AMC Empire 25

234 W. 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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AMC Empire 25

Originally located at 240 W. 42nd Street. The Empire Theatre was the eight theatre on W. 42nd Street and was built for producer Al H. Woods who chose architect Thomas W. Lamb to design the theatre. It was opened on September 11, 1912 with the melodrama “Within the Law” as the 880-seat Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre. Seating was provided in orchestra, two balconies and eight boxes. Named for Julian Eltinge, the top female impersonator of the American stage, who was Woods star performer. Julian Eltinge never played in the theatre named after him. The opening attraction at the theatre was a huge success, playing for 541 performances. Other hits include John Barrymore in “The Yellow Ticket”, “The Song of Songs”, “Fair and Warmer”, “Up in Mabel’s Room”, “The Girl in the Limousine” and “Ladies Night”. “Blackbirds of 1928” was another hit. Laurence Olivier in “Murder on the Second Floor” only managed to play for 45 performances in 1929. Alice Brady & Clark Gable in “Love, Honor and Betray played in 1930 to be followed by its final legit production "First Night” presented in 1931 for 88 performances. It then reopened as the Eltinge Burlesque Theatre, featuring burlesque & ‘talkies’. It was later renamed Empire Theatre.

Converted into a movie theatre in summer of 1942, first as the 759-seat Laffmovie screening comedy movies, that lasted until 1953 when it was renamed the Empire Theatre again. The theatre finally closed, seemingly for good, in the mid-1980’s.

Following the renaissance of W. 42nd Street, AMC decided to make the entire former Empire Theatre the lobby of its new new flagship 25-screen megaplex. Located just west of Times Square, this immaculate multi-level multiplex is a prime example of theatre renovation and reuse.

The lobby of this luxurious, five-level theatre has been built inside the shell of the old Empire Theatre. On March 1, 1998 in order to build the massive multi-screen complex, the Empire Theatre was lifted up and moved down the street (all 3,700 tons of it) to its present location. Once that massive job was completed, a new 25-screen theatre was built around it and contained 4,916 seats. The multiplex was designed by the architecural firm Beyer Blinder Belle, and opened April 21, 2000.

The historic facade has been left largely intact, while a new marquee has been added. Just above the box office is a beautiful mural depicting Julian Eltinge, originally painted by a French artist, Arthur Brounet. The mural was restored by Harriet Irgang, the director of Rustin Levenson Art Conservation. Initially, the former balconies were reopened as the Times Square Cafe, but this have been closed for several years and the space is currently unused.

The megaplex shows first run mainstream and art films.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 689 comments)

xbs2034 on October 12, 2018 at 6:30 am

I saw the new IMAX laser projector with First Man last night. Some very impressive images, though I still think with theater size and design that Lincoln Square is the best.

moviebuff82 on October 25, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Prime at AMC is now at this theater.

Willburg145 on November 4, 2018 at 5:09 am

Shame there are no pictures of the interior during its heyday.

42ndStreetMemories on November 4, 2018 at 6:12 am

Willburg145….. have you gone through the Photos section for the Empire. I know the iconic Diane Arbus balcony shot is there and possibly others.

moviebuff82 on November 4, 2018 at 6:20 am

When i first heard about this theater I thought it was a new theater built from the ground up, upon reading stuff about it online i knew that the original theater became the lobby when it moved to the left and 25 screens were added to the building. It remains the largest multiplex in the tri-state area with the most screens and the busiest theater in the USA. It is also notorious for its never ending escalators and bed bugs.

NYer on November 4, 2018 at 10:05 am

moviebuff82, all the theatres are new built from the ground up. The original Empire theatre is the box office, then you take escalators to the auditoriums that were built up behind the original. The ticket machines are were the original stage and screen were. If you go to the photo sections you can see the box office with the proscenium, there are no theaters, lobby or concessions in the old Empire.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on November 4, 2018 at 2:10 pm

As a regular here I can tell you that there ARE never ending escalators. There are NO bed bugs. Never have been.

ridethectrain on November 24, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Just uploaded photos of the new AMC Prime Auditorium Screen #18. Theatre has Dolby Atmos, no Dolby Vision

LARGE_screen_format on November 24, 2018 at 5:36 pm


Thanks for sharing those photos. What are those seat transducers like in AMC Prime? AMC Dolby Cinema doesn’t feature those, does it?

curmudgeon on November 24, 2018 at 11:48 pm

Apart from the Paris, does any Manhattan cinema still have screen curtains?

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