PlayStation Theater

1515 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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PlayStation Theater

New York’s Astor Plaza housed one of the largest screens in the city and originally opened with 1,440 seats.

Opened on June 26, 1974 in Times Square (just west of Broadway), this enormous single screen theater was actually built entirely underground, three stories beneath the Minskoff Theatre. Moviegoers entered the theater from an entrance on 44th Street, taking an especially long escalator down to the theater and concession area.

Astor Plaza Theatre was known as THE place to see event films (like “Star Wars” or “The Matrix”). Because of its large size, the Astor Plaza Theatre drew large, opening night crowds—crowds who really knew how to enjoy a movie.

The Astor Plaza Theatre was home to a number of box office hits; including “Superman”, the remake of “King Kong”, and “When Harry Met Sally”. As a tribute to this fact, the theater’s escalator was lined with posters of its most successful films.

The Astor Plaza Theatre was closed on August 1, 2004 with “The Village”. It was converted into a 2,100-seat concert venue, the Nokia Theatre Times Square, which opened in October 2005. In September 2010, it was renamed Best Buy Theater and in November 2015 it was renamed PlayStation Theater.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 550 comments)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 10, 2016 at 8:57 pm

The very first comment on this thread mentions there were 1500+ seats, not exactly an exact count…

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 10, 2016 at 9:01 pm

The NYTimes obituary states there were 1440 seats in this house…

JackIndiana on January 25, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Does anybody recall that Loews announced plans to triplex the Astor Plaza in the wake of the closing of the original Loews State in early 1987? I seem to remember that Loews' lease prohibited multiplexing the theatre, thankfully.

dave-bronx™ on January 25, 2017 at 11:38 pm

The original seat count of the Loew’s Astor, with the Griggs pushback seats, was 1528. After the remodeling around the end of the 20th century (I forget exactly when that happened) with the new Irwin rocking chair seats installed the count was 1440. The lease didn’t exactly prohibit dividing the auditorium, but required permission of the building owner for any alterations other than replacement of carpet, draperies, wall covering and counters/cabinetry of the concession stands. Three times times over the years Loew’s sought permission to divide the auditorium into 2, 3 and 4 cinemas, but the building owner shot them down each time. It’s one of the reasons it didn’t get its first (and only, by Loew’s) remodeling until it was about 25 years old, compared to 84th St. which had been remodeled twice by the time it was 12 years old.

A similar lease was held by RKO & Cineplex on the National across the street. When Cineplex remodeled in the late 80s they turned the two cinemas into three. When they were getting ready to re-open the landlord came around to look at the place. Apparently Cpx had not received permission to further divide the theatre, and the landlord ordered them to restore it back to two theatres, thereby delaying the re-opening by a few weeks.

cmbussmann on January 26, 2017 at 7:08 am

1995-02-03 … IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (4) (DTS)

Who would’ve ever guessed then that John Carpenter would perform live music in the same venue and even perform that very score?

moviebuff82 on May 23, 2017 at 11:49 am

40 years ago this thursday, Star Wars episode IV played here and became one of the top grossing movies at this theater. Episode V and VI also played here to packed houses in 70mm dolby stereo. 20 years after that premiere, the special editions of the trilogy played instead at the Ziegfeld theater, which played host to the prequels and the seventh star wars movie before closing down last year, making the Lafayette theater the only single screen theater in NYC area left to show another star wars movie, in that case, Rogue One.

The_Batman_Professor on June 23, 2017 at 10:07 pm

This and the Ziegfeld were my “go-to” thearers in the eary 80’s. Seeing RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK here was a religious experience.

moviebuff82 on May 24, 2018 at 3:12 pm

35 years ago tomorrow return of the Jedi premiered at midnight and drew record crowds.

moviebuff82 on December 15, 2018 at 10:59 am

40 years ago today Superman made his debut in 70mm six track dolby and made history.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 15, 2018 at 7:27 pm

Really, made its debut, not his…

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