AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX

1998 Broadway,
New York, NY 10023

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Loew's Lincoln Square

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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 893 comments)

alpinedownhiller
alpinedownhiller on January 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm

@xbs2034 – what did you hate about the glasses in SF? just the small lens size (and maybe the rims cutting off FOV if you say close??) or actual visual artifacts? (I could be wrong but I thought the glasses at the Boston one had been even smaller than the ones here, but sitting near the back of the theater the small size didn’t impact anything and the way the high quality lenses just showed an utterly perfect 3D image like I’ve never seen before so I way prefer those ones)

And you really saw no double images at Rogue One here? Nothing weird at all? Not even at the edges? Were you sitting in the center (or maybe way to the left and thus naturally kind of looking sideways to the right?)?

If I turned my head even a touch to look towards the right side the double images would be over the entire left side of the screen. Some scenes hid it to an extent and you might not realize there was doubling going on or just think the area was a little blurry or OOF or something but closing one eye and then the other eye you could see all sorts of patterns and texture were doubled with the right eye and when it came to bright lines and stars it was pretty darn clear that with one eye you see a line and a star and then with the other eye you’d see two stars in the same area and two sets of lines, not all that subtle either so not like that very faint ghosting you often see in any regular 3D (15/70 3D, IMAX Xenon, Real3D, etc.) across the frame. Maybe if someone wasn’t paying attention they just think it’s a jubmle or stars and lines and textures all over and somehow not realize there is double imaging going on, espcially if they didn’t realize how utterly 100.00% perfect from ANY hint ghosting or artifact of any type laser imax 3D is when viewed with properly made glasses.

Just wondering if they actually do have some good glasses here. Sure wishing if good glasses do exist here I had known and kept going back until I got good ones at the start.

Currently I couldn’t recommend the IMAX here for 3D since I don’t trust the odds to get a good pair and to have to dash back and forth possibly trying 2,3,10,20 pairs during the short 3D previews and the start of feature film would be an annoying mess.

Unless our luck was so monstrously bad that they only have like say 20 bad pairs out of 480 or something and we got 2 of the 20.

markp
markp on January 13, 2017 at 12:42 pm

I remember when we ran the original Star Wars in 1977 at the GCC Menlo Park Twin. Those were some days that will never ever be duplicated

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on January 13, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Just as a side comment, if you remember the days of 35mm interlocked projector 3-D in the early ‘50’s, all of the complaints raised about digital 3-D were true then. If you turned your head slightly you’d lose the separation created by the Polarized light. In order to maintain the separation the screens had to be high gain and thus could display a “hot spot” when viewed off axis as well a significant light drop off in wide auditoriums or ones with a steep projection angle (that was one of the reasons the Radio City Music Hall scrapped the plan to show “Kiss Me Kate” in 3-D. They would have lost too many seats at the sides and top of the mezzanines.) Many of those conditions exist with digital 3-D as well. One exception is Dolby Digital 3-D which uses a very sophisticated variation on anaglyph 3-D. It can be projected on a matte white screen and not lose separation between the eyes. The trade off is that it does require more light than those systems which use high gain screens. With all of the digital 3-D systems the registration is better than could be achieved with two 35mm machines, and of course, there’s no mechanical motion problem such as weave to cause problems between the two images being seen as one. Digital 3-D just copied a lot of what was developed in the '50’s for film 3-D. Another case of “everything old is new again”.

alpinedownhiller
alpinedownhiller on January 13, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Laser 3D also should have no problems since polarization isn’t involved AFAIK. Laser lets you send out light at a very specific frequency so they can construct multiple sets of primaries that are fairly similar and, AFAIK, they use notch filters to filter out the specific primaries they use for R,G and B (and they might even use two sets of similar for each eye at least to try to get around metameric differences between people’s eyes to try to insure someone with odd cones doesn’t get left out) for the left eye signal from the right and vice versa. I could swing my head all over the place and looking through my left eye only here saw no ghosting. So you can send out strong signals, with no compromise, to each eye and just notch out 100% the left eye image from the right and vice-versa in a way that the polarized screens never quite manage. The single frequency a laser can send out lets them be able to make a basically 100% filter without having any noticeable damage to color fidelity. Unless they ended up doing something different in the end. (of course it is a bit trickier than it sounds since the eye’s response is tricky and varies a bit person to person so they probably had to do lots of tuning and testing and maybe send out double sets of primaries to each maybe and so on)

And in Boston, where the glasses seemed to be properly coated, strongly and fully edge to edge across both left and right eye lenses, it was just perfect, not even a trace of ghosting. Even regular IMAX Xenon 3D has tiny faint traces of ghosting even sitting ideally (although in most theaters it seems less to me than with Real 3D; as for Doldby 3D supposedly they don’t use polarization and use the method you mention, but I was pretty disappointed in it the one time I went, colors didn’t seem rich, contrast and brightness poor, I liked Real3D better for sure and IMAX 3D much better and in some ways IMAX 15/70 3D better still (although was mixed compared to IMAX 3D) but none of them come close to the Boston Laser 3D IMAX, that is just perfection (and I think Lincoln Square would be the same if the right lenses in some to many of the glasses here were not messed up and had the proper right eye filter coating across the entire lens and not just the center, since the 3D seemed perfect and ghost free center and right side of the screen).

So they

vertigoman
vertigoman on January 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm

I also had a lot of difficulty with the new 3D glasses. They weren’t physically uncomfortable to wear, but they were highly reflective – so reflective that I saw everything. Besides the 3D image on the screen, every bit of stray light in the theater (like the blue light that spills in from the entranceways to the side of the screen) reflected off the lenses. My own eyes and face reflected within the glasses.

When they showed trailers in 2D, the image was fine, but the 3D glasses ended up reflecting every single bit of stray light in the theater and ended up reflecting the sides of my face into the lenses too.

I wrote to the IMAX CQO using the email address provided at the end of the feature (they put this onscreen at the end of every IMAX showing), and they conceded that they were aware of the issue with the glasses and hoped to make improvements in the future, but didn’t have an immediate fix either.

I’ve simply never experienced a glasses issue like this with any other 3D showing using any other 3D technology at any other venue. Not at home on my active TV and projector, not at RealD theaters with circular polarization, not at digital and film venues with linear polarization, and not even at Dolby Digital 3D venues which use similar lens technology but smaller lenses.

I think what happened was that IMAX wanted to have larger lenses that the standard Dolby 3D glasses so they enlarged the eye holes (on standard Dolby 3D glasses, the viewable area is much smaller), but the lens material is so reflective that with the increased size, they’re just reflecting everything. It’s probably something that wasn’t as apparent in a test environment but is unavoidable in the real world.

Still, for $26 a ticket, I expected more.

xbs2034
xbs2034 on January 13, 2017 at 3:43 pm

@alpinedownhiller- the two issues I had with the laser glasses in SF were the size and I got a small reflection effect with my prescription glasses in the brightest shots (not often, maybe a half dozen times throughout the movie)

alpinedownhiller
alpinedownhiller on January 13, 2017 at 9:33 pm

@xbs2034 – huh but no bad ghosting and dbl images or loss of detail etc at Rogue one here at all? Not maybe sitting off to the left and forced to look through them to the right (which might mask some of the issue)?

Ah man, if you actually had working glasses then I’m really bummed I hadn’t known what was going on in time to get new pairs and see if they worked. Had really been looking forward to this (plus the expense and trouble of getting to NYC) so quite the bummer. Was really counting on a great experience, biggest Star Wars fan around. :(

Anyway I’d still be cautious about this theater for now. We had two for two identically bum glasses and even if ‘only’ 50% of the glasses here are bum that would mean we had only ¼ chance to both get bum pairs so I wonder if maybe even more than 50% are bum. Who knows. Darn.

alpinedownhiller
alpinedownhiller on January 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm

As far as reflections, I did notice the Boston glasses seemed very reflective and recall being worried at first, with the house lights up it seemed worrisome, but then when the movie started they turned off every single last light to zero and it was like pitch black at that theater so no issues whatsoever.

At Lincoln Square they seemed reflective, maybe a bit less so though than Boston I think, but it was a year apart, can’t be sure, the Boston glasses might have been smaller and a bit more reflective but man they worked so much better and with the lights all off who cares about the reflections IMO. They also made it pretty dark here too, don’t recall seeing any lights in my direct line of view at all. I think they kept a few dark ones in the stairs on but couldn’t see them from our dead center (and 2 rows from the back) seats. So I had zero reflection problems here with the movie going.

Maybe the SanFran theater kept some of the line of sight lights on and that gave you the trouble there.

xbs2034
xbs2034 on January 14, 2017 at 7:11 am

Yeah, no significant ghosting with Rogue One. As far as seating goes, I think I was 6 or 7 rows back and pretty close to the middle of the screen (maybe slightly to the left, but not by much). I am a bit concerned about these issues if you had them and I did at another theater. If the final Resident Evil plays here (set to be in IMAX, but don’t think locations/showtimes are announced yet) I’ll see that and look out for good seating and these issues.

xbs2034
xbs2034 on January 18, 2017 at 8:07 pm

I was invited to and attended an early screening of xXx: Return of Xander Cage at the IMAX here tonight. As usual with these early screenings where best seats are reserved for press and/or people involved with the film, regular people usually don’t get the best seats, and so I was in row D, maybe 7 seats from the aisle on the left. With the glasses I had a bit more issue than with Rogue One but again less than Force Awakens, as I did get reflections not from the movie but two times people in my row checked their phones (not ideal, but certainly something which happens in real world setting) and if I turned my head to the side I did get ghosting (which I tried out during the opening credits sequence), though as long as I kept my head relatively still (wasn’t too hard for me) the 3D was strong and problem free.

Still, this does suggest sitting towards the middle of the row and not too close to the screen is ideal (I’d already recommend that for any movie, 3D or 2D, on a screen of this size), and I will again say with this film that IMAX Laser picture and sound quality was outstanding.

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