National Amusements

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Credits
Editions by
Prodigy012 and others

Background


National Amusements is an American cinema chain founded in 1936 by Michael Redstone as the Northeast Theater Corporation. They bought out Viacom in 1986 following the founder's son, Sumner Redstone, arriving in the company. They made big purchases, including Paramount Pictures, and merging into CBS. However, in 2005, due to a stagnating stock price (among other factors, such as the infamous Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show). NA decided to split Viacom into two companies. One retaining the Viacom name, owning the bigger companies, while the other part retained its pre-merger name, CBS Corporation, having the lesser companies. Financial troubles in 2008 caused them to sell off lots of stock and closing down locations. They merged Viacom and CBS back together in 2019 to form ViacomCBS (now Paramount Global). Sumner Redstone also died in 2020. The company is still around today, operating around 1,500 locations in different countries, although they focus more on other brands for them.

1st Opening (1986-1989)

Opening: The screen zooms away from an orange block with the letter N engraved, as it moves into clear focus. NATIONAL AMUSEMENTS fades in under the block as they both glimmer, and SNEAK PREVIEW or FEATURE PRESENTATION in an Art Deco font moves downward to the center of the block.

Variant: "NOW SHOWING" fades in as the N zooms away and glimmers. Black bars at the top and bottom cover up NATIONAL AMUSEMENTS and the opening ends early.

Technique: Cel animation produced by Pike Productions.

Music/Sounds: TBA

Availability: Extinct. Seen in Showcase/Multiplex Cinemas at the time.

2nd Opening (1986-1992)

Opening: TBA

Technique: Cel animation produced by Pike Productions.

Music/Sounds: TBA

Availability: See the 1st opening.

3rd Opening (1988)


Opening:

  • Curtain Raiser: Against a black background, the word "Attention" (in white) begins flashing. Stock footage with transparent colored shapes applied plays throughout the rest of the opening, starting with people boarding an airplane. A woman named Sarah, wearing a flight attendant outfit with the MTV logo on her hat, welcomes the audience to the movies. She explains the rules to us, tells us what to do if there's anything wrong with the film or the auditorium, and additional information about NA's theaters. Captions appear throughout the opening: "Sarah", "Safety First" (over boy stopping another), "Be Courteous", "Whoops", "No Smoking", "Enjoy Art", "Fine Gifts", "Special Occasions", and "Coming Attractions". The last caption is accompanied by footage of a train approaching the screen, after which the scene cuts to black.
  • Enjoy the Show: Sarah thanks the audience for coming to the theater before she says to enjoy the show while the text "ENJOY" is seen on the left.

Technique: Live-action, stock footage, and graphics.

Music/Sounds:

  • Curtain Raiser: Two dings are heard when "ATTENTION" flashes, and sounds of a plane. Stock orchestra music plays as everyone gets settled. As Sarah comes on, she says to us, "Hello, ladies and gentlemen! My name is Sarah, and on behalf of the captain and crew, welcome aboard our non-stop feature presentation. To make your trip more pleasurable, let me familiarize you with our safety regulations (tires screech). Please note the emergency exits clearly marked with the illuminated signs. The captain has turned on the "no smoking" sign, also the 'no talking' sign. (several people shushing; alarms) If you experience any discomfort due to picture, sound, turbulence, (building crumbles) please notify a member of the crew, and remember, no smoking! At your leisure, visit the art gallery located at the entrance of our wide-bodied theater. Gift certificates are available in our ticket counter. They make wonderful presents and come in a tasteful, flat package. And for those special occasions, our theater is available for rental. While we wait for clearance from the projection booth, here are some scenes from our coming attractions! (train horn)"
  • Enjoy the Show: "Ladies and gentlemen, we've just received clearance from the projection booth. On behalf of the captain and crew we thank you for flying the silver screens. Enjoy the show."

Availability: See the 1st opening.

4th Opening (1989)

Opening:

  • Previews: On a stage with curtains being shone by a spotlight, a bucket of popcorn shakes and rattles, and suddenly, a man in a tuxedo with an MTV pin springs out of the bucket as it disappears. A National Amusements copyright notice fades out at this point. The man is proud to welcome the viewers to the movies, but is bothered when the audience interrupts him by talking. The man's head turns into a megaphone as he tells the audience to stop talking. Both sides of the megaphone start to catch steam. The man pulls a chain next to him to cool of the steam with a big flow of water. Back to normal, the man talks about additional perks for NA patrons, as he has does some tricks like turning his head into a Picasso-like painting, opening his head setting party goods free, and his body becoming a present as he holds some gift certificates. He turns back to normal and segues into the following previews, but as he finishes, four clones of him appear as the real man tries to find some space to be seen.
  • Showtime: Against the same curtain background, the same man is pleased to introduce the feature presentation. As we zoom out, objects appear around him including a man's monocle, a woman's lips, a monster, and a hammer that hits the monster. More objects appear as the curtain man says more things about the movies in a fast speed. After such, a bright flash of light makes the objects disappear all at once, leaving the man still there. He tells the viewers to enjoy the show, and collapses.

Technique: Clay animation.

Music/Sounds:

  • Previews: A drumroll is heard in the start as the popcorn bucket shakes and rattles. A "boing" sound is heard when the man pops out. As he begins his speech, "Star Parade" by Tony Kinsey plays. He begins speaking with "Welcome to the wonderful world of motion picture magic! Before the picture begins, I'm proud to announce that I.." The music slows to a halt as the audience interrupts him. He tries to resume with "I'm proud to..." He growls as he turns into a megaphone and shouts, "PLEASE, NO TALKING!" A tea kettle sound is heard when smoke emits, and he tries to cool it down. A foghorn sounds as the smoke finally erupts. He says, "And there's no smoking." A sound similar to a toilet flushing plays as the water comes down to turn the man back to normal with a sigh. "Theaterland" by Dick Walter plays as the man finally resumes his speech. He says, "I'm proud to invite you to enjoy... (shing, splash sound) the exhibit in our lobby art gallery! (shwip) The theater is available for rental on special occasions! (noisemaker) And... (thwipping sounds and a pop sound as the man's body becomes a present) our gift certificates make fine presents! (paper rustles) Ladies and gentlemen, before we get to our feature presentation, join us in previewing some of our..." but four more clones of him interrupt by saying "Coming attractions!" together.
  • Showtime: "Star Parade" by Tony Kinsey plays, but stops as the man begins speaking rapid fire. The man says, "And now, ladies and gents! It's showtime! Come with me into the world of celluloid magic! Come enjoy the mystery, the romance (kiss), the horror (monster roar), and the humour! (hammer hits monster, cuckoo clock sound)" He begins speeding up as he says more things, followed by a bright flash of light accompanied by an electric sound. After the dust settles, the curtain man finishes with "(sigh) Enjoy... the show!" A thud is heard when he collapses. If one slows the opening down, he says during the fast talk, "The stars, the music, the effects, the stunts, the credits, the dancing girls, the magic!"

Availability: See the 1st opening.

5th Opening (1989-1995)

Opening: On a black background, many triangular shapes of different sizes rotate and slide in. The camera pans over them as they settle into a backwards, segmented "N", with the negative space being occupied by corresponding shapes. The camera then pans up to reveal the logo again, but in gold and facing forwards. Below it is "NATIONAL AMUSEMENTS" stacked while "FEATURE PRESENTATION" fades in below.

Variant: One that has "Coming Attractions" exists.

Technique: CGI animation.

Music/Sounds: A proud synth fanfare.

Availability: See the 1st opening.

6th Opening (1992-1995)

Opening: The screen fades to a grey background consisting of three "N" logos side by side. A series of rectangular shapes float down to form a video screen which displays "Welcome to the Movies". The screen dissolves and the shapes begin spinning until forming a second screen which reads "Visit Our Refreshment Center". This pattern continues across several screens ("Perfect Together" with popcorn and a Pepsi displayed, "Theater Rentals Available", "Meetings, Birthdays, and Private Screenings", "Please, No Talking", "No Smoking", "Gift Certificates Available") Finally, the shapes fly out to reveal the grey wall, which now reads "Enjoy The Show!" This text flies out and the final text "Coming Attractions" flies in, accompanied by a copyright notice and producer credit (that being Videocraft Inc. of Boston), before the trailer fades out.

Technique: CGI animation by the aforementioned company.

Music/Sounds: A dreamy synth theme which transitions into a more bombastic fanfare and returns to the former at the end.

Availability: See the 1st opening.

7th Opening (Celebration Curtain Raiser/Coming Attractions) (1994)

Opening: An iris-in reveals a coin with a National Amusements logo on it. It flips into the first in an array of coin projectors, and then a film begins on each of them. In the second projector's viewing lens, a man wears an old theater uniform in front of some curtains. The curtains reveal an auditorium interior with old black and white films like Betty Boop playing all around. The man's outfit turns into a tuxedo as he stands on a walkway. A plane appears in the top right corner. On one of the screens, a film changes to "No Talking Please" in a period style. The carpet goes through the 'O' in 'NO' as it turns 3D. Refreshments like hot dogs, and popcorn bags and Pepsi cups from the previous opening, dance on a musical stage with "Visit Our Refreshment Center" above. The man wears another theater uniform as he eats some popcorn and watches from the walkway. A Navy bomber appears and a propeller wipe transitions to a city alleyway at night, with a "No Smoking" sign to the right. Posters of fictional detective films smoke their cigarettes. The man, now in a detective outfit, wanders through and wafts the smoke away, and eventually finds a woman in a poster smoking her cigarette. She is startled by the man and accidentally drops her cigar in a trash can, glaring at her. The previous image is reflected into a side mirror of a 50s car at a drive-in theater. An octopus comes out of the screen and scares the audience, holding NA gift certificates as UFOs from space abduct them. A screen in space shows the man on a motorcycle in a motorcycle outfit. The scene gains colors and the man disappears. Now in vibrant colors, the man, in a hippie outfit, observes the colorful atmosphere from the walkway. The words "LOBBY ART GALLERY" appear on an arch. The walkway turns into a disco dance floor. The man dances as disco balls spin and balloons fly in a reference to Saturday Night Fever. From an aerial view, the lights read "RENT OUR THEATER", and a shark swims to the left. The disco ball morphs into Saturn in space with the walkway as its rings; the man is in an astronaut suit. Trash is collected by a spacecraft with the back of it reading "PLEASE DEPOSIT TRASH". The stars in space above the man (whose astronaut suit turns into a red tuxedo) turn into the bottom of a National Amusements marquee. A ticker reading "CELEBRATING OVER 100 YEARS" moves to the left. The man thanks us for celebrating 100 years of movies, and tells us to enjoy the show.

The screen zooms away from the NA logo until the marquee is largely visible. The ticker above displays "COMING ATTRACTIONS".

Technique: An elaborate CG sequence, with a live-action man chroma-keyed in.

Music/Sounds: The man says "Welcome to a National Amusements cinema, celebrating over 100 years of movies. Let's take the red carpet tour through movie history. (plane zip, audience laughing) Now remember, folks, during the show, no talking, please. (sniffs) Mmm, smells like popcorn." Tap dancing sounds are heard later. "Now that's one swell refreshment center!" After a plane sound and police sirens, the man tells the woman, "Sorry, sweetheart. Not in this place." The octopus roars at the audience leaving them screaming, and UFOs zap the certificates. The man says "Man, like everyone digs our gift certificates!" and zips off in his motorcycle. After, he continues with, "(in a hippie impression) Great vibes at the art gallery in our lobby! (cheering crowd) Wanna party? Rent our theater! (echo-y voice) We hate to make this a big deal, but please deposit your trash in the container. (normal, yet enthusiastic voice) Thank you for helping us celebrate over 100 years of movies! Enjoy the show!" The music changes throughout. A majestic fanfare plays during the "coming attractions" sequence.

Availability: See the 1st opening.

8th Opening (Neon Curtain Raiser/Coming Attractions) (1995-2000)

Opening: We fade into a Neon-Mosaic series of lights resembling the lobby of a movie theater. The shapes zoom back until a sign reading "WELCOME TO THE SHOW" flies upward and centers itself. A series of red lights glow from the edges of the sign before we shift to a series of comic bubbles resembling noisy moviegoers. A second sign reading "No Talking Please" flies in from the left and silences the bubbles which then fade away. We then fade-via a ripple effect-to a group of cigarettes. A series of "No" signs appears and begins surrounding the cigarettes, these then pass through a neon-yellow "Smoking" text after which a red "N" is attached to each of them-the last of which floats upward to complete the sign. We pan down to a third sign reading "Visit Our Refreshment Center", underneath which lie two straight lines of of Pepsi cups and popcorn bags (from the 8th and 9th openings). The Popcorn bags then float down until reaching a line of trash cans and insert themselves. Across the cans we see the text "Please Deposit Trash". We again pan down to see a group of gift certificates floating across the screen. The word "Available" slides across the scene just underneath the certificates. The screen moves to the top right with seven paintings behind "Visit the ART GALLERY Lobby". This scene appears on a yellow balloon which moves away, revealing several balloons, party hats and party goods behind "Rent our Theater". The screen pans to the top rights and starts to zoom out until a series of segmented lines form a turquoise "N" logo and the neon area fades away, with the words "National Amusements" forming a ring around the "N". The letters spin around before changing to "Enjoy The Show". The completed logo holds for several seconds before fading out.

The screen fades to an "N" logo centered on a dome-like object, before panning up to a circular marquee at the top of the city. Several orange dots fly off the marquee and form the words "Coming Attractions" in the sky. Once formed, lines scroll inside the words. The trailer again holds for a few seconds before fading out.

Variants:

  • Version #3 (1998): The white section of the "WELCOME TO THE SHOW" marquee is black, and the Pepsi cups and popcorn bags were changed. The gift certificates are redesigned, the art gallery and rental portions are cut off, and at the end of the main bumper, when the text says "ENJOY THE SHOW", the logo and dots turn purple or maroon. Light glows have been added throughout both segments, and spotlights surround "COMING ATTRACTIONS" when it is formed.
  • A Spanish version was produced for NA's Cine Showcase theaters in Chile and Argentina.

Technique: Top-notch CGI effects for the time.

Music/Sounds: Depends on the variant:

  • 1995-1998: A Seinfeld-esque synth theme with comedic effects. The whole thing ends in a rather epic way at the end of it.
  • 1998-2000: A Madonna-like generic synth theme.

Availability: See the 1st opening.

9th Opening (AAAHH!!! Real Monsters Curtain Raiser) (November 1995-May 1996)

Opening: A screen reads "Nickelodeon PRESENTS: AAAHH!!! Real Monsters: A PRODUCTION OF Klasky Csupo Inc." The screen fades to black and to a grey screen displaying "Today's Lesson: Theater Etiquette". Afterwards, it fades to the city at night, where inside a large pile at the city dump, resides the Monster Academy.

Gromble: "Welcome, my putrid pupils! It's time for tonight's performance! Who's monster enough to show us a scare? (to Krumm) YOU'RE NEXT!"

Krumm runs to an electrical chair, which places his eyes in his mouth, and projects from his eyes onto a screen, a fictional National Amusements theater. Ickis releases a smoke-like vapour, making some of the monsters cough, and one of them shouts at Ickis. A yellow screen displaying "No Smoking Please!" appears, then it's revealed Ickis was only drinking tea. Another monster grabs a tray of refreshments as the two between him eat some little monsters that jump out of the popcorn. The middle monster eats the popcorn and drink while the right monster eats the tray. A grey screen displays "Visit our Refreshment Center". On the Academy's screen, Krumm hides behind a ticket booth as human patrons order their tickets, and a man drops a gift certificate. Krump picks up the certificate, reading "NATIONAL AMUSEMENTS GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE", laughs and eats it. In the theater, a boy and his family go to their art gallery. The boy sees Oblina in a row of screaming man sculptures and says "I want that one!" A light purple screen displays "Visit our Lobby ART GALLERY!" The family takes Oblina into the auditorium, to Ickis' shock. Inside the auditorium, the father, boy, and Oblina share popcorn, but when the boy notices Oblina, she hisses at him, and Krumm pops out of another popcorn bucket, causing panic. Ickis hides under the auditorium's screen, turns angry, and grows to the size of the screen, resulting in more fright. Back at the Monster Academy, Gromble smiles as his students cheer loudly. He yells at them "QUIET!!!" so loudly, it shakes both the Academy, and a yellow screen displaying "NO TALKING, PLEASE." Outside the Academy, the dump pile falls apart. A cinder block on Gromble's head breaks in half and he faints. A red screen displays "Our Theater is Available for Rental." A weary Gromble tells the viewers, "And now, the coming attractions", and faints again.

Trivia: A National Amusements policy trailer featuring The Ren & Stimpy Show was storyboarded but not completed, possibly due to Nickelodeon wanting to promote the newer AAAHH!!! Real Monsters instead.

Technique: Cel animation produced by Klasky Csupo, outsourced to Anivision in South Korea.

Music/Sounds: Music by the series' composer Drew Neumann, along with sound effects throughout.

Availability: See the 1st opening.

10th Opening (1999-2010)

National Amusements 2000s.png

Logo: On a black background, a very bright light shines, then dims down, revealing a cloudy red/blue swirl background. A dot is seen at the center of the screen. More dots begin to appear as the camera begins to rotate to the right. The dots illuminate like spotlights and begin to take on the form of a cinema screen-like shape. The screen moves completely offscreen as the lights form the "N" logo from before, this time in a gold color. "NATIONAL AMUSEMENTS" and "FEATURE PRESENTATION" appear below in the same color.

Technique: Rather basic CGI effects.

Music/Sounds: Synth effects at the beginning, following a loud, ascending piano score accompanied by the sound of a filmreel, leading to a majestic orchestral finish.

Availability: Extinct in theaters. This logo was also only seen for the longest time from a bootleg camrip of Step Up 2: The Streets.

Final Note: National Amusements still exists, but their theater output is focused on their Showcase brand.

Miscellaneous logos

Exit Policy (1980-1990s)

Logo: An image of a theater auditorium appears, with two images of a woman on the theater's screen. "EXIT" signs light up to the left and right of the screen.

Variants:

  • 1986: The image is changed. A National Amusements "N" symbol is on the screen, and the EXIT signs light up one at a time.
  • 1989: The image's lighting is changed.
  • 1992: The image is changed again; an EXIT sign on the right is lit up.

Technique: Limited motion-controlled animation. The 1992 version has no movement.

Music/Sounds:

  • 1980-86: "For your convenience when leaving the theater we suggest you use the exits at the front of the auditorium on either side of the screen. This will allow you easier access to your cars."
  • 1986-1990s: "Ladies and gentlemen, please notice that exits are conveniently located at the front and rear of this auditorium. When leaving the theater we suggest that the exit at the front of the auditorium will allow you easier access to the parking areas. Thank you."
  • 1992: "Ladies and gentlemen, in the event of an emergency please walk to the nearest exit. Exits are located to the right of the screen and through the auditorium entranceway. Thank you."

Availability: Extinct.

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