Three years after the pandemic forced a number of Los Angeles theaters to close, the city is suddenly teeming with new openings and renovations.
Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas opened one of the world’s only Imax locations with dine-in service in Inglewood in July. Amazon has renovated the Culver Theater and has been operating it since December 2022, which doubles as the premiere theater and venue for some of its Prime Video premiere events. Landmark, which closed its famous Pico location last year, opened a new theater on Sunset in June; Quentin Tarantino’s Vista Theater and Netflix’s Egyptian Theater are currently undergoing renovations – The Egyptian plans to put up an LED billboard on the roof, prompting more than 4,000 people to sign a Change.org petition – and is yet to come be opened at the end of the year. The popular ArcLight Hollywood and Cinerama Dome were also slated to open in 2023, but have seen limited updates since closing in April 2021 (owner Decurion Corporation did not return). THR’s request for comment).
“I find it frighteningly optimistic. Who would have thought that the post-pandemic Los Angeles art house and independent cinema scene would suddenly thrive as it is?” says Maggie Mackay, managing director of Vidiots, which opened its own video store in Eagle Rock in June alongside its new video store Cinema opened after the female-run film space was forced to close its Santa Monica location in 2017.
Seating 271 people in the renovated Eagle Theater, Vidiots offers two to three screenings a day, ranging from old art-house classics to current blockbusters. Screenings are consistently sold out, as Mackay admits: “The response has far exceeded what we could have imagined” — in addition to distributing about 1,200 films a week at the video store and hosting a handful of industry screenings.
“We said we wanted to create a space for community — see how real community is reflected in the audience and see the diversity of our communities in that audience and on screen,” she continues. “We wanted to see kids, families and teenagers coming alone and all of these things happening. We look at these target groups, that’s exactly what we set out to do.”
The Cinépolis Theater in Hollywood Park enjoyed similar early success, having been Inglewood’s premier theater in nearly 30 years. Featuring 12 screens, select dining options, and a high-end lounge and sports bar, it opens just in time to capitalize on Taylor Swift’s final six nights at neighboring SoFi Stadium and the upcoming NFL season.
“We didn’t expect to be as successful as we have been so far – we didn’t expect there to be so many people in the lobby like there are now and people just coming to have a drink or have dinner or lunch,” says Cinépolis At the same time, Luxury Luis Olloqui, CEO of Cinemas, acknowledged the benefit of the “Barbenheimer” enthusiasm. Olloqui also notes the unique response from the Inglewood community, saying, “When you go to other cities or places where we’ve opened theaters, they’re more likely to say, ‘Okay, a new theater is great,’ and they’re really happy. “But here you really feel like it was their theater and they took ownership, and that’s really exciting.”
On the other side of the theater news is that the Winnetka Pacific Theaters multiplex site in Chatsworth is being demolished and there are plans to build a Tesla delivery center and service center. And Westwood’s legendary Fox Village Theater is up for sale as the Regency Theaters lease expires in July 2024, according to Newmark Capital Markets, which holds the listing THR The building (which also includes nearly 7,000 square feet of retail space) is targeted to be worth over $17 million, never before offered for sale.
Nonetheless, these investments in Los Angeles theaters prove that while people want to return to the movies, they are constrained by the logistics and lack of options in their neighborhoods, says Mackay, “The myth that people stopped going to the movies or not caring anymore was really dangerous. I think it’s a lot more about how unaffordable it got, how complicated it got to go to the movies. It just got harder, not because people didn’t want to do it.”
Source : www.hollywoodreporter.com