Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood reported that another LA staple will become the latest victim of the current leasing wars between landlords and tenants.
Laemmle's Sunset Five, a 20-year occupant of the corner of Sunset Boulevard at Crescent Heights and home to many independent films, documentaries and small festivals, will close its doors at the end of November. Robert Redford's Sundance Cinemas, which also has venues in San Francisco, Houston and Madison (WI), will take over the space in late spring 2012 after a renovation.
The Sunset Five is one of those places in LA that I ride by regularly but didn't patron all that much. However, I have always liked that it is there. It was one of those LA symbols that drew me back here after two moves out of town (to NY in early 2006 and to Masschusetts in late 2007).
I saw "The Trip" at the Sunset Five in 2003 with my friend Jesse. This was the year before I came out and it was the first gay-themed movie I had seen in an actual theatre instead of hidden away in my bedroom watching it on Netflix.
Just as recently as a couple weeks ago, I had seen the wonderful film "Weekend" at the Sunset Five.
It's the fifth such theatre that I've lost in the ten years I've been in LA as a lot of filmgoers have been swayed by the fancy, upscale entertainment complexes such as the Arclight, the Grove and the Century City Mall (which went through its own renovation a few years ago) that offer a moviegoing EXPERIENCE with crisp sound, pristine picture quality and comfort that rivals that of your living room. However, I prefer the old school moviegoing experience of popcorn, candy, Cherry Coke, sticky floors, creaky seats and the smell of years of patronage. If I want the comforts of home, I'll stay home in comfort.
According to Deadline, distributors have been pressured to
get films into places like the Arclight, leaving places like the Sunset Five --
previously one of a few options for many an independent filmmaker and small
distributor -- in the lurch.
That said, I'd better start checking out that old school Vista Theatre in Silver Lake before someone decides to make it a place to be.