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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas and Theatres   » Theatre Chain Designs (Page 1)

 
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: Theatre Chain Designs
Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

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


 - posted June 13, 2008 12:21 AM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
Over at Cinematreasures somebody posted asking if there was any significance to Cinemarks three "brands" of "Movies", "Tinseltown USA" and "Cinemark". It caused me to go on a bit of a rant trying to list the different generic designs a number of chains used during different eras.

I began to wonder 1) what the first theatre to open with each design was (as it was likely the "Flagship" of the time). 2) How many of those theatres (or era of theatres) are still operated by that chain and 3) How many of those theatres are still relatively intact but run by another chain?

Using AMC as an example:

AMC Stockdale 6 was what I understand to be the early to mid 70's design.

AMC Tyrone Square 6 or AMC Ogden 6 (now Classic Cinemas) were popular early 80's designs.

AMC Fashion Village 8 and AMC Glen Lakes 8 seem to have been the late 80's early 90's choice.

Then with the stadium seating and megaplex explosion suddenly AMC The Grand 24 and AMC Ontario Mills 30 became the two designs of choice.

After what I consider to be a horribly uninspired design like the AMC Deer Valley 30 they tried the art deco design they're currently on. In fact they may have even tweaked from this design a bit already. AMC Flatiron 14 or AMC The Parks at Arlington.

Does anybody else have more insight into the nuances of various chain's building phases? Can anybody think of a specific theatre that stood out from the trend at the time that was either spectacular or wound up being that chain's Edsel?

I'd be interested in seeing the mistake theatre or two that each chain built while they were transitioning designs... the first one built when they changed architects that after opening day they realized "Oh crap, we forgot to build a stock room!" or "Oh right!!! The projection ports need to be CENTERED." and "That's why the old theatres never had white carpet or countertops!"

I think one of my favorite aspects of visiting so many theatres is just the ability to recognize who built it. "Yeah, the sign might say Carmike, but the colors, tiles and "EXIT" stencils on the door scream Cinemark!" or "Sure there's a big Regal crown on top of the building, but I'm sure there used to be a Hoyt's globe spinning there before." As cookie cutter and uniform many of these theatres tend to be, there is a proud distinction to each chain. No matter how many new Edwards or UA's that Regal builds, they will never feel like an original, it will always be a Regal in Edwards signage.

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Mark Campbell
Member

Posts: 437
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted June 13, 2008 10:55 AM      Profile for Mark Campbell   Email Mark Campbell         Edit/Delete Post 
Our AMC's of the '80's in the Seattle/Tacoma area were the "Brown is Better" variety. Both built in 1983:

Narrows Plaza 8, Tacoma

SeaTac 12 North (aka Center Plaza 6), Federal Way

Both had interiors similar to the Fashion Village 8, listed above. SeaTac 12 SOUTH (aka SeaTac 6) was in a mall, a long hallway with 6 identical tunnel-ish theatres. They were built sometime in the '70's.

Scott: Loved you expose! How about doing one on the "History of GCC Design"!

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Matt Lutthans
Member

Posts: 51
From: Marysville, WA
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted June 13, 2008 11:16 AM      Profile for Matt Lutthans   Email Matt Lutthans         Edit/Delete Post 
Mark, I've never set foot in the Tacoma Narrows theatres, but I assume they are similar to this one http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/4278.html

that I have been to. Can you confirm?

Scott, thanks for the overview. Well done!

Matt Lutthans

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Mark Campbell
Member

Posts: 437
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted June 13, 2008 11:43 AM      Profile for Mark Campbell   Email Mark Campbell         Edit/Delete Post 
Interior very much so. Odd design notes: I believe the Narrows Plaza 8 has ceiling fans. Also, the last time I visited (in the late 80's) the small auditoriums had the surrounds up in the suspended ceiling tiles, essentially the speaker would replace a tile, facing downward.

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Jeff Arellano
Senior Member

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


 - posted June 14, 2008 09:07 AM      Profile for Jeff Arellano   Email Jeff Arellano         Edit/Delete Post 
AMC Pre-1990 were also all one level with individual booths for auditoriums

(Burbank 10, Plaza 10, etc..)

After 1990, they became 2 levels with the upper level projection.

(Century 14, Montebello 10, Pine Square 16, etc...)

Montebello and Pine square still have ceiling fans. They were to keep the cool air down and were annoying if the speed was too high as you can hear that. I guess it was to efficiently cool the theatre.

Also, AMC had essentially the same layout for auditoriums.
10 plexes were 5 and 5, 6 plexes 3 and 3.
Only Exceptions were like Century.

AMC interior designs were also the same as well.

AMC also had numerous inventions in the early 90. Like the Self-Service Concession Stands (Ultimately failures due to high theft and bad running. Montebello was the last theatre to use them up till they were remodeled around 2000 and taken out for a larger concession stand.

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Dave Felthous
Member

Posts: 186
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted June 14, 2008 10:24 AM      Profile for Dave Felthous   Email Dave Felthous         Edit/Delete Post 
The old SeaTac 6 in Federal Way, the one in the mall, also had ceiling speakers. It was disorienting. Except when there was a scene of an airplane flying overhead!

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


 - posted June 14, 2008 01:13 PM      Profile for Christopher Crouch   Email Christopher Crouch         Edit/Delete Post 
Krikorian's basic style eras are still in existance.
La Mirada, while no longer operated by Krikorian, still exemplifies the original chain's design/style.
Downey and Redlands display the chain's relaunch era.
Buena Park was the first in their "metroplex" line, which remains their design of choice.

Up until a few years ago, you could see three distinct design eras at the AMC Fullerton 20, due to the venue's history of annual additions (the 80's and early 90's styles have been somewhat homogenized through semi recent remodels).

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Tom Mundell
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From: Silver Spring, MD
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted June 15, 2008 05:55 AM      Profile for Tom Mundell   Author's Homepage   Email Tom Mundell         Edit/Delete Post 
Good topic Scott!

Unfortunately I can't think of many theaters offhand that I'm sure were first. The Loews New Brunswick 18 comes to mind; I believe Loews first theater with stadium seating. It wasn't a completely new design and was rather similar to their red/white/gray design previously used on a number of theaters (Monmouth Mall 15 for example, and quite a few other theaters as well). However it was a little more elaborate, featuring fancier tiles on the wall/floor, a more elaborate concession stand and expanded concession menu. This Loews design is rather distinct, so seeing something like this just seems downright silly.

I'm also wondering what the first Loews was to use this design as at the Jersey Gardens 20; I've seen this design at a number of locations, and they always have great lobbies but god aweful auditoriums.

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Matthew Williams
New Member

Posts: 11
From: Philadelphia, PA
Registered: Jun 2004


 - posted June 15, 2008 10:47 PM      Profile for Matthew Williams   Email Matthew Williams         Edit/Delete Post 
That chain history is very fascinating - and something I wondered myself after going to most of the AMCs in the Philadelphia area.

No pictures, but some background...

AMC Marlton 8 uses the same basic design as Narrows Plaza 8, but with lots of wood on the exterior like Ogden 6. It actually looks more like a barn than anything else.

Deptford 8 shares the same basic design as Marlton 8, complete with the exterior wood. That one is down the street from an ex-GCC six plex and both are managed together.

Marple 10 was built in 1990 and was one of the first theatres with the torus screen. This one was definitely late 80s/early 90s design, with the aqua blue on the exterior and neon signs on the interior. This one's part of three Delaware and Chester county theatres AMC built in the late 1980s - the other two are Granite Run 8 (1986?) and Painter's Crossing 9 (1989).

Woodhaven 10 is unlike any other theatre I've seen from them - a multiplex with megaplex flavor. It's the same screen count and size as Marple 10, down to the same layout. But the theatre was built in 1995 - after AMC built The Grand - so the complex had their usual megaplex amenities. The auditoriums are not stadium, but well-sloped and featuring the love seats. That one's down the street from Franklin Mills 14, an ex-GCC stadium build from 1997. That theatre just went to $5 weekday pricing, which is not featured here.

Neshaminy 24 is their flagship. It's the busiest theatre in the Philadelphia area, and one of their top grossers nationwide. The design is very unique, as the theatre is deeper than it is wide. The four biggest auditoriums (1, 2, 23, and 24, with 1 and 24 seating 600) are at the front, two hallways with the smallest theatres are just behind that, and the mid-size theatres are at the very back. The theatre numbering isn't standard - theatres 1-12 are on the left half of the complex, 13-24 are on the right. 1, 2, 23, and 24 are the big four auditoriums (1 and 24 seat 600), and none of them seem overly shoeboxy. There are three concession stands - two "Metropolis" stands at the big four, and one "Uptown" stand at the theatres near the back. None of the design has been copied at any of the AMC builds I've seen online; it's totally unique to this theatre.

Hamilton 24 in the Trenton area, not all that far from Neshaminy, is a much more conventional AMC build and is a carbon copy of Mesa Grand 24.

AMC still runs three ex-GCCs (Franklin Mills, Deptford 6, and Plymouth Meeting 12), and despite the sign changes they still LOOK like GCCs. Cherry Hill 24 still proudly wears Loews signage even though the digital board near the highway has put "AMC THEATRES" into the rotation of movie titles.

Finally, 309 Cinema 9 is their sole remaining ex-Budco. It got a remodel in the 1990s to AMC's then-current Aqua Blue, but the general design is way more spartan than an AMC build. You can tell that it was divided from a much larger design. AMC did keep the theatre's distinctive neon "309" hexagon signs on the exterior and the road pylon.

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Mark Richey
Member

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


 - posted June 17, 2008 02:23 PM      Profile for Mark Richey   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Richey         Edit/Delete Post 
No matter how much remodeling is done, often it's impossible to hide what chain originally built the complex. For example, take the theater my boyfriend works at. Even though it was extensively remodeled before it opened last year, anyone who knows theater design would know immediately, upon stepping in the long hallway leading to the auditoriums, that it was a UA build from the 70s/80s.

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Michael R. Rambo Jr.
New Member

Posts: 36
From: Bensalem, PA
Registered: Jun 2005


 - posted June 17, 2008 04:18 PM      Profile for Michael R. Rambo Jr.   Email Michael R. Rambo Jr.         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
AMC Marlton 8 uses the same basic design as Narrows Plaza 8, but with lots of wood on the exterior like Ogden 6. It actually looks more like a barn than anything else.

Deptford 8 shares the same basic design as Marlton 8, complete with the exterior wood. That one is down the street from an ex-GCC six plex and both are managed together.

Marple 10 was built in 1990 and was one of the first theatres with the torus screen. This one was definitely late 80s/early 90s design, with the aqua blue on the exterior and neon signs on the interior. This one's part of three Delaware and Chester county theatres AMC built in the late 1980s - the other two are Granite Run 8 (1986?) and Painter's Crossing 9 (1989).

Woodhaven 10 is unlike any other theatre I've seen from them - a multiplex with megaplex flavor. It's the same screen count and size as Marple 10, down to the same layout. But the theatre was built in 1995 - after AMC built The Grand - so the complex had their usual megaplex amenities. The auditoriums are not stadium, but well-sloped and featuring the love seats. That one's down the street from Franklin Mills 14, an ex-GCC stadium build from 1997. That theatre just went to $5 weekday pricing, which is not featured here.

Neshaminy 24 is their flagship. It's the busiest theatre in the Philadelphia area, and one of their top grossers nationwide. The design is very unique, as the theatre is deeper than it is wide. The four biggest auditoriums (1, 2, 23, and 24, with 1 and 24 seating 600) are at the front, two hallways with the smallest theatres are just behind that, and the mid-size theatres are at the very back. The theatre numbering isn't standard - theatres 1-12 are on the left half of the complex, 13-24 are on the right. 1, 2, 23, and 24 are the big four auditoriums (1 and 24 seat 600), and none of them seem overly shoeboxy. There are three concession stands - two "Metropolis" stands at the big four, and one "Uptown" stand at the theatres near the back. None of the design has been copied at any of the AMC builds I've seen online; it's totally unique to this theatre.

Hamilton 24 in the Trenton area, not all that far from Neshaminy, is a much more conventional AMC build and is a carbon copy of Mesa Grand 24.

AMC still runs three ex-GCCs (Franklin Mills, Deptford 6, and Plymouth Meeting 12), and despite the sign changes they still LOOK like GCCs. Cherry Hill 24 still proudly wears Loews signage even though the digital board near the highway has put "AMC THEATRES" into the rotation of movie titles.

Finally, 309 Cinema 9 is their sole remaining ex-Budco. It got a remodel in the 1990s to AMC's then-current Aqua Blue, but the general design is way more spartan than an AMC build. You can tell that it was divided from a much larger design. AMC did keep the theatre's distinctive neon "309" hexagon signs on the exterior and the road pylon.

The AMC Neshaminy 24 Theatre is only 1 of 2 AMC Theatres with it's unique design, the other one is in Spain. And for the record, Audutoriums #1 & 24 seats 617, and Audutoriums #2 & 23 seats 433, but the seating for one of the big 4 will change with the addition of Digital IMAX in August 2008.

The Budco/AMC 309 Cinema 9 has had so many add-on's to it's building over the years. A screen was built to the left of the original Budco 309 Cinema Theatre in 1980. Another screen was added to the the left side of the 1980 addition in 1983. By 1989, 1 screen was added to the right of the original 309 Cinema Theatre and 4 screens were added to the front of the Budco 309 Cinema 4 Theatre complex.

The AMC Woodhaven 10 Theatre opened in 1995, and was built to the right of the original AMC Woodhaven Mall 4 Theatre, which opened in 1973 as "Woodhaven Mall 4 Cinema".

In 1989, AMC Theatres in the Philadelphia area were:
  • AMC (Budco/William Goldman) Andorra 6
  • AMC (Budco) Anthony Wayne Twin
  • AMC (Budco) Barn 5
  • AMC (Budco) Branmar Twin
  • AMC (Budco/William Goldman) Bryn Mawr Twin
  • AMC (Budco/William Goldman) City Line Twin
  • AMC (Budco) Concord Mall Twin
  • AMC Deptford 8
  • AMC (Budco) Exton Twin
  • AMC (Budco) Gateway 3
  • AMC Granite Run 8
  • AMC (Posel's) Leo Mall Twin
  • AMC Marlton 8
  • AMC (Budco/William Goldman) Midtown Twin
  • AMC (Budco) Millside 4
  • AMC (Budco) Olde City Twin
  • AMC (Budco/William Goldman) Orleans 8
  • AMC (Budco) Palace
  • AMC (Posel's) Premiere Twin
  • AMC (Budco) Springfield Twin
  • AMC (Budco) 309 Cinema 9
  • AMC (Budco) Walnut Mall 3
  • AMC Woodhaven Mall 4

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Jeff Arellano
Senior Member

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


 - posted June 17, 2008 07:50 PM      Profile for Jeff Arellano   Email Jeff Arellano         Edit/Delete Post 
I just thought about another unique designed theatre:

AMC Burbank 16.

Even though it shares the interior design of the new theatres, it has a layout that is a circle, with one big theatre to the left and right of the opening, one behind the concession area, and all 13 others down the hallway which takes you around the theatre in the middle, and back to the lobby.

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Mark Campbell
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Posts: 437
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted June 17, 2008 08:04 PM      Profile for Mark Campbell   Email Mark Campbell         Edit/Delete Post 
What era do the AMC 6 and 8 in burbank represent? I am always shocked they keep them all open. (And what order did they all open?)

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The Evil Sam Graham
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From: Des Moines, IA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted June 17, 2008 09:04 PM      Profile for The Evil Sam Graham   Author's Homepage   Email The Evil Sam Graham         Edit/Delete Post 
Cinemark's "Palace at the Plaza" in Kansas City is an example of a chain in design transition.

When it was announced, Cinemark stated they were going to do something different from their colorful Tinseltown designs for the Plaza project that would harken back to the days of movie palaces, that would be more fitting in the Plaza. The result was one of the (if not THE) first Cinemarks to use their current "Palace" decor in the lobby and corridors.

It's sort of a parts bin interior, though. The auditoriums still have the Tinseltown purple curtains and seats, though the big antique-ish sconces are in there.

It's also the only Cinemark I know of to have a "VIP Lounge"...a small 30-some-odd seat auditorium with leather chairs and full table service, plus its own bar.

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Jeff Arellano
Senior Member

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


 - posted June 18, 2008 05:42 PM      Profile for Jeff Arellano   Email Jeff Arellano         Edit/Delete Post 
AMC Burbank 4 opened in 1991.
It was expanded to 8 screens in 1996 with the opening of the AMC 6.

The orignal 4 plex is 2 screens that are literally bowling allys (long and narrow with center aisle) and 2 screens that were better than most at the old 14 plex (side aisles, 3 sections and about 300 seats each).

When the expansion happened, it is the only 1996 theatre to have love seats, new projection, automated maskings, and non-stadium.

So the 8 has two very distinct eras showing.
The 6 was built in the megaplex sense
The 16 is the new era.

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