Topic: AMC Opening Two New Fork and Screens
From: Monterey Park, CA
Registered: Jun 2003
posted August 08, 2010 03:19 PM
Scott, say goodbye to another GCC theater. Essex Green 9 will be remodeled.
Both Essex Greens and Bridgewater Commons will be Fork and Screens by years end.
Bridgewater Commons mall to offer dinner-and-a-movie at AMC Theatres cinema
Published: Tuesday, August 03, 2010, 2:14 PM Updated: Tuesday, August 03, 2010, 2:35 PM
Frank Mustac / Messenger-Gazette Frank Mustac / Messenger-Gazette
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AMC forkscreen rendering.jpgAMC Entertainment artist rendering of a Fork & Screen marquee
BRIDGEWATER — By the start of the holiday movie season in November, cinema-goers at the Bridgewater Commons mall will more than likely have the option to have dinner with drinks while watching a film.
The Township Council on August 2 approved a liquor license for AMC Entertainment International, Inc., which owns and operates the AMC Theatres cinema at the mall.
The move paves the way for AMC to convert all of its theaters at Bridgewater Commons into what the company calls “Fork & Screen” auditoriums that will offer casual dining at restaurant-style tables, including appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, desserts, alcoholic drinks and traditional theater concessions.
AMC currently offers the Fork & Screen dining experience in Kansas City. Mo., and in the Buckhead section of Atlanta, Ga. Bridgewater will be one of the first Fork & Screen restaurants in the Northeast.
“It’s more than just a movie theater,” AMC Entertainment attorney Richard Nasca told the council. “It’s a full-service restaurant with in-theater dining.”
At least half the seating will be removed from auditoriums to accommodate table seating, said Jim Lyons, a Marketing Trainer with AMC Entertainment.
Typically, food and drinks are served prior to the film screenings. During screenings, lighting in the restaurant is about 15% brighter than typical movie theaters, Lyons said. A small bar and lounge called MacGuffins where guests can wait and have a drink before or after movies will also be part of the restaurant.
AMC’s Kansas City installation offers another concept called "Cinema Suites" auditoriums, which is upscale dining with reserved seating, an expanded menu and plush recliners. Food and drinks are served at small tables placed next to the recliners.
The AMC representatives only described the Fork & Screen restaurants as the only type of installation being considered at the mall. Both concepts, however, are for guests 18 or older and minors accompanied by a guardian.
Council members Christine Henderson Rose and Dan Hayes, along with Council Prresident Matthew Moench expressed concerns about the policing of guests 18-20 years of age to make sure they would not be receiving alcoholic beverages passed to them by other guests 21 years of age and older.
Nasca said that all guests are checked for ID upon entering the restaurant and again when seated. Staff, he said, are trained to spot and remove minors consuming or attempting to consume alcohol.
Only about 20% of the revenue generated at Fork & Screen restaurants is from the sale of alcohol, while the rest is from food sales, Nasca said.
Rose said she lamented the loss of traditional movie theaters at the mall where teenagers could watch a movie with their friends and peers without being accompanied by an adult.
Council members approved the liquor license by a vote of 3-1 with the condition that AMC Entertainment, Inc., provide the council with an incident report every six months of any and all alcohol-related infractions.
Councilman Hayes cast the lone vote against granting the license, while Council members Rose, Moench and Howard Norgalis voted in favor. Councilman Allen Kurdyla was not present.
AMC Essex Green Closes Monday to Transform Into Dining Cinema
Friday, August 6, 2010
amc.JPGAMC Essex Green in West Orange begins a $5-million makeover on Monday that will transform it into New Jersey's first dine-while-you-watch movie experience, a project that's aimed at propping up its sagging earnings.
AMC said in a statement today, "Fork & Screen is the name of AMC's in-theatre dining concept, featuring Fork & Screen, a casual, in-theatre dining and entertainment experience; Cinema Suites, a premium, upscale in-theatre dining and entertainment option; and MacGuffins, a bar and lounge area."
Two other movie-and-dining theaters are also planned in the state -- in Bridgewater Commons and at Menlo Park, AMC's press department told Baristanet by phone today (Aug. 6).
The theater will close after its last show on Sunday for three months of renovation work, which will see its seating capacity diminished by 60 percent in order to accommodate dining tables, said Susan Borg, West Orange township's planning director. The theater is slated to reopen early in November.
"It will be very interesting to see how it does," said Borg. "It's great that they're spending $5 million in West Orange, but the truth was that in these years of operating solely as a movie theater here, their profit margins weren't that great."
Profit figures from other Fork and Screens had demonstrated to AMC that reducing capacity and introducing dining would help boost profits, Borg said.
AMC said the theater will close after the final showtime on Sunday, Aug. 8. The last scheduled show on Sunday is "Despicable Me" at 10:45 p.m.
"Guests are encouraged to visit AMC East Hanover 12 in East Hanover, NJ," the company's statement said.
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John J. Fink
From: Buffalo, NY
Registered: Aug 2005
posted August 10, 2010 04:54 PM
Essex Green was a 90's style first wave stadium seating GCC replacing what was the real GCC goodness - the Essex Green I, II, & III - complete with a shadowbox in the largest theater (which must have sat 500+, if not more) and a giant C-I-N-E-M-A lettered sign atop a three story lobby, that one bit the dust 1997 the day after the 9-screen opened. Clifton Commons opened right after it.
Bridgewater is pretty similar to others of late 80's/early 90's GCC vintage - all theaters are off a single hallway - two big ones on the left, 5 on the right. The other Fork & Screen conversion is a 90's era Cineplex Odeon at Menlo Park Mall (the Cineplex logo still adorns the building). I've heard this model referred to as a "Pearl Box".
I have to say I applaud AMC in doing something different to refresh theaters that are popular shopping malls near other theaters (many owned by AMC). It's a nice touch, although I guess if they didn't renew any of their leases Clearview or someone else would have jumped on any of these sites.
On another note, Scott - I should try to document Eastern Hills in Williamsville, NY - in all its 1970's GCC glory (shadowbox still in tact in theater 3).
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