, probably during that summer where all you were showing was In The Line of Fire and Last Action Hero (we saw them 3 times!).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Hartford to get Luxury Cinema with Grill on Mar 31, 2011 at 5:39 pm

What’s the rest of the project look like? Downtown Hartford could certainly use a movie theatre and more shopping (granted there’s a few fun bars downtown, theatre and restaurants – there’s little else). I would be great somehow if Real Art Ways could have a presence downtown.

I’m surprised there’s out of market interest in Hartford downtown. Perhaps if there was larger retail commitment they could have attract a more national chain (AMC/Rave/Regal). A cinema grill would work – – an Alamo Drafthouse franchise + Hartford – – that’d be an amazing contribution to the cinema scene. (Full disclosure: the Hartford International Film Festival has been kind enough to support/show my work for the past three years, so I think very highly of the Hartford movie-going scene).

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC may abandon struggling downtown megaplex in Minneapolis on Mar 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm

True but it sounds like they had either wildly successful builds like Skokie or really bad losers like Neonopolis and Abacoa.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC may abandon struggling downtown megaplex in Minneapolis on Mar 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Crown Theaters built a theatre out of their core market of CT that was a loser?! Shocking.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Theater chains rally against proposed nutritional information rules on Mar 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I’m not so sure it’s hurt sales in New York City – unless they provide data otherwise. But I laugh in one article about them not being in the restaurant industry – they’re experimenting with it with Fork & Screen / Cinema Suites / AMC Grill and Cinebarre (Regal’s co-venture).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Theater chains rally against proposed nutritional information rules on Mar 21, 2011 at 8:19 am

The thing is several cities require this – the bigger chains have this information – why not disclose it? As for the smaller chains and independents I’m sure they could provide a reasonable estimation based on the size of the product they are selling if they had to, but I’m sure an uber-indie chain would be exempt.

I understand the conservatives thoughts about “government intrusion in the free market” but come on – you should have the right to have access to known information if you ask for it. Putting it on the menu will insure some moron at the snack bar, (or in management if your at Clearview Cinemas) – can’t say “I don’t know, they haven’t told me”. Other chain restaurants will provide estimates of their products in a separate guide from their menu.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Fandango to sell Alamo Drafthouse tickets on Mar 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Now if only Alamo would take over the AMC Fork & Screens, their concept is so much simpler and better (although I’m tired of eating their breakfast, lunch and dinner during South By)

John Fink
John Fink commented about Echelon Mall Cinemas on Mar 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

In the 90’s I believe it was run by a national chain of mostly dollar theaters called Reel Theatres.

John Fink
John Fink commented about University 8 on Mar 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm

I’m also going to speculate some of the seats from here ended up at Dipson’s Bativia Mall (GCC style seats with the Pepsi logo scraped off – from when GCC switched over to coke right before AMC took them over).

John Fink
John Fink commented about Loews Theater at River Falls Mall on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I believe this closed as an unbranded National Amusements theatre.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Batavia Mall I & II on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Recently added Technocolor film-based 3D

John Fink
John Fink commented about City Council rejects plea to declare Beach 4 historic on Feb 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Of coarse this is a shame, I remember a NFP trying to run the site and they couldn’t make a go of it. While I hate to see a theatre close, Frank Theaters is the only chain that I know of that have seasonal operations – mostly because aside from very few boardwalk attractions most Jersey shore towns close-up after mid-September till May (with the exception being Atlantic City which does steady convention business all year long) – although I’m sure the theaters do excellent business during the summer.

I’ve asked this before on another thread (apologies in advance) – are there any other theaters in other parts of the country, likely resort areas that close for months at a time?

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Downtown Disney 24 on Jan 31, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Here’s some pics – View link – It looks like there are at least two bars – one on the first floor next to the “new” concession stand by Theaters 1 and 2 and one on the mezzine level for Theaters 1 & 2 (where they had a short lived cafe I believe for a few years). The Concession Stand of the Future looks like it has an impressive selection including flavored popcorn (the large is $9.75!) and includes the new Coke Freestyle machines.

John Fink
John Fink commented about AMC Downtown Disney 24 on Jan 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm

The theater predates “Downtown Disney” – it’s original 10-screen configuration was an entertainment anchor of Pleasure Island, along with Planet Hollywood (both were off Pleasure Island proper, ie: allowing access to those 21 and under after 6PM without an adult). The theatre expanded to 24 screens with the opening of Downtown Disney West Side and got a second box office and entrance adjacent to the now defunct Virgin Megastore.

The theater is also getting a Fork & Screen “upgrade” (my guess is the original concession stand adjacent to Hyperon Wharf (a re-envisioning of Pleasure Island and open in 2013) will become McGuffins and the 5 right side theaters will become the Fork & Screen auditoriums). Perhaps other upgrades (as suggested by cgimovieman) will occur in the transition as AMC has opened a “Concession Stand of the future” (http://www.laughingplace.com/News-ID513430.asp) – which sounds similar but more extensive version of what Drive-Ins have and the “express” concession General Cinema tried and abandoned in their newer plexes a few years before AMC bought them. AMC is doing weird stuff lately.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Ocean City, New Jersey's two theaters are for sale on Jan 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Can we name any other seasonal multiplexes? The Jersey shore is unique in towns really do shut down (except Atlantic City) for the winter – your lucky if a few arcades and maybe a restaurant or two are open at some beaches during the winter.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Ocean City, New Jersey's two theaters are for sale on Jan 24, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Here’s an interesting description of one of their theaters – which sounds like a work in progress never finished: /theaters/12337/

I’ve only ever been to their Towne 16 which I found odd because the aisle stairs of the stadium seating weren’t carpeted but the whole Handicap row at the median was. The stairs/aisle portion was just tiled.

They also were going to co-operate (with Muvico) the Fredricksville, VA theater Paragon opened with the Muvico brand. Several other sites they pitch never seem to pan out/open – and oddly they claim to have a development they’re working on in Syracuse, NY – an odd out of market expansion.

John Fink
John Fink commented about Ocean City, New Jersey's two theaters are for sale on Jan 24, 2011 at 6:22 pm

That and perhaps they want to operate theaters with a full running season, although Moorlyn had been upgraded to stadium seating years back. Perhaps here’s the place to ask this question: Franks seems to be (correct me if I’m wrong) a real estate investment company – there was a relationship with Hoyts who I believe used to run the Frank’s flagship the Towne 16 and the Strand. What was the deal with Hoyts/Frank Theaters? (they also interestingly enough finished a Hoyts in Bayonne – the South Cove Cinema 12 which seems to really only be a 10-plex). Hopefully we can pool our collective knowledge here and try to figure out what the deal is with Frank Theaters….