Thursday, September 29, 2005

zoning mysteries

Tonight I went out to see the excellent Corpse Bride. Puppetry is great and all, but unlike the delightful flexible drawn cartoons of early Disney or Warner Brothers, most of the characters are frustratingly plastic, stiff and blank looking (i noticed that most of the women puppets had conveniently long skirts so the animators could just glide them across the set at 32 frames a second). The dead bride herself is the only real character of the whole thing - full of emotion and very seductive, with little racy glimpses of her bones showing through her skin. Much better than most female love-interest characters created by script-writers these days, whether puppet or human.

This movie was showing in Times Square, where two vast, vast cineplexes face each other across 42nd street. these theaters are mystifyingly empty. the real estate is worth a gazillion dollars. but this freaking movie theater was about seven stories tall, and each floor had its own huge abandoned central hall with one or two films showing at each end. And since it wasn't opening weekend, each movie had about three audience members going to see it.

On the ground floor was a big abandoned concession stand, and there was an abandoned Applebee's on the open second floor balcony. how do these theaters, which are spangled and velvet and aim to look like palaces, how do they possibly stay in business? i've gone to them on friday nights when you can't walk through times square for all the people, and the attendance doesn't seem anywhere near what it would take to pay for all the space.

any theories?




At 11:05 AM, Blogger EdWonk said...

Good question. The only answer that I can come up with is that there might be something in the tax laws that allow the owners to write-off the theaters' expenses against more profitable properties elsewhere. Are the cinemas registered as historical places, perhaps?


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