Comments from bigred

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bigred commented about Movie theater popcorn named as one of America's biggest ripoffs on Feb 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm

I was a manager and we offered free refills on large popcorn and large drinks. We had combos from time to time buy a large popcorn and large drink get a free jr. mint or something like that. When we offered the free candy it didn’t cost anything because it was usually run by the candy company or concession supplier and got the money from them.

When we had someone come back we usually gave them a refill. It was mostly as customer service but we never had an official policy on it. It would sometimes depend on the theatre manager. I also agree with closing the concesion stand shortly adter the last show. We closed ours We closed 30 minutes after the show started.

I don’t know that for an independent the free refills would be good because they don’t have any other income to off set it. It would depend on location. If you have a theatre that people come to just because it’s that theatre you might be able to offer some promotions like that.

I did notice that not all the theatres had free refills. When I transferred to a different market they didn’t offer any free refills.

I admit I don’t go to movies much anymore but that is because the theatre near me sucks. They are having a good day if they can actually get the movie on the screen. I had advance warning about them because my dad and uncle went there before and the film broke and they didn’t know how to fix it. I’ve never been there without noticing problems but when I would go there with friends I wouldn’t say anything about it. I would hear about the same things and then I would say something. It’s not a big chain but poorly run. There aren’t any other theatres close by and are almost an hour away.

bigred commented about Kerasotes sells theaters to Kansas City’s AMC on Jan 26, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I’m sure the sale will go through. AMC will have to sell or trade a few theatres but many. They will most likely have to get rid of 1 or 2 in the Chicago area with everything they got from General Cinema and Loews.

In Indianapolis the only one I see being a problem is the one in Greenwood which is on the south side. There is only one other first run now which is the GC Greenwood Park 14 now AMC and the Loews is closed. There is a Cineplex which is second run.

Most of the other Kerasotes are in small towns and mid size towns which they have no compitation or very little. They could have a problem with the Inner Grove Heights because AMC has Arbor Lakes 16 and Eden Prairie Mall 18 and Southdale is far enough away is shouldn’t be a problem. Roseville is also far enough away from Coon Rapids that shouldn’t be a problem either.

bigred commented about Harris Grand Theatre on Oct 11, 2009 at 2:08 am

This theatre was never owned by Kersotes. It should be removed from their list.

The Harris Grand theatre was at 7th & Walnut Sts on the northeast corner lot. It was also known as Towne Cinema. The Harris Grande was co owned with the Princess by Y & W theatres. Y & W sold the HG to Peter Terlukos who remodeled the badly rundown theatre and renamed it to the Towne Cinema to distance it from it’s lackluster past. Then afer some troubles with the distributors Turdlucos sold the TC to Bill Dennis. Dennis ran the theatre for a number of years but he continued turlucos' practice of double tickets sales at the box office until the distributors got wise and pulled their product after a long investigation with ticket buys. This led to a lawsuit in federal court. Somewhere in all of this Dennis tried to get his worthless son in the Union, which they wouldn’t do and that led to the first lockout of the union. Kerasotes was a distant third by the way, mid america at the village was the second lockout. With Dennis having difficulties with poor product and an effective picket line he had the theatre burnt down and his insurance has yet to settle. The site is currently an apartment building with ground floor commercial. Kreasotes never owned it and as far as I know it had too much bad luggage for even crooked Kerasotes to consider it.

bigred commented about Biggest Non IMAX/Cinerama single theater screens ???? on Sep 13, 2008 at 10:52 pm

The Southtown Theatre in Bloomington,Mn had an 80 ft screen. It was a single screen and built by Mann in 1964 and seating was 1260. In 1970 in was sold to General Cinema. It also had a stage. In 1980 the screen was split making both theatres seating 540. After the split part on the stage still remained. When it opened it was praised as the biggest screen in the midwest.

General Cinema had a 30 year lease renewable at their option. In 1995 General Cinema gave in and sold out and the mall took it down for some stores.

bigred commented about Orange Park General Cinema IV on Jul 28, 2008 at 10:36 pm

I don’t know of any General Cinema that bought the popcorn pre popped. I did work at one that we kept having to go to other locations to pop the popcorn because our popper kept breaking down and also a fire when I was on vacation. I worked a couple others that were split units and if the popper broke down you could go to the other theatre at that location until it’s repaired. There were verey few General Cinemas that had the poppers at the conc stand but I did work at one that did. In Indianapolis GC had a serviceman who usually was out just about as fast as called. Most General Cinemas had the popcorn room upstairs in older theatres and some newer ones had a room downstairs then they could transfer the popcorn to the conc stand.

The only time the popcorn was bought pre popped was with the air popped. The reason was the cost of an air popper was worth it and it came about because of a report that popcorn was bad for you because of the oil it’s poped in. General Cinema was the first to switch to a healthier oil 4 years before that report came out. This didn’t last long before being allowed to stop serving the air popped. Most people who bought it would still try to put salt and butter on it and find it won’t stick to air popped.

bigred commented about AMC Desert Star 15 on Jul 16, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Don’t expect things to improve with Kerasotes. They are very poorly run and usually doesn’t take long for theatres they buy to become run down and most of the ones the build are poorly built to begin with. I know of one that wasn’t poorly built from what I heard and in that case the town in still trying to get them out. They still have Kerasotes boycotts and have heard that some of the near by towns are starting to do the same.

There were 2 theatre companies that owned a couple downtown theatres that Kerasotes offered to buy out and the companies refused and in less than a week one of them burned to the ground and the other sold quickly and the owners left town even faster.

I have been in a number of Kerasotes and also worked for them, and it is normal to get stuck to the floors during the first set of shows because they don’t clean them. When I worked for them they bought the theatre I was at and I stayed on with them. The opening weekend under Kerasotes they put in a policy of not cleaning the popcorn bins at the end of the night and it went over a month before given permission to clean it out to save on payroll. We were also told by the manager not to bother her if customers complained about sound, picture ,etc and tell them it was being taken care of.

I recently went to a movie at Kerasotes near my sister’s only because there are no other theatres left and they built a new theatre to replace an old one they bought at the same time as the one I started at and it is bigger and more modern but it’s still nothing. The old one was very run down and until last fall there was another theatre my sister always took the kids to but they were forced out of town and that one was cheaper and better quality and able to get the movie running and on the screen unlike at Kerasotes.

Kerasotes is also owned by the mob. I have a brother in law who is a state trooper special investigator who also told me be careful with Kerasotes. Of course he could give details but was able to tell to be careful.

bigred commented about Alameda Theatre cuts corners with non-union workers on Jul 10, 2008 at 1:04 am

I worked with a non union projectionist I would put with the best of them but he was trained by the union. At the time he worked for a family theatre and the union trained him and won’t push to get in family run theatres. A few years later Kerasotes offered to but the theatre he was at and another one 2 blocks away owned by the same family along with one a couple blocks away and both owners told them what they could do with the offers. 2 weeks later the other company’s burned to the ground and the others sold very fast. He stayed on with Kerasotes for many years ( more than he wants to admit) and transfered to a theatre I worked with him at that they bought from General Cinema. The manager that started at the theatre they bought from GC broke so many films in the first month along they had to bring him in to run the booth as a co manager. One of the ways some of those films were broke was because of stepping on the film as the projector was running. As bad as Kerasotes projectionists are there is a theatre near where I live now that is worse.

bigred commented about Manchester Drive-In on Jul 8, 2008 at 11:58 pm

This was open by the company founded/owned by Philip Smith. The company. It was the National Theatre in Boston and initially known as Philip Smith Theatrical Enterprises. By 1937 the company became Midwest Drive In with the opening of a drive in in Cleveland and Detroit. In 1951 it became Smith Management Company.In 1960 it becomes General Drive In with 20 drive ins and 19 indoor theatres. In 1964 the name changed again becoming General Cinema Corporation. In 1992 General Cinema buys Harcourt Brace Jovanovich and in 1993 becomes Harcourt General making Harcourt and General Cinema the major divisions. After the spin off the theatre div became GC Companies with all entertainment divisions and cash. Harcourt remained Harcourt General.

bigred commented about Isis Theatre on Jun 21, 2008 at 11:12 pm

The Hudson Theatres listed as the last owners I don’t know if it’s the same one that had a few theatres in the southern part of the state. If it is then it was part of the Hudson/Kerasotes mob and as bad the Kerasotes mob is I heard Hudson was worse.

When George Kerasotes left to start his own company he had to take his own brothers to court because when they split up the company they took new equipment out of the theatres George was getting and put it in the older ones they were keeping and putting the old equipment in his theatres. After he won the first lawsuit there were more theatres added that had to be divided and they did the same thing. He had to take them back to court and it took years to settle.

I know that when George Kerasotes died it was said that he wasn’t good enough to get in heaven and to evil for hell and he was in limbo somewhere.

bigred commented about Carbondale's Varsity to become live theater venue on Jun 19, 2008 at 12:54 am

I would bet that when Kerasotes closed the theatre they put a no movie clause on it to prevent anyone from going in and giving them compitition. They are known for doing this and will do anything to make sure they are the only theatre. When dealing with Kerasotes you have to ask if it’s worth it. They tend to put restrictions on such as you can’t play movies newer than 6 months, can only play movie a couple days a week and limit how many shows on those days. When it comes to live shows they don’t try to limit you as much but when dealing with Kerasotes you have to expect shady dealings and they have many years practice.

bigred commented about Alpha Cinema 1 & 2 on Jun 13, 2008 at 11:04 pm

There was a gym that went in the old Alpha but that is gone now. It looks like the entire strip is empty but remodeled.

bigred commented about Markland Mall Cinemas on Jun 13, 2008 at 10:47 pm

This theatre is now closed. I think it closed in Nov. The mall refused to renew the lease for Hollywood Studio Theatres and planned on putting a few shops in. They have a MC Sports in part of it. I heard they also wanted the Hobby Lobby to go in there which makes no sense because they are across the street in the old K Mart. I think they also wanted Applebees but I’m not sure if it was them.

Kerasotes got rid of the compition pretty fast. They have many years practice snuffing out anyone that gets in their way. In other towns the put a no movie clause in the deed of closed theatres to prevent anyone from going in. In this case Simon ( mall owners ) are just as shady.I wouldn’t be surprised if Kerasotes and Simon were both involved in forcing Hollywood out.

bigred commented about Booking question on Feb 22, 2008 at 11:21 pm

I see one thing that hasn’t been said yet. There are time the film companies tell you they want a certain film at certain times and they also try to telll you which theatre it goes in.

The times are usually done by hand but it’s not hard to make a form on the computer to figure start and end times with the running times.

There are some chains that have guidelines as far as the spacing of show times but other give the managers complete controll except the times when the studio tells them it must be at certain times and those weren’t very often.

bigred commented about Mann Southtown Theatre on Jan 13, 2008 at 11:13 pm

General Cinema bought the Southtown from Mann in 1970 along with a few other theatres. The justice dept rules they didn’t have enough compition so they had to sell off a couple theatres. General Cinema kept Southtown and Har Mar.

The Mann in Cal is not the same company but it was started by one of the same owners. The brothers had a falling out and split and one went to Cal shortly afterwards. He got back in the business and started another company that mostly is in Cal.

By ther way the Mann Chinese wasn’t built by Mann and they aren’t the current owners but do still operate it.

bigred commented about Speedway Cinema 1 & 2 on Jan 6, 2008 at 11:31 pm

This was open by General Cinema but didn’t close until spring/summer ‘92. The manager transfered to Greenwood Park and later Clearwater when it opened. General Cinema sold the theatre to a local theatre company but the never opened it because they couldn’t work out a lease. It was in the sale that they had a month to make a deal on the lease or forfeit everything. The month got extended to over 6 months but never happened. I can’t remember the companies name but they were the largest independent in Indiana. They were also leasing the Pendleton Pike drive in from GC.

General Cinema ran it as a bargin house the last 3 month or so it was open. After it reverted back to General Cinema they sold it again this time to a company from Michigan but I don’t know how long they ran it. They had planned on adding screens to it shortly after it over.

bigred commented about Regal Coldwater Crossing Stadium 13 on Jan 6, 2008 at 10:46 pm

It was opened by General Cinema and it opened in 1992.

bigred commented about Mann Southtown Theatre on Jan 1, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Shelard Park was a theatre in St.Louis Park owned by General Cinema. It was in an office building and at one time hold the distric office. At the time it was open or part of it General Cinema had Southtown, Burnhaven 8, Centinnial Lakes ( which replaced Southdale 4 ), Mall of America, Har Mar 11, Northtown 4, Brookdale East and Shelard Park 5.

I don’t know if the St. Loius Park location is the same one and just changed the name. I do know that Shelard Park was a 3 plex in 1983 but don’t know when it opened or when the expanded to 5 screens and unit munber was 809.

bigred commented about Mann Southtown Theatre on Dec 27, 2007 at 1:01 am

I found a list of the org. 43 theatres and Shelard Park and Roseville 4 are the only Minnesota theatres listed.

I ’m pretty sure it did play there but not until later. There was a book that was in the office that the org manager from Mann started that had the movie(s) for each week along with the box gross and attendence and it was kept up until a few years after the split. I’m sure I saw it listed in there before but only for a short time.

There was a theatre around where I lived at the time Star Wars came out that would bring it back. They did it again when Empire came out and again the next year or two the brought both back for 3 or 4 weeks. It is possible Southtown did the same or brought it in before Empire started.

bigred commented about College Mall Cinema on Oct 25, 2007 at 10:38 pm

When Kerasotes took over they brought some employees in from the Von Lee and Indiana but don’t think any came from the Village. The employees were told they had to go to College Mall or they had no job. Kerasotes refused to pay the bus fair and a couple of them lived within walking distance of their home theatre and had to take the bus across town.

When the employees were sent to College Mall the DM told them that if they talked to the union they would be fired. After some of the Kerasotes employee got to know the GC employees they revealed the threat they had been given.

bigred commented about Har-Mar 11 Cinemas on Oct 22, 2007 at 2:04 am

The seating cap at the Har Mar 4-11 was 139-175. The smaller theatres were on the left hall. There was a trap door in cinema 8 that came out in the office but the carpet covered the door in the office and the door was behind the screen.

bigred commented about Hollywood Theater on Sep 30, 2007 at 1:04 am

Who owned this theatre? Anyone know when it opened or closed and was it an art house or what kind of theatre?

bigred commented about Regal City North Stadium 14 IMAX & RPX on Sep 25, 2007 at 10:17 pm

I think the Ford City 14 opened in 1988. I know the Mall of America 14 in Bloomington, Mn ( twin cities ) opened in 1992. Ford city was GC’S # in concessions and Mall of America was # 1 in patrons.

The Northbrook 14 and Randhurst 16 both opened in 1996. The Northbrook 14 opened before Randhurst but not by much. It was after that when GC planned on opening more megaplexes nationwide.

I dought that things got better because Kerasotes took over. I have never seen an employee in the theatre at any Kerasotes but have never been to AMC only theatre that were GC but not since AMC took them over. With Kerasotes mob connections I find it hard to believe they would run this one right but not any of their other theatres.

bigred commented about College Mall Cinema on Sep 23, 2007 at 10:47 pm

The end of the mall the theatre was at has been turned into a Dick’s Sporting Goods. The old Target has also been tore down and rebuilt for more retail space and Target took the old JC Penny space.

bigred commented about NY Projectionists: Licensed by fire departments? on Sep 14, 2007 at 12:06 am

I have worked mostly with union projections and have never had problems with them. There were a couple times with lost shows beyond the projectionists control such as a gas leak in the building next door and having to shut down until taken care of.

We also had a couple very poor prints such as a syrup or something sticky all over the film and you have to try to get through the shows until a replacement print get there but you can’t blame the projectionist when it came it that way. The only time I ever had a projectionist late you can’t hold it against him because he had a heart attack. I did work a couple theatres that the contract said they didn’t come in until 15 min. before first show so they might be later than you want but it’s what the contract says.

The biggest problem the unions face is big companies like Kerasotes and AMC are out to crush the union. I worked for Kerasotes after they bought the theatre I worked at from General Cinema and when the union got the news they contacted Kerasotes about staying in the booth and were told to go to hell. The union didn’t take that very well and started protesting. When the union left that last night under GC they tore all film down and disconnected everything. The next day Kerasotes spent most of the day trying to figure it out. The Kerasotes DM had told us we would never have projection problems there because the manager was the best in the company. They had one of the movies upside down and there was only one new show that week and every showing was broke on the opening weekend.

I know that AMC is not for union projectionists. General Cinema only used union projectioist until they brought in a couple AMC exc and started changing the way things were done to the way AMC does it. Ther bigger companies just want to cut cost and not worry about the give up in down so and the smaller companies many of them can’t afford to use the union.

bigred commented about Isis Theatre on Sep 9, 2007 at 10:56 pm

The owner are listed as

1920- Kokomo Grand Theatre
1925- Marion Theatres
1930- Fourth Avenue Amusements
1935- Gregory Enterprises
1940-1969- Alliance Theatre Corperation
1975- Hudson Theatres

It is listed as closing in 1982 but I don’t know if that is correct. I’m told it stood closed a few yaers before being torn down.