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Author Topic: Worst Theater Ever?
Connor Wilson
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 190
From: Sterling, VA, USA
Registered: Jan 2011


 - posted 10-07-2011 04:37 PM      Profile for Connor Wilson   Email Connor Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is a thread for you to jot down and describe your least favorite movie theaters. Be careful, because I think I sure have a powerful contender for worst theater ever:

AMC Bay Plaza Cinema 13
Okay, I've only been there once, but I had such a bad experience there nonetheless. Even the THX screen does not compensate for the poor management and stupid technicians. It angers me to learn that screen #1 used to be 70mm-capable, and now all the screens have Sony 4K projectors, which aren't bad but do not match up to the quality of 70mm film. The sound is poorly-EQ'd, it sounds like a car stereo. Even my home theater is better! Screen #11 is claustrophobic, and I wouldn't be surprised if screens #12 and #13 are the same! That's because this used to be a 10-screen multiplex owned by General Cinema built in 1989. I didn't know about it's good past until today. As for AMC running the Bay Plaza Cinema 13: [fu]

I greatly apologize if I was irrational. I just had to get it out of my system, this theatre's management and uninspired architecture makes me cringe. I have nightmares about this place.

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Manny Knowles
"What are these things and WHY are they BLUE???"

Posts: 4247
From: Bloomington, IN, USA
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 10-07-2011 05:47 PM      Profile for Manny Knowles   Email Manny Knowles   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
While I can empathize to a point, I think it's better for them to have the D-Cinema gear in place of the "70mm capable" projector, since they'd probably never show 70mm there for a host of reasons listed elsewhere on Film-Tech. There are others that would disagree but I honestly feel those "fans of 70" are being romantic and unrealistic.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm not bashing 70mm as a format. I've patronized a good number of 70mm screenings. But the fact is, I've seen those done right and I've seen 'em done wrong too. It all comes down to the quality of the (probably old) print and the skills of the person projecting it.

Regarding the poor-quality THX -- Is that screen currently advertised as a THX cinema? Or was it a THX screen back in the day? A lot of former THX screens are no longer certified. Those should not be advertised as THX if the certification has lapsed. If AMC is still advertising it as a THX screen, and you really believe the quality is poor, then you might want to let both AMC and THX know about it. That would be more productive that ranting here and leaving it at that.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8367
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 10-07-2011 06:09 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Connor Wilson
Sony 4K projectors, which aren't bad but do not match up to the quality of 70mm film.
Kinda of a poor, and unfair comparison since this comment above is like comparing apples and oranges.

70mm presentations are dead in the present release status, thus please accept this and put the purist attributes under control-there is nothing you can do.

Should do the more honest comparison between two brands of DCP units to make it more fair.

Sound: make that mention on their customer comment card or website - might get some action on this issue.

-Monte

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James Westbrook
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1125
From: Lubbock, Texas, Usa
Registered: Mar 2006


 - posted 10-07-2011 08:33 PM      Profile for James Westbrook   Email James Westbrook   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"Worst" is subjective in so many different levels. I wish I could find pictures of the AMC Bay Plaza Cinema 13, in the Bronx of New York City. Neither Cinematour nor Cinema Treasures have any.

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Mike Rivest
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 180
From: Montréal QC Canada
Registered: Nov 2009


 - posted 11-08-2011 05:20 PM      Profile for Mike Rivest   Email Mike Rivest   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Montreal:
Cinema Centre-Ville 9 (AKA: Cineplex 9)
2001 University Metro track level
Tiny screens not wider than 12 foot, hallway connecting all the cinemas less than 3 feet wide, crummy seats and cheap sound.
The Paramount (now Cinema Banque Scotia) with its 52 feet screens in most auditoriums and an 80-feet IMAX screen thankfully killed it. It is now an mailroom for London Life. (The Chinese government rented part of the 15th floor to issue visas and spy on Hydro-Quebec etc.)

Le Fabourg 4
the "THX" certified auditoriums (2) were really cube-shaped with bad seating angles that are too close to the screen. But at least the sound was good. Now classrooms for the nearby Concordia University.

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Eric Robinson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 538
From: Santa Rosa, CA
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted 11-10-2011 12:03 AM      Profile for Eric Robinson   Email Eric Robinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Rant continued...

and dont forget that most of the Sony 4Ks are run with the 3D lens during 2D films.

Now for the worst cinema ever. The Sutter Cinemas in beautiful Yuba City...thank heavens it is closed! One of their auditoriums had pigeons, cats, and large plaster chunks falling off the ceiling. That's of course after you walked through the sewege smell in the lobby. Oh and the walls were untreated cinderblock which in combination with all of the vibrating metal and glass in the auditorium made the dialog fairly impossible to understand. It was topped off with a horribly dim picture. [puke]

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2138
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 11-10-2011 12:30 AM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I serviced the Sutter back in the late '70's and it was no prize then either.

I nominate any of the Syufy domes, past and present, that were chopped into half domes. Seats pointed in the wrong direction, still with the original dome radius, surrounds mounted to one half of the inside of the dome, the others on the straight wall dividing the two halves.

Kind of like one of those cheap pie slicers used to divide a fruit pie.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8367
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004


 - posted 11-10-2011 01:54 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
..and SLC had five of them like that when they "destroyed" the Century 21 twin into a 5plex. And they split the houses like Sam mentioned.

Finally the whole mess was torn down for the build of the present Century 16.

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Cameron Glendinning
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 845
From: West Ryde, Sydney, NSW Australia
Registered: Dec 2005


 - posted 11-10-2011 02:02 AM      Profile for Cameron Glendinning   Email Cameron Glendinning   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have worked at some terrible cinemas over the years, The worst was probably one screen at a former 5 screen Hayden complex in Penrith NSW Australia that finished its life as a Hoyts. A converted Bar area, 200 seats, one story high, flat floored with a 10ft rear projection screen via a mirror.

The other was Village Cinemas Blacktown also in Australia, which also ended its life as a Hoyts, this conversion of a twin to a 4 screen by placing a drywall down the middle of the wide cinemascope auditoriums. The crappy wall to wall screens sat well infront of the old procenium and at the front of each cinema were many incorrectly angled seats facing the wrong way from its old layout. Some of the front row seats were underneath and one physically behind the screen [puke] Eprad starlets mono with surround err.

In the states I remember visiting the Town 16 near Atlantic City in the early 1990's, that was also pretty crap with its dim image, muffled mono sound and complete ghost town atmosphere! Still it was probably better than the famed Princess 2.

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Eric Robinson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 538
From: Santa Rosa, CA
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted 11-10-2011 03:59 PM      Profile for Eric Robinson   Email Eric Robinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Sam D. Chavez
I serviced the Sutter back in the late '70's
Poor Sam [Roll Eyes]

I used to service this theatre as well. It was like trying to polish a turd. This was my first intro to the Christie AW3 platters with nonremovable brain plates. I was so confused the first time I tried to change a return arm spring in the brain because it is backwards from the AW3R springs. What a nightmare...I wasted so much time getting no improvements.

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Robert Koch
Film Handler

Posts: 93
From: Williams Ca USA
Registered: Apr 2006


 - posted 11-10-2011 05:27 PM      Profile for Robert Koch   Email Robert Koch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I serviced the Sutter in the 50`s and 60`s when it was a single. All the bad things happened when UA just had to have a multi-plex and descended upon it with one of their infamous chop jobs.
Sound system got off to a good start, wth an Altec A4X speaker system, but was defiled by the lousy Simplex B amplifier system.
How come you did`nt mention any of Tocchini`s "palaces", Eric

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Sam D. Chavez
Film God

Posts: 2138
From: Martinez, CA USA
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 11-10-2011 06:31 PM      Profile for Sam D. Chavez   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm guessing Eric works for Toccini (sp) [evil]

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4439
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 11-10-2011 06:58 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I LOVE the topic title. I do believe that all of us have several cinemas that could "win" in some way or the other. Perhaps frustration? Louis

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James Westbrook
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1125
From: Lubbock, Texas, Usa
Registered: Mar 2006


 - posted 11-11-2011 01:41 AM      Profile for James Westbrook   Email James Westbrook   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If my brain wasn't fried, I'd start up a thread in Film Yak titled "building the cinema from hell" and what brands of equipment said cinema would have. Including the concession stand and auditorium chairs. From all eras, 60s through 90s. I just don't feel like starting it up now.
Of course, if a similar thread already exists, or someone else starts up the thread, I will not feel slighted.

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