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The property is being handled by The Location Portal (thelocationportal.com) for film shoots. So, you could try contacting them for information.
This does raise the question, as to what is the largest U.S. city without a full-time cinema? Menefee, California has to be a contender, with a population of just over 100,000 and no operating cinema. However, unlike Grand Island, there are several within a reasonable driving distance.
Following the pandemic and slow return to theatre going over the past few years, it was definitely encouraging to see Oppenheimer cause such a sensation at the Chinese. As for the historic attendance vs modern revenue disparity, that also reflects the industry’s overall focus shift. The exhibition industry has become far more focused on per capita income than raw attendance in the post megaplex era; the Chinese’s remodel sacrificing seating volume for a “premium” experience exemplifies this business model shift.
Sadly, the interior of the theatre has now been completely demolished, leaving only the facade, marquee, and foyer intact for the new condo development.
The theatre had an L shaped layout. The lobby/concession stand/restrooms being at the right side of the entry, with the auditoriums down a hallway directly in-line with the entrance; resulting in most people heading straight to their auditorium and forgoing the concession stand. In an attempt to steer customers towards concession and improve sales, a stanchion roped pathway was put up in the mid 80’s; forcing patrons into an arching detour around the perimeter of the lobby as they entered.
The four auditoriums added on the left side of the hallway in 84 were constructed from a neighboring unit which had run as a swap meet for several years. The unit neighboring on the right side of the theatre housed the “Silver Screen” during the late 80’s/early 90’s; a loosely cinema themed restaurant (i.e. in addition to the business name, they hung up a few classic celebrity pictures and movie posters).
It was simply a case of the land becoming more valuable than the existing business and a developer coming in with a significant offer. Back in 2019 the drive-in’s owner, De Anza Land & Leisure, were approached with a $34.4 million offer from the Oakmont Industrial Group. As part of the deal, Oakmont allowed the drive-in/swap meet to continue operating rent free until their redevelopment plans were finalized. With the project cleared to move forward in 2023, the drive-in/swap meet was forced to close.
The alien mascot was from Virtual World; a, now defunct, gaming center that was located at the Triangle Square shopping center in Costa Mesa, CA. As you may or may not be able to tell from the picture, I was less than thrilled with his antics during this cross-promotion.
AMC changed their listing to “permanently closed” on May 31, 2023 and the theatre was demolished in early June.
I’m sure the theatre will eventually be completed. However, as with most Krikorian projects, the process will be excessively prolonged, involve numerous legal disputes, and the finished theatre will be missing several of the promoted amenities (i.e. something like an awkward gap where the laser tag or bowling lanes were supposed to be). For some reason nothing ever seems to go smoothly or to plan when they are involved.
RogerA: As far as I know it remains the same ownership for the theatre and surrounding property. However, what business entity they are currently operating under appears somewhat murky. Pacific/Arclight and their parent company, Decurion Corporation, are defunct. Also, the group’s real estate division, Robertson Property Group, has taken down their website, but there has been no indication as to what the company’s status is. The swap meet branch remains operating under the Pacific Swap Meet/Nationwide Theatres Corp names. My best guess is that the ownership is reorganizing under a new corporate structure (the home office for this confusing web of companies, on North Robertson Blvd, is still open).
I have the vaguest of memories of this plaza opening. The general memory being that the plaza was “fancy” and highly popular. Flash forward to the mid 90’s, when I moved back to Southern California as an adult, and the plaza certainly hadn’t aged well. In it’s later years, the center was run down and less than popular. The cinema had become a last resort choice, having never been updated or had any significant effort placed into its' upkeep. I once watched a heavily scratched print of “Dazed & Confused”, amidst a sea of bagged seats, and non functioning air-conditioning during the Saddleback’s waning years. And today, the one time multiple venues (Saddleback, El Torro, & Laguna Hills Mall) epicenter for moviegoing in the area is completely devoid of theatres.
West Hollywood is presenting their plans for the newly christened “City Playhouse” to the Arts & Cultural Affairs Commission. The plan outlines a 5,000 square foot, 99 seat venue, which will serve as an event center for artists and nonprofits. The new facility will also feature regular public programming and an outdoor civic space.
I think this was a case of megaplex era speculation that the area surrounding the theatre was about to take off and the relatively isolated location would soon be a hub (i.e. early entry into a pending hotspot). Unfortunately, that area of Foothill Ranch didn’t develop as expected and they were stuck with a very large theatre hidden away on the outskirts of the community. I’m actually surprised it lasted this long.
Back in the 90’s this theatre won a string of NATO showmanship awards and always seemed to be a finalist in movie marketing contests. At the time, Cinemapolis stood out amidst a rather sterile theatre landscape. When most of its' peers were still in the generic multiplex era, this theatre was experimenting with thematic decor, new technologies, showmanship, innovative marketing, etc. Unfortunately, it became somewhat of a forgotten/overlooked location once the other exhibitors caught up and began thinking outside the proverbial shoe-box.
In many ways, it was similar to what occurred with SoCal/Sanborn/The Movie Experience’s later Gardenwalk theatre; pioneering much of what was to come in the industry, only to end up being left behind when others adopted the same path. Sanborn was always an early adopter and innovator, but they never seemed to be able to maintain or truly exploit their head start.
I wonder if the “Summer Movie Series” is a soft relaunch/test run or merely meeting a base legal requirement to maintain permits, tax classification, etc. as an active cinema?
This past week a judge ruled in favor of Woodsonia and ordered AMC to vacate the property. While the theatre is currently closed and demolition has begun on other areas of the mall, AMC is listing the site as “temporarily closed” and representatives have made statements that they still hope to find a way to retain the theatre/reopen.
It seems odd that AMC is putting up such a fight for this location. Beyond clearly being a lost cause, this theatre wasn’t exactly a top performer. Perhaps, it’s part of some negotiating ploy for a future theatre at the new development.
The “for lease” banners have been removed, the property is no longer listed on the corresponding real estate site, and a general commercial properties site categorizes the building as “no longer available”. So, something is afoot, but I haven’t been able to find any details as to what that might be.
Woodsonia Real Estate has purchased the mall property and announced plans for a $220+ million redevelopment project. Initial reports mentioned a cinema being included with the new project and seemed to indicate that talks were underway with AMC. However, it appears something went amiss, as Woodsonia is now suing AMC to vacate the property. More recent reports indicate that all but three of the tenants have accepted buyouts and Woodsonia is now entering a legal battle to evict the three holdouts (AMC, Best Buy, and Joann Fabrics).
Likely a combination of declining attendance due to streaming (sub runs have been hit particularly hard), inability to book top titles due to shorter release windows (many studios started skipping sub runs all-together), and AMC’s general apathy towards the sub run business model. I’m not sure what East Pointe’s recliner remodel status is (whether it’s been conducted or is planned), but that would also play into the decision.
I’m sad to hear that East Pointe has been forced to make the change. Back in the Starplex days this place pulled in incredible business. I doubt it will ever see attendance like that again, nor do I foresee the price change going over particularly well with patrons. Truly the end of an era.
Unfortunately, none of the theatre chains currently have the financial means, nor does such a project fit within the business models most are following. At this point, I think it would take a major developer and a project similar to what occurred with the Texaco Building/United Artist Theatre conversion to the ACE Hotel/Theatre.
Beyond the theatre, anyone taking on the site would have to address the large office/retail building which encases the theatre. It stands as somewhat of a “white elephant” property; requiring a massive investment to bring back. That’s not to say it couldn’t or shouldn’t be done, but there has been little indication that anyone is interested in making such an investment. The current owners appear content with siting on the property as a tax write-off and speculative long term land investment.
The Mission Tiki closed on 1/22/23. The final movies screened were “A Man Called Otto”, “Plane”, and “M3GAN”.
It is startling to see how the Costa Mesa Metro area has slipped from cinema relevance. There was a time when the area was known as the “Westwood of Orange County”, due to the proliferation of high profile theatres and desirable demographics. Back in the 70’s and 80’s any film of note had to play in Costa Mesa. However, the area never kept pace with the megaplex/stadium era. The formerly high profile theatres quickly became dated and closed; the Metro Point and Triangle Square new builds failed to stand out as anything special. Now, the area is somewhat of a secondary/forgotten market.
The Brookhurst Theatre’s original projection booth had a floor level door (not the standard ladder/hatch one normally finds) which opened to the roof and the Loge had a similar door. As there was a worn path between the two doors, I always suspected projectionists and/or managers had utilized the rooftop to move between theatres, rather than going outside.
Trans-Texas and Starplex were each owned/operated by J.C. Mitchell, with Lee Roy Mitchell acting as a silent partner (i.e. providing financial backing). A similar scenario took place with Interstate Theatres (involving different owners/operators with Lee Roy Mitchell backing). The Cinemark link with these various companies was somewhat blurred/overlapping until around 2006. At that point a more formalized separation between the companies was required.
In recent years the auditorium was utilized as the Playhouse night club and the former lobby was home to Calle Tacos (the nightclub was accessed via a separate door/hallway). Both businesses went under during the 2020 pandemic and the venue has sat vacant for the past two years. However, there is currently (Winter 2022) work taking place at the site, which suggests a new business is moving into the lobby space.