AMC Seacourt Cinema in Toms River, NJ


TOMS RIVER — A filmmaker says theaters need to remind moviegoers just how special the theater experience is as the screens at AMC Seacourt 10 go dark next week.

The 10-screen theater on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, which opened as the Loews Theater in May 1990, has no scheduled times on the AMC website after Sunday.

Employees tell customers they are all being moved to Brick Plaza 10, according to Jersey Shore Online, which was first to report the closure.

“AMC regularly evaluates its locations in the United States, as well as opportunities outside of its circuit, and makes theater-by-theater decisions based on what will best strengthen the company going forward,” the spokesperson said. of AMC, Ryan Noonan, in a press release. Asbury ParkPress.

Remaining cinemas in the Toms River area

The closure leaves the Marquee Orchard Cinema on Route 37 as the only cinema in the township. Besides the Brick Plaza 10, there is also the Regal Manahawkin in Stafford Township in Ocean County.

“We are saddened to see the theaters that have been a great source of entertainment in Toms River for many years closing,” Toms River Mayor Mo Hill said in a statement.

“The movie industry has been hit hard by streaming services and the COVID-19 shutdowns have had a terrible impact on the industry.”

New Jersey movie theaters reopen

(Tilton Square Theatre)

Pandemic struggles for NJ movie theaters

The theater industry struggled in 2020 as theaters were first closed by pandemic mandates and then opened under capacity limits.

Movie studios have delayed the release dates of many blockbusters until capacity is closer to normal.

“It’s expensive to release a movie theatrically. The theaters themselves don’t make a lot of money,” Jay Stern, assistant professor and filmmaker at Rider University, told New Jersey 101.5.

Stern said movie theaters are a lot like another business impacted by pandemic restrictions: malls.

“These huge real estate taking up a lot of space that have been very important for a long time but have been supplanted by other mechanisms. Much like public transit once people get off it during the pandemic, it is difficult to get there. come back,” Stern said.

The AMC/IMAX theater in Hamilton (Mercer) is closed. (Image illustration Google Maps/Townsquare Media)

The AMC/IMAX theater in Hamilton (Mercer) is closed. (Image illustration Google Maps/Townsquare Media)

Watch movies at home

People who couldn’t go to the cinema during the pandemic have invested in home equipment like soundbars to improve their viewing experience.

They’ll also find most new releases online within a week of their theatrical release, according to Stern.

“It’s so much cheaper for studios to do it that way without having to pay for an advertising campaign for the theaters themselves. They have a lot more direct access and you can gauge the reaction because people have to buy something,” Stern said. “The middleman has become less important for distributors.”

AMC Seacourt 10 at Toms River

AMC Seacourt 10 at Toms River (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)

The cinema experience can be unique

Movies like “Top Gun: Maverick”, whose release date was delayed, were made to be seen on the big screen.

“You feel like you’re on those planes and hearing that soundtrack is a visceral experience where the movies themselves are made to be best served that way,” Stern said. “Studios really need to make it a point to do that and be willing to take that financial risk.”

Stern said movie theaters can also attract crowds with different types of theater experiences, such as serving meals and alcohol or making the screening more eclectic.

“Maybe they show older movies, a new movie with an older movie. Or some events where it’s fun to be in a crowd with songs and the kind of stuff you can’t do at home,” Stern said.

He said the best way for cinemas to come back from the pandemic is to remind people how special being in a theater can be. He almost cried when he went to the cinema for the first time in over a year after the peak of the pandemic.

“I never expected to feel what it’s like to be in a room when the lights go out, I don’t have my phone, there are no distractions and I can sit and watch a movie for 90 minutes. Cinemas have to do a good job of communicating that feeling or making it a party to make it a special event,” Stern said.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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