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Visited yesterday for Hercules – the good: it was clean and leather recliners. The Bad: yes, they’ve gone digital (no 3D but thats no deal breaker for me) but they never bothered to replace the glass in the projection booth – so in at least two auditoriums you’ll see a dark line running down the frame at some point. The picture was ¼th dark and out of focus – not acceptable (at least two others walked out along with me). The reason the management gave “the owners are working on it”.
Otherwise with a little more fixing up it could be great – they need new wall treatments (the one in the theater I was in had water damage), new glass in the booths and an automated lighting system that doesn’t leave the theaters dangerously pitch black between screenings – – and then the place would be fine.
Due for the AMC recliner-plex treatment per their website (no doubt the second generation that don’t recline as far and only allow for half the theatre capacity to be cut). AMC has been (after a year) charging a premium on the recliner-plexes – $16.50 at 84th Street is NYC’s highest 2D adult ticket price for a non-IMAX show.
The other Bronx theater in operation, Concourse Plaza recently installed comfortable rocker seats. Bay Plaza certainly needs an upgrade – while Concourse Plaza simply needs to be more welcoming – – it’s seriously like National Amusements built a movie theater in what looks like the middle of a maximum security prison. The least inviting theater I’ve ever been to.
The Bronx overall needs more movie screens, for a city that large to only have 24 screens at two complexes to choose from (AMC will likely in a year raise prices here quite dramatically) its time for another operator to enter. The only question is where?
(Yonkers by comparison has three excellent theaters in operations with a total of first run 27 screens)
Terrible movie experience these days unfortunately: the escalators haven’t worked since Empire Cinemas took over and the elevator I suppose “sometimes” works. Protocol would dictate finding this out before purchasing a ticket (I feel very bad for seniors and the disabled).
Anyway the theater was pitch black upon entry – the restrooms and concession area were clean. I think the staff does what they can but the owners have a track record of running some of the worst theaters in the country. Also known as Cinema Holdings Group – they’re run venues including the abandoned Mallory Brook 9 and Apple Valley Cinemas, the Park Slope Pavilion (frequently called the worst theater in NYC), and the “unsafe for human occupancy” Destiny 12 in Hamilton, NJ – – but you’d never know that because they’ve rebranded as ‘Empire Cineplex’ or ‘Empire Cinemas’. Google ‘Empire Cineplex’ and you’ll more than likely first information about a Canadian cinema take over. Google ‘Empire Cinemas’ and you’ll find the UK Theater Chain. Well played, Cinema Holdings Group.
Columbia Park, could be a really nice venue with a little attention and a little capital (it’s not a bad looking place – the neglected things like the escalators just need fixing first – then maybe the place could use a new coat of paint). They’ve promised luxury seating and renovations since they reopened, in six+ months they’ve done very little: adding new menu boards at the concession stand, a new sign displaying the “Empire” name in front of the building, and they’ve painted part of the lobby thus far, while ignoring the critical items.
Who knows, maybe they’ll come through and deliver a great movie experience (I hope so) but six+ months of promised improvements and virtually nothing to show for it. AMC started working on Headquarters Plaza two months after taking over and four months later they have a brand new floor open with luxury seats, new concessions and bathrooms. Here they’ve been teasing these kinds of renovations for a while – even putting “sample” seats in the lobby. I suspect they only convert a row or two to luxury seating – the process requires the removal and reshaping of stadium seating auditoriums to accommodate seating that when fully reclined requires more than just removing seats – it requires construction to revamp the auditorium to accommodate seats that take up 2-3x as much room (fully reclined) as the comfortable Regal rocker seats they currently have.
Operated (with a separate box office and concessions from the 21-screen Lowes) by AMC since RoboCop (February 12, 2014). Not sure if they still have 15/70MM in operation.
AMC assumed operations of the IMAX Theater in the complex in February.
On a side note Re: Regal – not sure what their plans are but they also announced they’ll be operating a luxury theater at Paramus Park. This theater seems a little less crowed but not hurting for business – I think both mall serve slightly different audiences with Nanuet ultimately a quicker, less stressful experience (at least parking). Bow Tie changed the focus on New City on art/indie films, although unfortunately a lot of the bigger titles from Fox Searchlight and Sony Classics play both at Bow Tie and Loews – occasionally a film will play at all 3 Rockland County theaters.
I visited last week for the BNFF and the theater is still in limbo – it’s in a strange predicament because the building is technically owned by the city, operated by a NFP-board and managed by Dipson. The city, wanting to get out of the exhibition business has requested proposals from interested parties to acquire the building (which includes the cinema and some additional storefronts).
Officially the city hopes it’ll remain a theater (and that could be viable as this block of Main Street is about to reopen to motor traffic), but it certainly requires updates including at the very minimum digital projection to continue to operate. (The lobby with its Angelika fixtures is generally in good shape, while the auditoriums are all original GCC including seats, carpeting and walls treatments – not in poor repair but certainly could use a refresh). I’ve heard some speculation as to the theater’s future, truthfully I’d like to see something innovative happen here (WNY doesn’t have a single luxury cinema and only one microcinema that serves food and alcohol).
Rumors are Starplex is taking it over
The presentation has greatly improved since Bow Tie’s take over – clear, bright, in focus, and in frame (digital of course allows a certain degree to correct for poorly divided theaters). The once infamously awful KinMall is now a theater I frequent a few times a month because the presentation is now very good (I never thought I’d say that!).
It’s been converted to a Church – here’s a current interior photo: https://www.google.com/maps/preview/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x883c775c9ebffb4b:0x2f7136381679cdb8!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4shttps://plus.google.com/115202883054903662450/photos?hl%3Den%26socfid%3Dweb:lu:kp:placepageimage%26socpid%3D1!5scalvary+church+maumee+–+Google+Search&sa=X&ei=ZZYxU5Qk4qbSAZXTgJAK&ved=0CJ0BEKIqMA0
RE: Optimist008 – Hudson Mall is currently open despite the revolving door of operators over the years – they’ve have covered to digital.
Western New York is a region where a few GCC locations of various vintages can be found – the most “vintage” of the bunch (all are digital by the way!) are Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, NY (including a big auditorium with a shadowbox screen!) and Chautauqua Mall I & II in Jamestown. A few others in Buffalo-Rochester were either of the 80’s vintage or evolved towards that “look” (Movieland 8 – formerly Thruway Mall has quite a history – it’s a GCC of two eras….although sadly its in very rough shape as a very popular discount theater – while I don’t recall it having a shadowbox screen, they still an original giant auditorium that seats about 600!).
I can’t speak for Hudson Mall but one location that has a few GCC touches lurking in a wing (including original style bathrooms) is Starplex Brunswick Square – the auditoriums recently underwent an extensive renovation (I’m not sure if they had a Shadowbox screen and if so it survived several renovations and divisions).
Currently the plaza is under construction – I had caught a flick here the other day. Its a perfectly utilitarian National Amusements design complete with corrugated steel walls. It appears seating ranged from 190 to 480 – I was lucky enough to be in #5 -the largest theater in the house. The layout of the mall is uninviting and looks as if it was designed to accommodate lots of crowds (and potentially problems). The walk up to the theater looks like a prison, the theater is 2 floors underground). The theater itself has a central concession stand (it looks newish) and the 10 theaters flank the stand along with two sets of restrooms. Overall the experience was – well – an interesting one, I can’t say I’ll be back but the theater was clean (even if the auditorium I was in smelled a little like a hospital), but they left the Real D polarizers on a 2D presentation – ugh – I wish they would make projectors that would refuse to start up if a 3D polarizer was left on for a 2D movie.
The theaters are still awkwardly chopped up but the experience has vastly improved over the years – Clearview remodeled the theaters a few years ago (new seats, carpets, concession stands and restrooms) and Bow Tie has installed digital projection which has been a big improvement (although I haven’t seen a show in theater #4 which had a poorly placed port window that greatly distorted the image – digital projection can correct for keystoning). Over all I enjoy the theater now – the staff is friendly, the place is clean, and they’re the first to show some great movies (although I admit I miss the days when Montclair had 11 art house screens….even if I don’t miss The Screening Zone).
No improvements as of yet – in fact some minor downgrades currently (no soda fountains, not sure if that’ll be the case until they install the Coke Freestyle machines with the upgrade). The theaters are currently showing 35MM (they may have two digital houses from Clearview remaining but I don’t know – we saw a movie in 35MM, no pre-show or AMC branding – just one trailer and the movie…wish it was always this simple). A packed house too with a sold out crowd for American Hustle.
The good news is we were warmly greeted by the one and only Fluffy – – very glad to see him!
A photographer caught the extreme makeover (I apologize if this link doesn’t work or changes) –
(Or search Facebook for Janet Joyner Photography and the album “Teaneck Cinemas”)
The theater had been in very bad shape last I visited in the spring of 2011 before they closed (I had seen a movie in the main auditorium where they used the curtain – cool, but the projection was out of focus, the sound was too low – especially for a dialogue driven Wit Stillman comedy, and the theater was freezing).
From the photos this place is looking great – with a complete modernization and a restoration of the some of the original art deco elements that were buried 20-40 years ago. I can’t wait to check it out this week!
Starplex is taking this over as of today, now listed as Town Center Plaza 10. Upgrades planned are luxury seating and digital projection.
Bow Tie has solved the major problem I had with many of the Clearview locations – Kinnelon has gone all digital and the picture is sharp, bright and most importantly – in focus! I look forward to seeing what they do circuit-wide as they continue to work on the Clearview sites.
Speaking of which: http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/downtown-buffalos-only-movie-theater-may-soon-go-dark-20131128
Last place in town to see a first run show in 35MM! (Movieland is 5/8ths 35MM – – and everyone else is fully digital)
Visited tonight – it appears to be a bit of a work in progress (or not….Starplex’s other NJ location – Brunswick Square, also saw very few changes beyond the auditoriums). Great presentation and extremely comfortable black leather-ette recliners – side masking for those that care about that kind of thing (at least in theater #2) along with the promised video monitors in the lobby, snack bar and guiding us into the auditoriums. Once in the hallway no atmosphere what-so-ever- – new carpeting and the removal of the small concession stand downstairs, also no posters or signs beyond (temp?) auditoriums numbers.
Many touches remain including (like Brunswick Square) the bathrooms – which could use some remodeling and other lobby touches. Hopefully they’ll class up the joint a bit more. The customer service however was excellent tonight and the staff was friendly explaining the Starplex rewards card and greeting folks prior to cleaning the auditorium (and showing off how the seats worked for those that hadn’t been in this kind of theater before). Good experience and great value – the adult ticket price at $10 is, I think, the cheapest in Bergen County for by far the best seats. If only the theater wasn’t in such a weird location.
A bar and expanded concessions may be on the way (lobby space is certainly in no shortage). An awful lot to like about this theatre so far – and hopefully Starplex’s work isn’t done yet.
Bow Tie unfortunately departed from Central Plaza so Alamo can pretty much show whatever they want now. I had originally thought Alamo would be the place for genre kinds of films, while Central Plaza might get more family friendly stuff – even though Alamo does play both (in fact I spoke with families when I was the director a tech camp two summers ago in Austin and many families make the Alamo a theater of choice for a day out).
I had visited Yonkers opening night and had a good experience even if it wasn’t perfect (it was opening night – and they took 75% off our bill so I’m not complaining). They have pictures up on Facebook – and while they didn’t install Stadium Seating they made extensive lobby changes while keeping some of the vintage charm of this one painting the brick walls red and installing a theme (this one is Dr. Strangelove). Over all, like the locations I visited in Austin, this is first class operation.
Still I regret not getting to Central Plaza before they closed – I’ve been told much of the GCC charm is in tact :(
It does suck (although I would have likely been more apt to travel to Yonkers than the New Metro, all things being equal).
I was at Yonkers opening night and briefly suggested to Tim League they look into Headquarters Plaza in Morristown – which I think would have been an ideal spot (AMC is moving back with those great luxury recliners – which is pretty great news as well).
I’m hoping they’re behind the new Paramus Park 13 but suspect not as Alamo’s largest complexes have 10-screens each. Paramus Park would make sense as a more civilized alternative to GSP, which really should have been a 20+ screen theater (it, along with Clifton Commons and Rockaway is constantly packed…even on weeknights).
It’s worth noting iPic is planning a luxury cinema in Fort Lee, they seem like the kind of theater that might take over this project if the developers still really want a theater. And with their ticket prices ($35 in some markets verses Alamo’s modest $12 in Yonkers) the numbers might make sense for them.
For better or worse its now slated to become a luxury facility run by iPic Entertainment – http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ipic-entertainment-announces-visionary-movie-theater-escape-to-debut-in-philadelphia-225958491.html
Now closed – or at least off the AmStar’s website?
Opens Sept 20th – it will still have 12 screens, with one auditorium featuring Barco’s 4D sound system and an adult 2D evening ticket price of $10.00. Other future plans a press release mentioned was a bar and expanded concessions – – all and all, I hope they do this one right (the whole complex was in pretty shabby shape last we visited in April) – because if they do, they’ll take this place back to its former glory. Once upon a time this was the coolest theater in North Jersey, with a coffee shop and a motion simulator ride in the lobby – if anything they’ve got an awful lot of lobby space (perhaps they could later carve out a 25-seat micro cinema for indie films).
Probably, that and the area is on lockdown after a certain point with security check points, etc – and once it reaches a certain capacity they close the street – thus, I doubt anybody would want to deal with the those crowds, just to see a movie one NYE.
(Then again you could be stopped and frisked anytime you’re walking down the street in NYC! – thanks Mike Bloomberg!)
The lobby (and those great outdoor patios) are taken over and I believe the NYE party offers a variety of packages, etc on each level – I believe a private organization rents the space from AMC.
By the time NYE rolls around I have very little energy to party truth be told, but I did look into this out of curiosity (I believe the package also included a pass into the secure zone should the NYPD close the area to the general public – those going somewhere were permitted in).