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 680 comments)

moviebuff82 on July 30, 2018 at 9:57 pm

Looks like moviepass will go the way of the dinosaur…

moviebuff82 on August 16, 2018 at 5:07 pm

The imax at this theater will be one of many to get the laser upgrade along with updated seats.

ridethectrain on August 16, 2018 at 5:16 pm

The imax theatre has the new seats like Lincoln Square and has 12 channels sound. The auditorium was built with thr same Lincoln square screen. Unless there upgrade the IMAX picture to laser

xbs2034 on September 21, 2018 at 8:26 am

The IMAX screen is currently closed, and looks like it will reopen with Venom (though tickets are not on sale yet). Don’t know if it that’s enough time to add a new projector (since they already did the sound, seating, and interior design upgrades), or if it’s just other touch ups.

xbs2034 on October 7, 2018 at 9:51 pm

Yes, it opened with Venom this past weekend. I want to see the system, and will probably check it out with First Man (it won’t have the same effect as filling Lincoln Square’s massive screen, but I’ve seen lots of films on laser there already)

42ndStreetMemories on October 8, 2018 at 10:10 pm

What year did LaffMovie become the Empire?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 8, 2018 at 11:29 pm

It was the Laffmovie from 1942 to 1953. It was the Empire before and after.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 9, 2018 at 9:14 am

Eltinge was the name prior to Laffmovie. At that time, there was a beloved “legit” Empire, which was in the midst of a record-breaking run of “Life With Father.”

xbs2034 on October 12, 2018 at 9:30 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.

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