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Formal splits were illegal because they were agreements to not compete among certain exhibitors, harming the distributor. Tracks included the distributor, guaranteeing them screens for their less than big pictures in return for not complaining about exhibitor splits. This may seem silly today, but back then when most theatres were single screen, and a large multiplex might have 4 screens, getting screen time for small pictures was a challenge for the distributors.
Neither splits nor tracks were absolute. Every now and again a new exhibitor would enter the market who would “bid” for films, and if the “bid” was high enough, get to play the film.
There were always clearances, which were always of dubious legality. Exhibitors then as now pay a percentage of the boxoffice vs a guarantee minimum payment to play a film. Obviously, exhibitors would rather have as an exclusive a run in a given area as they can get away with. Back in the days of 35mm film, were there were a limited number of prints, the distributor would want their film playing in the highest grossing theatre in a given area. Now that 35mm film is all but gone, the excuse for clearances is even more questionable. Several studios have recently discontinued the practice.
These days film terms are negotiated between the distributors and the exhibitors. Actually, the big circuits negotiate, the small independents are told what it will cost, take it or leave it.
The Cinema 35 opened in November of 1973 with the film Executive Action. I was there opening weekend and still have some of the promotional material that they gave out for their Grand Opening.
The theatre was built intended to be part of the Jerry Lewis Cinema circuit. Jerry Lewis Cinemas were franchises generally marketed to people outside the exhibition industry, unlike their competitors which were company owned locations. The Cinema 35 was originally owned by a lawyer, I forget his name.
Network Cinemas, the corporate name for Jerry Lewis Cinemas went bust before the Cinema 35 opened, and the Cinema 35 never had the Jerry Lewis name or signage. While the Cinema 35 has many independent owners over the years, the last of which renamed it The Paramus Picture Show, as far as I know, the theatre was never part of the UA circuit.
Back when ET was originally released, films were distributed by what was called in the industry “track”. If you look at newspaper ads from back then, you would see theatres grouped as “Blue Carpet Theatres” and “Red Carpet Theatres”, among others. What these “tracks” were, were an unofficial product splitting arrangement between distributors and exhibitors, where the owner of a given location would agree to play all of a given studios films in return for being unofficially guaranteed that they would get every film. Officially, films were put up for “bid”, where the various theatre owners would bid against each other for how much they would pay for the rights to play a given film at a given location. Product splitting was an unwritten agreement not to bid against each other. Tracks were phased out in the mid 1980’s, when the Justice Department started looking into the anti-trust implications of product splitting.
Remembering that the Stanley Warner was just a twin or triplex at the time, there were more studios than screen. The Cinema 35 ran on the same Universal track as the UA Fox in Hackensack. A few years later, as the Stanley Warner expanded to their eventual 10 screens, they tried to pull the Universal titles from the Cinema 35, and the owner of the Cinema 35 sued them. I believe he won the battle but lost the war, in that by being forced to bid against a large national circuit for films proved too costly for a single screen independent.
Jerry Lewis Cinemas were almost a good idea, and the theatre design was ahead of it’s time for running a small theatre with minimal staff.
The problems were fourfold.
First, the franchisees were required to purchase their equipment, supplies (including concessions), and book their films via Network Cinemas, which tended to charge more than other suppliers and bookers. They were at a competitive disadvantage before they opened the doors. No wonder these franchises were marketed to people outside the industry. Anyone who owned an independent theatre realized that they could do everything Network Cinemas was doing cheaper themselves.
Second, they had no product. When you go into a McDonald’s, whether it be in New Jersey or New Mexico, you know what is on the menu. Same with Midas Mufflers. They have a product that the parent company can promote regionally if not nation wide. Network Cinemas owned no distribution rights to any movies. Each franchisees had to “bid” how much they would pay to play any given movie individually, as was the practice at the time. That meant that Network Cinemas could not promote anything as being exclusive to their theatres.
Third, Network Cinemas had a policy of only booking “family” films, just as the industry started shifting to “R” rated for many big releases.
Finally, while Jerry Lewis still had some great films in him through the 1970’s and 1980’s, his name was no longer the boxoffice magic that would make people flock to the cinema.
The link works for me. Perhaps your computer has a virus?
The next films are the weekend of June 3rd and 4th.
A Trip To The Moon (silent with organ accompaniment)
Day The Earth Stood StillAliens
The Landmark Loews Jersey – The Wonder Theatre Of New Jersey
The theatre is located on Journal Square in Jersey City, NJ directly across from
the PATH subway station connecting Manhattan with Jersey City. It is also easy
to reach from most area highways. Secure discounted parking is located directly
behind the theatre. Have your parking ticket validated at the theatre’s boxoffice.
April 15th & 16th
Friday April 15th, 2016
All That Jazz – 8:00PM
Saturday April 16th, 2016
Footlight Parade (35mm) – 6:00PM
All About Eve (35mm) – 8:15PM
Visit The The Landmark Loews Jersey For More Information.
I know that the The Landmark Loews Jersey has rented and will rent their historic theatre for film screenings, and assist with booking the film. I do not know what they charge, but it I suspect that it is substantially less than $7K to $10K. Again, you need to call the specific venue that you are interested in to get a realistic idea of whether this is a viable idea.
The theatre is located on Journal Square in Jersey City, NJ directly across from the PATH subway station connecting Manhattan with Jersey City. It is also easy
to reach from most area highways. Secure discounted parking is located directly behind the theatre. Have your parking ticket validated at the theatre’s boxoffice.
Our March Classic Movies Will Be Presented From High Resolution 35mm Motion Picture Film With Genuine Carbon Arc Projection, On Our Giant 50 Foot Wide Screen.
March 11th & 12th
From Book To Film…
Friday March 11th, 2016
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) 35mm – 8:00PM
Saturday March 12th, 2016
Stand By Me (1986) 35mm – 6:00PM
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) 35mm – 8:15PM
The Landmark Loews Jersey
The idea is feasible, but rather costly. Email is not the best way to get information, they tend to be ignored. Phone and ask the manager who to contact about a rental, or better yet, go in person.
> They (Bardavon) have a fully functioning 35 MM platter projector.
At this point, many of the studios and many collectors will not permit their prints of classic films to be played on platters. Platters require the head/tail leaders to be removed so that the entire feature can be assembled into one huge roll of film. Platters have a reputation, possibly undeserved, for damaging prints.
If you include east of the Hudson as in this area, in addition to the Bardavon, their is the Tarrytown Music Hall, the Alamo Draft House (Yonkers), Jacob Burns (Pleasantville) that have 35mm capability.
As too renting a theatre for a public screening, normally you are charge a flat rate rental fee for the theatre. If you have the theatre book the film, you will probably be charged an additional booking fee plus any advance “guarantee” charges from the films distributor. You will be required to pay this in advance. The theatre, as part of the rental, will provide staffing. If you want your show on the marquee, you need to specify that when renting. You are responsible for all advertising. If the showing(s) gross more than the pre-paid guarantee, the percentages kick in with the distributor. You get the percentage that the distributor does not. The theatre should not take a cut of your boxoffice. You will not get a cut of the concession.
Neither myself nor (as far as I know) movieguy works for the Lafayette Theatre. As movieguy suggests, you should call the venues you are considering during operating hours to compare rental pricing.
The Landmark Loews Jersey in Jersey City still runs 35mm as their format of choice for their monthly classic film series. This coming Friday/Saturday they are running 12 Monkeys, Sullivan’s Travels, and Arsenic and Old Lace, all in 35mm. They do occasionally run Blurays, but they actively try to avoid them. However you should note, the Loews Jersey is an arts center, not a first run movie theatre. It is available for rentals, and they will assist you in booking 35mm prints, but renting the theatre (or any theatre) is rather expensive.
The Union County Arts Center in Rahway, the old RKO Rahway Theatre, still has 35mm capability, but they rarely use it.
As far as I know, those are the only 2 venues in this area west of the Hudson that still can run 35mm.
As far as free admission for seniors for the classic film series, the town of Ramapo purchased the $80k (or more) digital projector for the theatre, and up through last fall was paying for the cost of renting the film prints for the classics in return for letting the seniors in for free. The theatre got the better end of that deal.
The Loews Jersey has the capability of running HD Digital, but not DCI Compliant DCPs that first run theatres are now using.
What that means in plain English is that for classic films, when they run digital, it tends to be a Bluray Disc.
I do know that they still go out of their way to obtain 35mm prints whenever possible.
Hi Mark. Just a heads up, I am no longer involved with projecting films at the Loews, so I cannot comment on specific issues for specific shows. However, I do give them credit for being the only venue in Northern NJ that still runs classic films in 35mm whenever possible. It would be a lot easier and cheaper for them to just run digital, but everyone there appreciates the “magic” of presenting real film.
MGM acquired the assets of UA some time ago. Most of the James Bond films released since the late 1990’s have had MGM/UA above the lion.
The studios were striking new prints of select titles for repertory theatres up until about 4 years ago, and they still strike “vault” prints for their own archiving, reference, and special screening purposes. As to whether or not a venue outside of Los Angeles can get these vault prints is iffy at best.
Yes Mark, I agree that most prints can be made to look decent provided that the projectionist is given access to the print sufficiently in advance to go through it.
For example, I was told that last weekends print of Ocean’s 11 arrived at the theatre just in time for the show. They barely had time to make sure all the reels were heads out.
On the other hand, if the print is faded, scratched, or has splices with enough footage missing that the audience will notice it, there is nothing the projectionist can do.
Again, I am not saying that there no incompetent projectionist, but I am saying that there can be other reasons for a poor presentation.
Since I am no longer a projectionist at the Loews Jersey and I was not there this weekend, I cannot comment on why changeovers were missed. I can say that there are a lot of projectionist, young and old, who can do a proper changeover. It’s not that hard, you just have to pay attention.
An issue that probably nobody who has not run 35mm film, reel to reel, is aware of is that the repertory prints now in circulation are rather hit and miss in regard to damage, especially at the end of reels where the changeover cue marks are located. For every mint restoration print available, there are probably a dozen trashed prints in circulation. Back in the day, prints were sent to theatres well in advance, and the projectionist would hand crank through every reel, repairing bad splices and noting any bad/missing cue marks. That is no longer an option in many cases where the print arrives the at the last minute.
I’m not saying that there are no incompetent projectionist, but I am saying that there could be other reasons for a less than stellar presentation.
Movies this coming weekend:
Guns Of Navarone at 8pm
Ocean’s 11 (1960 Version) at 6pm
Touch Of Evil at 8:40pm
All presented films in 35mm
Yes. To have a film festival, you need to actually run film. The Lafayette runs all video these days. That is not to say that their classic movie series is not fun, but the magic of actual film is gone.
All Loews Theatres, as with most other large circuits, were booked by the headquarters booking office. A theatre manager could make suggestions, but that is about it for local involvement. I believe, but not sure, that the booking office was located in Manhattan at the time.
I doubt that they were trying to drive the place into the ground. More likely, exploitation films are the ones that were the most profitable for that location at the time. The same forces that drove the 42nd street NYC theatres from being the showplace of the nation to the sleaze center of the nation was at work in all the major cities. These theatres could only draw customers from the immediate area, and there were a lot of screens in Jersey City for the given population.
Although the 35mm projectors are still in the booth at the Lafayette, they are no longer connected and all the 35mm sound equipment is no longer functional.
They currently run DCP for first run, and DCP when available for their classics, and Bluray when not.
Friends Of The Loews won today’s round in their court case with the city. Their lease is valid, the city can’t throw them out and lease the theatre to someone else.
Click Here For News Story
I’ve stopped attending the Saturday morning film series when I found out that they no longer run film, and that many of these classic movie shows are not even 2K DCP’s, but rather consumer Bluray discs.
Movieguy, what would be helpful is if we were informed as to the format they are presenting the motion picture. While I will go out to see a 2K DCP presentation, I will never pay a theatre to see a consumer Bluray that I can watch at home.
March 2015 Movies At The Loews Jersey
Friday March 27 – To Have And Have Not – 8:00pm
Saturday March 28 – Swing Time – 6:00pm
Saturday March 28 – North By North West – 8:15pm
It is my understanding that all 3 films will be 35mm film presentations.
Hey Movieguy, that is old news. The Lafayette emailed me that information yesterday, as it did everyone who signs up for their weekly programming announcements.
movieguy, you have gone way beyond the point of diminishing returns.
I don’t really care if you are involved with the theatre, or just a fanboy. In either case, posting the same announcements more than once is annoying because every time someone posts for this theatre, I get an email. You are basically using CinemaTreasures to SPAM me. Yes, I can unsubscribe to the Lafayette Theatre comments, but I actually do like the theatre and if one announcement per show is the price to pay for keeping up on what is happening there, no problem. Multiple emails for the same show are really annoying.
Ultimately, you cost the Lafayette one more customer, as I do not do business with spammers. I will have nothing more to do with the Lafayette until this stops.
Finally, I don’t know what you are trying to accomplish. You are preaching to the choir. Almost everyone here already knows what a great theatre the Lafayette is. Those that want email announcements are already signed up to the theatre’s email list (as am I). You would do better to place flyers on the windshields of cars at the Palisades Mall, because once you get someone to come to the Lafayette Theatre for the first time, chances are they will come back.
And to the theatre’s management, running movies that are already available on DVD/Bluray is not a good long term business plan.
January 2015 Movies At The Loews Jersey
Friday Jan 30 – Cat On A Hot Tin Roof – 8PM
Saturday Jan 31 – White Heat – 6PMSaturday Jan 31 – Dog Day Afternoon – 8:20PM