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After reading the article, it seems the venue will get remodeled at a much higher cost. To wait any longer would mean even higher construction costs in the future. The sooner things get done, the sooner they can reopen and entertain audiences again and make some $ and boost the local economy.
For whatever reason or no reason, or maybe it was the ‘force’ that prompted me to look at this venue last week and saw a limited engagement of Return of the Jedi in the BTX auditorium. Other venues have it in regular Digital projection. The thing is I’ve forever had a problem getting my Stubbs account reinstated even after using another email addy. I tried and it finally worked again after resetting, paid the $18 or so for the privilege and got my evening ticket. Didn’t realize I paid $15 for Stubbs that lasts until the end of this year. This means I’ll be going to AMC a few more times. It also seems double points are awarded on Wed.
Food fare hasn’t changed and I couldn’t believe that a small pizza and drink is as much as the admission..$40 for a ticket and food? No.
The preshow ads play in mono as if everything is spoken in whisper. The AMC ads are surround and they didn’t play the BTX or Atmos trailer. Even though I’ve seen this film a few times, this digital presentation does not compare to the 70mm or the presentation at AFI even. The transfer had no film artifacts such as the spotting but just looked dull. Soundtrack was barely there then I realized why they didn’t play the Atmos trailer is because the movie didn’t have an Atmos soundtrack. Maybe I’m wrong but I suppose they haven’t updated the film and remixed the soundtrack for Atmos.
The seats are comfy cushy and made me temporarily snooze during the Endor scenes. LOL.
I finally stopped by for a movie under Landmark’s new ownership of the place just shortly after the Oscars. This is the first year I have not seen any of the nominated pictures due to work and not Covid issues. The movies booked are almost carbon copy of that booked at the mall. One would think counter programming would be best to maximize patronage.
The place seems less inviting with the elimination of a live manned box office. You buy your ticket electronically at the kiosk or go upstairs and deal with the person at the concession stand. The 2 people at the stand were friendly enough but offerings weren’t that many. I’m thinking whatever happened to the upgrades BowTie made to expanding the food menu? The equipment must’ve been left behind to make fries, wings and
air fried/convection oven pizza. The upstairs has little tables resembling a cafe area. There is alcohol available. Need a good espresso bar and similar offerings.
The auditorium exteriors have some nice cosmetic upgrades. However, the signage confused me to the point where I went into the wrong auditorium for my movie. I ended up seeing Creed III with a bunch of high school kids. It seems further seating reductions were made to space out this particular auditorium and the comfy cushy BowTie recliners are still there. Screen size and placement look the same and the sound was decent although I didn’t inquire as to format.
The mens restroom was finally modernized to have flushless urinals and decent sinks with hand dryers.
This venue is definitely closed. I was driving by this past Sat night and saw no cars in the lot. Can’t believe its been open 25 years or so. I remember when it opened rereading my post above. Dallas' post above is correct.
To be honest, the 2 BIG theaters would’ve made for a better IMAX conversion then the Waugh Chapel down 301 when it was built new back in 2012 or so.
I scanned through the article and blanked out when I read the part of a 375 seat main theater. LOL! I assume the large screen is untouched. If they make it smaller, forget it. It seems the event films like your Avatars and Top Gun 2s get the people out to the big screens as it should. I’d never pay $20+ to stream a movie at home, unless I’m rich and have a dedicated THX-certified or better cinema auditorium.
The other sources of revenue from food and other entertainment makes economic sense. However, its not going to get me to drive there and pay $$ for pretty looking spoonfuls of food served on bone China and crystal glassware.
I was in the area one weekday and drove by the place in the afternoon. They had only 2 showings at the time. 5 pm ish and 7 pm ish. Didn’t bother going in but there were cars in the lot. With all the money Bow Tie put in over the years including the hot food equipment, I doubt Landmark did much except dust off the place and unlock the doors :) Now, if they put in a good espresso and/or smoothie machine, I’ll mosey on up to the place.
Looking at the online movie listings, they are in competition with the mall theater booking similar films. Am I to assume film clearance is now in the past? Or, are exhibitors playing nice in the movie showing business now?
The Customer Service is horrible. After trying to get someone from corporate to reinstate my Stubbs account exchanging numerous emails, the management here did nothing to help even after promising to email me after assured fixes. I’ll give them kudos for smiling widely like actors in a toothpaste commercial at me with a promise of a fix.
I have seen several movies after they opened a little after the pandemic. Just about all were in the BTX. Their recliners are far better then the AMC Tysons ones (at least the IMAX auditorium..and not busted up..so far). Unfortunately, they are TOO comfortable, I’ve found myself snoozing at the last Jurassic Park Dominion film.
The hot food fare is not as good or varied as Bow Tie was but at least they deliver to the seat.
As I’m looking into why Bow Tie abandoned the MD/VA markets, I came upon this old multiplex I visited years ago. As with my other earlier posts, it has disappeared. After living on the west coast for a brief period, I came back to the area and visited this place with a friend. I saw Star Trek: Generations here..I’m guessing early ‘95 as it was playing in one of the last venues booking it in digital sound. I’m thinking DTS. It was in a tiny auditorium and I do recall the experience was hardly like anything I experienced at a Dolby Digital engagement outside of Spokane WA, or the really huge older Act III multiplexes in Portland OR and even one of the smaller but decently sized (400?), but THX certified smaller auditoriums at the former Manns Chinese. Not quite sure but I think parking was a premium here once upon a time and having to pay(?).
I imagine whomever takes over will benefit from the Bow Tie upgrades aside from whatever is added for the dining part of the business.
Now an AMC. I have this bad feeling things will go down here.
Licorice is opening 1/1 in 70mm but with one measly 6:15 pm 70mm showing. Rest of the shows are DP.As of this writing, no other 70mm showings. Very strange.
Oh wow, Howard. Looking at my post from almost 10 years ago, one of his films must’ve played at the Landmarks here. Looking at Anderson’s bio, it had to have been The Master, which I do recall it playing 70mm and seeing it somewhere and posted it on the site commenting on its strange ending.
Perhaps closer to its Christmas release here, we’ll get maybe more than just the AFI’s 70mm print. On your recommendation, I will catch it probably at the Silver. I’m sure it will play in the historic auditorium.
I haven’t seen many movies this year post pandemic but it has more to do with working a lot rather than just going. Dune I saw on gasp hbogo on my iMac! And, yes, I was drawn into it but I know in a large film format like IMAX or AMC’s Dolby, it would’ve been quite immersive.
Howard, I see an advanced screening this Sat 12/11/21 at the AFI Silver at 7, but its sold out. Unless, the management is strict, I have seen people go into other auditoriums once they get into the complex. And, no, I’m not suggesting anyone do it either, but.. :)
Didn’t see anything at the local Landmarks as of this moment.
It appears they are opening small, in 70mm, and expanding.
I heard over the local news station that the neighborhood board association gave their approval for some kind of liquor permit to Landmark Theaters. However, it should be noted they didn’t apply for one, nor stated any intention to lease the theater. I suppose it was a gesture to entice Landmark to take over the venue.
If Landmark is successful in reopening, I don’t see how economically viable it will be to keep it a single screen. They’ve got to at least twin or triplex the place. They could turn the balcony into another single or twin..or more depending how much of a shoebox theater you want. Sounds depressing.
Parking is difficult, unless your patrons take the Metro. I don’t. Back in the day, you could park in the residential area adjacent to the theater but now they’ve got stickers so that isn’t going to work, either, except for the non-enforcement hours, which I don’t recall off the top of my head.
I drove by here on Monday, 4-19-21, and discovered they are tearing down the building. I took a picture of what I believe was the multiplex entrance and will send it in.
I’m reading they raised the complex today to build a new VA Tech facility. Place has been shut down since the pandemic 3/20. Oh well.
The last movie I saw here was Bridge to Terabitha in 2007, which I’m 99% sure I posted here and is gone (again). It was the only place in the DC/Metro area that was playing it in Digital projection..or maybe it was one of the last DP bookings before going.
As I reflect back on my ‘99 experience with Phantom Menace, I attended with my late friend, who was in a wheel chair. Can’t precisely recall if we took the elevator to the EX house but I know we sat high up, as it was his preference. As I sat a little to the back of him, and this was into my X number of times seeing it, I can still see him move his upper body in tune to the pod racing vehicles as they zoomed to the left.. to the right due to the powerful sound delivery and projection. This is what you call the living the movie experience.
While I hope the pandemic’s hold on moviegoing lessens, I don’t think it will ever go away. You just can’t deliver that kind of experience with movies at home, without the audience oohing, ahhing, clapping and reacting to whats up on that screen.
So Giles, would you say your experience there during the current pandemic, was relatively safe? People social distancing and wearing masks? My thing is being in the auditorium..someone taking off the mask in that enclosed space and coughing/sneezing. They’re reporting aeration and ‘spotting’ are primary Covid transmission methods. I’m reconsidering going to the movies now. LOL!!
Giles, so how many people were at your showing in total? I wanted to visit there when they opened even though I’m in MD. Its just that movie wasn’t of much interest to go all the way to Tysons. I thought of seeing Empire Strikes Back but it was showing in the small theater at the AMC Hoffman.
Did you order any concession fare? Is it a full menu or limited? Just wondering with all the Covid restrictions.
Since I live in an area with high Covid numbers, movies here aren’t opening anytime soon. I thought of visiting the Senator in Baltimore since I haven’t been there since they reopened like what.. 8 years ago?
I’m hoping things open up in time for the James Bond movie. If they have that in IMAX at Tysons, I’ll be there.
With the Seattle Cinerama’s closure, Netflix buying the Egyptian in Hollywood, it would make sense for Amazon (Jeff Bezos) to either buy the Cinerama..maybe the Uptown, too. Both great classic movie houses. They could dismantle the 3-strip cinerama projection and bring it back here, too. :) How cool is that?
Based on what I am able to obtain from different online news sources, it appears Vulcan Inc., owned by the late Paul Allen attempted to renovate the theater (fix wear and tear items and adjust the concession menu..no disclosed tech changes) but stopped in Feb. Now Vulcan puts out a statement that the venue remains closed for the forseeable future and has shut down its arts & entertainment division.
The speculation now is Amazon may be interested in the venue for its own venture into the entertainment business as Netflix has bought the Egyptian in Hollywood. Sounds sensible, if this all turns out to be true.
I can’t imagine anyone dismantling what is in place now, including the 3 strip projection set up. Its just crazy. On the other hand, DC’s Uptown had a 3 strip set up way back when..and it is now currently vacant. Bezos, who has a large presence in DC owning the Washington Post and opening up a campus in Arlington VA, could take over that venue. The 3 strip set up could be transferred there and DC could have show Cinerama. Okay, that last part is my fantasy projection.
This is unfortunate, but not unexpected given today’s pandemic. I suppose another philanthropist needs to step in and take over. Probably would need to be a Hollywood type individual who appreciates the film experience. Page Steven Spielberg and/or George Lucas, please. :) Or both of them. How about programming on during the weekends/week of exclusive screenings of their films? Maybe do the original un-tweaked Star Wars one weekend..CE3K original edition the next? Yeah..yeah.. Disney owns Lucasfilm now. Its just an idea.
A job routed me past this venue a few times. The exterior looks the same although I’m reading this CVS has consulting rooms. Not having gone inside but recalling how the store takes up the venue’s previous lobby area, I’m thinking they probably expanded the place to create the consultation rooms. They could easily have carved up #3, which was probably the smaller of the triplexed screens and is closer to the road.
Also, the next door Safeway has been closed, which is not surprising. It would have been closed after my last post.
Being stuck at home due to the corona virus and feeling a touch nostalgic, I’ve been virtually revisiting some of my favorite venues of the past on CT. I’ve discovered yet again, some of my comments from the site are gone like here.
After buying tickets, one gets the feeling of walking gradually on a decline to the theaters. The restrooms were awful, although not as bad as the ones in the food court.
I believe I started visiting this place on occasion since the late 80s. I know I saw Star Trek VI (1991), with a co-worker in the Grand because it was the best/largest place to see the Star Trek movie in the DC area, and the first one aside from the first one, that wasn’t in 70mm ..but at least it was in THX. I distinctly remember an intro by, presumably, the Manager who was bald and made the often stated but incorrect belief (imho) that the even numbered films are better than the odd ones.
I saw the Eddie Murphy remake of The Nutty Professor (1996) not in the Grand but in one of the auditoriums further down, but in the same row on the left. The memory that sticks in my mind was a sell out with a racially diverse crowd. When they talk about movies being communal and should be experienced with others, this movie is a great example. The club scene with Jada Pinkett Smith’s character and Buddy brought the house down with collective laughter and enjoyment.
LA Confidential (1997) I remember seeing this here because I had a date that went bad. LOL. We enjoyed the movie but couldn’t agree on what to eat. So we ended up just eating separate meals purchased from two different vendors. I paid for both. :P I remember walking around and around the food court undecided what to buy and coming back, I saw my date’s neck stretched, looking for me, as if I had left the place. :)
Can’t remember if I saw anything here in the 00s, prior to its closure. My movie stub collection is partly faded due to the cheap ink used to print them back in the day so that is no help now. :(
As the closure of the theater is sinking in, I’ve become more disappointed in the Post’s article. They are too lazy to go and get a current picture of the place and use one from years ago. How crazy is that? I’m just curious as to how badly the theater was doing for it to close. You’d think if there was a marginal loss, the others in the chain would help offset it.
If they want to twin it, make the upstairs an auditorium to itself. Actually, you could do two. Split the balcony into two screens. Keep the big one downstairs intact. :)
Oh wow. What sad news among everything else that is going on. The Washington Post has an article today on the closing online. I’m surprised the venue was kept open this long to be honest. My last experience there a decade or so was poor. I think I saw Dreamgirls here. Ok, that was 15 years ago.
I suppose when they got rid of their 70mm projectors it sealed its fate as just another theater. The opportunity to offer counter programming with occasional 70mm retrospectives gone. Not that the AFI Silver doesn’t do them, but honestly, its not as immersive as the Uptown.
Maybe we should write Jeff Bezos to buy the property and do a Paul Allen and modernize and restore the Uptown ala Seattle’s Cinerama. :) How cool would that be? Restore 3-strip Cinerama, 70mm, maybe do an IMAX laser install, or Doug Trumbull’s new HFR 3D laser system.
I’d do it but I’m $9,999,999 short of being a multi-millionaire. :( :)