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Alright – getting back to the point of this page – Film Forum is reopening on August 1st and they’re been previewing their new seats on Instagram and Facebook. They’re promising more leg room and improved sight-lines with tiered seating along with the new forth screen. Lobby features include new LCD screens.
Reopening features are Nico 1988, No Date, No Signature, Atomic Cafe (DCP) and The Smallest Show on Earth (in 35MM). The fact they’ve only slight off their original projection by a few days is remarkable for NYC – Alamo and the new Quad were months behind schedule.
I’m not sure what the specs of the new house will include but Film Forum (for better or worse) has been showing more and more DCPs of repertory titles (and in fact even tried to dispel anxiety around this with a “This is DCP” program a few years ago). Meanwhile other repertory houses have leaned hard into 35MM with Metrograph, Quad and Alamo showing at least one 35MM print every day.
Saw a film for the first time here on Saturday – very weird retrofit of an existing building with what looks like a second theater tacked on around back. I agree they should spruce-up the exterior, it almost looks like a dive bar from the street. Theatre #1 was surpassingly larger than I imagined, music makers (or whomever built it) dug into the ground of the store front and created a theater that now seats over 200 (with the plush Clearview rockers they installed at the Claridige and Cinema 12) with a stage (at street level) and it appears it might still have a curtain.
Theatre #2 was around the back – the lobby (with the concession stand) is tiny but the tack-on lobby that led to theater #2 was actually kind of spacious oddly enough. The bathrooms too were also tiny and they didn’t get the same kind of upgrade the other Clearviews got – they were straight 70s. Music Makers certainly built odd theaters – I’m curious to know more about them as I think this might be the last of their locations still running now that the AMC Loews Stroud Mall has been long gone and converted into a state of the art Cinemark.
I recall it being loud – they did add the left/right rear IMAX speakers. The IMAX here is terrible – so terrible I’m not sure how the IMAX corporation approved it. They added a “larger” screen that runs floor to ceiling but because of the shape of the auditorium that barely matters. The bigger issue I have with this auditorium is they have a poorly placed emergency exit behind the screen (you can actually see the “exit” light from any vantage point in the auditorium). Clifton Commons is another example of just how terrible AMC is – even their IMAX theaters (which should live up to a higher set of standards) are awful.
I was here for Tribeca FF – nice new recliners but they don’t recline all that far back, ultimately they didn’t loose much. The two smaller houses on Floor 2 had two back rows of stadium seating and the rest were just tiered. They also gave the auditoriums new acoustic treatments, carpeting and it appears they lowed the screens to a more comfortable height (Bow Tie had them up very high – about 10ft off the ground) and added masking.
I wish Cinepolis would get around to remodeling Parsippany – the quality of the experience has gone downhill since they acquired that theatre (they claimed they were going to renovate it into a dine-in theatre in 2018…. they’ve barely fixed the broken seats and exit lights falling off the wall).
Sadly it’s still closed – it doesn’t appear that work has started despite the announcement AMC has executed a lease. (That’s only based on my observation of looking in from Main Street about three weeks ago). It’s a shame, this would be a nice compliment to the stores, restaurants, and hotels that have opened since this theater closed. The downtown area has seen positive growth and foot traffic with the addition of the Expo Market food hall next door. I do hope AMC is open to hosting / supporting local film and cultural events, although North Park has filled that void beautifully for many groups in town (along with Dipson Eastern Hills way out in the burbs)
Re: masking – I can vouch for Cinema #1 – they even had proper masking for a press screening of Hateful Eight in all of its ultra-wide scope glory.
As for new builds – Alamo and iPic have masking, along with Metrograph. Alamo Brooklyn will also be getting 70MM for Dunkirk according to a Facebook post today – hopefully they’ll also bring in some repertory 70MM at some point too.
I believe Reading owns the building and land – they have options on the table with a partner but it doesn’t appear as if they have tenants or actual plans for what a new build on the site would look like and include – just feasibility studies. I don’t think any plans have been presented to the city or community board so I’m going to guess Cinema 1,2,3 is safe for another year or two (they’ve been talking redevelopment for a while with no definite plan in sight). From the photos on Yelp it does appear it was in rough shape prior to the recliner reseat – it didn’t get a huge overhaul other than new paint, carpets, flat screen movie-posters both inside and out, and the new tiers in Cinema #1’s balcony. I don’t get here nearly enough but it’s a much nicer experience than AMC – clean, good presentation, good snacks – actually in that regard its the complete opposite of AMC Amazing.
Cinema 1,2,3 was updated with all recliner seating a few years ago and a few modern appointments (flat screen monitors throughout the lobby and two concession stands – once featuring coffee and desserts and the other, upstairs with traditional movie items). All and all it’s a modern mini-multiplex while keeping a lot of its 60s architecture and classic charm – and both times I’ve been there I found the presentation to be excellent. Cinema 1 is 70MM capable and they often have a city-wide exclusive on titles where it is available. The reason it may go is that Reading owns the property and may put it to a more productive/lucrative use – but they’ve also been saying that for years…. (Reading/City Cinemas also offer “Recline for $9 after 9" on weekdays with half-price concessions here – a hell of a good deal anywhere, but especially in NYC)
New Vision’s management team previously founded Clearview, Access IT/Cinedigm, and Digiplex, a few went to work for Carmike and New Vision’s HQ is what was Digiplex’s corporate office. The company was formed right as the AMC merger was approved and backed by private equity. It’s interesting this time around AMC didn’t do a deal with a top ten chain (in the past they swap theaters and cash with Regal to satisfy the DOJ when they acquired Kerasotes and Loews Cineplex). This time around they sold two to the small Picture Show chain and the rest to New Vision. NV’s base this time around is much stronger than the kinds of mom and pop and small exhibitors that Digiplex and Clearview consolidated – the group includes a couple of recliners and bars, a dine-in theater, and a few premium large screens (Big D and IMAX). We shall see what the plan is for NV – if they like Digiplex and Clearview take the company public and grow or focus on running these locations and upgrade a few of the smaller/older theaters in their new portfolio.
It’s a shame they’re allowing this to continue – I had spoke to the CQO about an issue at their “new” “downgraded” IMAX at Palisades Center where a light above the screen washed out any dark scenes. The rest of this complex is terrible – the last two 2D films I had seen here had the Real D polarizing filters on and the only presentation that was quite good was Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk in 3D because Sony made special accommodations. They should have made special accommodations to present the film in a better theatre…..
It’s having a soft opening this weekend
There’s a higher resolution one version of this one on Cinema Treasures – considering this is my photograph I think I deserve the credit and not elmorovine.
Theatre 7 is equipped for DCP and 35MM and plays host to Terror Tuesdays and Weird Wednesdays – two signature series imported from Austin that make use of Alamo’s AGFA (American Genre Film Archive).
Print quality varies – sometimes you get a nearly pristine print, other times it can be a struggle to watch something scratched and terribly faded.
Bow Tie hasn’t made too many physical changes as it was the rare all digital Clearview location (most had a digital screen or two for 3D) and it was in good shape. Very few artifacts from the photographs remain (in public view) unfortunately just the flooring in the front lobby and a series of bars (also visible in the lobby) – the rest is modern with the concession stand having undergone a renovation within the last few years of Clearview’s run.
I’m surprised this theater hasn’t been closed by the health inspectors and/or the free market. Empire Cinemas knows how to run theaters into the ground, they’re even too cheap to install an automated light system to switch on so you can find your seat (they usually thrown on the cleaning lights or don’t turn on the lights at all). Not to mention recliners that are broken/missing parts, poor presentation, and the fact they moved the old Columbia Park seats into the two larger houses (they’re not fully a recliner-plex). Empire Cinemas and AMC are just simply the worst – it really sucks for Clifton.
Commons is in a slightly better state of repair truth be told, but needs a full renovation immediately (the last show I attended had whole rows replaced with seating that didn’t match the rest of the auditorium – probably salvaged from an AMC that underwent a recliner conversion – plus they left the 3D polarizing filters in place for a 2D movie that was already dark and grainy by design – terrible company).
It was taken over by the same owner as Teaneck Cinemas – Bow Tie did a great job of running this place but the physical layout with low ceilings makes it difficult to do anything significant to increase screen size. Hopefully the new owner will continue to make improvements – the theater could certainly use some new seats.
Teaneck Cinemas was in terrible shape when they took over and it evolved into a very nice, clean and modern movie theater with stadium seating and high back rocker seats – – so I think Kinnelon is in good hands! (The showtime are a still a little hard to find, but they’ve launched a website and are available on Fandango)
Finally. This theater was in truly awful shape last I visited from poor customer service to an awful smell in the auditorium and projection problems. Scary AMC is going to be the number one theater operator in the world when they can’t even get the basics right.
The theater served a limited beer and wine selection during Tribeca this year (only on the top floors – not in the main lobby). As for the clearance issue – everyone except Warners and Sony are licensing to whomever wants to show their films first run (The new X-Men oddly ended up screening in at the Regal, AMC, City Cinemas, and Cinema Village (!) down in the Union Square area).
Confirmed by the Cinepolis app – they also took over three in Jersey (Parsippany, Succasunna and Masnfield) and the Criterion Blue Back Square in West Hartford, CT. They also have a bunch of locations on the drawing board from TX to VA (and now with clearance being a non-issue they’re free to compete with anyone they choose to – which was a barrier to entry for many exhibitors looking to grow in the US).
Now run by Cinepolis
Acquired along with Chelsea, Cinema 10, Mansfield and Criterion Blue Back Square by Mexico-based international exhibitor Cinepolis, marking their official entry into to North East (they have luxury, premium and traditional locations in CA and FL with a bunch on the drawing board).
The Odyssey Theater was a purpose built large screen format screen with stadium seating sight-lines quite comparable to legacy IMAX and big curved screen. I’m sure that hasn’t changed with the digital upgrade – I can only speak for it when they were showing “enhanced 35MM” in the Crown days but the sound and presentation was quite good although like IMAX the screen didn’t have masking.
(This screen is much larger than the mini-IMAX National Amusements opened at Buckland Hills – despite opening with 15/70MM they sandwiched a slightly larger screen into a 250 seat, two story room — the was of course the beginning of the “lie-max” era!)
Typically recliner seating cuts capacity by ½ to 1/3rd. AMC has a “new generation” of recliner that I’ve sat in, quite comfortable – that doesn’t recline as much that gets them down to about half capacity over regular seating. I’m a little surprised Regal is converting Galleria which I would assume is one of their top performers in WNY (if anything I thought the theaters were too small to begin with) given its location and age (it’s the newest build in the area). I guess they need to compete with AMC and Dipson.
Installed recliners late last year along with new carpeting and bigger screens (last time I attended I was in one of the smaller theaters, I believe it sat around 80).
Exact same layout as Commerce Center 18 (North Brunswick, NJ) and Quaker Crossing 18 (Orchard Park, NJ)! (all three are getting recliner upgrades currently interestingly enough)