AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

1998 Broadway,
New York, NY 10023

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AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

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On November 18, 1994, on the site of a demolished post office, the circuit then known by the Sony Theatres moniker introduced what immediately became the nation’s busiest multiplex at Broadway and W. 68th Street.

Construction of the Millennium Partners development known as Lincoln Square began on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in 1992. The $250 million mixed-use project, covering the block from Broadway to Columbus Avenue between W. 67th Street and W. 68th Street, was to rise 545 feet and encompass 800,000-square-feet. The developers took the unusual path of selling and leasing much of the complex’s space before construction had begun. Among the tenants of the 8-story commercial base, to be topped by a 38-story apartment tower, was Loews Theater Management Corporation. Plans for a nine-screen movie theatre with a traditional external box office and no inner lobby or unusual interiors were first conceived by Sony Pictures Entertainment Executive VP Lawrence Ruisi and Chairman Peter Guber. When Jim and Barrie Lawson-Loeks joined Loews/Sony Theatres as co-chairs in 1992, they envisioned a different complex, one that would include a mural-adorned lobby, movie palace ornamentation, indoor ticket selling stations, and more.

Sony Theatres Lincoln Square was designed by the firm of Gensler and Associates. The theatre’s lighting scheme was executed by Gallegos Lighting and the building’s 75' tall by 130' wide lobby mural was produced by EverGreene Painting Studios. (If ever gazing upon the mural, look, among the images from “Lawrence of Arabia”, “It Happened One Night”, and other classic films of Sony [Columbia] Pictures' past, for the embedded names of Sony/Loews executives of the era).

Upon its opening, the theatre totaled 3,046 seats and featured nine traditional exhibition auditoriums, each with a name and plaster/molded-fiberglass entrance paying homage to a grand movie palace of Loews' past. Among these were the Valencia, Kings, State, Capital, Paradise, and Jersey. The entry portals were designed as stylized representations of the old-time movie palaces. (The Paradise, for instance, has an Egyptian theme.) The grandest of the nine theatres bore the name “Loew’s”, since the circuit’s previous designation was, at the time, retired.

This premiere auditorium was modeled after the Thomas Lamb-designed Loew’s 72nd Street theatre (demolished in 1961) and reinterpreted that venue’s Thai-temple inspiration. The theatre featured a red and gold color scheme, handcarved designs atop gilded columns, a chandelier, a proscenium arch featuring elephants and palm trees, a gold show curtain, and a balcony. A two-minutes-long lighting pre-show was created by Patrick Gallegos, using equipment mounted on the balcony rail and footlights, to accompany a commissioned score by Jonathan Brielle. The auditorium housed 876 seats, a 65 feet wide by 26 feet tall screen, was 70mm capable, THX-certified, and opened with state of the art audio. Later, it featured Dolby Digital, SDDS 8-channel, and DTS.

Perhaps the facility’s most attention-grabbing feature was the Sony IMAX Theatre. Billed in advertisements of the time as “The 8-Story Wonder of the World”, the theatre featured 600 seats (not included in the nine-screen total cited above), the United States' largest theatrical screen measuring 100' by 80', and was reached by means of what was claimed to be the world’s largest free-standing escalator. It was the first IMAX theatre in the U.S. to be operated by a major exhibition circuit and also the first to exhibit 3-D films in the large screen format. The debut IMAX features were “The Last Buffalo”, which had previously been exhibited, and the premiere engagement of “Into the Deep”. On April 21, 1995, the theatre presented the first fictional IMAX film, “Wings of Courage”, starring Val Kilmer and Elizabeth McGovern and directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. The film was the earliest to make use of the new IMAX 3-D Personal Sound Environment System. On October 20 of that year, “Across the Sea of Time” was presented, along with the ability for the audience to listen to the film in the language of their choosing via the four audio tracks available in their headsets. The IMAX theatre features a system by which, in a process lasting fewer than 40 minutes, each of the audience headsets is run through a fine mist of water and lens cleaning fluid between shows. Security panels sound alarms should a headset be mistakenly removed from the auditorium. In addition, the auditorium’s porthole glass is intentionally oversized, in order to allow the interested to pear into the projection booth, home to 7.5' wide film platters.

All of the building’s auditoriums, including 3 basement theatres added in early-1995 and originally intended to exhibit art house fare (a plan that was never executed), are reached via a ticket lobby featuring numerous automated ticketing kiosks and a Deco-inspired, 8-station box office at the end of a terrazzo floor with embedded brass stars (intended to be engraved with the names of stars visiting the theatre for premieres of their films). Patrons visiting one of the original 9 auditoriums enter an enormous concession lobby through an entryway replicating the gates of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Culver City studio lot. Floor-to-ceiling structural columns are disguised as palm trees and large screens display trailers for upcoming attractions. A frieze features the names of Hollywood stars and encircles the space. The below-street-level auditoriums, which brought the facility’s total seat count to 4,144 (including IMAX), share a lobby showcasing a black-and-white mural paying homage to 1930’s Hollywood and an auxiliary concession stand. One of these auditoriums was originally equipped with joysticks for the age of interactive movies intended to be ushered in by 1995’s “Mr. Payback”. (The basement space was originally reserved for a neighboring tenant, Barnes & Noble.)

During its opening weekend in 1994, the Lincoln Square drew 33,000 paying customers and grossed more than $202,000 at the box office. The opening features were “Star Trek Generations” (generating $100,000), “The Professional” ($46,000), “Miracle on 34th Street” (1994), “The Lion King” (in the first weekend of a holiday-season re-release), and “The Swan Princess”. In the years since, Sony/Loews/Loews Cineplex Entertainment has striven to maintain the theatre’s technological preeminence. The premiere Loews auditorium is THX-certified. AMC now operates the theatre, having purchased the Loews Cineplex theatres.

Contributed by Damien Farley

Recent comments (view all 1,308 comments)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 11, 2018 at 4:17 am

Alpinedownhiller, Can you please provide a link or at least the full name of the movie theater & the date that Paramus is getting 2001 70mm print? I am not finding that anywhere on the Internet.

markp
markp on June 11, 2018 at 4:30 am

HowardBHaas, its going to play at the AMC Garden State 16 for one week June 15-21. I was hired by Warner Bros to do the projection.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 11, 2018 at 4:53 am

Mark, that is such good news. I will be there! Do you know how wide the screen is at the Garden State?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 11, 2018 at 7:13 am

markp, that is great but I just looked up & AMC’s official website says the screening will be digital so consider telling whoever hired you they ought to correct that. I’m assuming the 70mm projectors have stayed there since at least The Hateful Eight, rather than a temp installation but if incorrect, let us know! better to post on that theater’s page though.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 11, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Hello- to alpinedownhiller- I thank you for your reply. but I spoke to the manager of the Orpheum after the showing and he said it was the film itself and had nothing to do with their screening/projection of it.

JoeGage
JoeGage on June 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm

HowardBHaas, are you the moderator of this page/site?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 11, 2018 at 3:27 pm

I am an officially listed volunteer who coordinates with the sole official volunteer moderator of the site.

xbs2034
xbs2034 on June 12, 2018 at 6:35 am

Bigjoe59- I do agree with others that this discussion belonged on the Orpheum page, but to reiterate, I am pretty sure it was issues with the showing you had and it’s very easy for the manager to just say the issue is with the movie and not them (and from my experience AMC is definitely not the best at running that theater, I’ve seen issues with their restrooms as well as incorrectly setting the masking to flat on scope films so that the sides of the image were cut off, etc).

Also, did you happen to see Solo in screen 7 (the largest screen downstairs)? I saw Ocean’s 8 there this weekend, and while it didn’t experiment with the darker levels like Solo did which could be a real problem if the calibration is off, it did seem a bit darker than the previews for the movie and there was a shot where it seemed like the audience was clearly supposed to read what a character had written down but I couldn’t make it out as the image was too dark.

Whereas, in addition to the IMAX at Lincoln Square, I saw Solo a second time in the regular DCP at Union Square, and though it naturally lacked some detail compared to IMAX laser projection, I again didn’t have any issues with brightness levels.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 12, 2018 at 1:45 pm

Hello-

I appreciate people replying to my original post. but it seems the intent was nothing correctly understood. I admitted I saw it at the Orpheum but wondered if people who saw it at the Lincoln Square had the same problem. so why would asking patrons their experience at the Lincoln Square belong on the Orpheum’s page?

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on June 12, 2018 at 4:42 pm

Both theaters are very similar in that AMC owns them. After they renovate 19th street they should renovate orpheum and this theater…

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