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Believe it or not, AMC Rockaway is not the best movie theatre USA, world or even New Jersey for that matter.
I forgot to comment on this place – I went opening weekend and the place was, well – what it was. 12 screens all down one hallway (with a restroom right in front by the lobby) and a concession stand serving pretty much the basics. The theaters were small with very large screens (I was in a traditional theatre, I opted not to see Tower Heist in XD) and the theater lacks proper masking for scope films! The lame answer I got from the manager was “since most movies are made in flat, our new builds don’t have masking for scope which is why it’s letterboxed” – – uhhhh, that’s actually not correct, I’d say it’s about half and half on the production side for scope vs. flat features – so instead of screaming “ultra high tech” this place seems cheap. Unfortunately I was the only one bothered by this. The other aspects of the presentation and sound were good however.
The Hollywood Reporter had an article regarding AMC’s Canadian operations, many of which from my experience in the GTA had to share movies with Cineplex. To say they have over capacity would be a misstatement, last time I was at a Canadian AMC (for Breakaway) last October – I noticed how little effort they put into running the place, for a 24-plex they had no expanded menu apart from ice cream, one of their large houses was entirely closed off. As far as I can tell they also didn’t have gift cards (they were running a trailer tag for “AMC Gift Certificates” from the 1990’s) and apart from a few digital installs this location was 35MM (AMC has converted many of the sites they’re planning on begin in for the long term to all digital). They also haven’t introduced their bar/fork and screen concept either to Canada – whereas Cineplex/Famous Players had been leading on expanded concessions.
I know Cineplex can’t really grow any more to buy AMC (and perhaps even AMC closing would present an issue of Cineplex were to want to open a new complex). In the US a lot of these big AMCs that they weren’t renewing their leases on were bought up by other operators who came in and “right-sized” them, including their first megaplex the Grand 24. Empire it would appear would be the only one that could pull this off unless another exhibitor wanted to enter Canada (though I feel as if Cineplex is dominant and any exhibitor would have an issue competing directly with them). I wouldn’t appear though that the big US exhibitors are interested – Regal has a few on the border, Cinemark withdrew from Canada, and Carmike and Rave have no international operations.
….the Enzian is Orlando’s dedicated venue for independent and foreign films, along with a screen or two down the street from them at Regal Winter Park Village.
I have faith these theaters can reopen – and I think it’s a really bad thing when a community looses access to first run films. Digital can be a good thing – with lower cost of distribution hopefully studios will loosen up on some requirements and allow the small town indie operator to show a family picture in the afternoon and more adult friendly film at night – allowing them to offer more variety. But the reality is digital installs are growing and it looks likely they’ll be a cut-off point where exhibitors have to digital or close. I should note – some small town exhibitors have indeed found the resources to go digital, so it can happen – it just has to be part of the long term business plan.
AMC will probably not permit if it its within 15-miles of one of one of their venues. The problem is as the article mentioned that digital will become the standard, and if the owner can’t pull together the financing to convert, they can only operate it in the short term. I’m wondering what sort of opportunities will arise as a result of major chains fleeing smaller and less profitable houses (AMC is apparently hemorrhaging money – I read they are trying to sell of their Canadian megaplexes, in some areas they’ve reduced screen count and/or are not booking all their screens). There are excellent smaller chains that could stand to grow, but many haven’t full committed to digital beyond a few screens for 3D – perhaps individual economic development agencies might have grant money operators can hustle, especially if a theater is viewed as a pillar in a downtown community.
It looks like there is some interest in reopening these theaters: http://www.bentoneveningnews.com/news/facebook/x1112599373/Former-employee-wants-Toler-Cinema-reopened
Apparently AMC is giving the same stock answer its spokesmen keeps giving when they close a smaller/older theatre – that it “no longer effectively competes in the marketplace” – – I called it that the small town Kerastoes wouldn’t be around for a while (and I wonder if we will see a plague wipe out many smaller operations if studios stop releasing celluloid film prints). My guess is AMC is gearing up for a screen reduction and I’ve seen evidence they are pulling out of certain markets all together (and many sites in markets they see a future for are currently 100% digital, you can tell which theaters are questionable if they haven’t been converted yet). Still, this is not good for communities that may loose the options to see first run films, as we’ve been seeing the promise of digital and lower costs of distribution is there could be a move towards leveraging single screen locations to show more diverse programing – hell maybe even an indie movie on a Tuesday night. The big exhibitors are clueless about building an actual community in their building, so any theater with character is cast aside in favor of the hegemonic multiplex.
Not sure if this is correct but it appears from movie tickets.com it’s a rare Rave that never converted to digital and apparently is showing Happy Feet 2 in Technocolor (film-based) 3D.
@Poland – – this is one of the rare downtown ones Clearview didn’t buy. Clearivew as an operation has gotten better, and spends resources upgrading the concession areas, bathrooms, and seats – – but never on correcting major mistakes made in the projection room when subdividing theaters. So many of the theaters they buy were poorly built/subdivided that you’d have a better experience in a discount house.
I agree – it’s the experience that matters – which is why good film festivals are addicting. AMC and Regal are pretty clueless about experience. Theaters like Alamo Drafthouse and the Nitehawk (in Brooklyn) get it, embrace it, and deliver a pretty great experience. I had been at Nitehawk with 3 friends that love cinema a few weeks ago – we saw one movie and decided because we had a great time (food, beverages, and a great pre-show instead of advertisement crap – I’m bias because that night they were showing a short I made before Martha Marcy May Marlene, but still) we decided to see the midnight show that was about to start for a different show. That’s not many places were a great movie experience where everything is done right that makes you want to have another experience right after the one you’ve had (that and you have to be a certain kind of person) – but Regal and AMC aren’t it.
I’ve driven to Toronto for certain films that aren’t playing in Buffalo, mostly by Canadian filmmakers I’m interested in. I did it for Bruce MacDonald’s This Movie is Broken – which was brilliant (although not as eventful a screening as Edward’s – – this was a normal Saturday afternoon at the Scotiabank Theatre). I normally have to have another reason to be in Canada though – and seeing a film I can’t see in the US feels like a major bonus. I was enrolled in a graduate seminar at University at Buffalo, Canadian Studies, last fall and we had two joint sessions with colleagues at Brock University in St. Catherine’s, ON – and what was showing at Cineplex/Empire Theaters during our two class meetings in Canada….luckily Street Dance 3D (a british version of Step Up 3D that never found US distribution) and that hilariously awful (and iconically Canadian) Score: The Hockey Musical!
Otherwise – a good part of my life was spent across the river from NYC, where I had the good fortune to see virtually anything I wanted to see in a given week.
Dipson’s major upgrades are almost finished – they replaced every surface in the place and then some – digital sound, stadium seating with leather seats, two rows of D-Box Motion Code seats in one of their larger 3D auditoriums (4 3D systems in all). The theaters are a tad smaller than Regal’s but the quality of the presentations is finally as superb as Dipson’s other locations (Flix was showing signs of wear and tare – – now its on the way to becoming the finest multiplex in the area).
Now known as Flix Stadium 10.
And in how many markets where a Regal and a non-AMC share bookings is Killer Elite opening at the independents? (I looked at two I know of and in both markets Regal had it)
I fear this will be common, I live in Buffalo which is a market that has seen a few digital conversion (only one multiplex I believe is 100% digital in the market), and I’m wondering what will happen if the actual “drop dead date” for film of 2012-2013 actually does happen. I’m guessing the stream will slowly trickle down to nothing as smaller wide releases (say in the 400-1500 screens range) may simply stop being offered to theaters on film, until major releases and art films are also only available by hard drive.
We see it now with major chains careful about converting their higher profit locations and markets while taking a wait and see approach to the others. 70,000 though sounds steep, and there are different business models including Virtual Print Fees they might be able to take advantage of. I hate the idea of people having to travel an hour or more just to see a film, any film.
Although some small town theaters have jumped they gun and gone digital, it’ll be a battle for theaters on the bubble in very small markets.
Large glass lobby within the mall, a small concession stand – two long theaters one to the left, one to the right – – the restrooms are down a few flights of stairs (below the projection rooms). It’s clean and in good shape for its age, another well run Dipson location.
The theatre is on the market for $400,000 – – here’s the real estate agent’s page with pictures:
I disagree – dhroc: I doubt a chain will be held hostage, they will still be setting their own price – if anything I’m not sure how MoviePass will make money.
Dipson Theaters in Buffalo NY offers a season pass program and their biggest in-market competior is doing just fine. Movie theatres survive by selling popcorn and soda at perverted mark-ups anyway. If this forces a certain core of movie goers to go a little more often (and thus have more to spend on popcorn/soda) then I don’t see how it’s a bad deal for anyone except MoviePass (I’m not sure how their business model will really work, perhaps they’ve got a deal with MovieTickets.com that allows for this, I’m not sure the value of which they can sell advertising can subsidize heavy movie going- I see about 250 films a year in a theatre).
What’s wrong was this was sprung on exhibitors without having procedures in place and to deal with customers with MoviePass. Once in a while on my way somewhere I’ll stop by the Dipson Theatres in Batvia which is 30 miles outside of buffalo, and it takes them a while to find the procedure for the season pass program.
The example I give is this: the other night I saw Mr. Popper’s Penguines because I had nothing else to do. If I had to pay $9 I sure as hell wouldn’t have. To make the film more palitable I got popcorn and soda. The sale that matters to the theatre (popcorn/soda) would have been lost had I decided to do something else that night. At a cost prohibitive $50 a month (double what the Dipson season pass costs me – $300 a year) unless they announce some “light” program it will only attract folks who really want to see two movies a week. But I agree, theater chains should offer a season pass program, even though those come with limitations.
I also have, over at my blog, a few ideas on how and why I think chains need to embrace a more social model for getting folks in the door, the way film festivals do it.
The deal must have been done through movietickets.com – which AMC is a part owner/founder of. This would explain the absence of Fandango Theaters owned by Cinemark (Century) and Regal which operate in SF. This would indeed be problematic for a national roll out. Still I think MoviePass is a step in the right direction, as is making moving going more social – encouraging it is step one. I hope chains will learn this is what sets them apart from watching a movie on TV. That and bigger screens.
The thing nobody seems to remember is AMC once tried this – some chains (Dipson in Buffalo) do have a season pass program. Here’s a link to my blog which covers this in painful, painful detail: http://www.johnfinkfilms.com/Blog/Entries/2011/7/1_Movie_Pass__the_rejected_savior.html
I’ve always said – if a theater can capture the excitement of a great film festival they’d have an experience everyone would want – excitement – I’m not sure how you build on that but their are chains (Alamo Drafthouse is one) that are.
blog from LA Times with a pic (very few pictures also at Rave’s facebook page):http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/06/former-magic-johnson-theaters-reopens-as-rave-cinemas.html
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?
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.
NCG is reopening the theater on May 20th.