NYC’s Ziegfeld offers an exclusive… with a price tag to match

posted by bamtino on December 16, 2005 at 6:13 am

NEW YORK, NY — While it offers a one week exclusive engagement of “The Producers,” Clearview’s Ziegfeld Theatre will be charging $12.50 for admission.

According to Wednesday’s New York Post, as the film begins additional runs next week, the theatre’s ticket price will be returned to the current Manhattan standard of $10.75.

“It’s a business decision,” says Clearview spokesperson Beth Crimmons. “We’ll be regular price after that.”

As a Broadway play, “The Producers” had the dubious honor of being the first to raise theater tickets to $100 – and now it appears the movie is poised to break a film barrier, as well.

The exclusive engagement will begin with today’s shows and run through next Friday.

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Comments (23)

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on December 16, 2005 at 6:20 am

While I’m not sure I’d want to see this become a full-blown trend (with all new releases having “exclusive” engagements), this is a great thing for the Ziegfeld.

Too often, that theater has been dangerously empty for weeks at a time. I can’t think of a better movie to bring big crowds back to the Ziegfeld.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 16, 2005 at 6:38 am

Back to the future — except possibly for the increased admission fee, this is exactly how major films used to be released.

William on December 16, 2005 at 6:44 am

Well Los Angeles still charges more at the Arclight ($14.00) and Bridge Theatres.

stevebob on December 16, 2005 at 7:21 am

Sometimes I get a little sick of the devoted reverence shown to the
Ziegfeld Theater. If it weren’t the only large single-screen house left in Manhattan, it would merit scant attention at all.

It is not a movie palace, was not built during the movie-palace era, and the decor is frankly tacky. (If you are a gay man of a certain age, you’ll probably agree that “piss elegant” is a perfect description for the style.) It is just a sad, sad joke when you consider the spectacular original Ziegfeld Theater it replaced.

Now, with the demise of the Astor Plaza, I will admit that I will choose to see a film at the Ziegfeld if possible simply because of the size of the house. That’s what it has going for it, and that’s all that it has going for it.

It is what it is. Let’s not pretend it’s something it’s not.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on December 16, 2005 at 8:15 am

Sorry, SteveBob, but no one is pretending the Ziegfeld is anything more than it is. The last large single-screen cinema left in Manhattan.

I’ll repeat what I said in the Ziegfeld’s comments section back in March of this year:

“So the Ziegfeld isn’t the greatest theatre that ever existed. So what? I’m 37 and most of the greatest theatres that did exist were torn down or mutilated in some way before I was born. Nothing I can do about that. A palace it may not be, but for what’s left in this city, I’ll take the Ziegfeld or the Beekman as many times as I can as long as they’re still here.”

Granted, the Beekman is gone, I’m now 38 and I’ve since moved back to Los Angeles, but the Ziegfeld was still a hell of a place to see a movie.

pbubny on December 16, 2005 at 8:27 am

Decor-wise, it’s true, the Ziegfeld can’t hold a candle to the now-bygone movie palaces. (For that matter, neither could the late-lamented Astor Plaza, which also postdated the “golden age.”) But if it’s all the city has left in terms of good-sized theatres that could do justice to the likes of “Lawrence of Arabia” and create a little stir with an old-style exclusive engagement, then maybe it’s worth rooting for on that basis alone.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 16, 2005 at 11:17 am

I would agree with that last sentiment, Paul. Any remaining big single-screeners are definitely worth rooting for.

But I see where Stevebob is coming from in the sense that the phrase “palace” and “treasure” is thrown around a bit too lightly on this site – albeit, not usually from some of the more frequent and well informed contributors. Let’s face it… more than 80% of the theaters listed here should hardly be considered “treasures” from a purely architectural and aesthetic perspective. That is not to say that many of the late-run nabes and local “itches” aren’t warmly treasured by those who have fond memories of whiling away idle weekend and summer hours in their darkened confines.

Everyone has their own reasons for cherishing a particular theater or another and I think that, for the most part, we who share our memories here are respectful and appreciative of one another. This website is the true treasure and â€" in the spirit of the Holidays â€" my thanks to all of you who have contributed so much here and have broadened my understanding and appreciation of theatrical architecture, wide-screen technology, cinematic projection and presentation, road-show practices and many other related topics. Thanks to all the “detectives” out there who comb the internet and public libraries for all sorts of specific building information and archival photographs to share with the rest of us. Thanks for all the vivid and evocative descriptions you’ve given of your favorite theaters that have made me feel as if I’ve visited these places first hand, when in fact so many of them were demolished before I ever took my first steps. And thanks most of all to those of you who have been patient enough to read through my own humble ruminations.

Go out and see a movie… and take your kids (cousins, nephews, nieces, whatever). Try and find a suitable film and as good a cinema as you can possibly attend and make an event of it. The best way to honor our own special cinematic memories – particularly in the face of so much about today’s film-going experience that would seem to work against such an honor – is to build new memories for future generations to reflect back on in the years to come. The dinky little Laurelton Theater means so much more to me than some of the big New York theaters because of the times I shared there with my Dad, architectural opulence be damned.

Anyway… Sorry to get sappy… but it’s the Holiday season and I feel very connected to the Cinema Treasures community. Happy Holidays to all.

HowardBHaas on December 16, 2005 at 1:31 pm

I’ve volunteered for more than 3 years to save an original Art Deco showplace, the Boyd, in Philadelphia, and have visited hundreds of moviehouses. The Ziegfeld is not a historic movie palace, but it is an elegant theater. The Lobby has interesting memorabilia from the original Ziegfeld. Up the escalator and stairs is another interesting foyer. The auditorium has chairs with ends that are comparable to those found in real movie palaces. The auditorium is huge compared to multiplexes, and the screen very large. I’ve often gone from Philly to the Ziegfeld to enjoy the experience. Outside of Los Angeles, there are very few ornate movie palaces still showing mainstream (not art, not classic) movies on a daily basis. For many years, the Ziegfeld has been the best mainstream moviehouse in New York City, and is worth a few extra dollars for the price of admission.
Please do patronize the Ziegfeld! Otherwise we will only see mainstream movies in the megaplexes!

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on December 16, 2005 at 4:34 pm

Another thing to add… Cinema Treasures probably wouldn’t exist without the Ziegfeld.

Before moving to New York, I’d spent very little time in anything approaching a movie palace. So the Ziegfeld was a marvel to my eyes. The Thin Red Line. The first showing of the Star Wars: Phantom Menace trailer attached to Meet Joe Black. Solaris. I saw some great stuff there.

A few years later, after I’d hit almost every theater in Manhattan below 96th St, I was hooked. And, by the time I met Ross, well, it all came together — we had to do this project.

Zweigbaum on December 17, 2005 at 3:16 pm

But what of the film The Producers? Any comments on the shabby way it was treated by the NY press. And since when does a so called legit film critic (NY Post) get paid for cheap lyrics insted of film criticism? Isn’t that why we read reviews?

Shade on December 17, 2005 at 10:13 pm

I’m not sure why every now and then pissing on the Ziegfeld feels needed by some.

We have FIVE single screens TOTAL in Manhattan. FIVE. The Zeigfeld is the only real theater of note. Love the Paris, but it ain’t the Ziegfeld. And right now with the curtain being broken for over half a year at the Loews auditorium at the Loews 68th, only the Ziegfeld and Paris have curtains at all (except for MoMA’s screening rooms).

The Paris
Loews 72nd Street East
UA 85th
62nd and Broadway

The Ziegfeld and the Paris are the only ones that go by name alone, with no street address or number.

Without the Ziegfeld, there is no large classy theater to show any kind of ‘royal’ filmgoing history. It’s the one theater where even the not-so-educated $7/hr. kids say, This is a special place. They actually can tell there’s something special about it.

I was at the world premiere of King Kong on Dec. 5 and found it rather depressing that instead of Radio City Music Hall and the Roxy (the 1933 original venues, simultaneously), this time 8,000 people saw it over 38 screens between two megaplexes. The largest auditorium held 540. As cool as it was to show to 8,000 people at once, nobody saw it in an auditorium the size of the Zeigfeld. And there was no class to it. Escalators, numbered rooms, no chandeliers, and no curtains.

I’ll take piss elegance over no elegance in a heartbeat in today’s soul-crushed New York. If it’s another Duane Reade and Starbucks, or piss elegance, I’ll take the elegance, piss and all.

HowardBHaas on December 18, 2005 at 2:57 am

The Paris is one of my favorite moviehouses. I also enjoy the Tower East (72nd Street). I wasn’t impressed with 62nd and Broadway. What’s UA 85th Street like? how big a screen, how many seats? decorated nicely like the Paris & Tower East, or more like 62nd and Broadway?

stevebob on December 18, 2005 at 4:48 am

Shade, you say, “Without the Ziegfeld, there is no large classy theater to show any kind of ‘royal’ filmgoing history.” I would suggest that even WITH the Ziegfeld there is no such venue other than Radio City Music Hall — and that was the point of my post.

And to Edward Havens: “Sorry, SteveBob, but no one is pretending the Ziegfeld is anything more than it is.” Ed, obviously that is not the case. And anyone who believes the Ziegfeld’s merits to somehow transcend the garish-tacky-whorehouse mess that I believe it is (sorry, Dolly) — albeit with over 1,000 comfortable seats — is certainly entitled to his opinion.

Shade on December 18, 2005 at 9:58 am

The UA 85th Street is pretty much ‘70s grossout, but these days it’s just grand to go to any single-screen houses in New York at all. They have a square plastic lighted flat marquee out front. Just a big flat square with plastic letters (plastic letters are so much cooler than LED). The ticket booth is outside and you are buzzed into a nondescript top floor. You go down one flight to the bathrooms, and another to the popcorn area and then past that to the theater door on your left. There is also an escalator to take you back up to the top street level entrance.

What I like about this venue, besides the single-screen aspect, is that UA knows where to buy seats. The same seats are in their 64th and 2nd auditoriums. They’re tall in the back with a headrest and very comfortable. Just a simple auditorium, but a nice comfortable one.

I don’t know how many seats, I’d say 200-300.

The 62nd and Broadway is pretty bland, but the hand-painted deco is kinda fun, and again, there just ain’t nothin' like a single screen. The moviegoing experience just feels more special. I have never, ever, felt anything close to special going to a multiplex or split job anywhere in Manhattan. Maaaaaybe the Metro after the renovation, just because those rising curtains were so great. Going to the movies at multiplexes makes me feel like I’m at an airport.

Shade on December 18, 2005 at 10:07 am

If we’re going to go with stevebob’s argument, then we simply must include the grandeur of the Loews 175th Street and Broadway, and the abundance of decor at the Mark Hellinger, and albeit not Manhattan, even the luxury of the Paradise in the Bronx.

Oh, but wait, like Radio City, these venues NO LONGER SHOW MOVIES. So, stevebob’s argument is not an argument, it’s an illogical statement. If we’re going to open up the field to palaces that DO NOT SHOW MOVIES then we have a different dialogue altogether. If we could walk into Radio City tonight and enjoy the sparkling lights of the bulbs under the marquee, the joy of entering an enormous space once our tickets are taken, multiple levels of seating, all of this enhancing our enjoyment of a film, well, by gosh golly, Radio City wins!

But Radio City doesn’t offer cinema. It’s idiotic to include this venue in a statement about filmgoing.

As far as what is a palace and what is a trashbin, I guess it really depends on the audience member. I love the New Beverly in LA, but yeah, it’s a dump. I dig going to the 62nd and Broadway just to go down ONE escalator to ONE door with ONE screen. So I’ll see a simple single-screen venue, and see something special, even if not elaborate. When we see a film we enjoy, we usually see something of ourselves in the film. When there is a particular theater we enjoy, we can relate to it somehow. When Edward and I and countless others walk into the Ziegfeld, we’re seeing something that reflects something inside of us.

The way we see things is a reflection, a mirror, of how we see ourselves, as stevebob so gloriously confirms here:

“the garish-tacky-whorehouse mess that it is”

stevebob on December 18, 2005 at 11:48 am

And I’ll gloriously re-affirm that if that “garish-tacky-whorehouse mess” is somehow meaningful to you, then that indeed must be a reflection of how you see yourself.

stevebob on December 18, 2005 at 1:06 pm

This will be my last post in this thread, and I hope that it is closed by the moderator. Thanks to Shade, it’s become a bitchfest pissing contest and there’s really no need to personalize differences in opinions the way I see happening.

Shade, I think you were way out of line in your glib, sarcastic criticism of my statements, as well as with your condescending use of ALL CAPS. Your suggestion that “garish-tacky-whorehouse” is a reflection of how I must see myself was just beyond the pale and obviously a personal insult, and that’s why I threw it right back at you.

I’m sure you’ll prolong this because you seem like someone who doesn’t like to be challenged and has to have the last word — so have at it. Blah blah blah.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on December 18, 2005 at 4:19 pm

I’ll take a movie at the Chinese or the Cinerama Dome any day over the Ziegfeld. But in the years I was in New York City, I didn’t have those choices. And, slowly but surely, all my other choices were disappearing. The Baronet and Coronet closed just days after I moved. (Yes, I moved to New York City the weekend before 9/11.) Then the Murray Hill closed, before I ever got to visit. Then the Sutton closed shortly after the one time I saw a film there. Then the Astor Plaza, after many visits. Then the Beekman, just before I moved back to Los Angeles.

Granted, I never got to visit the Roxy or the original State or the Loews or the Palace or any of the other grand palaces. (Nor did I ever get to visit the Bleecker or the original Film Forum.)

Point is, if the Ziegfeld becomes, by default, the best theatre in town… well, you be thankful you still have the Ziegfeld, which clearly has had its problems over the years. I’d hate to think of going back to New York City someday and seeing the best theatre left in town is the Lincoln Square or the E-Walk or the Empire 25.

HowardBHaas on December 19, 2005 at 2:26 pm

I’ve visited Los Angeles enough to know that Edward is correct. In Los Angeles you can see mainstream films (the Ziefeld’s usual fare) at the Chinese, El Capitan, the original Cinerama Dome auditorium, the Vista, and moving from Hollywood to Westwood Village, the Fox Village, Bruin, National, and Crest. Arthouse & classic films include a great lineup,including the Egyptian, the Fine Arts, S. Pasadena’s Rialto, as well as Last Remaining Seats (often at the Orpheum & the Los Angeles), the Alex, etc. I’m sure there are ones I missed. Some of these screens are 60 or 70 feet wide, sound is super, and the theaters even more super. No, you don’t miss the Ziefeld, because there are so many others, some historic movie palaces.

However, the Ziegfeld has long been one of the best moviehouses of NYC, just as the Senator is in Baltimore, and the Uptown in DC. And, the Ziegfeld will survive only if it has patronage!

I really wanted to visit the Sutton but failed to. I read in a book about its slope being historic. What decorative features were inside the Sutton?

Thanks to Shade for describing the UA 85th Street. I, too, want to visit one lobby, one auditorium, etc. I don’t want to face a hallway of auditoriums! I didn’t mean any disrespect to 62nd and Broadway. It has been awhile since I visited, and perhaps I should again for another impression.

Theaterat on December 23, 2005 at 5:50 am

OUCH!!! This is highway robbery!They need a mask and a gun!. Considering the lousy ratings the new film version of “The Producers"is recieving, I guess I`ll just pull out my video- or DVD and watch the !68 classic instead. Springtime for moviegoers-definately not.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 23, 2005 at 5:56 am

On the other hand, today’s Boston Globe review says that the new Producers movie should absolutely be seen in a full theatre with a loud audience, and not at home on a DVD.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 29, 2005 at 4:13 pm

My only complaints about the Ziegfeld are the pricing (especially in the daytime!) and the very small screen. That theatre is begging for at least a 60 footer. Problem is, you’d have to shut the theatre for months to reconstruct the auditorium to hold a screen that size.

Other than those minor quibbles, I enjoyed my visit there this past summer. Great sound system and very elegant decor. I had a nice time!

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