Fine Arts Theatre

8556 Wilshire Boulevard,
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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Fine Arts Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cecchi Gori, Fox West Coast Theatres, Laemmle Theatres, Landmark Theatres (USA), Mann Theatres

Architects: Joseph Musil, Benjamin Marcus Priteca

Functions: Movies (Classic), Special Events

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Wilshire Regina Theatre, Fox Fine Arts Theatre, Cecchi Gori Fine Arts Theatre, Cecchi Gori F.A. Cinema, Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 424.438.4013

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News About This Theater

Fine Arts

The Wilshire Regina Theatre in Beverly Hills opened Wednesday, April 21, 1937. The first program was “That Girl From Paris” starring Lily Pons, and Humphrey Bogart in “Black Legion”, plus a March of Time newsreel and a cartoon. Seating was general admission at ‘Popular Prices’ - 25 cents for adults, 10 cents for children.

Built at a cost of $75,000, the theatre sat 800 people (in smaller seats than today). Initial press coverage mentioned the design firm of B. Marcus Priteca (who also designed the Hollywood Pantages Theatre) but did not credit the theatre’s design directly to him. Opening day newspaper advertisements announced a ‘Magic Fountain for Young and Old’, and a “Theatrette in Ladies Lounge” as special features.

It was taken over by Fox West Coast Theatres on December 28, 1948 with Anton Walbrook in “The Red Shoes” and renamed Fine Arts Theatre (occasionally referred to as the Fox Fine Arts Theatre and a tall vertical sign with that name was added to the center of the façade (it has since been removed). In 1951 it hosted the World Premiere of George Stevens' “A Place in the Sun”. In 1959 “Room at the Top”, (‘The Most Daring Film in a Decade’), played there for over six months. Some time after the 1950’s, the original small forecourt and free-standing boxoffice were eliminated for an interior lobby.

In 1974 “The Exorcist” drew long lines around the block into a residential area that didn’t appreciate the attention. Local residents called for changes in parking regulations and even restrictions on the theatre’s schedule. These issues have long since been addressed. It was operated by Laemmle Theatres from 1985 to 1993.

The Cecchi Gori film company took over and renovated in 1993. Theatre designer Joseph Musil, who also redesigned the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood and the Crest Theatre in Westwood, brought his colorful theatrical flair to the new Cecchi Gori Fine Arts Theatre. The lobby has been further enlarged by moving in the back wall of the auditorium. A new 14' by 33' screen was installed several feet in front of the old proscenium to accommodate wider aspect ratios. This re-configuring, and the use of somewhat wider seats, reduced the theatre’s capacity to 410. The Cecci Gori people originally wanted an Italian street scene painted onto the screen curtain, but later decided against it. That is is why there is a flat black curtain instead of traditional gathered drapes.

Two stores that flanked the theatre were converted into a full concession stand and an expansion of the ladies room (no ‘theatrette’, just more toilets). The box office window is now located between the front entrance doors. Changes to the interior have been substantial enough to make it difficult to attribute the theatre’s current overall look to any one person, although Joseph Musil’s design touches are everywhere. The exterior of the theatre remained unaltered.

The Fine Arts Theatre was leased to Screening Services Group and reopened in December 2005 with the US premiere of “Mrs. Henderson Presents”. Primarily a rental venue, the theatre has been equipped to handle multiple film and video formats, including 2K Digital Cinema, and Dolby Digital EX. Parking for the theatre will be available at the Flynt building on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard.

Sadly the ‘Fine Arts’ was closed in the fall of 2010. It was reopened as the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre on September 18, 2015 with “Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer” and was managed and operated by Laemmle Theatres as a public cinema. Laemmle Theatres departed from the building on October 31, 2019. It is now back in the hands of Screening Services Group who will lease out the Fine Arts Theatre as a special events venue open to the public and a private movies venue.

In August 2022 a new LED marquee and vertical sign were installed on the façade of the building. In 2023 it will celebrate its 86th anniversary. Classic movies are the main programing, some of which are 70mm prints. It is equipped with 4K, Dolby 7.1 & 5.1

Contributed by TJ Edwards, Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 78 comments)

RevDORK on August 29, 2015 at 12:58 am

I’d be interested in running the Fine Arts for a 4th different company. I know the place like the back of my hand. I can be reached at .

macoco on August 29, 2015 at 4:28 am

The Fine Arts was almost my first job when I started college at UCLA. I had gotten the usher job, had picked up my uniform, and then got a better job at the biomedical library on campus, which ended seeing me through four years of college and the first year of graduate school. But it would have been really neat to have a first-job at a movie theater!

silver on September 11, 2015 at 5:50 am

Laemmle’s Facebook page just posted about their Fine Arts take over.

It also links to the official Laemmle blog post with more details, and from which I’ll reprint the 1st two paragraphs below:

Laemmle Theatres is proud to announce we have taken over the management and operation of the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills. The theatre has been closed for five years. At the time of its closure it was used exclusively as a private screening venue. Laemmle will book the theatre with first run films screening daily for the general public. Laemmle will also use the Ahrya Fine Arts to host regular series like our Culture Vulture program, festivals and special event screenings.

According to, the Fine Arts first opened in April 1937 as the Wilshire Regina, with seating for 800. It has been well maintained over the years and is – and under Laemmle’s stewardship will remain – a single-screen theater, though now with slightly more than 400 seats. (Movie patrons’ expectations of things like leg room have understandably risen over the decades.) We last operated the venue from 1985 to 1993, mostly screening foreign films.

Giles on March 19, 2016 at 3:35 am

question – so what are the technical aspects of this theater – can it show 35mm? what projector’s are being used (brand, 4K? or standard 2K?)

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on March 19, 2016 at 6:55 am

According to the Laemmle rental form, they still have both 35mm and 70mm capabilities. Not sure if it’s platter or reel to reel.

DCP projector is 4K… Christie I think.

silver on March 21, 2016 at 12:08 am

If the 70mm capability is accurate, I wonder if The Weinstein Co. ever considered using this place for the roadshow Hateful Eight…

rivest266 on August 5, 2016 at 5:19 pm

December 28th, 1948 grand opening ad as well as 1993 reopening as well as the April 21st, 1937 ad for the Regina theatre.

DavidZornig on October 25, 2017 at 11:38 pm

The Premiere of “Mansfield 66/67” is at the Ahrya Fine Arts Cinema tonight.

ridethectrain on March 31, 2021 at 6:44 am

The theater is showing Kong vs godzilla

adsausage on October 27, 2021 at 7:26 pm

Also a Mann Theater, circa 1979.

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