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When I was growing up in Santa Monica in the mid to late 70’s the theatres only had matinees on weekends. Except (I think) Mann Criterion and maybe the Mall Cinema. The Monica Twins, Aero, Mann Wilshire and Brentwood Twins only had matinees on weekends and during the Summer.
I think during a period in the mid 70’s the GCC Avco cut matinees for the smaller screen during the week, and only had daily matinees in the large screen and the largest screen on the 2nd floor.
When I worked at the Village during the period of 1980 and 1982 weekday matinees were not that great most of the time. Only expections were during the summer or if the film was exclusive or doing very well.
I noticed the Regent is starting films later in the day (weekdays) also. I’m wonder if that could become a Westwood trend.
Yes, the organist played before the film. I agree with you about the Chinese. It is a crime to see it booked with mostly trash.
I took a walk up to El Cap yesterday to see Secretariat. Strolled around the Chinese to see what they were getting. Currently it is “Splatter” central with MY SOUL TO TAKE, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (REMAKE), SCREAMFEST 2010 and SAW 3D coming on Oct 29.
November 5 they are getting DUE DATE which has box office hit potential and later November they are getting the Dwayne Johnson film FASTER. December they are getting YOGI BEAR and the Jack Black 3D GULLIVER’S TRAVELS. Sometime within the Thanksgiving/Christmas period a new version of THE NUTCRACKER.
Also, It guess it is confirmed the new HARRY POTTER is opening at Arclight. This will be the first HP film that has not opened at the Chinese.
I totally agree about the Promenade, The Grove and the AMC Century 15. Those theatres never factor into my choices. I live in West Hollywood but will still take a trip to Westwood to patronize the Village, Bruin, Crest and even the Regent. I’ll pass on the AVCO though. The only new theatre I love is Arclight Hollywood. It is an extraordinary theatre complex in every level. For the most part I despise the newer multiplexes but Arclight is the rare exception.
And taking away a parking structure in Santa Monica? What is wrong with that picture?
I’ll definately make a trip to the Crest soon. Not interested in Let Me In, even though it is supposed to be quite good. I’m a big fan of the original.
Westwood does have much foot traffic still. But I tend to think it all comes from UCLA and its Hospital. Plus during the week there is still alot of activity from the office bldgs.
But I have to tell you, when I went to see Inception on its opening Friday at the Village it cost me more than if was to go to Arclight. During the week parking is $8.00 add the theatre admission at Bargain Matinee it came out to be quite expensive . I honestly can see why people will not bother to see films in Westwood any longer. Both AMC CC and Landmark 12 offer FREE PARKING and are within the same vacinity.
Yeah, and even though some films do well in Westwood. They will never have the huge numbers they have in the 1980’s, when back then the National and Village could have a near Hundred Thousand box office weekend gross.
I had a feeling Let Me In would not do that great. This weekend is all about The Social Network. Which may be even doing well at the Avco.
I think the Crest will do well with Tron this Christmas.
Overall, I’ll say it again. Westwood needs to offer Free Parking or cheap parking and needs to start giving a damn about itself. It is a rundown depressing mess. Everything has a comeback, and perhaps one day Westwood will thrive again.
PArking in Westwood is cheap on Weekends, but week DAYS it is still brutal. I went to see INCEPTION opening matinee at the Village and had to pay $8.00. When Landmark 12 and AMC Century 15 provide free parking all the time I can see why people have abandoned Westwood for films. Now it is 7 DAY meter parking so you cannot count on the free parking on Sundays any longer.
Westwood has really done nothing to entice people to come and see films. Parking sucks, the area is run down and depressing, and outside of seeing a film or eat there is nothing to do. Retail has almost abandoned the area and what is there is pretty dull. I go only to visit the theatres, but back in the day I would park in a all day lot, see a couple films, eat and walk around a bit.
Like I said, I give Carmike and Regency a hearty thank you. But unless something drastic happens, like affordable parking for patrons and affordable rents for merchants, Westwood is just going to stay dead. As for the Avco, I say its days are numbered.
The Nuart currently shows one – two week runs on Indie and Art films.
As far as movie going is concerned I will always consider seeing a first run film at the Village, Bruin, Crest or even the Regent if it was a choice. I’m a supporter of single screen theatres and the Village is my favorite theatre of all time. But my time and funds are at a minimum and as much as I would love to support the Crest, Alpha & Omega is nowhere to be found on my must see list. I do agree that these theatres need support in order to survive, but as much as I love them it is unrealistic for me to see everything that is booked on these screens.
I’m happy to see Carmike take interest in the Crest, and hopefully it will pay off for them. Westwood is a dead zone for movie going and I give them and Regency much credit for supporting these theatres even though they will not make busloads of money on them.
I agree about the Regent. It fits into the art and adult crowd more than the Disney crowd. Back in its heyday the Regent was perhaps the most popular theatre in Westwood. Studios loved the theatre because it would sell out easily and films that could have easily played at probably the National or Bruin would play there. A film like The Elephant Man would sell out every show all day for weeks.
I also tend to agree that Landmark is letting the lease lapse.
The Nuart was best when it was a repretory theatre. When I was a teenager I’d go there and to the Fox Venice quite often. I got my film education growing up at the Nuart, Fox Venice and the Laemmle theatres.
When I was about 20 years old I worked at the Nuart for about 7 months. One month is was essentially Alfred Hitchcock. They paired up his films in many different pairings. Many Celebs showed up to speak and people flocked to see the films. It was great fun and was nearing the end of the ‘daily’ schedule changes, and it went from showing vintage double features to what it is now.
Personally, I miss the General Cinema circuit,the AVCO has never fit into the AMC mold. Back in its day, the AVCO was a wonderful theatre and really was a wonderful contemporary multiplex. The AVCO along with the Village, National and Bruin was home to many memorable theatrical engagements. One of my favorite visits was when I went to see THE CAR (James Brolin flick) and was pretty much the only person seeing it while downstairs it overflowed with some new film called STAR WARS. I througly enjoyed THE CAR; to this say I’d rather watch it over STAR WARS. :–)
Westwood lost its MOJO for many reasons. Some say the shooting that happened. But I think it got too big and imploded. When I worked at the Village in 1980-1982 there was an untouchable arrogant additude about it. The theatre owners thought they had it made. All it took was Century City, then Santa Monica to begin showing first run films to take enough bite, The Landmark 12 is the last bite that killed Westwood film exhibition.
From what I understand, the rents for the empty spaces are still ridiculous. So they cannot lease the spaces and in this economy even more. My problem is pretty much there is nothing outside of seeing a film I like to do there. No more walking around looking at book stores, Tower records is gone, it is a drag.
The AVCO because unspecial when they split the large theatre into Two. The large auditorium was quite nice considering the outside of the theatre did not make you believe a large screen was in there. It was not National or Village great, but it was good enough to make you appreciate the presentation and you wanted to visit that theatre again.
I am happy that Regency is running the Village and Bruin with some enthusiasm, and they are doing a wonderful job running them. But pretty much they are operating because they are prestige and they are not making hard cash on them. The AVCO though is pretty much gone. I’d guess when lease renewal comes up AMC may dump it. The property it sits on could turn into apartments or offices. Some people like me still make a special trip to the Village, but doubtful people go out of their way to visit the Avco.
Landmark did a nice refurbishing of the Nuart a few years back. I think they still consider the screen relivant. If booked correctly it does well.
I really had a feeling that Carmike was going to bring Disney back into the Crest when they announced they were installing 3D. TRON in 3D is a perfect fit for that screen. The Crest is better suited for that type of film than the Regent. The Disney/Regent bookings never seemed right to me.
Locals are turned off by the hordes of tourists. I’ve been told that by many of my friends who’d rather go to the gramped Grove than sit through a better presentation at the Chinese.
I thought Guardians would be bigger, I guess people are overwhelmed by too much animation and 3D lately. I’m waiting for Blu ray to see because I hate 3D and do not want to sit in a crappier smaller theatre to see it in 2D.
What coming attraction posters did the Chinese have hanging?
Thanks. I guess I should have read these all the way through.
Wasn’t there another Paramount theatre in NYC. I remember seeing Children of a Lesser God in 1986 at a theatre on the upper west side called the Paramount. The theatre was actually downstairs underground.
You Again is not booked at the usual Disney theatre the Regent, or any other Westwood theatre. My guess is that Carmike is going to book Disney again for the Crest and will have TRON in 3D for Christmas.
I went to the Village to see Inception and was happy that it was very busy for it. Not 1981 busy but pretty good for now. Regency went into the leases for the Bruin and Village knowing they were not going to be cash cows. With them I think it is the prestige factor. But I do think they know they will not make money from operating them, and they do have premieres to supplement the income.If they keep the flow of films moving they will continue to do fair business. They are keeping with the Warner bookings which usually have a few blockbusters each year.
Perhaps Carmike will book Disney into the Crest again. The Regent is not getting the next Disney film You Again. Regent has been Disney mainstay over the past 5 years or so. Upcoming Disney Secretariat and Tron would be other Disney for rest of the year.
Very good article. Interesting that the Landmark 12 is the main culprit that killed the Crest business. I’ve been saying it for a while that the Landmark 12 was the final nail in the coffin for Westwood. The Landmark is killing first run Indie films that Westwood may have booked into the Crest, Regent or even Festival at one time. In addition, The Landmark also took away first run indies from Laemmle Monica. I’m wondering if Landmark will renew Regent lease.
Yeah, I tend to agree the Avco will not last much longer, mostly because of the property it stands on.
It is nice that chains like Regency and Carmike are taking interest in Westwood even though the profits are not there. Westwood is essentially going to be a sleepy college town from now on. From what I understand, landlords are still asking ridiculous rents which is why so many spaces remain empty. If the village did not seem so dreary perhaps it would entice people to come there more often. Too bad landlords cannot bring rents down so it was at least 100% occupied again.
Perhaps Carmike will take over the Chinese. If they want to get thier foot in the door in L.A. it would be the place to start.
Perhaps it is down because the films were so awful. I think people sent a message to Hollywood and said we are tired of the crap.
Inception and Toy Story 3 were the only worthty studio films. There were some decent indies, Animal Kingdom, Kids Are All Right, Winter Bone, Girl who played with Fire, Cyrus. But essentially the studio product pretty much sucked.
Regency does not purchase theatres, they only lease. Whoever took over I thought actually bought the theatre.
I FOUND THIS ONLINE TODAY FROM LA OBSERVER:
Majestic Crest to keep showing movies
Kevin Roderick â€¢ September 10 2010 12:56 PM
Robert Bucksbaum, who recently announced he is giving up the Majestic Crest theatre in Westwood, says in his final email to customers that a chain will be taking over and continuing to show movies.
It has been a great pleasure bringing movies to you in this beautiful historic theatre the past eight years. Owning the Crest has been a once in a lifetime experience that I will always cherish. We are currently showing EAT, PRAY, LOVE which will run now through September 16th.
Daily show times are: 1:15, 4:15, 7:30 and 10:30.
On September 17th a major theatre chain will take over the reigns of the theatre. They will keep showing movies on the big screen and I sincerely hope you will continue to patronize the Crest. As you know the single screen theatre is becoming an endangered species and these theatres need your support. Your attendance will help to ensure that the Crest lives on well into the future.
I would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to each of you for your support and to the many patrons who e-mailed their best wishes and kind words since we announced the sale.