Loews State 4

1540 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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KingBiscuits on August 20, 2008 at 8:40 pm

The theatre opened on May 3rd, 1996 with Barb Wire (on two screens, yes it was on two screens), Mulholland Falls and GoldenEye (in a special one-week reissue) and Cemetary Man (a horror film with Rupert Everett) sharing a screen.

moviebuff82 on June 9, 2008 at 7:58 am

ive been there only once back when it was new..just the music store.

edblank on May 27, 2008 at 9:30 pm

These were comfortable subterranean theaters, but anyone could tell they were doomed. They were buried, without sufficient signage, in the bowels of the building. I never saw a movie in there that wasn’t close to being a private screening.

owenspierre81 on January 21, 2008 at 6:06 am

It’s okay, Ed. I didn’t go to the State 4 to see these films, I got this information from reading the movie listings out of The New York Times. I’ve been logging NYC movie listings since 2003.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 20, 2008 at 6:08 pm

PierreCity… No offense intended. I didn’t know you were going from memory. I thought you had some source for your information – as do many who post such lists here on the site. Are these films that you saw at the State? I used to keep a log of every film I saw when from 1979 through 1983 or ‘84. It listed each theatre and the cost of admission (which was initially the point of the list – to see how much I spent on film-going in a year). Somewhere along the way, the log went missing. I really wish I still had it – I really went to the movies an awful lot back in those days! At least once or twice each weekend (and many double and triple features courtesy the 42nd Street grind houses). I’m lucky if I see two or three films each year, these days!

dave-bronx™ on January 19, 2008 at 3:49 pm

The space occupied by the Virgin store and the Loews was originally to have been a shopping mall. After the developer went bankrupt construction was halted for a number of years. After the property was finally sold and construction resumed the plan changed and the new owner threw out the mall idea. The new owner wanted Virgin, and neither wanted the theatre there but they were stuck with it because Loews had a lease as per a stipulation in the sale of the original Loews/1540 building. The theatre was designed for the 1988 market and at that time 4 screens were adequate, but by the time it finally opened in 1996 it was obsolete.

owenspierre81 on January 19, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Well, Ed, I know it’s a incomplete list but that’s all of the info I can think of.

Astyanax on January 12, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Sad to link this 4-screen with the original showplace. Adding movie screens as an afterthought to another entertainment or business site has little chance of success. No surprise that Virgin as the prime tenant compounded the shortcomings of the quadplex. Of course you can trace this back to when the Loews corporation decided to make their fortunes in real estate, instead of entertainment.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 12, 2008 at 8:22 pm

PierreCity… This list has to be incomplete. The Loews State was a quad – shouldn’t each date list multiple titles?

owenspierre81 on January 11, 2008 at 9:00 pm

LOEWS STATE movie list from 2004 to 2005

9/10/04- Resident Evil: Apocalypse
10/1/04- Shark Tale
10/15/04- Shall We Dance?
10/22/04- The Grudge
10/29/04- Ray
11/5/04- The Incredibles
11/24/04- Alexander
12/3/04- House of Flying Daggers
12/10/04- Ocean’s Twelve
12/22/04- Meet the Fockers
1/7/05- White Noise
2/18/05- Constantine
3/11/05- Hostage
3/18/05- The Ring Two
3/25/05- Guess Who
3/30/05- Beauty Shop
4/15/05- The Amityville Horror
5/6/05- House of Wax
5/27/05- Madagascar
6/15/05- Batman Begins
6/24/05- Land of the Dead
7/8/05- Dark Water
7/15/05- Wedding Crashers
7/29/05- Stealth
8/19/05- The 40-Year-Old Virgin
8/19/05- Red Eye
9/9/05- The Exorcism of Emily Rose
10/7/05- Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
10/21/05- Doom
11/18/05- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
12/21/05- Fun with Dick and Jane
1/6/06- Hostel

R.I.P. STATE 4 1996-2006

William on August 5, 2007 at 8:10 am

The former Loews State signs on the front of the Virgin Store are not used as advertising space for Broadway shows now. Current sign advertise for “Curtains” at the Hirshfeld Theatre (former Martin Beck).

SMEvans3 on January 22, 2007 at 5:01 am

These were the actual seat counts. The certificate of occupancy was not based on the actual number of seats. I managed the theatre, and I still have the seat charts to prove these are the correct numbers.

1 422

2 375

3 318

4 247

Total = 1362

SMEvans3 on January 22, 2007 at 5:00 am

There were four tiny projection booths with virtually no air conditioning. Sound systems failed due to overheating. The projectionists were drenched in sweat. Rather than figure out how to air condition the projection booths, Sony Theatres installed some cooler amplifiers, but the projectionists would still remove glass from the windows and leave projection booth doors ajar. This resulted in projector noise in the auditoriums, which was unfortunate given the sound systems were pretty good.

Originally, the television monitors by the escalators in the Virgin Megastore and in the theatre lobby were to show tapes of movie previews. When the tapes rewound, the monitors were to switch to Virgin music videos. The acrimonious relationship between the two companies left the monitors blank while tapes rewound. Later, they switched to DVDs that did not require rewinding, and the lobby monitors were removed.

Emergency exit was through many stair wells. A particularly large one was between auditoriums two and three.

The original marquee consisted of fiber-optic ropes with a backlit Sony Theatres sign and L.E.D. panels hanging beneath showing the films playing there. The fiber-optic sign was considered to be very advanced and made the cover of some technology magazine. However, it almost never worked correctly and was nowhere near as bright as the Virgin neon sign. When Sony Theatres changed their name back to Loews, this was the last theatre to make the change because they wanted to completely replace the sign. They made the switch to the less high-tech, but more visible neon. The L.E.D. sign remained the same, and I think I was just about the only one who ever knew how to program it. After I left, it often displayed out-of-date information.

When AMC announced plans to enter the Manhattan market with the Empire 25, I think Loews decided to sabotage AMC’s plans by building a megaplex immediately across the street from the AMC. This also effectively sabotaged the State and Astor Plaza.

Once the E-Walk and Empire opened, Loews Cineplex never knew what to do with this theatre. Loews Cineplex really did not know how to successfully run a discount theatre. Also, because of the excessive screen count in Times Square, films hung around in the E-Walk and Empire too long to still have any life left in them when they reached a discount house. Sometimes in the Virgin Megastore one could purchase the DVDs of the films showing at the discount theatre.

The marquee changed a few years ago to just a plastic sign. The company did not appear to want to repair the neon, which was not fully functioning. The L.E.D. signs appeared to be covered over at that time. About half of the L.E.D. sign had ceased to work.

I do not believe Virgin still owns a theatre circuit, and therefore they probably have no interest in this theatre. Most likely, Bertlesmann is not in a position to place stronger provisions in a lease to eliminate the access and sound problems Virgin creates. Without such provisions, this probably will be a very difficult space to lease.

SMEvans3 on January 22, 2007 at 4:52 am

This theatre was a sad story of missed opportunities and mistakes. I was the Managing Director there during perhaps its most successful period. It actually was the highest-grossing theatre in the nation on rather lowbrow fare and arguably more sophisticated action films such as FACE/OFF.

When the old State was closed, Loews owned the land, and they sold it under the condition they would be allowed to build a new theatre on the site. Construction on this four-screen began in the late 80s shortly after the old theatre was demolished. I heard that discovery of an abandoned subway station necessitated the building foundation going very deep under ground, which partly accounts for the location of the cinema. There is a parking garage deeper in the ground than the theatre.

The building went bankrupt during construction, and the shell of the theatre sat for nearly eight years before Bertlesmann took over the project. The late-80s construction of the shell of the theatre is one of the reasons a larger(more screens) theatre and stadium seating were not built. The black floor in front of the box office was part of the original construction and featured a floor lighting system that was never used.

The lease ran over 500 pages. The lease was with the building, not the Virgin Megastore. Originally, Blockbuster Video was to occupy the space above the theatre. Gates were supposed to be installed in the store to isolate the escalators so that theatre patrons could enter and exit while the store was closed.

The theatre probably was part of Virgin’s attraction to the site. They operated Virgin Cinemas in Europe, and they probably thought they could acquire the partially-completed theatre and use it to introduce Virgin Cinemas to America. Sony Theatres had no desire to let a new competitor into the Manhattan market that easily, and they would not sell. As this theatre was a condition for the initial sale of the land, Sony Theatres had a pretty strong position to keep it, but Bertlesmann could have gotten a higher rent from Virgin.

Virgin appeared to want to drive Sony Theatres out of the space. Virgin did not build the gates in their store required in Loews’ lease. They attempted to bill Sony Theatres for security expenses related to the theatre being open when the store was closed. They locked theatre employees in the building late at night and sometimes attempted to frisk theatre employees to see if theatre employees were stealing Virgin merchandise.

Virgin also held in-store concerts immediately outside the theatre’s entrance. This was not an intended use of the Virgin space, and substantially was not covered in the theatre lease or anticipated in the architecture. The store often cut off access to the theatre due to overcrowding at their concerts. The sound from the concerts drowned out the movies. Effectively, the theatre could not operate during these concerts. To the best of my knowledge, Virgin only compensated Sony Theatres once for lost business.

Although the relationship improved, Virgin and Loews/Sony Theatres never worked well together.

William on December 13, 2006 at 4:28 am

Well the Loews name in Times Square has finally been removed from the signage of the Virgin MegaStore. It now has the real estate company that handles the property on the old signage.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 10, 2006 at 4:12 pm

GavinM… a bona fide “gem” (and no small gem at that) would be the original and opulent Loew’s State Theater – an above ground palace that was razed in 1987. The subterrenean Loew’s State 4 is located in the skyscraper that replaced the old State Theater and office building.

William on November 10, 2006 at 12:26 pm

This theatre was never a small gem of American cinema experience. Loews was planning to close this house long before AMC took over Loews. Once the lease was up that was it. The theatre was only needed when the nearby Loews E-Walk 13 was being built. And during it’s last years of operation Loews ran it as 2nd run (full price) and later as a 2nd run at bargain prices. During that time the theatre went from a full time operator in the booth to popcorn jockeys running the booth. The equipment was not maintain that well and it was the worst place to see a movie in the city. This theatre was also in the sub-basement of the Virgin Mega Store. It was in what you called a bland multiplex too.

GWTW gets booking from time to time here in the states.

GAVINM on November 10, 2006 at 11:35 am

What a shame that all these small cinemas seem to be closed or razed to the ground. Although I’ve never ever been to this small gem of American cinema experience, I wish I had, because it seems that it was a brilliant place until AMC decided to close it after they bought Loews. I live in the UK and these small cinemas are closing because the bland multiplexes force the smaller ones out of the market.

Can anyone tell me if Gone With The Wind has been shown sown at cinemas worldwide in the last year or so, because it is my favourite movie of all time, and I’d love to experience the magic of it on the big screen instead of on dvd and tv

GAVINM on November 10, 2006 at 11:35 am

What a shame that all these small cinemas seem to be closed or razed to the ground. Although I’ve never ever been to this small gem of American cinema experience, I wish I had, because it seems that it was a brilliant place until AMC decided to close it after they bought Loews. I live in the UK and these small cinemas are closing because the bland multiplexes force the smaller ones out of the market.

Can anyone tell me if Gone With The Wind has been shown sown at cinemas worldwide in the last year or so, because it is my favourite movie of all time, and I’d love to experience the magic of it on the big screen instead of on dvd and tv

William on November 9, 2006 at 3:53 am

Regal just got the E-Walk 13 on 42nd. Street. And it’s in the basement and only 4 screens. What do you think the rent is?

Mikeoaklandpark on November 9, 2006 at 1:55 am

I don’t know why Clearview or Regal doesn’t come in and reopen this theater.

Forrest136 on September 20, 2006 at 12:16 am

The large sign of this theatre still hangs in Times Square !!!

Forrest136 on August 27, 2006 at 12:16 am

Any news as to what will occupy this space?