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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas in the News   » Dallas: New AMC NorthPark 15 opens

Author Topic: Dallas: New AMC NorthPark 15 opens
John Robert

Posts: 135
From: Addison, TX
Registered: Jan 2005

 - posted May 05, 2006 02:25 AM      Profile for John Robert   Email John Robert         Edit/Delete Post 
The link includes a pic of the lobby/concession area. (Dallas Morning News) article

Sink in
Audiences will be comfy, if not dazzled, at the new AMC NorthPark

03:34 PM CDT on Thursday, May 4, 2006

By PHILIP WUNTCH / The Dallas Morning News

The long-anticipated NorthPark multiplex has become a reality.

After a week of USA Film Festival screenings, the AMC NorthPark 15 opens for public consumption Friday. Following the October 1998 closing of General Cinema's flagship NorthPark 1 & 2, moviegoers have longed for a centrally located theater complex to fill the void.

The new AMC theater is generally pleasing. It is crisp. It is attractive. It is tastefully conservative.

What's missing is the all-important Wow Factor. The Dallas-Fort Worth area's two most enticing megaplexes remain the Cinemark Legacy 24 in Plano and the Rave Northeast Mall 18 in Hurst. With those theaters, the Wow Factor starts in the parking lot with sparkling exteriors, and their lobbies grab you with a sense of showmanship.

AMC NorthPark 15, however, is located inside the mall's new wing. Valet parking is available for $7. The walk from free parking lots, particularly the enclosed ones near Foley's and Nordstrom, is not oppressive, except probably on heavy shopping days. Once inside the mall, escalators are accessible to the box office and then to the lobby. Elevators are also available if you know where to look.

The theater's large lobby is a polished version of the lobbies in AMC Valley View and the chain's popular Firewheel 'plex. The NorthPark lobby overlooks a spacious sculpture garden, with a view that extends to the Dallas skyline. The auditoriums are on two higher levels, with the largest theaters on the top tier.

Upscale touches include a courtesy suite and catering kitchen for special events. And, important news to 'plex frequenters, the AMC NorthPark has family rooms and three sets of large restrooms with automatic soap dispensers.

Once you're finally inside the auditoriums, the show begins, and it's a good one. The screens are wall-to-wall and the sound system is outstanding.

The auditorium's decorative scheme is attractive, with black wallboards accenting the sconces. The 'plex's seating capacity is 3,373, with individual sizes ranging from 100 to 473 seats. The auditoriums include seats for disabled viewers as well as special captioning and descriptive viewing devices for some performances.

The stadium seats, which recline to a sensible degree, are generously wide and cozy. Loveseats and comfortable spacing between the rows make even the smallest auditoriums appear larger than their actual sizes.

Extended impact

The opening of any new theater will have an impact on existing venues. After tonight, the AMC Glen Lakes 8, which opened in 1988 just one Central Expressway exit north of NorthPark, will close. The new complex could also vie with the AMC Valley View for the North Dallas moviegoing dollar. It will also have an impact on two existing Loews theaters – the Keystone near Richardson and the CityPlace near downtown. AMC recently merged with Loews, and Keystone and CityPlace, as well as Valley View, are all under the AMC umbrella.

AMC spokeswoman Melanie Bell said the company feels there is room in the area for a new addition.

"We definitely evaluated the marketplace," she said. "We believe it can support the theaters."

The existing theater least likely to be hurt by NorthPark is the intimate four-screen Regent in Highland Park Village. Stephen Jarchow, chairman and CEO of Regent Entertainment, isn't worried.

"It probably will not affect us dramatically," he says. "People in the Park Cities think of us as their theater of preference. The theater has unique attraction. Women definitely feel comfortable and safe going there. Even weaker romantic comedies do very well for us, and a film like Wedding Crashers does fantastic. Convenience is never a problem, particularly when people are aware of the parking lot on Mockingbird Lane."

Still, the AMC NorthPark's impact could be far-reaching, even extending to Dallas' triumvirate of art houses: the Angelika, Magnolia and Inwood. AMC announced this week a specialty film program called the AMC Select, which will offer specialty and independent films at 72 theaters in 39 markets across the country, including NorthPark 15.

Full circle

For longtime Dallas movie insiders, the coupling of AMC and NorthPark is rich with irony. The now-defunct AMC Glen Lakes 8 wasn't always the AMC Glen Lakes 8. It opened 18 years ago as the AMC NorthPark 8. The then-powerful General Cinema chain operated the high-grossing NorthPark 1 & 2 as well as NorthPark 3 & 4 on the east side of Central Expressway. Eventually, long-armed AMC would buy General Cinema, which was among the last major chains to jump on the stadium seat bandwagon. But back in 1988 General Cinema was not amused.

What went on behind closed doors is not known. But after approximately two months, the AMC NorthPark 8 became the AMC Glen Lakes 8. The AMC house ad said, "So you won't be confused when searching for the best."

And now, after almost two decades, AMC and NorthPark are together again.

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted May 05, 2006 09:45 PM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
That's a good article. Makes me sad for GCC... formerly powerful enough to make AMC change their theatre name. Only to be taken over by them later. [Frown]

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Jeff Arellano
Senior Member

Posts: 685
From: Monterey Park, CA
Registered: Jun 2003

 - posted May 06, 2006 11:26 AM      Profile for Jeff Arellano   Email Jeff Arellano         Edit/Delete Post 
Really good read.

I guess what goes around, comes around. Too bad tehy couldnt keep the original 1&2.

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Dan Roben

Posts: 155
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: May 2003

 - posted May 06, 2006 11:11 PM      Profile for Dan Roben           Edit/Delete Post 
I've read all about the original Northpark 1&2. If it was still open, I would have booked a flight to DFW to witness what must have been an extraordinary filmgoing experience.

Alas, after seeing the photos, I can only dream...

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Christopher Crouch

Posts: 292
From: Anaheim, CA
Registered: Feb 2006

 - posted May 07, 2006 03:52 AM      Profile for Christopher Crouch   Email Christopher Crouch         Edit/Delete Post 
I guess what goes around, comes around.
It is odd how things change. I can still remember looking at a ranking chart, of major theatre chains, during my AMC orientation at the Century 14. At that time, AMC was something like number four and General Cinemas was number one. I remember the corporate trainer, Mary Fergus, stating that AMC would overtake GCC someday. Who would have thought they'd actually end up taking over General Cinemas?

Great article. I especially enjoyed the "What's missing is the all-important Wow Factor" comment. This seems to be an all too common component of the mega company era. Plenty of new theatres, but few of any note.

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Brad Miller

Posts: 122
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted May 07, 2006 05:40 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller         Edit/Delete Post 
Automatic soap dispensers!!! Wow, now THAT's how to make a movie theater awesome! [Roll Eyes]

Looks like ol' Phillip had a couple of typos here...

The screens are wall-to-wall and the sound system is outstanding.
He should've said "the dark images are wall-to-wall and the sound system is outstanding if you don't mind a lack of subwoofer and surround sound." I say this because I keep hearing nothing but bad reports about the sound there from knowledgeable people, and I cut the aperture plates in auditoriums #1-14 and the pictures are indeed not very bright nor sharp in my opinion. Very sad that this is "the new Northpark".

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Mark Richey

Posts: 90
From: Fort Worth, TX
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted May 07, 2006 02:04 PM      Profile for Mark Richey   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Richey         Edit/Delete Post 
Eh...I'm more sad about the closing of the Glen Lakes (which I figured was an inevitability) than excited about the opening of the new NorthPark. The Glen Lakes is located next to the office building that my dad used to work in until he left to start his own business, and on several occasions, I'd go see a movie there if, for some reason on another, I got stuck going with Dad to his office.

I'll probably check NorthPark out some weekend when I'm back home visiting the 'rents, but if it's a carbon copy of the Valley View, then I'll probably stick to the Legacy and to Keystone when I'm in town.

Incidentally, could it be that AMC changed the name to Glen Lakes back in 1988 not to prevent confusion with GCC's complex, but because their theater was located a mile or so north, and across Central Expressway, from the mall? I can imagine confused moviegoers who failed to notice the "Central & Walnut Hill" in tiny type in AMC's ads driving haplessly around the mall, looking in vain for the 8-plex, before finally giving up and just going to I&II.

One final note, regarding AMC's plan to show art product at the NorthPark--before the early '00's art house boom in Dallas, the Glen Lakes would often pick up art titles that couldn't get into the logjam that was the Inwood and Cine at the time. AMC never made a big deal about that, like they're doing now.

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Mike Rivest

Posts: 96
From: Montreal,QC
Registered: Aug 2003

 - posted May 10, 2006 04:12 PM      Profile for Mike Rivest   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Rivest         Edit/Delete Post 
From a digital resource at Bibliotheque National du Quebec

I have other grand opening ads for DFW including the new Southlake (Harkins), and the first multiplex cinema in Texas at

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Eric Hooper

Posts: 107
From: Santa Clara, CA
Registered: Apr 2003

 - posted May 10, 2006 04:23 PM      Profile for Eric Hooper   Email Eric Hooper         Edit/Delete Post 
Wasn't "Experience The Magic" United Artist's tag line?

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