Movieland 8 Theatres

200 Thruway Plaza Drive,
Cheektowaga, NY 14225

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John Fink
John Fink on September 15, 2014 at 3:35 pm

They’re 3/8th digital – with 5 35MM screens. I saw a digital presentation here last year and it wasn’t the greatest – pillar boxed on a small scope screen in one of those long bowling alley-like cinemas on the left side of the complex. This was a compromise for a foreign language film, originally they had showed it in scope until the audience complained (the subtitles were chopped off), had it not been subtitled we might have seen it in the wrong aspect ratio without catching it.

Not sure what its future will be – they launched an IndieGoGo campaign that wasn’t successful and even first run theaters are finding themselves limited (I occasionally look and see what’s playing at a few theaters I know of that haven’t gone digital yet). Here they’re getting newer, more indie films on digital (I’m glad they’re showing these films – they actually do pretty well here!) and commercial hits on 35MM. An ideal outcome would be Movieland gets the financing or another operator steps in and makes a few improvement to the place while taking it digital. It sure is popular (even charging double what Dipson does at McKinely – which is in better shape) – and could be even more successful with some improvements.

buildersent
buildersent on September 15, 2014 at 11:46 am

Visited this theater over the weekend.

On saturday nights they play movie trivia before the viewing giving out snacks and free passes as prizes. Its fun.

Unfortunately, their screens are terribly underlit, floors are sticky and dirty, rugs in the hallways smell and the restrooms are gross. They simply do little to no maintenance. This theater is going the way of their former location at Appletree Mall and turning into a dump.

buildersent
buildersent on June 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Movieland is beginning to upgrade to digital. So far it will be limited to one theater (they say this on their facebook page). In order to pay for this they have increased their prices.

With new competition from dipson movieland needs to convert to digital and clean this place up. The theaters are dirty, they smells and the viewing experience due to underlit projections is poor.

John Fink
John Fink on September 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm

There’s a reason not to eat the popcorn. It is a small business running on very tight margins and I’m not sure if they’ll convert to digital (they were asking folks on their Facebook page to vote for Movieland for a $250,000 small business grant). It looks Movieland, Market Arcade and North Park will be the last to go digital, if at all.

LeeBert
LeeBert on August 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm

@Greg_Smith, Buildersent speaks the truth. I have been going to this theater for years now but started cutting way back. I tend to go early in the afternoon, after I get out of work. At that time of day, it is not very busy ( which makes it nice without all the riff-raff ). Here are some highlights of the place:

1)The bathrooms are as gross as can be. They are extremely dirty and half the time, out of supplies. 2)Last week, there were 4 people behind the counter. Two of them were working. There was butter drippings and straw wrappers on the counter and the floor behind the counter was covered in popcorn. The other two employees just stood there doing nothing. I’ve even seen employees back there just texting away or talking when people are waiting. Also, God forbid they make these people wear hair nets or caps of some sort. 3) Two months ago I arrived for a 1pm show. Nothing’s filled/restocked. I ordered my normal popcorn and drink. They had JUST turned on the butter warmer. The girl knew this and proceeded to pump this lukewarm crap on my popcorn, like I wouldn’t notice this when I started eating it. There is always crap on the floor. 90% of the employees have the personality of a firehydrant. They take NOOOOO pride whatsoever in how they look, how their company looks, or treating the customer like their jobs depend on it. Yeah, I know it’s a min wage job, but it’s still a job and you applied for it and got it. Try taking some pride in how you do your job. And this goes even MORE SO for the owners of this place. Seriously, do you really NOT CARE about your patrons..? We pay our hard earned money to frequent your establishment, and you can’t even toss some Scrubbing Bubbles in the urinals or toilets. And you certainly don’t snap your employees into shape and teach them how to treat your patrons. I’ve seen the managers walk through and say nothing about how sh*tty the place looks. Will I still go there..? Yep. Simply because you can’t beat the price. But the owners and employees should truly be embarassed to the core at the upkeep of the place. I am really starting to believe CUSTOMER SERVICE is truly dead.

John Fink
John Fink on August 6, 2012 at 2:45 am

Boy this is still a popular theater underscoring the need for more discount theaters, but while they clean between shows – I feel like more important issues are largely ignored (like repairing wear and tare, painting, etc). Today the air conditioning was out in the 3 big theaters to the left of the concessions. The musty odor virtually makes it impossible for me to get through a show there – not to mention the humming sound and underlit projection. I’d say you get what you pay for but I’d say you get even less. Dipson owns several theaters of this vintage and guess what – they do the little things to keep them in good shape, Eastern Hills is equally as old and its both spotless and well maintained. With that said it appears Dipson is moving ahead and keeping pace with digital conversion (AMC and Regal in town I believe are all digital now) – with Amherst, Eastern Hills and McKinley almost at 100%. I’m not sure MovieLand and Market Arcade will make it once film prints become unavailable (although who knows – maybe the owners of this place are saving up to go digital by not taking care of the physical building). It’s a shame because people are very loyal to this theatre – perhaps another operator who specializes in discount movie theaters (PictureShow or StarPlex) could do better as they’ve also mostly converted their discount operations to digital.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 8, 2012 at 12:51 am

It looked like a GGC.

Greg_Smith
Greg_Smith on April 8, 2012 at 12:11 am

@buildersent-that has not been my experience here but it has been a few months since I have been at the Movieland. You are right about the old Como 8. The last time I went there in 2002 it had a strong musty odor. A real shame as that had been one of my favorites. Perhaps the recession is causing a need for cost cutting, but hopefully, your experience was an aberration.

John Fink
John Fink on March 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I’m wondering how long it’ll be around – a few discount houses in other areas have gone digital (at least for a 3D screen or two, if not completely). Not sure if this one will make it. (although Buffalo has been about on schedule with digital adoption)

buildersent
buildersent on March 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm

After going to this theater for the last 30 years (the last 8 as movieland) it is time to avoid this place.

The operators are running this place into the ground much like their previous theater (Como 8).

Chairs are no longer attached to the floor, ceiling tiles in the theaters have fallen due to a leaky roof and never replaced, the rest rooms are disgusting, the bulb intensity of the projectors is turned down to save money, theaters 1 & 2 have a constant humming the last several times I have been there and if that is not enough the theaters are rarely cleaned.

I was there 3 times in the last 8 days – old pop cups are laying around, one theater I was in twice still had the wrappers, sticky pop and candy laying on the floor from a couple days prior. The smell is getting to be too and the place is simply becoming a dump.

Greg_Smith
Greg_Smith on January 27, 2012 at 3:06 am

Going to this theater is almost like going back in time to experience what theaters were like in the 1970’s – including the $2 specials on Weds. Well run with helpful employees, overall a good place to check out a movie you may have missed on the first run.

psomerf
psomerf on July 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm

GCC itself died around 2000, its assets being bought by AMC.

buildersent
buildersent on April 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm

This theater was originally a 3 screen GCC theater which was soon expanded to 8 theaters.

This was one of the more popular theaters in the Buffalo area until the building of the galleria mall just a couple miles away.

Around 1990 GCC purchased the Galleria theaters and now there were two GCC theaters with a total of 20 screens within 2 miles of each other. The Thruway Plaza GCC was relegated to playing the least popular movies or receiving them after Walden Galleria need to make room for newer movies. The GCC Thruway site was a ghost town, not visible from any street, an empty plaza nearby (with Wal Mart going up), a roller rink next door where shootings happened on weekends all led to the demise of this GCC theater.

Around 2000, the local chain Dispon reopened this site as a combination first run/dollar theater. Dipson performed extensive improvements, carpeting, concession area, lighting, parking lot, etc.. The shooting plagued roller rink was gone and replaced by a box store, wal mart was built and people were visiting the plaza once again. The theater should have been a success but Dipson did a poor job of running the theater as it quickly became dirty and run down and terribly understaffed. After a little more than a year, Dipson closed the theater and it sat empty once again.

After sitting empty for a couple years the former owners of a local dollar theater reopened this site as Movieland 8. After all these years the old GCC autograph wall remains in place and theater on many weekends has a line stretching out the door down the walkway. It is a busy and popular theater. It would be nice if the theater spent some time cleaning the place. The rest rooms are often pretty poor, the theater floor sticky and the projection underlit. However, it is still a popular theater that should have a long life.

GCC closed GCC Thruway around 2000

2002 Dipson

2004 Movieland

psomerf
psomerf on March 1, 2007 at 2:29 am

On the Western New York Heritage Press website they have a short article on the Thruway Plaza. View link

No mention of the theatre, but then, it is a bit far from the plaza/mall proper. The article states that it’s initial competition came from the Seneca Mall in 1969, which itself was razed in the early 1990’s. (With rumors of a multiplex being built there, but those plans never materialized.) SO much for the 125 years ….

crunchocky
crunchocky on February 25, 2007 at 4:43 am

The AppleTree 6 (former AMC Como Park Mall 8) closed at the same time because the owners of the AppleTree Business Park did not renew JMG Entertainment’s lease for the theatre (they wanted a more business park appropriate tennant for the space). JMG then leased and opened this theatre as a replacement, so to speak.

psomerf
psomerf on February 24, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Theater was converted to an 8 screen in the mid 1980’s.

As far as inexplicably buying the WG cinemas, I suspect it had to do with the Thruway plaza not longer drawing customers at a rate that they would like. That said, I did prefer Thruway Cinemas to the Walden Galleria Cinemas. That may explain why Regal is readdressing their position at the Galleria Mall.

When it reopened as Movieland, it was as a second run theater. At about this time, the Appletree AMC second run house closed. (Also fairly close to the Galleria, 3 movie houses in 5 miles or so.)

crunchocky
crunchocky on February 22, 2007 at 1:53 am

This theatre was originally a GCC complex, which opened as a 3-plex. General Cinema closed this theatre in the early 90’s during the conversion of Thruway Mall into Thruway Plaza. This was GCC’s primary theatre in Buffalo’s eastern suburbs for many years until they inexplicably bought the very nearby Walden Galleria 12 from Hoyts in 1990. The funny thing is with the gutting/demolition of the Galleria 12 last year this theatre actually outlived its replacement.