MANHATTAN: Bedbug Infestation Chases Maze Runner Premiere Out Of Nation’s Busiest Movie Theater

Times Square’s AMC Empire 25, which bills itself as the nation’s busiest movie theater, is once again infested with bedbugs, forcing the glitzy premiere of Maze Runner to relocate across the street. More from the AV Club:

In what was possibly a failed marketing stunt or an act of corporate sabotage, the New York City premiere of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials was forced to change theaters due to reports of bedbugs. The number of bedbug incidents grew over the last week, with moviegoers sharing photos of their bites online. The AMC Empire 25 theater had a bedbug issue, along with most of the rest of New York, back in 2010. AMC has issued a press release about the possible infestation as well as the proactive measures it’s taking. ““At AMC, we take aggressive, proactive steps, including regular inspections and inspections any time a bed bug is suspected. If any inspection comes back positive, the affected area is treated the same day by a third-party expert pest control company. Out of an abundance of caution, increased proactive inspections are continuing at this location.”

The 2010 infestation caused the closure of the Empire 25 for several days. At this writing the theater remains open for business. And biting.

  • another_steve

    I’m a bit surprised there are still movie theaters, actually.

    Weren’t people predicting their demise 30 years ago or so — with the advent of the Computer Age?

    • and semi automatic weapons with high capacity magazines.

    • Irish856

      the same people that predicted the demise of theaters also told us that 30 years ago we would work in a paperless office… LOL
      We have more paper now then ever.

      • another_steve

        The U.S. Federal Government has been moving toward paperless for some time now. The agency I was involved with has more or less eliminated the paper memo. Its operating manuals, rules, and regulations are all online now. Employees no longer have binder upon binder of paper at their desks.

    • ElenorRigby

      Theaters do still exist and they’ve added gimmicks like 3D and 4D and “adult screenings with bottle service,” but movies now have to make all their theatrical money in the first 2-3 weeks unless they’re run-away hits. Movies that are still making much money after that initial 21-day window are rare. Movies now make it to home video in under three months and some run simultaneously in theaters and home streaming. I think we’ll see more and more top-name movies go straight to home video. Movies like The Transporter and Resident Evil make virtually all of their money on home video. They’ll have a very short/limited theatrical run, but they rush them to home video within a month.

      • Kissmagrits

        Theater owners haven’t addressed dozens of oblivious audience members yakking on their cellphones. Even worse are their aggressively loud sound systems make my ears ring.

        Nine to twelve dollars is a lot of money for the privilege of being insulted and assaulted in a multiplex. In the fifties, television almost clobbered movies, but now the theater owners are letting their audiences do it for them.

        • bkmn

          $9 to 12 per person, plus overpriced beverages, snacks and popcorn (which we are all tiring of). Add in the cell phone rudeness, the idiots texting and getting calls in the middle of movies.

        • ElenorRigby

          in SF a movie costs $15. Plus $10 for parking and about $10 for a small popcorn and a bottle of water. We don’t have a problem with gun-toting lunatics shooting people… yet… so there’s that.

      • Blake Mason

        I am surprised how soon they show up on Netflix as well.

      • BobSF_94117


        • ElenorRigby

          4D is this rather weird “immersive” thing where you watch a 3D movie and your seat shakes and bumps and vibrates along with the action sequences of the movie. I got sea sick. Glad I wasn’t holding a drink.

          • BobSF_94117

            Oh, so 3D with jiggling. Thx.

          • ElenorRigby

            it’s more than just that. They blow wind at you, you can smell things, they spray mist at you, they can apparently do bubbles and there’s a thing that shakes between your legs. It’s honestly kind of annoying.

          • BobSF_94117

            It sounds a bit like sitting next to a gropey, flatulent person with the flu.


          • William

            I’ve read about some movies being filmed at 120 frames per second. It is supposed to fool the brain into a virtual reality like state. Other people just vomit.

  • Now I can’t stop itching.

    • gaymex

      me too.

    • iamvince

      Itching? You mean scratching?

  • I think most movie theaters are going to die out in the next 10 years… Too many people are getting more and more big screen televisions and more home entertainment systems, and faster Internet so they can download digital versions of the movies, and even TV shows are all at peoples fingertips nowadays…The only type of theater I see surviving are the IMAX types because you can go to an IMAX theater and see things in a way that you can never see in your own home – plus theaters also have 3-D and that hasn’t done very well in the home market, but Blu-ray 3-D is capable and probably will take off or get redefined something better in the next decade. In the end I think the IMAX theaters will be the only one standing

    • another_steve

      I would have thought that market economics would have put movie theaters out of business by now.

      Think of the price difference between two people going to a movie theater vs. watching a movie available on their cable TV subscription or watching via Netflix.

    • Kissmagrits

      I’m still waiting for Huxley’s “Brave New World” and his movie enhancement called “Feelies”. Sight, sound, taste, touch – and a whole lot safer than hiring an escort.

      • Octavio

        Are you old enough to have seen Polyester in theatres when it was first released? I still have the original scratch’n sniff card. In the 1959 they rigged my little home town theatre with vibrating clappers under the seats (about 50 seats in a 500 seat theatre) so 50 folks would have the extra experience of a bit of a surprise when watching The Tingler. There was a “nurse” who made you sign a waiver before you could go into the theatre and watch the movie. Imagine bunches of girls wearing lots of crinolines screaming and fainting so their boyfriends could rescue and feel them up. These things did happen. Unfortunately, not enough. 🙂

        • Kissmagrits

          I was only fourteen when I saw Rock Hudson’s 3D western called “Gun Fury”. A rattlesnake struck at the audience which caused a collective staining of undergarments. And there was the original 3D “House of Wax” with burning timbers falling on me. Mom said I dreamed about it for weeks.
          And do you remember “SenseSurround” and feeling the rumbling earth in “Earth Quake”? My favorite film of the fifties though, was a totally immersive “Windjammer” in three projector Cinerama and six channel sound.

          Finally, “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Days of Heaven” first run in 70 millimeter and now they’re looking better than ever in Blu-ray 1080P and DTS surround sound.

          Never did Scratch n’ Sniff, but John Waters is still one of my favorite subversives on the whole planet.

          • Octavio

            I remember seeing Windjammer. It actually made me feel sea sick. Oy!

          • Kissmagrits

            Me, too. But, it was great fun. It would be sixty years
            since I saw it in Seattle.
            Remember the Boston Pops and Fiedler at the docks? And the basket race down the grassy hillside? Erp!

          • stevenj

            I noticed that (a restored) Lawrence of Arabia is offered on Netflix streaming so watched the first half last night. Had seen it when it first came out (1962) in a 70mm reserved seat engagement and a restored 70mm version in the 90’s, both on large screens with state of the art (for the time) sound. The streaming version on Netflix was visually glorious (have a plasma tv and was wearing good headphones for the sound) but nothing compares to seeing it the way it was intended to be shown on a theater screen. I feel lucky living 15 min away from the Castro Theater – the largest remaining single screen left in SF – they have upgraded their sound system over the years and have 70mm/35mm/3D and digital projection. Still draws the crowds too – and a lot of younger theater goers are experiencing some of these films for the first time in a classic movie palace. Fortunately there don’t seem to be a lot of cell phone/texting problems there.

          • Jeffg166

            SenseSurround was a joke. A bus hitting a bump in front of the theater made the place shake more. Earth Quake is only worth watching for the incredible bad acting. Loren Greene as Ava Gardner’s father was a hoot.

          • Dale

            Also a hoot was Victoria Principal’s massive afro. I remember noting that as she was running out of that movie theater she didn’t have to worry about falling debris!

          • Jeffg166

            That was one seriously bad movie. They don’t make them like that any more.

          • Sporkfighter
          • Kissmagrits

            Weren’t Green and Gardner about the same age?
            Let’s see – – Green was a 1915 and Gardner a 1922 which would make Green a seven year old who wasn’t shooting blanks.

            And Marjoe Gortner was fresh off the Jeebus circuit when
            he tried acting. Since both endeavors require acting – no big stretch there. (See 1972 documentary “Marjoe” – splendid.)

    • William

      Blu-ray was outdated technology before the first player was sold. The disc is going by the wayside. None of the major manufacturers even bothered to make Blu-ray recorders for the US market. Panasonic sells some very nice Blu-ray recorders in the rest of the world for the DVR market. Some even contain hard drives. The tuners in these devices will not pick up US broadcast channels. The American market is quickly moving away from consumers owning content and has focused on video on demand,through a subscription service.

  • Macbill

    If only bedbugs were anti-gay: we wouldn’t get them.

    • DaddyRay

      Bedbugs practice equality

    • CB

      They’re not afeered of our blud.

  • Captain Jack


    • another_steve

      Yes, but what fun is that.. if you can’t talk on the phone in the middle of the movie and disturb the people sitting near you?

      • bkmn

        You missed another favorite of mine – I almost always wind up with two or more teenage girls in the row behind me how constantly kick my seat. Have not been to a movie theater in over 20 years and probably never will go back.

        • another_steve

          Yes. The Seat-Kickers.

          I am opposed to the death penalty, with two exceptions: Seat-Kickers, and people who text while driving.

      • Captain Jack


      • EdmondWherever

        Oh, my hubby can still do that, right in our living room. About 10 seconds after pressing “play”.

  • TheManicMechanic

    If this theater is anything like the glitzy AMC cinema near me, that “At AMC, we take aggressive, proactive steps, including regular inspections…” when it comes to clean auditoriums and bathrooms doesn’t seem to be very regular or especially aggressive. The bathrooms are high holy messes, and the rest is not far behind. The other major cinema isn’t far behind in its untidy-ness. This is another reason I rarely head to the cinema these days.

    • Sporkfighter

      If you visit San Diego, try the Hillcrest Landmark. It’s the movie theater for people who like movies. There’s gotta be something similar in most big towns.

  • stevenj

    I wonder how well the current release “Cooties” is doing at the Empire 25.

  • Anastasia Beaverhousen

    Damn, thanks for this. I just got back from NY.

    • Guess?

      Have you noticed any little red welts around your face and arms?

  • GanymedeRenard

    That’s why I avoid Times Square in general, and this AMC theatre in particular, as I would avoid the plague. It’s suffocating and dizziness-inducing.

    • Octavio

      If you have enemies planning to visit NYC, recommend they stay at any of the downtown Marriotts. They continue to have problems on various floors. 🙂

      • Eebadee-eebadee-thatsallfolks

        I’ve actually managed to avoid New York City entirely since 1980 except for layovers at JFK and Newark and one time in 1999 that I had to go scope out a future project site. I know lots of people love it but I have never liked it at all.

        • Octavio

          We need to become BBFFSSS’s — or whatever. 🙂

      • GanymedeRenard

        Ha! Thanks for the info! But if I had enemies, I really doubt they’d be able to afford any of those hotels. Except, of course, if by enemies you mean the Poop, the Baptists, the Mormons, and so forth… In which case, they’d choose the Waldorf Astoria or the Plaza.

  • Michael McReavy

    Another sign of End of Times? Quick, somebody ask Pat Robertson.

  • charliebkk

    This is not the kind of film I would go to see, with or without bedbugs, but my sweetheart went to see it last night here in Bangkok. I just showed this story to him and he said “American is really getting bad isn’t it?” I had no reply.

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  • MBear

    with shootings & bedbugs, why would anyone go to a movie in America?