AMC Empire 25

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

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AMC Empire 25

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 became the setting for decades of legitimate theater and burlesque.

Converted into a movie theater in 1942 first as the Laffmovie, and later renamed the Empire, the theater finally closed, seemingly for good, in the mid-1980s.

Following the renaissance of 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 theater renovation and reuse.

The lobby of this luxurious, five-level theater has been built inside the shell of the old Empire Theater. In order to build the massive multi-screen complex, the Empire was lifted up and moved down the street to its present location. Once that massive job was completed, a new 25 screen theater was built around it. The multiplex was designed by the architecural firm Beyer Blinder Belle.

The historic facade has been left largely intact, while a new marquee has been added. Just above the box office is a beautiful mural, 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 447 comments)

Bway on August 24, 2014 at 9:10 am

Renting auditoriums out to church groups on Sunday mornings? So what, who the heck would be going to movies on Sunday mornings anyway? Sounds like a smart business decision to me.

MarkNYLA on October 16, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Does anyone have any idea what is happening at this place? There are no showtimes scheduled after tonight, and there is a cryptic note on their website about a “theatre outage” but no further information. I know this place isn’t getting the business it once did, but could it finally be over, or just another bedbug fumigation?

MarkNYLA on October 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Belay that last post. Showtimes now up, but “theatre outage” note still there. Hmmm.

moviebuff82 on January 1, 2015 at 3:13 pm they used a photo of the amc logo sign.

longislandmovies on January 1, 2015 at 4:04 pm

This theatre busiest in the nation I doubt this is in any danger of closing .

moviebuff82 on February 14, 2015 at 9:58 am

i agree. They often have exclusive engagements of movies before anyone else alongside major cities…the building is amazing outside when compared to the regal across the street. I remember when this theater opened in 2000 the New York Times ran an ad promoting the chain’s entry into New York City. Not only did this theater showed arthouse and mainstream fare but they had a classic movie program at the time.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 14, 2015 at 11:43 am

I was there the other night and it is starting to look a bit shabby…

artpf on March 8, 2015 at 5:20 pm

This marknyla guy seems to have a thing about the theatre. it was closed while they got rid of a bed bug problem. The place is packed. And renting out to church groups? the BB King theatre across the streets does Sunday Gospell that so so loud you can hear it down the block.

Bway on March 11, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Renting out theaters to church groups on Sunday morning is a good business decision, not a sign of desperation at all. It’s not like Sunday morning a big “go to the movie” time for people to go to a theater to see a movie, so it’s not like they are doing that instead of movies. It’s a win for all involved.

moviebuff82 on March 25, 2015 at 5:26 pm

Next month this theater turns 15. Back then the share price of AMC was cheap as it’s across the street competition had more summer hits than the empire which cost around a hundred million bucks to develop. Pretty soon things turned around and now the empire is the #1 theater in the USA. Next year will be ten years since AMC sold off the e walk due to antitrust rules from the merger which was a good idea.

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