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 474 comments)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on August 12, 2013 at 8:58 am

It is mandated by the city.

John Fink
John Fink on August 12, 2013 at 8:58 am

Probably, that and the area is on lockdown after a certain point with security check points, etc – and once it reaches a certain capacity they close the street – thus, I doubt anybody would want to deal with the those crowds, just to see a movie one NYE.

(Then again you could be stopped and frisked anytime you’re walking down the street in NYC! – thanks Mike Bloomberg!)

The lobby (and those great outdoor patios) are taken over and I believe the NYE party offers a variety of packages, etc on each level – I believe a private organization rents the space from AMC.

By the time NYE rolls around I have very little energy to party truth be told, but I did look into this out of curiosity (I believe the package also included a pass into the secure zone should the NYPD close the area to the general public – those going somewhere were permitted in).

Garth
Garth on April 13, 2014 at 5:08 am

On my third visit yesterday I had more time to look around. I had not realized as you ride the escalators to the upper floors there is a brick wall to your left. This is the side outer wall of the original theatre building which is now the lobby. The imprint of a former fire escape is clearly visible. The theatre is truly amazing and is kept very clean. The ticket price is up to $14.50 but luckily I had an AMC gift card.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 13, 2014 at 5:57 am

And it’s $8. for movies starting before noon, slightly higher for 3D or IMAX movies.

hdtv267
hdtv267 on May 26, 2014 at 5:35 am

attended “XMen, Days of Future Past” at the ETX , Dolby ATMOS screen. Unfortunately the 3D was not much to right home about. However the movie itself was and thanks to Bryan Singer for cleaning up Brett Ratner’s mess.

The sound was incredible and quite enjoyable seating as well. Not the recliners, but definitely comfy rockers.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on August 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm

In April of next year it will be 15 years since this theater was opened. To this day it’s still the busiest theater in America due to its number of screens and exclusive engagements of indie and mainstream movies before nationwide releases. It was the second megaplex to open in Times Square, the first being the E-Walk in 1999. During its opening in 2000, this theater occasionally showed classic movies in the smaller screens while showing the latest blockbusters on the bigger screens.

MarkNYLA
MarkNYLA on August 22, 2014 at 5:49 am

Please supply some substantiation for your claim that “To this day it’s still the busiest theater in America …” That MAY have been true at one time, but in recent days has fallen back to booking a few hits and some arthouse titles, along with a great deal of Bollywood and some obscure films no-one has ever of heard of that are booked on a four-wall basis. They are renting out auditoriums to church groups every Sunday morning due to lack of business. On a recent visit on a Sunday afternoon, the theater was deserted, filthy and understaffed, with only one concession stand open. This USED to be a busy place, but those days appear to be long gone.

mhvbear
mhvbear on August 22, 2014 at 6:27 am

Resident’s of Manhattan do not seem to go to matinee’s. I usually go Saturday or Sunday afternoon for that reason. Don’t Have to put up with crowds.Try an evening show. The place is packed. The same with the Regal across the street. Afternoons are a ghost town.

Bway
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.

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