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 444 comments)

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 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 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 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…

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