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Film > Ghostbusters > Filming Locations > New York -- Times Square
Times Square

George M. Cohan Statue at Times Square
W. 46th Street & 7th Ave. & Broadway
* Google Maps street view

WienerWald (now McDonald's)
1560 Broadway
* Google Maps street view

Movieland Theater
1567 Broadway
* Google street view (Radio Shack in 2014)
* Google 360 Photo (Sanrio Store in 2016)
[ This location was identified by Nick Carr and Matthew Jordan ]

History - Movieland Theater - written by Bryan Krefft for Cinema Treasures
The Central Theatre was built for the Shuberts in 1918 by Herbert J. Krapp, at the corner of Broadway and W. 47th Street, across from the Palace Theatre in Times Square. Seating just over 1,100, the Central Theatre was designed in an elegant French Renaissance style, and contained ornate plasterwork, gilded columns, and paintings on the auditorium walls depicting the court of Louis XVI.

Its auditorium was topped by an oval ceiling cove, and imported European chandeliers hung from the ceiling. It contained a balcony, boxes and orchestra pit. However, its proscenium arch wasn’t very wide, and its stage, fairly small compared to most other Broadway stages.

Until 1928, with the exception of one year (1921) when Universal leased the Central Theatre for screening movies, the theater was a legitimate house. From 1928 until 1932, it showed movies only. In 1932, live shows made a comeback, but within a year, the Central Theatre began to feature burlesque acts. For several months in 1934, the theater went by the name the Columbia Theatre, however, by mid-1934, movies were back, and so was the name the Central Theatre.

Briefly in 1942, the Central Theatre once again attempted a return to "all-girl revues", but very quickly returned to second-run films. It was renamed the Gotham Theatre in 1944, and the theater remained a movie house until it was closed in 1951 and remodeled inside. It reopened as the Holiday Theatre, and offered live stage revues, which lasted until 1955, when legitimate theater returned for the first time since the late-1920’s.

On December 26, 1957, now known as the Odeon, it was back to showing movies under the ownership of the British owned Odeon Theatres Ltd., when they premiered "Pursuit of the Graf Spee" (original British title "Battle of the River Plate"). In mid-1959, the Odeon became the Forum, and a decade later, the Forum 47th Street. In October 1980 it was renamed Movieland, a name it retained until March 1989 when it was closed because the Shubert family sold the theater. The lobby was turned into the Roxy Delicatessen, while the auditorium became a disco, called Dance USA. The auditorium was demolished around 2005 to make way for the W Hotel (whose entrance is on 47th Street). The Roxy Delicatessen later became a Radio Shack.

Fun Facts
  • For more information, check out my Shot On Site articles about the WienerWald shot and the Movieland Theater shot.
  • Dana sends a signal to Louis, who hears it in Times Square. This is the weirdest shot - it's like they went out of their way to hide the fact that it's Times Square. I only recognized it for the TCKT booth (boy has that changed) and the George M. Cohan statue. Odd that they would shoot in the heart of Manhattan and not show the surrounding area - all of the famous billboards and stuff. Methinks they got this shot on the fly. (text written by Nick Carr)
  • George M. Cohan was a famous figure in the New York City theater scene just after the turn of the century. Little Johnny Jones, his first big Broadway hit introduced his songs "Give My Regards To Broadway" and "The Yankee Doodle Boy". His statue was errected in 1959 in recognition of musical contributions to the war effort through his songs "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "Over There." The statue sits on Duffy Square, which is the northern triangle of Times Square, located between 45th and 47th Streets, Broadway and Seventh Avenue.
  • George M. Cohan's 1932 film, The Phantom President, was unofficially remade in 1993 as Dave, which was directed by Ivan Reitman and featured a scene shot in the Biltmore Hotel.
  • Right across the street from the Cohan statue was WienerWald Austrian Restaurant (it's now McDonald's). Next door was the Embassy Theater (aka Embassy 1 Theater), which was showing the Dan Aykroyd/Eddie Murphy hit "Trading Places" when Ghostbusters was filmed there in late 1983 (notice the bottom of "Places" on the marquee in the Ghostbusters shot). The Embassy closed in 1997, and was renovated and reopened in 1998 as the Times Square Visitor Center.
  • The ending of Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" music video was filmed in Times Square, with Ray and all four ghostbusters dancing down the street at the tip of the island at W. 44th St. & 7th Ave. & Broadway.
  • Parts of Bobby Brown's "On Our Own" music video was also filmed in Times Square. The McDonald's (which was WienerWald in Ghostbusters) can be seen in the background, on the right, in one shot of the music video. It's the shot of the guy in the blue striped shirt checking his watch while video of Bobby and the dancers plays on a billboard in the far background. The Sbarro on the corner in 1989 (which has since moved exactly one block up the road) is also prominently seen in one billboard shot; with the McDonald's logo reflected in its storefront next door.

Movie Shots
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Real World Photos
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Miscellaneous

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Vintage WienerWald New York Menu (1960s)
(from my personal collection - the story behind the menu)

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Batman: "A Death Worse Than Fate" (February 10, 1966, Season 1)
Through the magic of rear-projection photography, Batman and Robin drive down Broadway through Times Square, though it's supposed to be the streets of Gotham City. The pass by the Forum theatre (left side of frame) which is advertising the 1961 film The Sky Above, The Mud Below on its marquee. This theater would later become Movieland when the Ghostbusters II theater ghost scene was filmed there. Next door is the Automat that would later become Burger King in the 1980s (it's a huge souvenir shop as of 2015). On the right side of the screen you can see the George M. Cohan statue that Louis wandered by in Ghostbusters. (High-resolution Blu-ray frame grabs done by me, Paul Rudoff)

You can buy the episode in the following formats: Season 1 DVD, Complete Series DVD, Complete Series Blu-ray, Complete Series Blu-ray Limited Edition.

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The Gumball Rally (1976)
As the race begins in New York City, the drivers go through Times Square. In one shot, we see the Forum Theater on the right with "JAWS" prominently displayed on its marquee, and Burger King right next to it. The Forum would later become Movieland when the Ghostbusters II theater ghost scene was filmed there, through Burger King was still in operation over a decade later.

The movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD (with Cannonball Run II). The 1920x1080 HD Trailer can be viewed on YouTube or purchased on the Drive-In Delirium: With A Vengeance Blu-ray (reviewed here)

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Splash (1984)
When Allan (Tom Hanks) and Madison (Darryl Hannah) are panhandling in Times Square, we see Wienerwald in the background.

The movie is available on 20th Anniversary DVD and Amazon Instant Video. (Frame grab by Matthew Jordan.)

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Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
After spending much of the film terrorizing teenagers on a boat, immortal serial killer Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) and the remaining teenagers finally make it to Manhattan. Rennie (Jensen Daggett) and Sean (Scott Reeves) narrowly escape Jason's clutches in the subway, and come out into the hustle and bustle of Times Square. All is not safe, however, as Jason follows suit and is none too pleased that Rennie and Sean are still alive.

The subway entrance in the middle of Times Square that the teens come out of doesn't exist. It's a prop placed there by the film crew. You'll notice that it's right over some metal grating. In the beautiful sweeping crane shot of Times Square that opens the scene, you can see the McDonald's that used to be WienerWald and the George M. Cohan statue that Louis wandered past in Ghostbusters, while on the other side of the street you can see the Movieland theater (hidden in the background to the right of the Burger King) that the ghost came out of in Ghostbusters II. In the reverse angle shot of the teens walking away, you see on the left a little bit of the decorative construction from One Broadway Place, which was seen in the background on the left of the Ghostbusters II shot. You see more of the decorative construction sign at the very end of the film when they reunite with the dog.

The movie is available on Blu-ray in the 8-Movie Collection and the out-of-print The Complete Collection; and on DVD in both a regular edition with just the movie (alt url) and a Deluxe Edition with lots of bonus features (alt url).

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Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Billy (Zach Galligan) and Kate (Phoebe Cates) are walking through Times Square, and not only do they pass by the George M. Cohan statue, but you can see the Movieland Theater in the background (advertising the fictional "Howling XI" on its marquee - as of 1990 there were only 5 films in the series; and as of 2011 there are only 8). Buy the movie on Blu-ray, Blu-ray with Gremlins & Goonies, DVD. (Frame grabs done by Matthew Jordan)

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Ghostbusters (2016)
Paul Feig's ill-fated parody remake features a few locations from the original movies. Times Square plays a major role in the film, although only one single establishing shot was filmed there; as the rest of the Times Square scenes were filmed on a set built at the former Naval Air Station South Weymouth airfield in Weymouth, Massachusetts. For this one shot, the camera is located on the pedestrian walkway right below West 43rd Street looking north. This exact spot in Times Square was not featured in either of the original two movies.

The movie has been released in Theatrical and Extended Cut versions on Blu-ray, DVD (Theatrical only), and 4K Ultra HD/3D Blu-ray/2D Blu-ray Combo Pack.

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