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 the mid-1950’s and by 1957 it was operated 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, when, 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.

Since January 2003, it has been operated by independent operator Robert Buckbaum, and has been 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 312 comments)

Damon Packard
Damon Packard on January 8, 2017 at 12:18 pm

they just don’t know what the heck to do with this place, there’s certainly no business in showing movies anymore. And it it hasn’t really been “open” in years under the various recent ownerships, the few random screenings they had were cheap, shoddy digital projection. It’s too bad the Cinematheque or some company couldn’t take it over but nobody would show one way or the other and there’s no profit in this type of thing. It’s over. We’ve seen the end of an era. It’s over

CStefanic
CStefanic on January 10, 2017 at 12:43 pm

I’m not surprised. The people who re-opened it had NO idea how to draw the masses. They kept showing things on digital (BAD digital) and ignored the public’s cries for what they wanted. they also only screened things sporadically and seldom ever a picture worth seeing. They were to conventional and did not take a cue from any of the other repertory houses: New Beverly, Egyptian, Aero, Silent Movie Theatre, or what LACMA and the Hammer Museum are doing. I think UCLA film department should take it over and hold more screenings there as well as letting certain outside influences program. I think it could still be salvageable but it’s ll about strategy from here on out. Let us pray it succeeds.

Wellington1
Wellington1 on July 24, 2017 at 8:40 pm

Such a shame to see what happened to this theater. Ten or fifteen years ago, it seemed as if it had been renovated; the beautifully lighted marquee glowed brightly and the interior decoration inside the theater was really one of the nicest I’ve ever seen anywhere. The whole theater was on par with the restoration Disney did on the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.

From the news articles posted on this website, dated July 6, 2007, you can see pictures of the beautiful interior decor at this website:

http://www.jamesgordongallery.com/crestweb/

Wonderful job James Gordon!!

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on December 8, 2017 at 11:46 am

Just saw the movie THE DISASTER ARTIST and noticed that the premier near the end of the movie was filmed in the Crest. I recognised the curtain, the wall fixtures, and the marquee.

CStefanic
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
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
CStefanic on October 25, 2018 at 2:24 pm

This article goes into the purchase by UCLA.

https://mynewsla.com/education/2018/10/25/ucla-acquires-crest-theatre/

moviebuff82
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
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.

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