Crest Theatre

1262 Westwood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90024

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Bigfoot Crest Theatre

Opened December 25, 1940 as the UCLAN Theatre by the independent circuit Dietrich & Feldstein. Named after the initials of the nearby University of California at Los Angeles (better known today as UCLA). The UCLAN Theatre was renamed Crest Theatre in June 1956 when it was taken over by Robert L. Lippert Theatres Inc.

Renamed Metro Theatre it was renovated by the owners Sterling Recreation Organisation in May 1983, reopening on June 3, 1983, with new seats, 70mm projection and Dolby sound. Pacific Theatres were the next operators from 1985 and in 1987 it was renamed Crest Theatre. It was closed and in conjunction with the Disney Organisation, a complete renovation was carried out by theatre interior designer Joseph Musil, who had worked on the restoration of the El Capitan Theatre, Hollywood. The auditorium walls were now decorated with a diorama of Hollywood landmarks in an Art Deco atmospheric style, made even more spectacular by the clever use of ‘black-light’. In the ceiling a star system was installed, and when the show starts, a ‘shooting star’ flies across the ceiling of the theatre and explodes in a little shimmer of stardust as the screen curtains open. It reopened on June 10, 1988 with Bette Midler in “Big Business”.

Since January 2003, it was operated by independent operator Robert Buckbaum, and was renamed Majestic Crest Theatre. In September 2010, it was taken over by Carmike Cinemas, and then in April 2011, Bigfoot purchased the theatre and also operated it, until it was closed in early-October 2011 for ‘renovations’. It was reopened in July 2013 screening a season of ballet and opera films. It was temporary closed in January 2017. In October 2018 it was purchased by UCLA for use as a student facility.

On May 14, 2008, the Majestic Crest Theatre was desiginated an Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 315 comments)

CStefanic on August 15, 2018 at 4:17 pm

There is really a market for revival houses and single screen houses these days. The other Westwood theatres, the Fox Village, the Fox Bruin, are successful, thriving houses showing modern releases and occasional rep choices. The Billy Wilder also fares very well nearby at the Hammer Museum. The Crest and the Mann Festival would do right to re-open under these same standards.

CStefanic on October 25, 2018 at 12:54 pm

Just heard that UCLA has acquired the building and wants to use it for live events. SHAME. REAL SHAME. They could use it as part of their student programming venue to continue it’s cinematic legacy. DAMN shame.

CStefanic on October 25, 2018 at 2:24 pm

This article goes into the purchase by UCLA.

moviebuff82 on July 28, 2019 at 2:50 pm

a replica of this theater was used during a scene of once upon a time in hollywood, among other theatres.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on October 16, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Claim in introduction that the cinema first opened as “legit” under the name of Westwood is incorrect. It was newly built by Dietrich & Feldstein, according to a report in the April 13th, 1940 issue of Boxoffice Magazine (see posting in Photos Section).

MSC77 on October 17, 2019 at 9:48 am

This passage from the overview contains some errors:

“By the summer of 1988 Cineplex-Odeon were operating the building and it was again renamed Crest Theatre. Pacific Theatres were the next operators…”

(1) Cineplex Odeon never ran this theater. (2) Pacific took over in 1985 when they acquired the SRO venues in Southern California. (3) When Pacific took over they initially retained the Metro name. (4) The name change to Crest took place in 1987.

Note that Pacific did not take over the entire SRO chain; they acquired just the ones in Southern California. SRO venues in the Pacific Northwest, for instance, remained under SRO ownership during this mid-1980s period but eventually were taken over by Cineplex Odeon (which may be the cause of the mistaken belief about the Metro/Crest’s ownership). Anyway, please update the overview.

rivest266 on December 1, 2019 at 4:17 pm

Pacific Theatres took the Metro over from SRO (Along with the rest of the chain in Southern California) in 1985 and reopened it as Crest on November 25th, 1987 with “Three Men and a Baby”. 1987 grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on December 2, 2019 at 4:48 pm

Pacific did some major renovations to the crest, reopening it on June 10th, 1988. Specular full grand opening ad below and in photo sections. Pacific Theatres Crest theatre reopeningPacific Theatres Crest theatre reopening Fri, Jun 10, 1988 – 111 · The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) ·

MichaelKilgore on January 13, 2020 at 1:44 pm

Boxoffice, June 9, 1956: “WESTWOOD VILLAGE, CALIF. – Continuing to expand its southland exhibition holdings, the Robert L. Lippert circuit has purchased the Uclan Theatre here from the Paul Dietrich-Manny Feldstein chain. The 850-seat showcase, operating for the past several years on an art house policy, will be renamed the Crest”

DavidZornig on February 12, 2020 at 5:09 pm

1963 photo added with original facade. The current art deco facade was added by Disney at some point per Bill Gablel.

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