NuWilshire Theatre

1314 Wilshire Boulevard,
Santa Monica, CA 90403

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Showing 51 - 75 of 259 comments

DonSolosan on March 6, 2009 at 11:07 am

I’m starting to think the guy I talked to on Feb 11 was wrong. For the past few days, the jackhammers have been running over at the NuWilshire. They’ve cut a large opening in the side of the building near the back stage area, and it appears that they’re stripping the place down to the walls. I peeked in yesterday and saw a pile of rubble about six feet high in the area of the lobby. It doesn’t look good.

InsidersSystem on March 2, 2009 at 10:23 am

Some kind of construction is beginning on the old NuWilshire this week, judging by trucks, portapotties and scaffolding in the alley. No permit information is posted on the front of the building, but as the neighbor with the garage entrance directly across from the alley doors, I’ll stay curious until I find out what’s happening.

DonSolosan on February 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I was down at the LA Conservancy last night and ended up having a nice talk with a guy who volunteers for that organization and the Santa Monica Conservancy. He’s particularly interested in preservation issues, and he said that the whole of the NuWilshire is protected, not just the facade as I had been led to believe from local newspaper coverage.

Assuming this is correct, if the NuWilshire gets turned into retail, it will probably resemble the Studio City theater that got turned into a bookstore. You can still see the flyspace intact, etc.

DonSolosan on February 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm

There’s a “For Lease” sign on the building now.

William on January 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm

I work in this industry too. But not as a floor person. When you look at what Landmark operates in this area, I could see there is money there. But in the locate art film market there Laemmle has a big foot hold on leverage in booking, but now with The Landmark in West LA that has changed a lot of booking patterns.

So Landmark was the one that gave up the house and that’s where it sits.

DonSolosan on January 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm

“This particular Landmark theatre has been making more money than all other theatres,”

From Nushboy’s previous comments, it sounds like he has some idea of the theater’s place in the Landmark hierarchy.

I don’t believe foreign movies are getting as strict of terms as Hollywood fare. They don’t have the leverage.

William on January 8, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Landmark left before the lease was up. Like the Wilshire the Rialto Theatre was a former Mann Theatre. When Mann Theatre bought up National General Theatres chain in the early 70’s. They operated many single screen houses around Southern California. They tried a few different price formats on the Rialto, Fox Venice, Lido, Highland. Before dropping those houses when there leases ran out. Like Dublinboyo pointed out Landmark does not own these theatres, like Mann Theatres too. Mann Theatres does not own the Chinese, Village, Bruin Theatres, they just lease them. If the Wilshire was located on the site of the Mayfair in downtown Santa Monica, it would be alive and running in some form.

Dublinboyo on January 8, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Yes, what people fail to realize is that Landmark chain does not actually own these theaters nor the buildings they are in, but merely “lease” them and operate the theaters. So, if revenue falls enough and it becomes prohibitive to operaee them at a loss, they will just leave and cease operations. Same thing happened to another Landmark opeated theater in my hometown of South Pasadena – The Rialto in September of 2007. Landmark had leased and operated the Rialto Theater from the long time family owners from about 1976-77 and opeated it as a revival house well into the late 80’s until the adevent of home video killed revival theaters and then switched to a more arthouse and first run fare. It is a sign of the times that single screen theaters cannot generate enough of a profit to justify their continued operation by Landmark and I guess as the wise man once said. “it’s just business.” I don’t know what the specifics are regarding the closing of the Nu-Wilshire as it was running with 2 screens and I recall how sad I was when they plexed it by spliting the theater into 2 seperate theaters, but the place was still doing good buisness up until the day it closed wasn’t it? Did the owners of the building just not renew Landmark’s lease or did Landmark leave it as the new Landmark glass tower multi-plex at Pico and Westwood Blvd had just opened? I don’t know – you tell me. I do know that all we live in an era where it is very conceivable in the not to distant future where with the exception of privately owned thaters that do multi-use like the Broadway theaters in Los Angeles, the era of the single screen movie house is coming to a rapid end but thank god for the good people such as the folks that contribute to this site that still love these theaters and hold them in high esteem and will will work to preseve them.

JohnMessick on January 8, 2009 at 11:51 am

Thats true Don..I didn’t think about that. Willaim you are right…Employees always see the money coming in but never take into account the expenses. That is why they are employees.

William on January 8, 2009 at 11:02 am

Any large sum of money taken in at a theatre is tons to a employee. And yes it is true for foreign and indie films that studios release, there is a procentage the studio gets and then the theatre gets the rest. It does not have tobe mainstream Hollywood fare. The theatre chains pay for the licence to play any film, whether it’s a 90/10, 80/20, 70/30… . The longer the film plays the theatre, more the theatre makes vs. the studio. I grow up and worked in that Santa Monica, the Wilshire made money but was not a big money maker for any chain.

DonSolosan on January 8, 2009 at 10:29 am

“I guess that Landmark Theatres was not making a ton of money off tickets and concessions to make it work as a theatre for the chain. First off the chain only makes a small precent off the tickets it sells, the studios get the lions share of the money for tickets sold.”

First, is this true for foreign and indie movies? That’s what the NuWilshire showed, not mainstream Hollywood fare.

Second, an employee of the theater just said that they were making a ton of money at that location. Do you know differently, William?

And Nushboy, did you see my suggestion from Jan 5? It might have gotten lost in all the posts… but you might want to look into the Santa Monica Historical Society with the items you mentioned.

John, the lease was not up. Landmark chose to leave early, probably hoping that their loyal customers would head over to the new location at the Westside Pavilion. It might be why the building sits empty — the new owner might not be able to do anything until it expires (that’s what’s happening with the old See’s Candy location across the street). So the new owner paid a lot of money for the building, drove out the retail tenants, and now is earning squat from the place… That’s business!

JohnMessick on January 8, 2009 at 9:57 am

If the lease was up and the owner increased the rent to much Landmark would of course leave..thats business. I am sure the owner could pretty much get his asking price for the rent. Now, in todays economic climate, that may not be the case.

William on January 8, 2009 at 9:11 am

I guess that Landmark Theatres was not making a ton of money off tickets and concessions to make it work as a theatre for the chain.
First off the chain only makes a small precent off the tickets it sells, the studios get the lions share of the money for tickets sold. And it will take time for the owner to have a design that the city could work with on the interior and exterior of the building. According to that article the owner does not have to deal with public hearings on the interior of the former theatre.

Nushboy07 on January 8, 2009 at 8:56 am

It closed back in 1993, but around 2008, they refurbished the establishment and now it’s a bank.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 8, 2009 at 8:14 am

When did Zucky’s close?

Nushboy07 on January 8, 2009 at 8:06 am

I mean, the marque was the only thing that was said to be refurbished. I’m not sure about anything else. It might be like Zucky’s but instead of it being a bank, will be a new jean store…God knows we need more jean stores in Santa Monica…

Nushboy07 on January 8, 2009 at 8:04 am

It was a mistake to close the NuWilshire, because number 1: we were making a ton of money off tickets and concession, and 2: with how bad the economy has gotten, I doubt the NuWilshire will ever have a store in it anytime soon. I mean, I remember practially two years ago, the Santa Monica Daily Press said that the NuWilshire was going to have it’s front refurbished, and that has yet to happen.

kencmcintyre on January 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm

I used to go the Promenade when it was more interesting. The Midnight Special bookstore closed a long time ago, so all that’s left is Banana Republic and Gap. Great deal if you like to buy clothes.

DonSolosan on January 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Ron, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights are still the big political party, but for running the rest of the city, the business types are calling the shots. Basically what that seems to come down to is development that is out of balance with what the infrastructure can handle. So the city merely exists now to provide the 3rd Street Promenade with customers. Anything that might appeal to locals gets the ax if it doesn’t bring in shoppers with dollars bulging out of their pockets.

William on January 5, 2009 at 5:45 pm

All we are left with are the facades of the former Criterion, El Miro, soon to be Mayfair and maybe the Wilshire theatres. The Bundy theatre is long gone and the Aero is doing well over on Montana.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 5, 2009 at 5:35 pm

What happened to the ‘People’s Republic’ that I loved living in from 1979-84? Have all of the left-wingers left government?

William on January 5, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Don S. I just read your post and you are right. I grew up going to all of the Santa Monica theatres.

DonSolosan on January 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm

You are correct, William. I commented on this on the Mayfair page. The only thing getting preserved in Santa Monica (as far as movie theaters are concerned) are facades. The lawyer representing the owners of the Mayfair had the nerve to call this “adaptive reuse.”

But the business types are running this town right now, and they want density, more customers, more shopping. They don’t really care what happens to the community…

William on January 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I just re-read the article from Jan. 18th. 2008 from the Santa Monica Daily Press about the NuWilshire. It looks like the only part of the building that is safe is the facade area on Wilshire Blvd.. I only say this because of the Mayfair’s facade is the only part of that theatre that is going tobe saved.

DonSolosan on January 5, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Then it sounds like you want the Santa Monica Historical Society. They have a space over on Euclid, but are supposed to move into the new library very soon.