Does A Theater Closing Alone In Downtown Make Any Sound?

Sadness. I’ve just learned from Ed Fuentes at Blogdowntown that the Laemmle’s Grande 4-Plex theater on Figueroa beneath the Marriott Hotel (where Christopher Walken danced in a certain Fatboy Slim video) is slated to shut down October 25, coincidentally just two days before the opening of the Regal Cinemas LA Live Stadium 14.

Fuentes quotes Laemmle Director of Operations Kevin Gallagher: “It’s always been difficult to bring people downtown and even though the image of the city changing, we felt it was best to close the doors.”

The comments to the post echo my dissapointment. But I take some consolation that at least they didn’t close because of me. Laemmles had no difficulty bringing me and my wife Susan downtown from Silver Lake. Long unenamored with the Arclight $tyle of movie-going (and the gridlock getting there), Laemmle’s Grande was a cherished alternative. A bit seedy and frayed and firmly lacking in the latest cinema technology, sure. But none of that mattered.

It has been our theater of choice for going on three years. We could get there in 10 minutes, conveniently park across the street for $2 and relish the $6 matinee ticket prices, which made bad movies suck a little less… like “Public Enemies,” the last movie we saw there.

With the exception of one or two trips to the Vista every movie we’ve been coaxed into seeing since we first found the place in 2006 has been viewed there in the Marriot’s basement — with good popcorn, no screaming kids, no crowds, and by and large among people who know good movie theater etiquette. It was like a best-kept secret — too best kept, I guess (but not for lack of me crowing about it here back in November 2006).

I’m going to miss this place tremendously. In fact, since you won’t catch me navigating the chaos of Regal’s new LA Live pleximania, I’d hazard to say with its closing we’ll be going out for movies less and waiting to stay in and see them on Blu-Ray more.

6 Replies to “Does A Theater Closing Alone In Downtown Make Any Sound?”

  1. I have only been there twice since it’s a drive for me, but did enjoy that it was cheap and low key. Yes it does seem people there have “good movie theater etiquette.” I may try to catch a movie before the theater closes down.

  2. Sorry Will, I’m not with you on this one.

    Our last visit was the opening of Spiderman. The lack of padding on the seats, the dirty floor and the smell of urine finally took their toll and we decided to never go back.

    Sometimes you gotta just put the beast out of it’s misery.

  3. I totally forgot that place! Found it by accident one day and enjoyed my experience there. I’ve been meaning to go back, guess I don’t have much time.

  4. Michael, to each his own, but the opening of Spiderman? As in 2002? I’m pretty sure most of downtown in that prehistoric year was dirtier, smellier and less padded.

    Certainly your reasons for boycotting Laemmle’s are valid. But I think it’s too easy to accept its demise because of that. If Laemmle wanted they could’ve invested in cleaning the place up and keeping their name downtown. But they didn’t.

    And for what it’s worth, I can attest to my visits being urine odor-free, the floor clean enough, and the seats… well, there were usually enough empty ones that if you landed in one that was uncomfortable or had a broken cup holder, you could switch until you found a satisfactory place to settle in.

  5. What about the dank Moe? The dank?
    Considering the 80’s are so hip nowadays, this theater should be ultra-trendy. A perfect relic from that era when the multi-plex was born.

    Sadly, this summer was only time I ever went there. (To see 500 Days. It felt like watching the film while in the film with downtown being a supporting character.) My wife and I metroed down there, went bar hopping to Coles, 107, The Redwood… And WALKED to the theater and the took the 81 Bus back to Highland Park. A perfect date night. Sad to
    hear Its closing after such a great time.

  6. Pity. I really liked this theater a lot. In the grand tradition of unheimlich and empty downtown public spaces (the Westin, anybody?), it was wierd and dark and often empty and below ground.
    What I’m really curious about is what will happen to this space now. Will it lie fallow, its darkened theaters cavernous and full of bats? Will it become the most depressing retail mall ever? Or will it simply be filled with cement, like some bizarre Rachael Whiteread piece?

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