AMC Lincoln Square 13

1998 Broadway,
New York, NY 10023

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AMC 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. The seating capacit in 2018 was reduced to 3,254.

Contributed by Damien Farley

Recent comments (view all 1,509 comments)

stevenj
stevenj on March 16, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Mark Louis, Director of Presentation for the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain, was interviewed on the linked website about screen brightness, masking, 3D etc. noting that “all digital movies are supposed to be projected at 14 foot-lamberts, an industry standard established by a group called DCI. In practice, many theaters fall short of that level of illumination.” You can read the entire article here:

Screencrush.com

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on March 16, 2019 at 2:48 pm

AMC sucks for that

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 17, 2019 at 2:43 pm

Hello-

thanks for your replies about the darkness issue. so is stevenj saying that CM wasn’t filmed that dark its just how the Orpheum was screening it? I ask the question again since the Orpheum manager said in the case of “Solo” that that was the way the film was shot and not a result of their screening of it.

stevenj
stevenj on March 18, 2019 at 10:34 am

bigjoe59….I posted the link because as Mr Louis says in the article it is the most common problem he encounters in other (than Alamo I assume) theaters. The only sure way to find out if CM was projected dimly at the Orpheum would be to see it at another theater and compare. Or ask the manager at the Orpheum if films projected there meet the industry standard of 14 foot-lamberts. I’ve only been to an Alamo theatre once and it was to see one of the Star Wars films a couple of years ago in 3D. It was the best projected digital/3D film I’d ever seen. At the neighborhood theatre I go to regularly here in SF, digital film brightness is inconsistent and sometimes disappointing.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 18, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Hello-

thanks to stevenj for your thoughts on the darkness issue. I saw Boy Erased at this theater last Nov. and was disappointed that a few scenes were rather under lit. so last month when the Blu-ray came out I bought and guess what? the scenes I had the dimly lit issue with were the same way on the Blu-ray.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on March 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm

How about 4k bluray?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 18, 2019 at 8:53 pm

Image brightness is a common problem at many AMC theaters, at many theaters in general I suppose. Whenever I pointed out to an usher or a manager, they never seem to know what I’m talking about, although in the same complex you can go from one screen that is bright and clear in the next screen over is murky and dark.

Sooner or later I am going to write them an email, or try to contact the district manager, because they are not giving these movies away for free and if I’m paying for the AMC amazing experience, I expect to get it.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on March 19, 2019 at 5:10 am

A general question regarding AMC, how common is it for one site to have both Dolby Cinema and IMAX auditoriums? I believe AMC Lincoln 13 and AMC Empire 25 have both?

In the UK there is currently just one Dolby Cinema (Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square London) with another opening soon in Leeds. Neither of which include an IMAX screen in the same multiplex. Which is what raised this question. Wondered if it bothered either Dolby or IMAX having the other competing if you will in the same location?

digital3d
digital3d on March 19, 2019 at 9:20 am

Many locations have both Dolby and IMAX. (34th St for instance as well.)

They’re seperate companies who made seperate deals with AMC. It might be bothering them but they can’t do much about it.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 19, 2019 at 2:40 pm

Hello-

thank you to my fellow posters for their replies to the darkness issue I started. a question- is it remotely possible that some directors consciously shot scenes that are under lit to be artsy?

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