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Regarding the busiest year, you could make an argument that 1993 with the release of Jurassic Park was the busiest. One of the long-time employees told me that the lines would be huge, wrapping around the stripmall complex all the way down to where the Acme used to be.
I also remember 1995 being very busy with the opening of Braveheart and Batman Forever being huge.
Trailers had digital sound tracks the same as the feature presentation itself so they sounded just as good.
Restricted or “red band” trailers as they were known (due to the intro “this preview has been approved for mature audiences only” introduction having a read background) would occasionally be played but of course only on R rated movies.
We did it, but 1) we didn’t get many red band trailers and 2) we didn’t always use them when we did.
We had 4 to 6 trailers on each movie, on average. This pic http://tinyurl.com/mzqusm4 shows you the little paper (tacked to the wall next to the little porthole) where we’d write what trailers were on each movie. Note it had up to 6 lines (for up to 6 trailers).
Sometimes there’d be more, but not normally. Sometimes there’d be a movie that came with a mandatory trailer, but usually it was up to us to put on what we wanted, as long as it was age appropriate for the feature presentation it was paired up with.
And even those trailers that came attached to reel 1 of a movie we’d cut off, and splice in our mandated AMC “clip” (remeber him, the old AMC mascot?) “Feature Presentation” intro, as well as a coca cola / AMC cobranded mini-ad for soda.
Fun trivia fact: We’d always cut off the green backgrounded “this movie is approved for all audiences” intro in front of every trailer. This shaved a little time off of each trailer to cut overall run times down a bit.
All in all, we had about 10-12 minutes of previews in front of each movie that started at the shows scheduled start time. As I had mentioned in a previous post, when the “AMC PreShow Countdown” started, it started about 10 minutes PRIOR to the scheduled showtime.
Projectors were the original “Victoria” projectors since the opening in the early 80s. See my pic: http://tinyurl.com/mucgngv The sound systems originally were analog only. Then Sony SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound) was added at some point (SDDS was in all theaters when I got there in 1995 as far as I can remember).
Then when Saving Private Ryan came out, we had Dolby come in and officially tweak theater 12 for Dolby Digital. So theater 12 had both SDDS and Dolby Digital as digital sound options.
Side note: The inners ONLY ever had analog sound, up until their closing in August of 1998.
Food? The whole lobby was redone right before I got there. This included the concession stand getting completely redone and reconstructed. I was told that they had a temporary concession stand set up immediately to the right in the lobby, where the arcades were in later years….complete with soda lines going across the floor (with a cover over them of course). I never ever went to the outers with its original lobby configuration and color scheme. I’d love it if someone had pictures of that! When I was hired in 95, they had just completed the overhaul into the colors that are pictured in all my pics from near closing in 2002 (the aqua blue, purples, white etc).
The food itself saw changes over the years. I remember the introduction of bottled water (Coca Cola’s Dasani), the change from “Arctic Blast” to “ICEE” frozen drinks. Then I remember when we used to mix the nacho cheese from huge concentrated cheese bags (mixing it with water) and have to portion it into little single serve plastic cups/lids. At one point they then switched to pre-portioned nacho cheese cups. Soft baked pretzels were introduced but they were tough to keep in stock on busy nights cause they took so long to prep / heat. And if you put too much water on them (so the salt would stick) you could ruin a whole tray :/
Bags of candy were always there, but the sizes got slightly smaller over time (but prices stayed the same …grocery shrink ray!).
Popcorn remained a constant. Always free refills on a large.
Going back to your October question: Favorite presentation was for Twister, 1996. All the employees helped out spray paining huge bags of cotton, to make angry looking storm clouds. We got strobe lights for lightning etc. We then stuck the cotton to the opening of the theater (this was theater 12, first door all the way to the right when you came into the lobby). So all the movie goers had to walk through the little storm clouds with flashing lightning. Very cool stuff.
Now did the seats get renovated since the opening? To my knowledge, no. If you look at my pictures (example: http://tinyurl.com/k9k845k ) , the seat colors were kinda 70s' looking and kinda faded. I know there was maintenance done on them (the cup holders would always break off over time) so they were maintained. But in my tenure there from opening day of Braveheart May 1995- closing July 28th 2002, there was never a single large overhaul done to them.
I also remember the very first pre-movie ads called the “AMC PreShow Countdown” around 2001. I remember (to give you the timeframe) the first television ads we started to air at the outers was for the tv show “24”. We still had the slide projectors showing static images in-between shows and the preshow countdown started 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.
I was only a staff supervisor when the inners closed in 98, but I remember staff being temporarily ‘borrowed’ from inner to outer or vice versa.
I remember the ‘hood’ movies and kids movies seemed to go to the inners, where what was thought to be a block buster would go to the outers.
Sometimes if a movie was doing well, it’d be transferred to the inners after a few weeks. I even remember walking movie prints (still fully assembled) across the parking lot from outers to inners.
In my opinion, polarized lenses are superior for 3D than Anaglyph Red/Blue. They made me get less dizzy than RealD 3D over the course of a 2 hour period. During my stint at the Outers from 1995-2002 (when the closed) we never had any 3D movies of any kind. I don’t remember the inners from 1995-1998 when they closed having any either.
When the theater closed, July 28, 2002, I was sad when I had to call a sign-company to remove the “AMC” letters (the rest of the sinage remained until the building was demolished to make way for Best Buy).
Note that when the Outers were built, the AMC letters were not originally present. They were added sometime later as I was told.
Inners box-office, 1998.
Again, the inners as I shot it in summer 1998. Does anyone remember there being glass ever actually enclosing the theater lobby? I seem to remember that as a kid but I’m not sure if I’m remembering that right.
Since then, we’ve already seen FYE come and go, and there is now a clothing store in this location as of 2012.
I remember that we would often not remove the candy from the bags in the display cases. They would melt over time due to the heat of the bulbs.
Outers, July 2002.
Here’s a shot from the projection booth. Stadium seating was not yet commonplace.
Here’s a great shot of that faux-leather in the Inners. 1998.
This is a pic I took of the inners before they closed circa June/July 1998. I loved the 70’s looking faux-leather backs (the seats were a horrible looking but durable fabric).
I was glad I was working here when I took these, so I could turn on all the house lights.
This was house 7 (since the outers were considered 7 through 12, and the inners were 1 through 6). This one was at the farthest corner, closest to pearlvision.
Those photos look familiar (as in I took them all and someone reposted). Glad cinema treasures has a place to upload them directly finally so at least others can see what they looked like.
It will be 10 years since the outers closed this July 28th, 2012.
And the new Rockaway theaters have gone all digital now for some time, no more film. There was something nice about the film presentation that digital just doesn’t reproduce.
@Justin, I know all 6 outer houses were SDDS certified. I want to say that house 12 was THX certified when Saving Private Ryan was released. I remember people specifically coming and tweaking the equipment to be in-spec with the certification.
I don’t know for sure what movie ran the longest but during my time there (1995-2002), but Titanic seemed to be one of the longest running features. I think it was over 6 months easily.
I hardly ever worked at the inners so I really don’t know.
I do remember that Cinema 10 in Ledgewood had the 1st Home Alone movie for an entire year.
One of the guys who I used to work with there, was around during the opening of Jurassic Park in 1993. He told me the lines wrapped around all the way to the Acme, it was so popular.
Also interesting trivia: Matthew Broderick’s Godzilla was thought to be so popular, it was running in all 6 screens of the outers during its opening weekend. It was such a flop however that it went down to 2 or 3 screens by the following Friday.
Justin wrote: “BTW, what were the Twilight shows?”
Twilite was between 4-6pm on any given day. Back in 1995, prices were $3 for anyone during twilite. The rest of the prices were $5.75 adult evening. $3.75 student/senior evening. Any ticket before 4pm was $3.50.
Prices in 2002 when the theater closed are seen here: http://tinyurl.com/ah5pg9
$7 adult evening. $5 student/sr / matinee. $4 child.$3.50 twilite.
You can actually see the “gold” AMC written in the doors, in this shot. Its from a-far, but its in the gold bar in the center of the door:
Here’s a view of the “arcade” if you can call it that:
And finally, here’s the Box Office Sinage. Oldschool box of letters to put up:
Thats excellent news regarding the classics.
Now I ask, does anyone have any links to Cinema 10 before the last wing was installed? How about before it was turned into a 10plex (back when it only had like 4 screens and the opening used to face towards where now is a McDonalds?
I can’t say when they were introduced into the theaters, but during my time at the Inners/Outers (95 through closing in 98 for inners, then 02 in outers) they always had cup holders built into the arm rests.
“Why did AMC fail to renew the lease with the mall before the new AMC opened?”
Its my understanding that Simon property group did not want the Inners there anymore. If you’ll recall, it was a HUGE teen hangout on Fri/Sat nights. It even required a police presence to patrol the Mall entrance by the inners and Sears. This was undesirable to SIMON. In fact many “mom and pop” type stores started to leave when leases were up, immediately following Simon buying the mall in the early/mid 90s. This was by design to give the mall a higher class feel.
I believe that Simon persuaded AMC to leave the space by making the new lease’s price SO expensive, it was cost prohibitive to stay. Combine this with the fact that AMC was trying to get out of the business of the smaller theaters (focusing on free standing Megaplexes), it was the perfect recipe to get rid of the Inners.
FYI: Looking at the prior 3 posts, the Outers never had the DTS soundsystem. And only house 12 (first theater on your right when you walked in) had Dolby Digital. All houses 7-12 had Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (SDDS) and analog. I remember that people from Lucasfilms actually came in and re-calibrated house 12 when Saving Private Ryan came out.
I’m fairly certain the Inners never had any digital sound but someone will have to correct me if I’m wrong. I hardly worked in the inners, as the outers was my primary “home” 1995-2002.
As a manager for the Outer theaters (and basically running the place prior to it’s closing on July 28th, 2002, I can say that at least in the late 90’s and early 00’s, the OUTERS definitely did more business.
All the “blockbuster” movies would go to the outers where smaller films and many kid films would get sent to the inner theaters.