AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

1998 Broadway,
New York, NY 10023

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AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

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 1,411 comments)

xbs2034 on October 9, 2018 at 9:12 pm

Still under construction (I was there on Sunday). Kinda surprised how long it’s taking given that AMC Empire was able to do their IMAX laser upgrade in less than a month, and this screen already had Atmos like how Empire had 12 channel sound (I’m sure the reclining seating at Dolby Cinema adds to the renovation time, but doesn’t seem like it should be this long).

LARGE_screen_format on October 10, 2018 at 3:13 am

Is one of the existing auditoriums being converted to Dolby Cinema or will this be an additional/new one?

celboy on October 10, 2018 at 5:48 am

I believe the 2nd best theater there ( I am sure some would consider it the best)—the Loews—is getting converted. Curious how a balcony experience will be there now.

xbs2034 on October 10, 2018 at 6:43 am

Yes, it is the Loews screen which is being converted to Dolby Cinema. It’s been closed and under renovation since mid June (the entrances to the theater are covered up with signs advertising Dolby Cinema coming soon).

LARGE_screen_format on October 10, 2018 at 9:13 am

WOW! The UK is yet to open its first Dolby Cinema and yet you guys get movie theaters with both IMAX and Dolby Cinema in the same multiplex! So lucky!

How big is the Loews theater compared to the IMAX screen?

klstra on October 10, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Curious. From the IMAX site it states “When you watch Damien Chazelle’s First Man in IMAX, you will experience one of mankind’s greatest accomplishments in the most immersive way possible.

The Academy Award-winning filmmaker captured the breathtaking lunar sequences of the legendary Apollo 11 mission with IMAX’s high-resolution cameras.

Really? What about the rest of the film?? What will we see on the screen at Lincoln Square in the IMAX laser presentation?

ridethectrain on October 16, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Dolby Cinema (LOEWS) opening within the next two weeks according to Lincoln Square employees

ridethectrain on October 16, 2018 at 4:53 pm

IMAX refreshment stand under renovation for about a month. If you buy refreshments you have to use the main stand on the 2nd Floor.

xbs2034 on October 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm

The basement level concession stand is also down. I was there yesterday to see Bad Times at the El Royale, and it looked like one of the three basement screens was also going through some work

bigjoe59 on October 18, 2018 at 2:26 pm


i hope my fellow moviegoers can help with a question. when the Harvey Weinstein scandal hit just a year ago whatever Weinstein Company Oscar Bait films that were set to open between then and Dec. 31 never opened. and have apparently vanished into thin air. i was especially looking forward to The Current War with Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon and Nicholas Hoult. the film was originally set to open Nov. 2017 but has yet to appear. where are all the Weinstein Company films that were going to be released last fall 201? have they vanished into thin air never to be seen again? thanks for any info.

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