AMC Empire 25

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

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AMC Empire 25

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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.

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

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 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. 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 461 comments)

moviebuff82 on April 14, 2015 at 4:00 pm…-a060057377 here’s a video on the process of moving the historic theater so that the screens were built.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on May 6, 2015 at 5:44 pm

“With Toronto’s Cineplex Cinemas Yonge – Dundas only one behind at 24.”

Which is now down to 23 due to the VIP renovation. Oddly enough the theaters are not re-numbered so it still goes up to 24!

hdtv267 on May 7, 2015 at 4:04 am


The largest megaplex in the world by screens is the AMC Mesquite 30 in Mesquite, Texas with 30 screens and a total seating capacity of 6,008.

*and it’s listed on Cinema Treasures, too

[Wish folks would do the research and think before hitting that add comment button. Ok?]

fred1 on May 7, 2015 at 6:11 am

AMC had few theaters with 30 screens ,but some closed others were reconfigured or sold to other chains

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 7, 2015 at 6:30 am

The still operating Vue, Birmingham, England U.K. is another 30 screen cinema, but with 277 less seats than the AMC Mesquite 30.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on May 7, 2015 at 7:15 am

The marquee has a lot of burned-out light bulbs, especially in the sign that says “Theatres”

robboehm on May 18, 2015 at 7:58 am

Everyone thinks this was a first, to move a theater. It was actually done in Brooklyn in 1904 when the Montauk was moved, intact, not only just down the street, but also rotated! And it was a much larger structure. See elsewhere on CT.

fred1 on May 18, 2015 at 10:43 am

According to Vue website ,the Vue Birmingham has 25 theaters

moviebuff82 on May 18, 2015 at 11:41 am

When i first saw the picture of the Empire 25 i thought they had a movie theater inside that palace like entrance but it was transformed into a big lobby with the 25 screens to the left of the exterior.

moviebuff82 on May 18, 2015 at 1:54 pm

What movie had the longest run at this venue? I think Avatar has the record.

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