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Landmark Theatres to Open Flashy Cinema Complex in Midtown Manhattan

The theater chain will open its second location in New York City next spring.

A rendering of Landmark Theatre's planned location at VIA 57 WEST.

A rendering of Landmark Theatres’ planned location at 57 West.

Landmark Theatres/The Durst Organization

New York’s moviegoing scene is about to get a little more crowded. Landmark Theatres has announced an ambitious new movie theater complex scheduled to open in the spring of 2017 on the far West Side of Manhattan. The eight-screen cinema, event space and private bar at The Durst Organization’s 57 West development will mark the first theater to open in Midtown Manhattan in 15 years and will be able to host post-screening parties, according to a statement from Landmark and Durst.

The theater will be located on 57th street between 11th and 12th Avenues, an area that has seen a significant amount of residential development in recent years.

READ MORE: Metrograph and Criterion Team Up to Bring You Criterion Live! With D.A. Pennebaker

Landmark President and CEO Ted Mundorff called the theater a “game changer” in the statement, while Durst president Jonathan Durst said the neighborhood “was in dire need of a great movie theater.” New York film distributors and exhibitors welcomed the news of additional screens coming to Midtown Manhattan, which lost the Ziegfeld Theatre on West 54th street in January.

The 57 West Building

The 57 West Building

Landmark Theatres/The Durst Organization

“When the leading brand in arthouse exhibition announces eight new screens, it’s a minor cause for optimism, if not celebration,” said Richard Lorber, CEO of independent distributor Kino Lorber. “It seems a canny move to populate with high-end cinemas what will surely be a densely-built neighborhood with affluent, educated individuals who may prefer to have theaters in their immediate far West Side neighborhood rather than walking or traveling to the Film Society of Lincoln Center or Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.”

Bill Thompson, the Senior Vice-President of Theatrical Sales at international arthouse distributor Cohen Media Group agreed that there was a need for a cinema in the rapidly developing neighborhood at the north end of Hell’s Kitchen. “I’m curious as to how it’s going to fare with no subway near it,” he said. “I assume Landmark has done their homework and know what they’re getting into, and there are a lot of new apartment buildings near there, but it’s still very far west.”

Landmark Bar

A rendering of the private bar at Landmark’s forthcoming theater.

Landmark Theatres/The Durst Organization

Others were more optimistic. IFC Center General Manager John Vanco said he was confident that moviegoers in the area would likely be willing to make the trip to the new Landmark. “I think that people will jump through some extra hoops in terms of transportation,” Vanco said. “Even with a bad commercial multiplex experience, you’re already spending an arm and a leg, so I can see how the location may not be the hindrance that it may seem on first blush.”

New York City has bucked the national trend of movie theaters closing for business by adding the Metrograph theater in downtown Manhattan in March and the eagerly anticipated Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn, which is expected to open soon.

Rather than viewing the new Landmark theater as competition for other cinemas, Magnolia Pictures Head of Distribution Neal Block said the new Landmark will fill a crucial void and is a welcome addition to New York City film culture. “With the recent and forthcoming additions of several new theaters downtown and in Brooklyn, it’s great to now have an uptown counterpart,” Block said. “The Upper West Side is still under-screened, and films frequently come off screen when they’re still grossing. This will help alleviate that crush.”

READ MORE: Alamo Drafthouse Comes to Brooklyn: The Long Road Is Almost Over

Landmark’s only existing New York City theater is the Landmark Sunshine, located on East Houston Street in downtown Manhattan. The chain has 56 total theaters in 27 cities across the U.S.

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