July 21, 2008

The AMC

Updated for 2010

The AMC 24 at the corner of Yonge and Dundas opened in April 2008 and made its premiere as a TIFF venue in September of that year. According to the original TIFF press release, "The AMC Yonge & Dundas will provide almost one third of TIFF’s 34 screens, and offers state-of-the-art digital facilities." The theater is very conveniently located; the Dundas subway station drops you off in the basement of the building.

During its first two years, I've been pretty pleased with the AMC (although, when given the choice, I still prefer the Scotiabank/Paramount). The theaters vary considerably in size, from relatively small to massive auditoriums, but all have stadium seating, good sound and projection, and excellent sight lines (as in all stadium theaters, sitting in the front rows isn't much fun). I've never taken the time to note which particular theaters are large or small, so I'm afraid I don't have any advice in that regard for scheduling.

My favorite thing about the AMC is the food court that's located one floor beneath it. It's especially convenient on four- or five-film days, when free time is at a premium. I can't find a full list of restaurants online but as of last year it had a decent mix of fast-food staples (Subway) and international food stands.

My main complaint about the AMC? Is it just me or does it always feel just a little too warm and humid in there?

Subway Stop: Dundas
Rush & Ticket-Holder Lines: Both lines usually form outside on the sidewalks. Ticket-holder lines are then moved up the escalators and into the AMC lobby as the screening time approaches.

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9 comments:

J Robert said...

The photos at BlogTO make the AMC look just like the 21-screen AMC in Chicago that was built several years ago. If that's the case, that's a good thing. I love that theater. The sightlines are incredible, the sound is always good, and I almost never have projection issues. But if I do, the management fixes things quickly. Since I don't see a lot of blockbusters, I don't see a lot of movies there. But I'm never sorry when something I see is at the AMC.

My only "concern" is that I have to learn a new set of tricks: where to wait, where the rush lines are, where certain seats are better than others, how early I need to be for certain movies and certain times. I'm feeling like an old dog. :)

Thanks for the update, Darren.


Dan Dickinson said...

@Darren: It's actually right across the street from the TTC exits. It's closer than the Varsity is to either Yonge/Bloor station or Bay station, if that helps.

The theatre for the one film I've seen there so far (Iron Man) was amazing. The lobby, etc. is of the same ilk as the Paramount: kitschy, flashy, etc. But who cares? The theatres are primo.

@J Robert: we're all in the same boat (even those of us who live here) so at least you won't be disadvantaged!

There'll be more and more of this in coming years. Once they get the Lightbox finished they'll move more of the films downtown. Ultimately I suspect the Varsity will be the only midtown theatre left.


Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I'm planning on checking out this theatre this week. I wonder what they will do about line ups as well, I wonder if it will be like Scotiabank/Paramount where there actually aren't really any line ups (weekend evenings excluded). But that may just be wishful thinking.


Don Marks said...

If you're cutting things close running from theatre to theatre during the festival, make sure to remember that once you arrive at the AMC, you still have to go up 4-6 escalators to get to your screen (4 to the actual cinema entrance, possibly another 2 if your screen happens to be on the second tier).

Is the industry at the point where most of the films playing the festival have digital copies at the ready? The articles that appeared around the time of the theatre's opening seemed to indicate that it had no film projection capability, that it was a purely digital space.

I was in theatre 17 (!) this weekend and it was similar, if a little bigger, to the Varsity 1-6 rooms. I imagine a number of screens are bigger than that.


James McNally said...

No opinion on the theatre yet, just wanted to welcome back the blog and say I'm hoping we can organize another meetup during this year's festival!


Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Checked out the AMC at Yonge & Dundas last night and I concur with Don, you must add some extra travel time for for getting not only to the complex but to the theatre itself. 4-6 escalators is a lot.

I was in theatre 6 and it was huge. Bigger than the smaller ones at Scotiabank/Paramount. Great sound, nice seats and the diviness of stadium seating.

It also has a big food court on the 2nd floor. I didn't check prices but there was a fair amount of variety. There is also a Jack Astor's, Starbucks and a Futureshop accessible or inside the complex.

From a crowd control I can't imagine them having people wait outside (except maybe Rush/box office). Just getting up to the theatre will take a lot of time so that would be a little zany.

I'll write about it more on my site in the next few days with some pictures.


Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Found out a little more today:

Theatre 6 & 7 are their big theatres at around 420-450 seats (these are quite spacious)

The remaining theatres range from 120-280. I was in one of these today (#21), still quite nice but definitely a lot smaller but that made it cozy.

Where they would put line ups is still a bit of a mystery to me.


Darren said...

Thanks for the reports. I'm especially glad to hear there are two really big rooms at the AMC. Hopefully, some of the films they would normally show in the Varsity 8 will be moved down there.


Don Marks said...

I'd like to add to my comment of a few years back that the complex turns out to not be an entirely digital facility and can indeed show 35mm film.

In the food court below, I can heartily recommend Milos' Pita.