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I wish I had photos from inside the mall itself or in a packed auditorium here from the 80s. (I see that there are a ton of videos from Paramus HS from the 80s posted on youtube that show what it looked like in the local HS in Northwestern NJ though at least.)
(I have to say people looked a lot less dingy and grim looking than when you walk around the Rockaway mall today haha. Today, it’s like at least 85% nothing but hipsters, faux gangsters and grunge…. so it’s awfully drab and grim compared to the 80s. In fact, it hasn’t really changed much at all in that regard since the early late 90s, going on almost 20 years now.
The 80s styles held on a long time at Rockaway and I’d say the Rockaway and Willobrook Malls were basically as fully prototypical 80s as any place in the country, I think the mallrat started at these malls and the foot traffic is still at least somewhat relatively decent here still (maybe that’s why when they bring the 80s movies back at the current theater they seem to do way better business here than say at the Paramus AMC despite that being #1 for business theater in the region AFAIK), but I think the colors, styles, big hair and so on finally gave away to grunge and gangster hip-hop even here by around something like ‘95-'97 depending upon what exactly you are talking about. The Rockaway Mall stills gets relatively decent traffic though unlike a lot of other places where the mall culture seems to have totally died out.)
@blacknoi – thanks for posting those photos! It’s so rare to see photos from the mall and movie theaters from even just back then even, never mind what the mall looked like back in the 80s, in the age before cellphones.
From I recall 1983 Return of the Jedi might’ve had the longest lines ever on it’s opening weekend.
Overall I think it was the most crowded when Titanic came out, it was just jammed week after week with lines wrapping way back around behind the theater.
Sadly, Ziegfeld won’t be showing any movies, never mind premieres anymore.
A Jan 28th showing of The Force Awakens was the last movie it ever showed. :( Another big palace trashed by a developer. Studios not happy as it was the poshest place by far and they had been trying to do more premieres in NYC again. Even a couple years ago one I was in got switched late in the game from Ziegfeld to LS.
And I had heard that most digital projectors couldn’t really even quite hit 70' scope, only a maybe one, not sure though.
Maybe things have changed, but at one point I had heard that digital couldn’t handle anything bigger than 70' scope. Maybe they can hit 85' now?? I still thought only laser or film could (although I heard the 85' 35mm projections tended to look somewhat dim (obviously the 1570 IMAX places could do a very bright ultra giant screen though).
Well NJ does have the Liberty IMAX which is huge, however it is domed so it’s poor for regular movies (which they don’t show anyway).
thanks, so I guess LS is no longer the largest and reading the comments there, actually only tied for 2nd largest in NA now. “The IMAX at the Warren Theater in Wichita, Ks is 101 ft x 84 ft”
Not that 97' vs 101' is much of a big deal, all three are insanely awesome sized
it is frustrating that NJ, with all the population and money, somehow never ever gets those true ultra giant screens. I’m all but positive that not a single screen is over 70' wide in all of northern and central NJ. I’m not even certain that is has anything over 61' or so wide.
still, it is better than it used to be, between around 1984 and roughly 1999 (the old Paramus 4 with the 2500 seat auditorium with a balcony screen was said to have been 62'x31' but they chopped it into EIGHT mini-screens on two levels around 1984?? :( ) I don’t think it had anything over 50' wide, and not much over 40'. The Rockaway AMC alone has four screens over 55' wide. I’m not quite sure but I think it has two 57'x30.5' (pretty much positive about this going by an article that came out when they built the place), one 57'x 25' (it looks like it’s same width but scope ratio instead, more seats though, not quite sure) and the IMAX which is probably around the 59'x33.7' range.
anyway i’m getting too off-topic for LS now
Actually here is some data I found over the years:
giant screens:AMC Lincoln Square IMAX NY, NY – 97.6'x75.6'
Boston Laser IMAX – not sure but huge, thinking must be 90' for sure, so many more seats across each row than say the Rockaway IMAX that it isn’t even funny, it has full IMAX ratio
Mann’s Chinese with the new Laser IMAX screen – 90'x? (I think it’s around the 1.78:1 ratio of regular digital imax)
Arclight Cinerama Dome, LA, CA – 86'x?‘
New England Aquarium IMAX Boston, MA – 85'x65'
Palace “Grand Palace”, Ontario, CA (California) – 85'x?'
New Roc IMAX New Rochelle, NY – 81.5'x59.5'(not sure what it is now after digital conversion)
Jordan smaller IMAX, MA – 80'?x?'
Mann’s Chinese, LA, CA the original screen – heard various conflicting info between 60'-80’x?
Edwards Big Newport S1, Newport Beach, CA – 80'x?'
Near Atlantic City – apparently some independent put in some sort of at least 80' wide true IMAX ratio screen, although the IMAX films are gone now 15/70 and Laser is not there yet so not sure how it works at this point there)
Continental Denver?, CO – 78'x?'
Palisades IMAX Nyack, NY – 74'x53.8' (sadly destroyed last year! impossible to see true IMAX in northern NJ now in reasonable fashion, LS is such a horror story and expense, only a truly out of this world once in a blue moon event it worth the money and hours of hassle to get there and back, TFA would’ve been it but they pulled the real IMAX just for the release!!?!!?)
Tropicana IMAX Atlantic City, NJ – 69.8'x52.5'
digIMAX Reading, PA – 70'x42' (this is one of the largest digital xenon IMAX screens around, although perhaps LS projects to a larger size?? and maybe one of those Newport or other mega CA screens does a bigger digital IMAX not sure what the status is at those with film gone)
Palace “Hollywood” (S1) Ontario, CA – 70'x?'
Palace “Chinese” (S22) Ontario, CA – 70'x?'
Uptown Theatre, Washington DC – 70'x?'
Reading two giant screens Manville, NJ – 70'x30’???(are
they for sure? in some ways they seem maybe more like 59-63' wide to me, whatever the case, they are just about the widest in central and northern NJ, along with Rockaway IMAX, maybe Paramus IMAX is wider? maybe IKEA IMAX is a trace wider???)
intermediate size (by modern IMAX standards):
Museum of Natural History IMAX NY, NY – 66'x40'
smaller non-giant screens (at least by modern day IMAX standards):
AMC IMAX Rockaway, NJ – not exactly sure but I’d guess maybe 59-61'x 33'ish ???
AMC digIMAX Hamilton, NJ – 58'x32'
AMC RealD Rockaway, NJ – 57'x30.5'
AMC digIMAX Cherry Hill, NJ – 54'x28’
If they project the digital xenon at LS at 80' width that’s pretty wide. That’s way, way wider than most digital xenon imax. They are almost all 50'-70' (with very few above 62' and I think it’s either 56' or 58' that is most common, I forget).
Heck I think 80' is wider than the 15/70 IMAX at Palisades before the ruined it. I think that was, what 75'? I have the exact numbers somewhere or other.
The Laser IMAX in Boston is pretty huge. There are so many more seats across each row there than at say the Rockaway xenon IMAX that it isn’t even funny.
Weird since the Digital Xenon IMAX will be showing Beautiful Planet at my local theater in NJ!
On a side note Laser IMAX is pretty incredible! Don’t knock it. Laser IMAX 3D is the single best 3D format I have ever seen by far! Zero ghosting, deep blacks, it the closest feel to simply being there and looking with your own eyes I’ve experienced yet. It’s honestly better than 15/70 IMAX 3D.
Why the heck did they ever pull the 15/70 just for SW???? Only to put it back in again. What on Earth were they thinking? Really smart, pull the IMAX for THE event.
And how could higher resolution hurt your eyes? It’s closer to real life and your eyes were designed for real life. I don’t get it.
How could the new IMAX 3D hurt your eyes? If anything, since the 3D no longer has nasty ghosting and other problems shouldn’t it hurt your eyes less??
(the volume level however, could definitely cause permanent hearing loss/tinnitus; a shame since the speakers are so awesome, but they are set too loud to listen to)
The new Laser IMAX speakers do sound incredibly realistic but good grief are they loud.
The new audio system in the Laser IMAX places is wayyyyyy too loud. It’s ridiculous. A lot of theaters are getting to be ridiculous. People have been measuring permanent hearing damage from a single two hour movie length exposure at more and more places, especially IMAX. Some places have hit AVERAGE of 100db and peaks like 130+db.
Assuming the late announcement for PIP:30th here doesn’t hurt the sales (with people thinking it’s not showing, not having enough time to realize it is, etc.) it might be crowded. This greater Rockaway area seems to really go for the 80s movies. Sometimes if you don’t pre-order you won’t even get in. Not safe to show up last second and expect to be guaranteed to get into those (so just advice for those used to going to the places where these don’t sell quite as well).
I wonder if they fixed the video levels for the Fathom events projector in auditorium 16. Ever since they repaired/replaced it a few months ago, it’s been really crushing the blacks to rather little detail and overall it almost looks like when a 0-255 level signal is shown with levels expansion applied to 0-15 are clipped and 240-255 too almost and it’s not quite filling the screen properly either. It just seems like someone forgot the proper video level toggles or forgot to calibrate it or something. It should be an easy fix, i’d think, if they haven’t already done it.
Actually they are showing PIP:30th after all.
Have you heard any talk of them upgrading to Laser 3D IMAX? It would be awesome if they shut down 8 and 9 and combined them into a true giant screen theater, like a nice 85-90' wide screen, how does such a rich, populated area like NJ have nothing like that (sure Lincoln Square, but often can one go through the $$$, hassle, incredible amount of time of NYC just for a movie).
I have to say Laser IMAX on a truly giant screen is an experience beyond belief. It’s so much better than any other visual experience it’s crazy. Much sharper 3D, so much more detail, the colors seem to have way more shades, the 3D is so perfect it’s like you are there with zero ghosting and you can see so many more layers of subtle depth and then combine that with a giant 90' screen. Wow.
The IMAX at Rockaway is good, better than most screens around the region. But those mega-true IMAX Laser 3D auditoriums blow it away 10000x over.
Does anyone know why in the world they are skipping the Pretty In Pink 30th Anniversary release at this theater when the 80s retro stuff always sells out here and does better business here than pretty much anywhere and then they are showing Maltese Falcon when the older retro stuff never seems to sell out here (not that I’m complaining about the latter)? But what on Earth was AMC thinking with their scheduling and why did they make this retro release ultra-limited theaters and then make other stuff that simply won’t sell as well in many areas ultra wide release? All the other Hughes movies and other 80s stuff like BTTF did crazy good business here. Who runs these places and make the decisions?
Will they get the laser in time to maybe show a few weeks of The Force Awakens in late Jan or early Feb?
I still can’t fathom the timing of their laser upgrade. Who the heck times it so they miss the biggest release in recent memory??
@rivest266 – interesting history
@moviebuff82 yeah they were also, I believe, the first theater in NJ to use the back speaker, I think they put that in for TPM.
Is it screens 3 and 4 that are the super large ones? I forget. I just know that two of the side by side auditoriums here are huge and have, AFAIK, the largest two screens in all of central and northern NJ. They are supposed to be 70'x30'.
Although the sound is usually way too loud in the IMAX theater the picture is usually very nice and bright and rich and nice and crisp (for non-4k). I like the IMAX 3D better than the Real3D. Even the 3D IMAX here is very nice and bright.