Changing face of L.A. moviegoing

posted by HowardBHaas on July 10, 2007 at 10:00 am

The changing face of moviegoing in Los Angeles is profiled in this L.A. Times article including how difficult it is for single screen Crest in Westwood to continue to book movies and how appreciated the new Landmark is.

Some guys daydream about playing center field for the Dodgers. Others wish they had as much luck with women as Antonio Villaraigosa. But when I’m in my car, trapped in the Westside’s endless rush hour traffic, all I can fantasize about is how good life would be if there were more great movie theaters on my side of town.

There have been many nights when I could fly and see a movie in San Francisco faster than plowing through the Westside’s snarled traffic to where the ArcLight sits in the distant reaches of Hollywood.

Luckily, I now have two beloved neighborhood theaters: the sleek new 12-screen Landmark complex alongside the Westside Pavilion and the handsome old Westwood Crest Theater, a 1940-era movie house on Westwood Boulevard. As different as they may appear on the surface, they are fascinating examples of the brave new world of high-quality movie exhibition, a world full of movies aimed at — gasp — people who aren’t dying to see “Transformers.”

A slide show has wonderful photos including beautiful interior photos of the Crest, Los Angeles and Orpheum.

Comments (6)

bruceanthony on July 10, 2007 at 3:53 pm

This is the second artilce I have read about the changing face of moviegoing in LA. When I lived in LA during the 1980’s I went to the movies in both Hollywood and Westwood where they had deluxe ist run movie theatres. The new Landmark should have been built in Westwood Village with parking. Instead it has been built in anoher
shopping mall complex.I hope they stick with the art films and let the Village,Bruin,Crest,National,Avco and Festival show the blockbusters. I have a friend who built a megaplex with stadium seating,beautiful decor in each screen and curtains in front of each screen putting most of the large Circuit megaplex theatres to shame and he is an independent who makes money. Since LA is an industry town I expect a certain standard which sometimes in not met. Im 55 and have been going to the movies since I was five and the industry still doesn’t get it. The megaplex in an improvement over the awful multi screen theatres built in the 70’s,80’s but is not comparable to movie palaces built in the 20’s and 30’s and the deluxe roadshow theatres of the 50’s and 60’s. The megaplex still has a few theatres with postage stamp screens. These small screen theatres should not be built, it gives the industry a bad name. There is to much competition now and theatres have to compete and be better than the competition. Harkins Theatres of Arizona has started putting a deluxe screen with 600 seating with a huge screen, curtains duplicating the Cine Capri a deluxe roadshow house from the past in some of there new megaplex theatres, now this is how theatres should be built in the future. I saw both Die Hard and Transformers in the Cine Capri Auditorium and was impressed. It reminded me of the large screen presentations of the past. This is the direction the industry should be taking. The Landmark in Westwood will never be like the Arc Light becuase they don’t have the Cinerama Dome. I can’t give Pacific credit for this becuase the preservationists pressured Pacific in keeping the Cinerama Dome the way it is today. Give the public what they want and its not small screen boring theatres. I think if you bring in elements of the movie palace,deluxe roadshow presentation of the past with large screens this is the way to go.My friend has done this with his megaplex and grosses double what his large circuit competition does. I always hated the Beverly Connection and Beverly Center theatres, you might as well watch it at home on your own big screen TV. brucec

HowardBHaas on July 10, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Wow, brucec, I hope the huge screens, beautiful decor, and USE OF A CURTAIN BEFORE THE MOVIE SCREEN, can become an industry standard! I didn’t think anybody was building them anymore with curtains in front of the screen.

JohnMessick on July 10, 2007 at 6:24 pm

brucec…is your friends' theater listed on cinema treasures? Any pictures of it. I would be interested in seeing what his theater looks like.

exit on July 11, 2007 at 1:05 am

Same here. Would love to see what your friend’s place looks like… I keep hearing how some newer ‘plexes are making a real effort toward creating a finer moviegoing experience, but these theatres are never anywhere near LA! What does that tell you about our industry?

JohnMessick on July 11, 2007 at 1:19 pm

The problem today is we as a society are steeped in MEDIOCRITY. We settle for crap. We don’t strive for excellence anymore. In certain circumstances there is no incentives to do any better.

LawMann on July 11, 2007 at 2:31 pm

During the 60’s and 70’s I loved going to Los Angeles movie palaces in the downtown city center. Back then there was only three ways to get to these theatres, by bus, car or walking. I took the bus or walked since I lived only a couple miles away and I didn’t own a car. Now with several metro rail and commuter rail lines going into the city people don’t have to drive, they can take the subway or light rail instead and with tens of thousand of new residential units with thousands more under construction the Los Angeles city center will have a population big enough to support these theatres along with many others who will be coming in from outside the city using the metro rail system.

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