AMC Empire 25
234 W. 42nd Street,
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Originally located at 240 W. 42nd Street. The Empire Theatre was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb and opened in 1912 as the Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre, named for Julian Eltinge, the top female impersonator of the American stage. The Eltinge Theatre became the setting for decades of legitimate theatre and burlesque and by the early-1930’s was known as the Eltinge Burlesque Theatre, featuring burlesque & ‘talkies’.
Converted into a movie theatre in 1942 first as the 800-seat Laffmovie, and later renamed the Empire Theatre, 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. In order to build the massive multi-screen complex, the Empire Theatre was lifted up and moved down the street 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.
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