Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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Curtained screen

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built just a few hundred feet from the original Ziegfeld Theatre, this ‘new’ Ziegfeld Theatre opened in December 1969 and the movie house was one of the last big palaces built in the United States.

It was built from plans by the firm of Emery Roth & Sons, with designs by Irving Gershon and interior design by John McNamara.

The theatre features 1,131 seats: 825 seats in the front section and 306 seats in the raised balcony section in the rear. The interior is decorated with sumptous red carpeting and abundant gold trim.

The Ziegfeld Theatre is, arguably, the last movie palace still showing films in Manhattan. In June 2013 it was taken over by Bow-Tie Cinemas when they took over Clearview locations.

Recent comments (view all 3,983 comments)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 28, 2014 at 10:02 am

Hey man! Good to see you back. I’ve missed your witty and informative comments…!

bigjoe59 on July 28, 2014 at 12:50 pm

to CConnolly1-

like you I always like going to the Ziegfeld for the quality of the projection and sound. plus like you I am surprised the theater is still in operation. the overhead most be sizable. I’m guessing the reason the theater is still open as a 1st run venue is that Bow Tie Cinemas would have a revolt on their hands if it was twinned, demolished or converted to other use.

also no matter how well reviewed a film is and no matter how popular the film might be with the public there’s a very simple reason why the Ziegfeld is rarely if ever at capacity. any film it shows is also playing at probably 12 other theaters in Manhattan.

and might I be so bold as to ask you a question- you are not the first person to refer to the Ziegfeld via “its location is well off the beaten track”. how is a theater on 54th St. off 6th Ave. off the beaten track?

robboehm on July 28, 2014 at 7:45 pm

BigJoe- Anything other than 8th to Broadway and above 50th is off the beaten path for a go to destination. Music Hall being the exception.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm

I wonder if the income the Ziegfeld generates from being the primary location (the only location, really) for current big studio premieres is the only thing keeping the theater afloat. The day I saw Jersey Boys there, with an audience of 6 people, the usher told me about the full house they had the night before with the premiere of the new Transformers movie, with Mark Wahlberg, etc. in attendance.

bigjoe59 on July 29, 2014 at 11:40 am

to robboehm-

I suppose we all have different takes on what’s “off the beaten path”. being a native life long New Yorker nothing is off the beaten path for me.

per you comment the Ziegfeld is only two blocks from Radio City Music Hall. also when the Ziegfeld was still used by the studios for exclusive 1st run engagement people had no trouble finding it. you should have seen the block long lines for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The Rose among others. likewise the restored Lawrence of Arabia, My Fair Lady & Vertigo.

so if people had no trouble finding/getting to the theater 25 or 20 years ago they shouldn’t have any trouble today.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 29, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Bigjoe59: I went to all the shows you mentioned on their first night or first weekend. They were all exclusive runs, sadly a thing of the past for the Ziegfeld.

I’d like to add “Hair” to your list. It sold out at the Ziegfeld for weeks, yet played to almost-empty theaters when it branched out to New Jersey. Also “Gandhi”. See the comments above for stories about the sold-out Ziegfeld shows during one of the worst blizzards New York City ever had.

bigjoe59 on July 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm

to Bill H.–

thanks for the other titles from when the studios still used the Ziegfeld for exclusive 1st run engagements. since this theater is the place to see widescreen films that’s why it was frequently sold out years ago. it was the only theater in Manhattan if the not the city playing a film.

which prompts two additional questions-

*as I stated in my post if people had no trouble finding and getting to the theater 20-25 years ago how is it “off the beaten path” today?

*what was in fact the last exclusive 1st run engagement of a studio film at the Ziegfeld? the special 2 week runs of Dreamgirls and The Princess and the Frog before hey opened wide don’t count.:–)

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm

And how could I forget “Apocalypse Now”? Not only an exclusive run, but a special ticket price of $5. Way above average for 1979. And it filled the Ziegfeld for many weeks.

AlAlvarez on July 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm

As has been mentioned before here, when the run was not exclusive, the Ziegfeld was out-grossed even by tiny houses like the Baronet and Waverly. The 54th street location even required hired ‘screamers’ for premieres since not enough passers-by mobbed the entrance to see celebrities.

moviebuff82 on July 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Star Wars first played at the Ziegfeld as a special edition for all three movies since the Astor played the original saga during its theatrical run in 70mm. The new one coming out is being shot on film then converted to 3d….wonder if they’ll show it this way soon?

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