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Cinépolis seems to be the rumored new tenant. Not really sure how they would handle the kitchen area unless they are leasing the old cafe/deli across the courtyard. They could upgrade the lobby area into the lounges but they would be not very roomy unless they make auditriums smaller. I guess we’ll see next year.
The company was founded in 1942 by producer Joseph E. Levine, initially to distribute foreign films to the United States. Some of Levine’s early successes were the Italian-made Hercules films with Steve Reeves and the 1961 adaptation of The Thief of Baghdad. Embassy also distributed Federico Fellini’s film 8½ in the UK.
In 1963, Levine was offered a $30 million deal with Paramount Pictures to produce films in the vein of his previous successes. Paramount would finance the films and Embassy would receive part of its profits. Under the deal, Levine produced The Carpetbaggers and its prequel Nevada Smith, which were successes, along with flops such as Harlow, starring Carroll Baker, and The Oscar.
By the 1960s, Levine had transformed Embassy into a production company. Later in the decade, Embassy functioned on its own with many Rankin/Bass animated features (including Mad Monster Party? and The Daydreamer), and successful live-action productions including The Graduate, The Lion in Winter and The Producers.
New ownership and dissolutionIn 1967, Levine sold the Embassy corporation to Avco. In 1968, Avco Embassy launched Avco Embassy Television, which was sold to Multimedia, Inc. in 1976, becoming Multimedia Entertainment; that first television division has since been folded into what is now known as NBCUniversal Television Distribution, even though another company now owns television rights to the Embassy library.
The Embry-Riddle Company created the Aviation Corporation in 1928 as a holding company tasked with acquiring small airlines. By the end of 1929 it had acquired interests in over 90 aviation-related companies, and in the ensuing years it developed these into American Airways, the predecessor of American Airlines.
The company was required to divest American Airlines in 1934 due to new rules for air mail contracts. The Aviation Corporation later changed its name to Avco Manufacturing Corporation, and then, in 1959, to Avco Corporation. In 1984 Avco was purchased by Textron.
Avco’s affiliated company, Avco Financial Services, was spun off to Associates First Capital in 1998 , which itself was acquired by Citigroup in 2000.
I think the theatre only had the name Avco Center Cinema because of where it was located. It appears Avco Embassy and Avco Financial Services were associated. This is something I just learned.
I really do not remember it being tied to Avco Embassy. I’m pretty sure Avco finance occupied the office building next door at one time.
It is really sad to see this place go. During the 70’s and 80’s when Westwood, West L.A. and Century City thrived as the big movie district the Avco was one of the great theatres. I grew up with the Avco, Plitt Century Plaza, National, Picwood, UA Westwood (Festival), Plaza, Crest, UA Cinema Center now ALL GONE. These were all wonderful screens, with lots of character and were always fun to patronize. We will never have screens like this again.
Sad to see Laemmle go, but I am looking forward to see what Sundance will offer.
Landmark Regent has taken over the Midnight Showings of THE ROOM on Dec 3. It was a mainstay at the Sunset 5. I’m curious to see what Landmark starts booking in there now that the AVCO is gone.
I really do not think a new theatre will be erected in its place. Westwood is dead, and unless there is a big effort to provide more parking and a major overhaul we will not see anything new. Whoever takes over the theatre will work with what is already there. I’m curious to see what is done with it but I doubt I will be blown away.
Doubt the Avco will ever see the big screen again. There was talk about Cinépolis entering Westwood. I’d guess they will take over the space and refurbish it. Not really sure anyone is going to do anything major to it though.
Westwood is not a theatre district any longer. But there is no reason to try to turn them into little cafes. Now with the Crest gone and the Avco closing Regency will be able to book more freely and keep the films flowing. It will not be 1980’s capacity but they will not be stuck with films that do not fi the theatre. Westwood will become like Los Feliz with the Village, Bruin and Regent. At this point doubtful a new complex with be errected. I think everyone has resigned themselves to the fact Westwood will not have a big resurgence. I’m pretty sure Regency did not take over the screens expecting anything spactacular.
Wow…the Avco and the Sunset 5 closing on the same week. Sad to see both go. The Sunset 5 will have a new life next year, doubtful the Avco will. I have not been to the Avco in about 5 years. Like everyone else I did not see the reason when there are better venues. The Avco lost its lustre when they split the large theatre.
Sad to see Laemmle leaving, but I am glad Sundance is taking over. Arclight mostly killed the Sunset 5 buzz; Grove really does not book too much Indie and Foreign Language films.
Laemmle probably wants to place more energy on the Noho7 which has big potential for them. North Hollywood seems to have gained the edge that West Hollywood is losing. I really think the Noho theatres will be a success for Laemmle.
Glendale? Really? I thought it was decided that the Pacific theatres were enough for that area.
Last time I was at the Village this past Summer I thought the sound was still top notch.
They seem to do well enough with event films like Harry Potter, Inception etc. But obviously The Three Musketeers is not pulling them in. But you can probably find not very many people seeing Musketeers at the AMC Century City either. If a film is bad people will not go to a theatre to see it anywhere.
Regency pretty much went into the leases knowing they were not going to re-create 1981. It seems like a prestige thing with them, they have lots of premieres and pretty much the success of the other theatres in the chain make up for these theatres not really raking in the green. NO WAY should they turn the Village into a bargain theatre. We all should go to these theatres whenever we can. I’ll go see J. EDGAR at the Village in a few weeks.
If the Avco closes and WW ends up with only the Village, Bruin and Regent it will turn into Los Feliz pretty much. They will have pick of films and will probably have short 2 week engagements and will keep the flow going. Westwood is really not a theatre district anymore. But they can still show movies.
Yes, the Festival would be most logical choice for dinner theatre because of the Resturant spaces it sits between. But I cannot imagine a single screen with that format really working. I’d love to see the Festival open again. It is a nice theatre, nice sizs screen with great sight lines and comfy balcony.
The AVCO’s real estate property is pretty valuable and I think in its current condition is expendable. My opinion is we are seeing the last days of the theatre.
Parking is terrible in Westwood. The cheaper parking lots I used to park in are gone.
I think the Landmark 12’s success really hurt the Crest the most. The Crest used to be able to open First Run Independent films and would get an audience. Now those films go to Landmark first and instead. The Crest should probably be converted into a Guild theatre, along with periodic Retrospective and Special Engagements.
Probably the AVCO, the only other theatres could be the Crest or the Festival (which has been stripped). The whole dinner theatre is obnoxious. Can’t people just nibble on some popcorn? Why does there need to be dinner service? I’m getting to the point where I hate going to the movies. Film exhibition is going to the toilet. If it weren’t for Archlight Hollywood, the Village and Bruin I would never go.
Mark, not really sure
In Hollywood, face-lifts are pretty common, especially for an icon that is nearly 85 years old.
But this upgrade is expected to cost at least $2 million and draw close inspections by thousands of fans.
The Chinese Theatre in Hollywood is undergoing a renovation that will include a restaurant to serve gourmet food and a renovated lobby that will be used to host parties of up to 1,000 guests, according to the new owners of the theater. The theater recently added a new seating reservation system as part of the upgrades.
The face-lift should be completed by early November, said entrepreneur Elie Samaha, who bought the theater in May along with movie producers Don Kushner and Steve Markoff from a partnership between Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures parent Viacom Inc.
Samaha called the theater Hollywood’s most popular tourist attraction and said he wants to see it enjoyed by out-of-town visitors and Hollywood insiders.
“What we love about Hollywood is the history,” he said. “And we want to preserve that.”
The theater is scheduled to host about 40 movie premieres by the end of the year. With its upstairs lobby converted to a ballroom, the theater will be able to host after-parties and other private events, Samaha said.
“We pretty much want to do more premieres,” he added.
The single-screen theater — known for its giant, red Chinese pagoda, signature Chinese dragon guard dogs and cement footprints and handprints of Hollywood celebrities — was declared a historic and cultural landmark in 1968.
Warner and Viacom acquired the theater in 2001 along with six other theaters owned by Encino-based Mann Theatres after the chain declared bankruptcy in the face of rising competition.
Warner and Viacom have been trying to sell the theater for more than a year but had struggled to find a buyer. The details of the deal were not disclosed.
The Three Musketeers 3D opens Oct 21 Main theatre and 6 Plex. In addition the Chinese will (again) host the AFI Festival Nov 3-10. Opening Night Premiere Clint Eastwood’s J.EDGAR. It appears the 6 plex is getting renovation now to provide a Restuarant Atmosphere, to open in November. The renovation is why the 6 plex is closed for weekday matinees.
Chinese will be getting THE THING remake/reboot First Run on Oct. 14. Could be somewhat of a hit for the theatre.
No. Real Steel is booked at the El Capitan for 2 weeks.
The Chinese 6 appears to be dropping early matinee shows during the week (or at least next Monday through Thursday). They seem to be picking up new product though with What’s Your Number and will host Screamfest 2011 at the Chinese 6 on Oct 14.
This does not sound temporary. It sounds like they are walking away from it and putting for sale. Too bad American Cinemateque has the Aero because the Crest would be great for a Repertory theatre like the Egyptian. Having 2 theatres on the Westside would be too much.
Westwood is going to turn into Los Feliz. Once the Crest and Avco close there will only be the Village, Bruin and Regent in the heart of Westwood. It will be less of a district and instead will just be a few theatres in one area.
At this point you could reserve a row. They were able to get 2 tentpole films over the Summer but the Fall is not looking to good (so far).
Oh, okay. I know that they had a few theatres already set up for digital, with The Debt it was apparent that it was. AMC has gone crazy converting pretty much all their screens including all 4 AVCO. I guess that is where it is all headed.
Is digital needed for 3D?
So why are we supposed to hate digital? I was at Arclight Hollywood Saturday to see The Debt, thought the presentation was perfect as usual.
Sorry, I have to disagree. The Arclight Hollywood is the best thing to happen to Los Angeles movie exhibition in decades.
The AVCO really lost any lustre it had when they split the large theatre. The 80’s are when all the Westwood theatres thrived. Once Century City and Santa Monica took off the theatres in WW had drops, but with the Landmark 12, the newer Century City AMC and the Grove all doing well WW really took a severe nosedive. A resurgence for WW seems unlikely in the near future. Unless the owner give some kind of break, the AVCO seems nearing its end. That property is not great for retail. My guess either an office building or Apartments will be built there in the future.