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Official Facebook page for CGV Van Ness 14:
CJ CGV doesn’t usually install recliners in all of their cinema auditoriums but we’ll see what happens. CGV Buena Park only has them in their Premium Cinema auditoriums and that’s how I expect Van Ness will be.
As terrywade mentioned, they are also known for their flavored popcorn and other concession items.
The FB page has confirmed 4DX and ScreenX premium formats for the theater.
CJ CGV has their own large format auditorium called Starium, which is installed in some of their locations in South Korea and East Asia. The largest Starium auditorium in Seoul uses Christie laser projectors and Dolby Atmos sound:
We’ll see if they bring that over to one of the large auditoriums at Van Ness. It seems like they’ll be focusing more on the general theatre renovation and other premium formats, which already cost quite a bit.
Auditorium 18 has reopened as a large format “Prime at AMC” auditorium with Dolby Atmos and recliners with seat transducers. Not sure what projectors they use for the “2nd generation” Prime auditoriums but from what I’ve seen at other “new” Prime locations, the picture quality looks better than IMAX Digital 2K (xenon projectors).
I’m curious to know whether IMAX is installing their new multiplex laser system (single IMAX laser projector, instead of the dual laser projectors of the GT Laser system) and 12-channel sound system into the IMAX auditorium.
Like many other former Loews locations, AMC has dropped the “Loews” branding from its name and also turned this location into an AMC Dine-In, resulting in the new name “AMC Dine-In Rio Cinemas 18”.
I saw “Ready Player One” in XD over the weekend. The projection and sound quality were much better than IMAX and Dolby Cinema at AMC Columbia. Picture was both brighter and clearer (even more so than Dolby Cinema at Columbia), and the sound was perfect.
I really like how they have the sound system set up. The bass reverberated through the auditorium but only at appropriate times and wasn’t too loud, boomy, or sibilant, unlike the large formats at that other theater I mentioned earlier. I hope they keep the audio levels this way. Audio panning between surround channels was also apparent during both the trailers and feature film. It’s definitely my favorite large format auditorium in this area now.
The seats and floor were reconstructed in the XD auditorium. Everything else is the same — surround speakers, auditorium decor and screen are all the same as before the recliner retrofit.
Interestingly, the sightlines didn’t look different to me with the new recliners. But I’m not the type of person who reclines their seat all the way back. I don’t like looking up at the screen at an awkward angle. I’d rather look straight at it, like with standard non-reclining seats.
Although Cinemark’s standard “Popcorn and Coca-Cola” feature presentation trailer was shown, there were no XD or THX trailers shown. I had no problem with this, as I feel that the Cinemark XD “Unicorns” trailer is too cheesy and a bit annoying for my tastes. However, I will admit that seeing a THX trailer and hearing the Deep Note would have paired well with all the old pop culture references in “Ready Player One”.
The screen is still as huge and immersive as before. If I can find time to come back and see the film again in XD, I’ll probably sit a few rows back so I can see the entire screen. I sat near the center of the auditorium and the screen still extended past my field of vision at that location.
Before the preshow, I heard some vibrating from what sounded like the speaker mounts on the left wall due to sound leakage from 11. So they need to turn down the speakers and/or bass in 11. It definitely was not from 12 because the speakers weren’t even on yet. Later in the film, during one of the quiet scenes, I noticed the sound leakage again.
I did some browsing on THX’s cinema locator on their website and found that all of the local (DC area) XD screens are listed as THX certified.
I have not been in the XD auditorium since the recliner conversion. So I don’t know if they play a THX trailer after film trailers/before feature films.
In other news, the new D-BOX seats have a recliner like appearance but are red to distinguish them from the regular recliners, which are dark brown. I personally haven’t used the new seats but I most likely won’t in the future because I found the old D-BOX seats to be distracting and overpriced the first time I tried them.
Are the Dolby Cinema projectors working properly here? Both Spider-Man Homecoming and Black Panther did not look like they were true HDR. The colors didn’t look as bright and vivid as Power Rangers and Wonder Woman. The contrast looked better than standard projection, notably in dark scenes but the colors aren’t as saturated as they were when the Dolby Cinema first opened. Projection was slightly soft as well, with the edges of objects looking a bit blurry. The Dolby Cinema demo trailer directly before the films didn’t have true black either, unlike when it first opened.
Apparently, they also started using the old house lights during the preshow and trailers. Originally, only a few dimmed red ceiling lights were used. I guess people complained that it was too dark. But now there is glare on the screen during the trailers and the Dolby Vision projectors aren’t bright enough to offset the glare.
When I saw Black Panther, I didn’t feel the seat transducers — it was like Wonder Woman again, which I didn’t mind. But they also turned the volume down to the point where it just sounded like a standard auditorium with better sound quality. Looks like the Dolby Cinema went downhill like the IMAX. If you go to an earlier show with cheaper pricing, it may be worth it for some but not for me.
When the cinema still had film projectors, auditoriums had Dolby Digital installed (probably after opening), as they had the respective signs outside each auditorium entrance, even after the THX signs were removed. All of these signs were removed during the recent remodel (if they had not been already removed beforehand).
The Dolby Cinema screen in auditorium 4 is scope ratio. The screen looks noticeably wider but around the same height as the Dolby Cinema screen at AMC Columbia, which is a flat ratio screen.
The Dolby Cinema reissue of Titanic (color graded in Dolby Vision HDR) was presented in Dolby 3D at this location.
I believe auditorium 6 has a 70 mm projector (along with the digital cinema projector), which was used to screen “The Hateful Eight” and “Dunkirk” in 70 mm film.
The largest auditoriums (11-14) have been converted to recliner seating with steeper stadium risers and new carpeting and aisle lighting. This includes the XD auditorium (12). I believe two small adjacent auditoriums (10 & 15) were also converted.
I haven’t been in the XD auditorium (12) yet, but 11 had new speakers installed as well. The surrounds appear to be JBL 9300 speakers, though I’m sure the screen speakers were also replaced (most likely JBL Screen Array speakers). The screen also looks new and projection looks better than the non-converted auditoriums. The Egyptian murals on the upper side walls were retained. I believe they added red carpeting to the bottom quarters of the walls.
Along with recliners, auditorium 13 appears to still have D-BOX motion seats, just with a slightly lower quantity now (according to the online seating map).
I didn’t ask if the XD auditorium has been THX certified, as Cinemark appears to be in the process of certifying their XD auditoriums. Their website indicates that it still has Auro 11.1 sound.
I watched the last Spider-Man Homecoming show in Dolby Cinema and I don’t know what’s going on here. The Dolby Cinema presentations here are inconsistent like the IMAX auditorium.
It was completely fine when it first opened, then it was too quiet and the power of the seat transducers were turned down. For Spider-Man, the seat transducers and sound were turned up too much and didn’t activate until after the trailers, which was very awkward when the sound was twice as loud and the seat transducers felt like D-BOX and 4D (4DX and MX4D) motion seats. And the projection was dim at first, like one of the projectors was not turned on. Don’t get me started on the small screen size [for a large format auditorium].
I feel like they only installed Dolby Cinema in this specific mid-sized auditorium (#3) because the entrance doesn’t cast a glare on the side of the screen when the door is opened like in the IMAX. I don’t remember if that’s the case in the largest auditoriums but Dolby Cinema would have been better in those rooms due to their much larger size. I guess they didn’t want to lose that many seats with the recliner installation. To be fair, theater 3 feels much smaller than it did with the original seats. Looks like they lost over half of the original seating capacity with the recliners.
Saw Wonder Woman in Dolby Cinema and the power of the seat transducers felt like they were turned down. Not nearly as powerful as they originally were, which was disappointing. In many scenes where you’d expect to feel the transducers, they weren’t even on. I only remember 3 or 4 scenes where they were actually activated. I normally expect to feel them during the Dolby Cinema at AMC trailers but there was nothing at all. The sound also seemed to be turned down a bit. Dolby Vision looked great as usual.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in auditorium 2 also had sound issues. The front screen speakers were too quiet, while the surrounds were louder than the front speakers. So some dialogue was not completely understandable in a film where this is an important aspect.
Dolby Vision and Atmos in Dolby Cinema look and sound great here. Patrons at other Dolby Cinema at AMC locations complain that the seat transducers are distracting, while I found them to be more subtle at this theater. It’s definitely not like D-BOX, which I found to be like a theme park ride, even with the motion setting on low.
The red aisle lights do not cast a glare on the screen. Most likely because there are no aisle lights on the front of the steps facing the screen like other Dolby Cinema at AMC locations.
The Dolby Cinema screen is similar to the IMAX screen but less “in your face”. It does span practically the entire wall and is flat aspect ratio but is not tilted like the IMAX screen to make it appear larger. The Dolby Cinema screen is slightly wider and taller than the original screen and but does not have masking. It is smaller than the IMAX screen but larger than standard screens.
Auditorium 3 was originally one of the mid-sized auditoriums but feels much smaller now due to the recliners and new stadium risers. The first row behind the main aisle has a physical stairway with railings due to the higher platform of the new stadium risers. I also noticed a large difference in auditorium acoustics compared to before — sounds like the auditorium was isolated acoustically like a THX certified auditorium.
Dolby Cinema opened today in auditorium 3 and is showing Power Rangers, which was mastered in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos formats.
AMC seems to be doing this to make their IMAX auditoriums more distinct from their standard auditoriums. Pretty much all of their retrofitted IMAX auditoriums are exactly the same as the other auditoriums in those theatres, excluding the screen, projectors, and sound systems.
AMC added illuminated IMAX signs above those auditorium entrances and outside the building but nothing else to distinguish them from their standard auditoriums. At some of the newer IMAX locations, they have redesigned the exterior of IMAX auditoriums with a more distinct entryway, similar to the Dolby Cinema auditorium entrances but without the illuminated projection wall in the entryway (which is exclusive to Dolby Cinema). Adding plush seating that is different from the other auditoriums also makes those IMAX auditoriums more distinct. This seems to be what they’re planning for those IMAX locations designated in the article.
What I’m curious about is the IMAX laser projectors. Would their current laser projectors fit in those smaller projection booths? I doubt IMAX finished their compact laser system several years ahead of schedule. Unless they’re modifying the booth to accommodate their current laser projection system.
According to the following article, this location and others with IMAX will be renovated with new seating, IMAX 12-channel sound systems and updated auditorium entrance branding.
“For the past year, AMC has been renovating and upgrading IMAX at AMC locations around the country, installing IMAX’s laser projection and 12-channel immersive sound as well as plush rocker seating at popular locations including AMC Lincoln Square 13 in New York and AMC Metreon 16 in San Francisco. Renovations are also expected to take place in the coming months at AMC Empire 25 in New York, AMC Burbank 16 in Los Angeles, AMC Northpark 15 in Dallas and Navy Pier IMAX at AMC in Chicago – including sound and seating enchantments as well as re-designed entryways and auditorium branding.”
According to the cinema’s respective websites (amctheatres.com + MovieTickets.com + Fandango), Dolby Cinema is opening in the other largest auditorium (#4) this weekend. I wonder if they went with a wide scope ratio screen or a flat ratio screen for Dolby Cinema. Seating was cut from over 400 rocker seats to around 160 reserved power recliner seats with transducers for Dolby Cinema.
The retrofitted IMAX screen directly across the hall in #5 is ceiling to floor but not wall to wall due to emergency exits (as mentioned in the last post). The width of the IMAX screen does cover the width of the seating area, so most won’t notice anyway.
According to the AMC website, the theatre is currently being renovated and remodeled, which also includes the installation of recliner seating
Several auditoriums were closed for a few weeks and reopened this weekend with new power recliners. The rest of the auditoriums are now closed and are under construction for their recliner installations.
I saw The Jungle Book 2016 live-action adaptation here this past weekend in theatre 8, which is one of the largest auditoriums. I enjoyed the film and the cinema experience with the new recliners. Regal redesigned the auditorium with wider rows to accommodate the larger reclining seats — there is space to walk by seats even when fully reclined. Unlike Regal’s Laurel theatre, the seats do not have swivel tables attached to the armrests. Regal also added laminate wood flooring to the seating area and new aisle lighting. There are recliners in front of the screen as well but they don’t appear to have as much room between them. I’m sure those were installed to add more seating capacity. I doubt people would choose to sit in those seats unless a show was full. This weekend, the seats are first come first serve / open seating. According to Fandango, reserved seating for all shows will begin on Monday.
The sound was also better than before with more bass and better sound quality. The screen is large as before but there is no longer side masking. For films in flat ratio like “The Jungle Book” (2016), there are vertical black bars on the sides of the screen. Black levels were good and I didn’t notice the side pillarboxing during the film.
Management at this theatre is under par. They really do not mind giving out passes at this theatre. Consistent presentation issues and cancelled shows. Also, while projection quality is generally fine, sound quality outside of the IMAX auditorium is poor and usually not loud enough. Acoustics are poor, which is interesting when you consider that some auditoriums were formerly THX certified. Seats are still the original ones and are not comfortable in the stadium sections because they do not rock. Highly recommend going to AMC Columbia or White Marsh instead.
According to AMC’s website, Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime is now open and showing Batman V Superman. Also opened this week at AMC NorthPark 15 in Dallas.
Auditorium 14 was apparently considered for conversion to Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime during the late summer. The auditorium was closed and had a Dolby Cinema at AMC coming soon poster in a poster case outside of the auditorium.
After around 2 months, auditorium 14 reopened and a regular film poster had returned to the poster case. They made me excited and it never went through.
Unusual auditorium choice for the conversion since 14 is not one of the largest in the theatre. 2 and 7 are the largest auditoriums. Hopefully one of those will eventually be converted.
Landmark replaced the Sony 4K projectors with Barco 4K projectors in all auditoriums after switching to Barco as their projection partner.
During The Hateful Eight’s 70 mm Roadshow run, this theatre installed a 70 mm projector in auditorium 7, which is one of the mid-size auditoriums. The film was presented in its original aspect ratio letterboxed with the side screen masking opened up in scope ratio.
Giles, those meeting room scenes were still quite dark in Ultra 3D. I thought the overall Ultra 3D presentation was slightly brighter than the standard 3D version. I didn’t really notice the difference in brightness unless I was looking specifically at a certain area within a scene. The 3D depth was more subtle here than on AMC Columbia’s Christie projector – that location had a very strong 3D depth compared to this theatre. Both locations use RealD 3D.
The 6 fL 3D version of “The Martian” should be brighter on Dolby 3D white screens. Not sure if ArcLight is showing that version, though.
Auditorium 21 is presenting The Martian in “Cinemark Ultra 3D”, which I’m assuming is the brighter 6 fL 3D version of the film. This is one of the smaller auditoriums with only 101 seats. My first 3D viewing of The Martian was at AMC Columbia 14’s auditorium 2, which is one of their largest rooms with a Christie DLP projector. During the trailers (all were standard 2D) at this theatre (Cinemark Egyptian), the picture did seem brighter than AMC Columbia’s 2D trailers. However, during the film itself with the 3D glasses on, it didn’t really look noticeably brighter than my first screening.
Cinemark did not show a 3D glasses prompt at all before the film, which I thought was unusual. In contrast, at AMC after the First Look pre-show, AMC showed First Look 3D, all 2D trailers, the AMC RealD 3D glasses trailer and AMC Coca-cola Freestyle feature presentation trailer in 3D before the film. None of Cinemark’s policy trailers directly before the film were in 3D.
At this theatre, the 3D depth did not seem as apparent, though it was still noticeable. I also noticed during the scene with subtitles that the second line of subtitles was cropped/cut off at the bottom. This didn’t bother me since I had previously seen the film but first time viewers may feel differently. The MPAA website URL at the bottom of the green band before some trailers was cropped as well, though that probably won’t bother anyone. Also, the picture was a bit soft due to the vibration of the cooling fan in the projector. Sound did have a bit more depth and bass than AMC Columbia.
Theatre 5 is the retrofitted IMAX theatre. Although the auditorium is large, the IMAX screen is not wall to wall due to emergency exits behind the screen – there are exit pathways on the left and right sides of the screen. Pixel grid is very evident due to the 2K resolution of the IMAX digital projectors and the longer throw distance of the projectors. IMAX sound is uncomfortably loud.
Giles, there were surrounds but it sounded more like 5.1 than 7.1 – I believe Auro only supports downmixing to 5.1 because Auro is encoded within the 5.1 audio track.
There seemed to be less sound movement among the surround speakers than the previous 7.1 sound system. Bass output wasn’t lacking but didn’t have the power I usually expect from the XD format.
The last film I saw in XD was Pacific Rim in 7.1 and you could hear and feel the auditorium rumble whenever the Jaegers and Kaiju fell or stepped on the ground. The experience was more immersive with more sound movement among the surround channels as well. I didn’t have that type of experience during the Furious 7 screening.