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Oops, forgot one more link. Photos from the final stage of refurbishment, courtesy the San Jose Mercury News.
Time to update the venue.
The Maya Cinemas Pittsburg 16 opens its doors tomorrow, August 3rd.
Over 20 years? Try over 30! I remember when I was a kid, I was so excited to have a new movie theatre within biking distance of my mom’s house. But the one and only movie I ever got to see there was the original Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, because my mom moved to Santa Cruz a few weeks later. I don’t remember much about the venue, but I was amazed it stayed open as long as it did, especially with the Arclight opening right down the street a couple years ago.
Grauman’s Chinese. Not opening day, but opening week. Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon. Sat almost on the very end of the left side of the theatre, maybe seven rows from the screen. The greatest movie moment that nine year old boy had to date. Saw it at least fifteen more times that summer.
As chance would have it, one of my friends from school was one of the first families to have a VHS player, and somehow his dad had gotten ahold of a top-quality bootleg tape of Star Wars. He lived right across the street from school, so every day after school for an entire year, we’d rush over to his house and watch Star Wars. We easily watched it three hundred times.
Over the years, I’ve had copies of the original 1984 CBS/Fox VHS release, the 1993 Definitive Collection laserdisc and the 2006 Limited Edition DVD, and I will not be buying the Blu-Ray or any other future edition unless it includes a new hi-def scan of the original movie I saw at Grauman’s Chinese in 1977.
“I don’t know.”
That’s the most common answer I get from people I remove from my theatres for texting during the movie, when I ask them why they spent money on a movie and then kept doing something they could be doing for free somewhere else.
The Brenden Pittsburg 16 closed after 22 years this past Sunday. Maya Cinemas is supposed to be reopening the building by Memorial Day.
There must be a sponsored fund that pays out to anyone who will write an article about how “The Sky Is Falling!” for theatres that have not yet converted to digital.
The writing was on the wall about digital cinema several years ago, and every theatre still open today that was open then has had the same amount of time to prepare for the inevitable.
Chris has obviously never been to the Royal. :)
When I first started working at the Del Mar in 1986, the theatre’s GM at the time, Joe, gave me a ~80 page thesis paper done up by a UCSC student about the history of the Del Mar Theatre, for its 50th anniversary. I may still have it in storage somewhere, but considering some of my stuff may still be in storage in Los Angeles at my dad’s place, it might take a while to locate.
Except for the fact that, by the time I moved to New York City on 9/9/01 (two days before the original election date for the Mayoral race that would eventually elect Bloomberg), the Disneyfication of Times Square was pretty much concluded.
The Empire 25 as it’s stood for the past dozen years really isn’t much of a cinema treasure. It was an interesting experiment that didn’t work out as well as it could have, aesthetically. As a powerhouse grosser, it obviously has worked out extremely well, and in the end, that’s what a movie theatre is supposed to do. Make money.
I don’t know if I would call 2.2 miles “practically around the corner,” Chris. But then, I never realized the Landmark is 1.5m from the Crest. I thought a mile was stretching it.
So let me get this straight… this was purchased only a year or so ago for $4m, was a complete failure from the get-go, and now the new owners want to flip it for a half million dollar profit? In a dying market with many issues related to parking and expansion, and a massively successful multiplex that gets all the best bookings not a mile down the road?
Depending on the interest rate a potential buyer could get and the amount of the down payment, one would be spending roughly $22-25k per month just on the financing, forgetting any other cost related to the operation of a movie theatre. When was the last time the Crest was able to book any movie to cover just those costs, factoring in just how much of the box office is returned to the distributor?
Save 1.33:1 silent movies on black and white nitrate film! Let’s not allow these infernal technological advances from the 20th Century destroy the art that Georges Méliès and D.W. Griffith and Buster Keaton lived for.
As for Jay… unless something has changed very recently, the Cultural Center known as New York City does not have a repertory house. Film Forum, Anthology Film Archives, Lincoln Center, BAM Cinematheque and The Museum of the Moving Image regularly show archival titles, but there is no theatre solely dedicated to revival cinema in The Big Apple.
The problems with motion picture exhibition in Westwood have nothing to do with parking, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise has never done anything more than look at the surface of the issue.
Someone needs to pay for that $2m upgrade, and it’s sure not going to be the owners.
In a theatre with 140 or more seats: Center, 2/3 of the way back.In a theatre with less than 140 seats: Center, very back row.
Let’s just keep speculating every couple days until it finally closes. That’s always fun!
Comparing movies theatres to amusement parks is like comparing apples to legumes. Both of the latter provide sustenance, but that’s about where the comparisons end.
An amusement park does not soly rely on product produced outside the environment on a daily basis in order to entertain its guests, nor does the amusement park need to hand over up to 90% of its revenue with the producer of said outside entertainment provider. The amusement park may entertain, but it entertains in a quite different way than a movie theatre, and that’s where the comparisons end.
Ask yourself this… why does the Landmark just one mile down the road often do 8-10x the business with the same movie as the Village? The Landmark does not offer season passes nor free wi-fi, and their ticket prices and snack bar items are more expensive than the Village. It’s because there is no one single factor that makes people change their habits.
We are cinephiles, and we care about the overall presentation. Most people don’t. They don’t care about the history of the place they are going to. They don’t care about what’s available at the snack bar. They don’t care if it’s a massive auditorium with a 60' screen and THX-approved sound and picture, or if it’s a thirty seat house with a 10' screen and sofas instead of seats. They don’t care if there is a wine bar. They don’t even really care if you have to pay for parking. All they want is a clean place to see a movie that has other things to do before or after the movie, in a convenient setting. Westwood isn’t all that convenient for most anymore, while the Westside Pavilion is. And that’s what makes all the difference in the world.
In 1988, my friends and I drove from Santa Cruz to San Francisco (roughly 75mi) in order to attend the first showing of The Last Temptation of Christ at the Cineplex Northpoint Theatre. We arrived around 5am, and there was already a half dozen people in line ahead of us, and by 10am, there was easily a thousand people in line behind us and another two or three thousand protestors, counter-protestors and press people covering the sheer madness of it all. When we got in to the theatre, the first four rows of the auditorium was blocked off across the entire length of the theatre, and several armed guards posted between the front row and the screen, lest anyone follow through on their threat to slash the screen.
Great movie (still own the Criterion DVD), great theatre (shame it’s no longer an operational movie theatre) and a great experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
Danny, the problems with parking for movies in Westwood have been like that for decades, at least since the mid-1980s, when I moved back to Los Angeles after graduating high school and started going to movies in Westwood.
The AVCO won’t work for this concept, but taking the Festival and the spaces next door would make more sense. Not that a single screen dinner theatre is all that smart either.
Please do, Titus. I wish I still had all my Sash Mill calendars.
Don’t worry Danny, you’ll see it again twice more… when you document the closing of the Westlake 8 and the Janss 9. :|
Going back to the pictures from Roger Rabbit, that is not the real El Rey. In the second linked photo, one can clearly see the One Wilshire building in the background, which puts this location somewhere downtown.
Bagdad Cafe opened in 1987, for the record.
The one and only time I’ve ever been to the Lumiere was to see Sling Blade in late 1996 or early 1997. Don’t remember much about the theatre, other than it felt quaint and antiquated at the time.