Best Buy Theater

1515 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 201 - 225 of 529 comments

YMike on July 30, 2004 at 11:11 am

I saw Titanic there on April 15,1998. It was the late show and the theatre was fairly empty but what a great theatre to see that film in. Sound and picture were great. It’s too bad they couldn’t bring back some classic films like Star Wars or Titanic for the Astor’s last week instead of the village. I bet more people would have come for those films.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 30, 2004 at 8:29 am

“2001” had a fine presentation at the Astor Plaza, good and loud! The only thing they did wrong was leave out the intermission, but they played the overture over closed curtains, and there were no commercials or previews to spoil the show. It was like 1968 all over again. At the end of one show they left the theater lights off when the credits were over while the exit music played, so you had to find your way to the exit doors in the dark. Whether it was a mistake or not, I don’t know, but it was effective. One of the Friday night shows had a fairly big crowd with the center section almost completely full, amazing in spite of practically no advertising (one tiny ad in the New York Times was all I could find). It was total word of mouth, and the faithful fans came. I also saw it there on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve 2001, for obvious reasons.

umbaba on July 30, 2004 at 6:59 am

ASTOR MEMORIES??…The first movie I saw there was 1492…a beat flick made better by the presentation (I believe it was 70MM)

I really enjoyed seeing The Godfather there in 97, on the big screen and I did see 2001 re-issue in Dec. 2001. I had forgotton it was 70MM. It was great although they never publicized it and there were maybe 20 people there. A damn shame. I just saw Spiderman 2 and I might venture in to see The Village. Yes, it’s a hole in the ground, but the fact that it’s a big screen, great sound and picture AND the last of the single screens does make these tributes more nostalgic.

IanJudge on July 29, 2004 at 2:38 pm

I believe that Loew’s became Loews sometime between 1968 and 1972. I am not really sure why… but it may have been related to the fact that the Tisch family (who conrolled Loew’s at the time) turned “Loew’s Theatres, Inc.” into “Loews Corporation” (with the theater company as a subsidiary). This new Loews Corp. (which still exists today as a conglomerate) is not to be confused with the original Loew’s, Inc. (M-G-M and Loew’s Theatres).

Loews Corporation spun off Loews Theatres in the 80’s. It was owned by TriStar Pictures, taken over in turn by Coca-Cola, sold to Sony. The name change from Loews to Sony Theatres was to reflect the fact that Sony was so supposedly advanced with technology that people would be convinced that a “Sony” theater would have to have superior equipment, etc. This would perhaps have worked if all the old and dreary Loews became amazing hi-tech Sony’s overnight, but clearly, the older theatres did not change much more than the marquee.

When Sony knew it was looking to spin off the theater chain once again (merging it with Cineplex Odeon) they changed the name back to Loews because 1) Loews is a familiar and historic brand name, and 2) they didn’t want a company they didn’t own to use the name Sony.

I would think that, since Loews Theatres is not related to Loews Corporation, they would bring the apostrophe back, to distinguish themselves from the conglomerate, but I would imagine, just as with all the other issues discussed on this page, they just plain don’t care.

VincentParisi on July 29, 2004 at 1:16 pm

Go Warren you said it like it is. As I’ve said many a time but never enough I remember when this was literally a hole in the ground in ‘68 and it’s always remained one. Now lets hope that Toys R Us goes bust and we can rebuild the great Criterion.(by the way it used to get the second runs after the Astor Plaza because the idiots that be never gave it the first runs. Superman looked so good on that screen.) New York is not the same without you Criterion.

William on July 29, 2004 at 1:15 pm

It’s not MTV thats taking over the theatre. And Viacom does not own the building, they are just a tenant.

Theatrefan on July 29, 2004 at 12:55 pm

When you think of all the theatre chains in the NYC area that have come and gone such as: RKO, Fox Metropolitan, Century, Paramount, Skouras, Brandts, Interboro, Randforce, Golden, Stanley-Warner, I’m glad the name Loews still exists albeit as a very pale imitation of it’s former glorious past in the NYC metro area.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 29, 2004 at 12:49 pm

The theatre has more listings than any other because the site is often used for “chat” that has nothing to do with the Astor Plaza. I hate to see any theatre close, but this is one that I’ll never miss. To my way of thinking, it was never more than a hole in the ground, literally and figuratively. Due to its location, it always seemed to me to be a disaster in the waiting. I doubt that anyone trapped down there would ever have gotten out alive if a fire or explosion occurred. Good luck to MTV. They seem to be the ideal tenant for such a space. Perhaps one of the rock concerts will bring down the roof!

Mikeoaklandpark on July 29, 2004 at 12:43 pm

I agree. I thought Sony was also a stupid name for a theater chain.

Theatrefan on July 29, 2004 at 12:40 pm

Sony Theatres was a silly name, when you think of the movies you think “LOEWS”. When I think of my tv set or walkman I think of Sony. I’m glad they got rid of the name Sony Theatres.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 29, 2004 at 12:34 pm

The first time I ever went to NYC was in 1975. Funny LAdy was playing at Loews State than in theater one and theater 2 had Dillinger. In the early 90’s Sony purchased Lowes and ran all the theaters under Sony. Even when the State reopen it was known as Sony State. I htink when they merged with Cineplex Odeon, they went back to using the Loews name. Loews also operated The Festival on 57th St breifly and the Paris. When they took over the PAris they changed the name to Loews Fine Arts. I don’t knoiw hwwat happened, but they didn’t run the theater very long.

Theatrefan on July 29, 2004 at 12:30 pm

Back in 2000, when Loews Cineplex was still a publicly traded company they featured a vintage picture of the Loews Astor Plaza in their annual report. It was being used for the world premier of the film “Funny Lady” which came out in 1975, the theatre must have been around for a year at this point. The very front of the marquee said LOEWS Astor Plaza in big red letters. In what year did Loews drop the name Loew’s and start using just plain Loews?

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 29, 2004 at 12:20 pm

If the picture won’t open, try this:

Go to Kubrick Media Mentions, then click on Pictures, then click on 2001 in 2001.

Another tribute to the Astor Plaza: I could be wrong, but I think the Astor Plaza has more comments on its page than any other theater in Cinema Treasures, even more than Radio City Music Hall! Here’s one more …

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 29, 2004 at 12:17 pm

Excerpt from the Reuters article:

>>Worth noting, too: In the 1940s, several of today’s legit houses were used exclusively as first-run movie houses, including the Palace with 1,700 seats, the Lunt-Fontanne, then known as the Globe, with 1,500 seats, the Broadway, the Winter Garden and the Ambassador.

Maybe we can convince the Messrs. Shubert and Nederlander (and Jujamcyn) to return one of these houses for exclusive first fun movies and premieres.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 29, 2004 at 12:07 pm

I can’t access the web site.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 29, 2004 at 12:02 pm

One Astor Plaza memory that just came to mind: during the first showing on the first day of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a small section of the ceiling fell in. No one was hurt, fortunately. I guess they had their great sound system turned up a little too loud :)

Theatrefan on July 29, 2004 at 11:53 am

Your welcome Bill!
I was there for the 2001 reissue, It was something that all fans of huge 70mm roadshow films should get to experience. I still have my ticket tucked away someplace, gotta go find it. I plan on going there one last time to see the village, will any of you cinematreasures folks be there as well?

Theatrefan on July 29, 2004 at 11:52 am

Your welcome Bill!
I was there for the 2001 reissue, It was something that all fans of huge 70mm roadshow fans should get to experience. I still have my ticket tucked away someplace, gotta go find it. I plan on going there one last time to see the village, will any of you cinematreasures folks be there as well?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 29, 2004 at 11:50 am

I like the 34th Street. Close to transit, big auditorium with big screens and great sound, nice views out the lobby windows. Lots of old-style movie posters and memorabilia.

On Thursdays at 7pm they have a classic film series; tonight 7/29/04 is The Philadelphia Story with Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Gary Grant. It’s always nice to see this on a big screen.

Theatrefan on July 29, 2004 at 11:46 am

Plus the AMC Empire 25 & Loews Ewalk 13 are only eight blocks away, I agree it was not the best location for a movie theatre.
Now back to the Astor Plaza, anyone have any memories they would like to share? I’ll always remember seeing Apocalypse Now, 2001 & 2010, Indiana Jones & Titanic in the Astor Plaza, It will be cherished memories I will never forget. It’s just not the same seeing movies in a shoebox cookie cutter multiplex nowadays!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 29, 2004 at 11:46 am

Thanks, Theatrefan, for posting Loews' farewell to the Astor Plaza. I guess it’s better than nothing, but instead of shilling for popcorn and plugging The Village it sure would’ve been nice to see Star Wars there one more time.

Here’s a picture of the last real glory days of the Astor Plaza, almost 3 years ago, when they showed their final 70mm film:

View link

Mikeoaklandpark on July 29, 2004 at 11:33 am

What made Loews think the new theater on 34ths St would make it. They had the beautiful 34th St Showplace on the east side when I lived in NYC which along with Cineplex Odeon 34th St East have closed in recent years. I use to work on 34th and 8th at Bowery Sasvings bank in the late 70’s and that area was not the greatest area to be after regular business hours.

William on July 29, 2004 at 9:44 am

Loew’s has been trying to drum up business for the 34th Street plex for over a year and since it opened. Last year they did the buy one and get your next visit at half price. They have a lower admission price. But still I don’t go to that theatre. I found the 34th Street Theatre a somewhat of a nice design. But not a winner of a theatre in my book.

Theatrefan on July 29, 2004 at 9:00 am

Apparently Loews Cineplex is trying to increase patronage for the Astor Plaza on its last weekend as a movie theatre. I received this in an email from them:

Our Gift To You for Three Decades of Movie Magic At Loews Theatres Astor Plaza 1. Visit Astor Plaza 1 in Manhattan at 1515 Broadway during its closing weekend (July 30 – August 1, 2004) and you will receive a handout with three coupons valid for Loews Theatres 34th St.:
– Buy One, Get One Free Mid-Week Ticket
– One Upgrade to Reserved Seating

– $1.00 Off A Super Value Bucket
In addition, Loews will conduct a raffle for an Annual Pass. The Astor Plaza 1 will be screening the highly anticipated new blockbuster from M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “Signs”), “The Village”, starring Joaquin Pheonix.
See Coupon for details

Is this the best they could do for a 70’s era deluxe movie palace? Try to drum up business for the 34th Street. Sheesh!!! What about a Film retrospective for the true fans of the Astor Plaza?

William on July 29, 2004 at 7:48 am

In the last two posts about the Astor Plaza, rhett and saps sat in a 1500 seat theatre with only 15/50 people in the auditorium. Even with big films like “Spiderman 2” the theatre can only pull in less then 50 people for a show. In the 80’s-90’s in Los Angeles. Some theatre chains would keep historic theatres open as long as they could by off setting profits from other profit plexes in the company. But the american movie going public loves those mega-plexes that the chains have built. And the true Event movie is now on 3000 plus screens, so why travel from your local plex. This year we loss the Astor Plaza in New York, earlier this year Los Angeles lost the Century Plaza Theatre. Both 70’s style modern palaces for the new generation of movie going, which only seems to have lasted 30 or so years. In today’s operation costs the Roxy and the Capitol could never have survived, because of the real size of the auditoriums.