AMC Essex Green Closes Monday to Transform Into Dining Cinema

Friday, Aug 06, 2010 4:24pm  |  COMMENTS (14)

amc.JPGAMC Essex Green in West Orange begins a $5-million makeover on Monday that will transform it into New Jersey’s first dine-while-you-watch movie experience, a project that’s aimed at propping up its sagging earnings.
AMC said in a statement today, “Fork & Screen is the name of AMC’s in-theatre dining concept, featuring Fork & Screen, a casual, in-theatre dining and entertainment experience; Cinema Suites, a premium, upscale in-theatre dining and entertainment option; and MacGuffins, a bar and lounge area.”


Two other movie-and-dining theaters are also planned in the state — in Bridgewater Commons and at Menlo Park, AMC’s press department told Baristanet by phone today (Aug. 6).
The theater will close after its last show on Sunday for three months of renovation work, which will see its seating capacity diminished by 60 percent in order to accommodate dining tables, said Susan Borg, West Orange township’s planning director. The theater is slated to reopen early in November.
“It will be very interesting to see how it does,” said Borg. “It’s great that they’re spending $5 million in West Orange, but the truth was that in these years of operating solely as a movie theater here, their profit margins weren’t that great.”
Profit figures from other Fork and Screens had demonstrated to AMC that reducing capacity and introducing dining would help boost profits, Borg said.
AMC said the theater will close after the final showtime on Sunday, Aug. 8. The last scheduled show on Sunday is “Despicable Me” at 10:45 p.m.
“Guests are encouraged to visit AMC East Hanover 12 in East Hanover, NJ,” the company’s statement said.

14 Comments

  1. POSTED BY Tarkus697  |  August 06, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

    Big question is “will there be a liquor license and if so, will they be restricting the age of attendees?”
    I’d be more inclined to patronize a place like that where obnoxious teenagers weren’t talking during a film.

  2. POSTED BY Kit Schackner  |  August 06, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

    Oh great. That theater tends to attract a rowdy bunch who thinks nothing of talking loudly during the movie, on and off their cell phones.
    Now they’ll be even louder, and slurring.

  3. POSTED BY Mrs. Martta123  |  August 06, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

    “I’d be more inclined to patronize a place like that where obnoxious teenagers weren’t talking during a film.”
    I do, Tarkus. It’s a place in West Orange called Home with Netflix and My Air-Popped Popcorn. 🙂

  4. POSTED BY PAZ  |  August 06, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

    You’ll need noise cancellation headphones to mask out all the clinking and drinking.

  5. POSTED BY Nick Danger  |  August 06, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

    Re-branding and turd-polishing cannot hide the fact that the actual cinematic offerings are of astonishing low quality.
    Also, given insult that is concession stand pricing, I wonder what their pricing of actual food will look like.

  6. POSTED BY Pork Roll  |  August 06, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

    “Fork & Screen”, eh?
    I think “Stick a Fork in It” might be more apropos new name for the place.

  7. POSTED BY scottaleh  |  August 06, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

    I’ve loved the movie-and-dining theaters in Bethesda, Bar Harbor, and in Portland, Oregon. But, those are all in single-screen indie moviehouses, where people eat pizza, drink beer, and watch second-run quirky films. To turn a mass-market (and in the case of Essex Green, down-market) multiplex into a movie/restaurant/(bar?) is a different animal. Here’s hoping that the lower capacity and higher cost will draw folks who won’t behave as if they’re at a frat party.

  8. POSTED BY RaeVen  |  August 06, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

    I like the idea of this. That being said, you have to choose the location for such an establishment wisely. I’ve never been to the theater at Essex Green, but to transform the theater at Menlo Park–a mall where teens fill the theater, is just a bad idea.

  9. POSTED BY thebump  |  August 06, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

    This sounds like a pretty bad idea unless they run older movies that don’t really require paying attention. It could be fun to have dinner and watch the Blues Brothers or something like that.
    The most disturbing part of this story is that their last show is “Despicable Me” a kids movie at 10:45 ON A SUNDAY NIGHT.

  10. POSTED BY BloomfieldMama  |  August 07, 2010 @ 8:12 am

    Funny – I was JUST talking to a friend about this. In the Midwest, they have these types of theaters all over. She was saying it’s great for parents when you have a babysitter for a short time and you’re trying to decide whether to do a movie or whether to do dinner instead. This let’s you do both. She said it’s quiet, etc.

  11. POSTED BY JerseyGrrl  |  August 07, 2010 @ 8:22 am

    Well, kudos to AMC for trying something different in this recession. It might be for the younger teen set but that’s where the future lies. I hope it succeeds.

  12. POSTED BY BaristaGem  |  August 07, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

    I predict this will be a huge success!

  13. POSTED BY cammy  |  August 08, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    I went to a place just like this in Houston where my mom lives. I loved it! You definitely have to arrive well in advance of the movie to be seated and eat at a good time for the film.

  14. POSTED BY savetherobots  |  August 16, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

    Technically, Dunellen Theater already offers this. Just sayin.’

Featured Comment

Carbs be damned! There's no reason to buy bread anywhere else. It is a heavenly indulgence.

Tip, Follow, Friend, Subscribe

Links & Information

Baristanet on Flickr

Browse all photos...