AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX

1998 Broadway,
New York, NY 10023

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AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 1,094 comments)

alpinedownhiller on October 8, 2017 at 2:19 pm

@FAShaffi – “according to this link, no 70MM IMAX print for this theater for The Last Jedi:( not surprised, but still disappointed, although I will still check it out here because it’ll be in 1:43”

I don’t think it will be in 1:43 at all will it?

digital3d on October 8, 2017 at 2:23 pm

IMDB lists some scenes as 1:43

Seems right since Force Awakens also had one scene in 1:43.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 8, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Great Britain has decibel standards and they send out officials to measure theatres when many customers complain. I don’t know what U.S. laws say about this.

xbs2034 on October 8, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Yes, laser projection can do 1.43 and the screen should be completely filled for IMAX shot scenes (which Last Jedi apparently has more than Force Awakens).

If you look at 15/70 location list, they are all museum sites which have never put in digital or laser projection, and I’ll echo that no 15/70 is not a big deal when it has laser instead (very close in most aspects, and better in some ways, such as using 12 channel sound with overheads, while 15/70 is stuck with a six channel mix).

alpinedownhiller on October 8, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Oh wow cool. Hadn’t realized they had shot any of it in IMAX. Cool. It was amazing at the Reading Laser IMAX when it popped up full IMAX screen for The Force Awakens.

alpinedownhiller on October 8, 2017 at 4:58 pm

It is a shame they shut down the Palisades IMAX instead of converting it to laser IMAX. It was the only way for those not in the city itself to easily see a true IMAX film. Lincoln Square is time consuming and costly to get to if you have to come in from outside of the city itself. Ah well, at least it is here. (but I’m not sure I trust the glasses here, never did get a final response back from the IMAX people. At Reading the Laser IMAX 3D was simply beyond belief and they keep that theater DARK, like old school, non-stadium seating dark, so the blacks and contrast ratio were really amazing.)

FAShaffi on October 9, 2017 at 7:41 am

I agree that laser is amazing as well, got to see Dunkirk in that and it was mindblowing, I still wish they were able to play alternating laser/70MM shows like they did with that movie though, I’m not really surprised there are only a handful of 70MM prints going out anyway, just sad about an opportunity missed, but the 1.43 ratio is the most important thing and yeah it’s gonna look mindblowing in laser lol

leowtyx on October 9, 2017 at 9:49 pm


Are there sources confirming the screen size to be 100 by 80 ft? Because I read that some claim to be 97 by 76 ft.

jmcr8 on October 18, 2017 at 4:57 am

Anyone know whats going on with the IMAX after October 18th? Fandango shows no IMAX showings of anything until Pre-sales of Thor on November 2nd. Are they doing work on the IMAX again?

xbs2034 on October 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Blade Runner 2049 is still playing there this weekend (though some of the other IMAXes are going over to Geostorm).

I don’t think anything was planned, just sometimes they wait till as late as Wednesday to finalize the schedule on a weekend without a big title playing.

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