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The setting and mechanics of the moving going experience have always presented challenges with cleanliness (dimly lit, hidden/difficult to access areas, food/drink being discarded on the floor,etc.). However, the modern trend towards expanded menu options, tighter turnaround times, and ever decreasing staffing to meet diminishing payroll budgets have only added to the problem.
The annoying thing about the news pieces, “whistle blowers”, etc. is that they rarely address or aid in the problem. More often than not they merely result in hurting people who are doing their best under difficult circumstances. Following such publicity, staff members/managers are fired or face disciplinary action and there is pressure placed on the operation to “clean up their act”. Yet, customers continue to treat the venue like a dumping ground and companies continue to cut back on resources to do the job.
The 2017 price increase/move to first run was primarily due to a growing difficulty in securing bookings. Many of the top tittles simply weren’t being made available for subrun anymore. Couple that with AMC’s business approach (i.e. they were never exactly on board with subrun)and the change was basically unavoidable. As for pitting the Woodbridge against local full price theatres, there was a belief that it would attract people who wouldn’t pay full price, but not draw from people who would pay more for added amenities elsewhere (i.e. Tustin). The ultimate success/failure of the change is debatable.
The marquee removal was the result of a company wide movement to eliminate marquees; viewing them as antiquated and no longer cost effective. Personally, I always felt this particular site benefited greatly from having a marquee, but there was no room for a “unique” case and a blanket corporate policy took precedence.
About the only movement/change I’ve noted over the past eight years is that they finally secured the theatre a year or so ago. For many years the boarded up entry had a large gap along the top which allowed birds to fly in/out, garbage to be thrown over, and potentially people to climb in. I also used to see some of the rear exit doors propped open from time to time. Fortunately, they closed off the entry gap and I haven’t noticed any open doors in quite some time.
Between the long leaking roof, years of bird/vermin/homeless access, and general neglect, I would hate to even imagine the shape the interior is in. I also seem to recall that they demoed much of the lobby shortly after closing.
Renovations are underway and appear to be quite extensive. The front exterior wall/entry, box office, and foyer are striped down to the studs.
AMC will be reopening the former Movie Experience/Ultra Star Garden Walk theatre (the side which wasn’t converted in to the House of Blues). So, the area will have a movie theatre after Downtown Disney closes.
Not that I agree with the non marquee approach, but the idea is generally:
Less maintenance costs – Annual replacement of bulbs, periodic repairs, regular cleaning, and replacement of aged/broken tiles. The replacement of bulbs and repairs are often quite expensive, as a specialty vendor is required.
Less time/effort in keeping the marquee up to date – Titles and showtimes (for those who utilize the marque for times) change far more often these days. Where once it was a weekly (or greater) endeavor, now it is often a daily change.
Accuracy/liability/professionalism issues – Some titles are controversial, some require abbreviation due to length, there are human errors (spelling, incorrect info, etc.), weather and vandalism alterations, etc. All of these factors can result in potential problems for the operator.
The Empire (NYC) and Burbank (Burbank, CA) are the top two most visited AMC locations. Third place varies slightly week to week.
I drove by the theatre this evening (8/20/16). They razed the auditorium, but the facade/lobby has been left intact. I don’t know if they plan on leaving this section of the structure or if it’s simply awaiting a second phase of demolition.
Shortly before the theatre was razed, I caught a peek of the interior. Unlike the neighboring South Coast, Edwards had left the Plaza basically intact. The theatre almost looked as if it was ready for business at a moments notice. A state of affairs which made its' demolition extra sad.
The theatre never closed for refurbishment; it merely opened late on 1/21/16 to accommodate a conversion to AMC’s network and POS systems. Thus far, the changes have been more back office/support systems/procedure oriented.
The city of West Hollywood has purchased the theatre for $2.5 million; the intent being to ”anchor a potential Center City Arts District in the city”. Per reports, after an extensive remodel, “it will be a venue for dance and possibly small musical/cabaret type performances as well as theatre.”
I believe the banner is just advertising that the theatre’s large parking lot is available for rental as a base camp (i.e. place to park equipment, crew, and talent trailers) for location shoots. Last I checked, the theatre was still boarded up and neglected.
Starplex didn’t renew their lease on the theatre a couple of years ago. I don’t know what transpired after Starplex left, but the closure wasn’t related to the AMC acquisition.
The church moved out in late December 2015.
A Stone-Miller Commercial Property Sales “For Sale” sign was recently posted on the theatre.
The work crew was applying a gold window treatment (geometric pattern and branding).
I’m surprised the theatre lasted as long as it did. Had it been located almost anywhere else, this theatre likely would have been very successful. In many ways, the facility/amenities offered were ahead of their time when it opened and foretold where the industry was heading. However, the upper level, of a poorly placed/thought out shopping complex, basically doomed the venue from the start. Maybe the House of Blues will provide the kind of drawing power this mall is in desperate need of.
After sitting dormant for the past few years, they’ve finally begun putting the courtyard storefronts back in to use. The main entrance/Hollywood Blvd corner unit is slated to reopen as a juice bar in April and the remaining units received some remodeling recently (not sure if there are tenants lined up for those yet).
Krikorian sold the theatre to Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas, effective 2/11/15.
The “for sale” sign, that has been posted on the building for a few months, now has a large “sold” notification attached. The sign lists the square footage of land; which raises some obvious concerns.
Technically, the Vista wouldn’t fit in to bigjoe’s parameters, as it spent time as both a porn venue and revival house (i.e. hasn’t been continuously first run from open to present day).
JodarMovieFan: The 35mm is only used for special screenings; often providing access to titles that aren’t readily available otherwise. They utilize vault prints (or freshly struck prints in some cases); thus, they go to great lengths to assure presentation quality/film handling is first rate (i.e. no scratched prints, blotchy picture, etc.).
The theatre would have been where the third street level window, from the left side of the picture, is.
They had the entryway open for a work crew today. You could see straight through to the back wall of the building (i.e. they’ve gutted the interior down to studs/bare concrete) and there was the unmistakable sound of a jack-hammer running. Considering the scope of work underway, I would speculate they are re-purposing the space.