AMC Empire 25

234 W. 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Additional Info

Operated by: AMC Theatres

Architects: Thomas White Lamb

Firms: Beyer Blinder Belle, Gould Evans Associates

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Styles: Beaux-Arts, Egyptian, Greek Revival

Previous Names: Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre, Eltinge Burlesque Theatre, Laffmovie Theatre, Empire Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 212.398.3939

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News About This Theater

AMC Empire 25

Originally located at 236 W. 42nd Street. The Empire Theatre was the eighth theatre on W. 42nd Street and was built for producer Al H. Woods who chose architect Thomas W. Lamb to design the theatre. It was opened on September 11, 1912 with the melodrama “Within the Law” as the 880-seat Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre. Seating was provided in orchestra, two balconies and eight boxes. Named for Julian Eltinge, the top female impersonator of the American stage, who was Woods star performer. Julian Eltinge never played in the theatre named after him. The opening attraction at the theatre was a huge success, playing for 541 performances. Other hits include John Barrymore in “The Yellow Ticket”, “The Song of Songs”, “Fair and Warmer”, “Up in Mabel’s Room”, “The Girl in the Limousine” and “Ladies Night”. “Blackbirds of 1928” was another hit. Laurence Olivier in “Murder on the Second Floor” only managed to play for 45 performances in 1929. Alice Brady & Clark Gable in “Love, Honor and Betray” played in 1930 to be followed by its final legit production “First Night” presented in 1931 for 88 performances. It then reopened as the Eltinge Burlesque Theatre, featuring burlesque & ‘talkies’. It was later renamed Empire Theatre.

Converted into a movie theatre in summer of 1942, first as the 759-seat Laffmovie Theatre screening short comedy movies and cartoons. That lasted until 1953 when it was renamed the Empire Theatre again and returned to feature movies. The theatre finally closed, seemingly for good, in the mid-1980’s.

Following the renaissance of W. 42nd Street, AMC decided to make the entire former Empire Theatre the lobby of its new new flagship 25-screen megaplex. Located just west of Times Square, this immaculate multi-level multiplex is a prime example of theatre renovation and reuse.

The lobby of this luxurious, five-level theatre has been built inside the shell of the old Empire Theatre. On March 1, 1998 in order to build the massive multi-screen complex, the Empire Theatre was lifted up and moved down the street (all 3,700 tons of it) to its present location. Once that massive job was completed, a new 25-screen theatre was built around it and contained 4,916 seats. The multiplex was designed by the architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle, and opened April 21, 2000. An IMAX screen opened on September 26, 2008, the first digital IMAX in New York City.

The historic façade has been left largely intact, while a new marquee has been added. Just above the box office is a beautiful mural depicting Julian Eltinge, originally painted by a French artist, Arthur Brounet. The mural was restored by Harriet Irgang, the director of Rustin Levenson Art Conservation. Initially, the former balconies were reopened as the Times Square Café, but this has been closed for several years and the space is currently unused.

The megaplex shows first run mainstream and art films.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 768 comments)

rayman29 on January 29, 2021 at 7:22 am

Empire will stay open no matter what. Given its size and its location, even if AMC ceased operations nationally or just this location, another company would step in. I could see E-Walk closing because it’s so close to Empire. But that’s the main reason. While I think movie theaters will never go away, soon there will be be a lot less than it was just before the pandemic. In a smaller maket Enpire would be the one more likely to close, but in Manhattan, there’s still enough demand for 25 screens, but 38 might soon be too many.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on February 23, 2021 at 2:08 pm

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, movie theaters in the five boroughs of New York City can reopen on March 5th at 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen. Details of the announcement here

xbs2034 on March 6, 2021 at 5:48 am

In addition to Lincoln Square, this theater will also be showing Tenet in IMAX beginning on March 12

ridethectrain on March 6, 2021 at 6:53 pm

The real IMAX theatre for Tenet is AMC Lincoln Square IMAX Theatre, the only location that has 70MM IMAX.

zoetmb on May 29, 2021 at 9:18 pm

Dalian Wanda has cashed out its stock investment in AMC Theaters, so they’re no longer the majority shareholder and no longer in charge. That could be either good or bad news. AMC almost always lost money in recent history, but they ended 2020 with a $2.4 billion net loss and in the first quarter of 2021, they lost almost another $295 million. The last times they were profitable were 2018, 2016 and 2015.

There are real questions about their future, although I think the NYC theaters would survive no matter what. Not that Regal is in much better shape.

moviebuff82 on August 3, 2021 at 5:59 pm

looks like u have 2 show ur vax card starting the 16th

CorusFTW on August 23, 2021 at 4:18 am

This theatre opened on April 21, 2000, with the movies: U-571 (4 screens), Gossip (2 screens), Mission to Mars, Ready to Rumble, Pitch Black, Being John Malkovich, Beyond the Mat, Boiler Room, Drowning Mona, Family Tree, Ghost Dog, Price of Glory, Three Strikes, The Tigger Movie, Trois and 9th Gate in the regular screens. It also had some small screens at the top called “Top of the Empire.” Its opening movies include Cotton Mary, Me Myself & I, All About My Mother, Casablanca, The Ten Commandments, 42nd Street and Topsy Turvy.

moviebuff82 on September 17, 2021 at 2:59 pm

By the end of the year, new currencies related to crypto will be accepted at all locations including this one.

m00se1111 on September 17, 2021 at 3:25 pm

So where is the proof of this? Any links, stories, etc? Why is this complex being singled out, AMC has 978 theatres and 10,833 screens per their wikipedia page - will this be one of the first to accept it?

Joe Pinney
Joe Pinney on November 1, 2021 at 7:09 pm

In 1935, when this theatre was known as the Eltinge Theatre and was used for burlesque, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello first met and performed here on the stage together.

In 1998, as part of the renewal of 42nd Street led by the New 42nd Street coalition and real estate developer Bruce Ratner, the entire theatre was lifted off its foundation and moved westward approximately 170 feet (52 m) to its present location.

In the newer location, the shell of the theatre auditorium was converted into a lobby and lounge for the AMC Empire 25, AMC’s first theatre in New York City. Escalators pass through the former proscenium arch of the stage to the newly built auditoriums above. The theater opened at an estimated cost of $70 million, making it one of the most expensive movie theatres ever built.

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