AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX

1998 Broadway,
New York, NY 10023

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Loew's Lincoln Square

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 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 67th and 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 696 comments)

hdtv267
hdtv267 on September 6, 2016 at 11:51 am

yes, people know the IMAX is under renovation.

What purpose are you trying to serve with this post other than talking to yourself.

Also if you insist on these run on sentences, have consideration for the other readers on this board and use your spacebar.

markp
markp on September 6, 2016 at 2:06 pm

digital3d, Thank You. I come from a family of union projectionists. My father was one for 55 years, my uncle for 54. I’m in my 40th this year. I only do the occasional movie now that everything is digital. It was a great run though.

markp
markp on September 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm

All the 70MM equipment put in the theatres after Hateful8 was removed and put back in storage. The quick disconnect wiring was left in place. I was smart enough while at the Regal E-Walk to make a notation of the package number I ran, so if I’m lucky enough to get called again next summer, I know what to ask for. Was problem free the entire 2 weeks.

xbs2034
xbs2034 on September 7, 2016 at 5:47 am

https://mobile.twitter.com/IMAX/status/773304839774216192

Because the IMAX screen here is under renovation, they went ahead and installed IMAX equipment at Alice Tully Hall (which I don’t believe is listed here as it doesn’t do commercial runs of movies, but does also host many New York Film Festival showings) a few blocks away just to be able to host the Sully premiere. A similar undertaking was done previously with the Vienna Opera House to show the Mission Impossible 5 premiere in IMAX.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on September 15, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Mission Impossible 5, unlike the 4th one, wasn’t shot in Imax and was an IMAX DMR remastering from the original format. How’s work going at Lincoln Square IMAX? Seems there’s fewer moviegoers there.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on September 28, 2016 at 11:12 am

Even without the imax, Sully did quite well at this theater and the one on 84th Street, both the highest grossing venues in the NYC area for that movie when it opened nearly three weeks ago.

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on September 28, 2016 at 11:28 am

Sully was excellent n imax laser. Love the 12 channels of sound. Saw it at AMC Universal in LA. Also the sound and picture great at TLC Chinese. Cant wait for Lincoln Square Imax Laser

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on September 28, 2016 at 11:44 am

So guys I have a question, is Imax different from Regal RPX? I saw Sully in RPX because I had a free ticket. I was not impressed. The screen in 2 of the other theaters are much larger than the RPX. I remember IMAX in Ft Lauderdale and it was this huge screen that the whole film covered. What I saw was like any other theater for a film in 2.35 aspect ratio, black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Not at all impressed.

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on September 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm

After IMAX, take Dolby Cinema at AMC, it’s better than Regal.. Very rarely go to RPX

xbs2034
xbs2034 on September 28, 2016 at 1:40 pm

Mikeoaklandpark- Sully (and any film shot with IMAX cameras) is 2.35 in other theaters as part of the agreement for using those cameras is that the expanded image be exclusive to IMAX screens.

Also, RPX is just Regal taking the screen they already have and giving it the large format designation, there isn’t another party involved working on the projection and sound like with IMAX or Dolby Cinema (though I don’t want to hate on Regal too much, for standard screens and theater maintenance I’ve mostly liked the chain).

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