My People Connection Message Board › AMC to take over Laemmle Theaters site at Fallbrook mall
Culver City, CA
By Gregory J. Wilcox, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/01/2013 05:03:25 PM PST
Updated: 02/01/2013 05:22:40 PM PST
WEST HILLS - The movie screens at Fallbrook Center won't go dark after all.
Mega operator AMC Theaters said Friday that it will take over the space being vacated by Los Angeles-based Laemmle Theatres.
It's going to be a quick turnaround.
Laemmle, which could not work out a new lease with mall owner General Growth Properties, will show its last films on Feb. 27.
AMC gets the space on March 1 and will start showing movies a few days later in the new AMC Fallbrook 7, company spokesman Ryan Noonan said.
It will be the Kansas City, Mo.-based company's 29th theater complex in the Los Angeles area.
"We already have a strong presence in the area, but we're very excited at the opportunity to ... turn this theatre into one of the nicest in the country," Mark McDonald, executive vice president of development at AMC, said in a statement.
An extensive renovation is planned, but it will be done in phases so some auditoriums will remain open while work is under way, Noonan said.
AMC will install a state-of-the-art sound system and digital projectors as well as stadium-style seats that add a touch of luxury to the movie viewing experience.
Every seat in the theater complex will be a power recliner with a footrest.
The concession area will be revamped, too, and feature an expanded menu that includes healthier items and Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, which offer more than 120 drink options.
The renovation will make for a less crowded theater, too.
Noonan said that the seating capacity for this type of renovation is reduced by 50 percent to 55 percent to make room for the bigger recliners.
He does not know if fewer seats means higher ticket prices, though.
"The seat count goes down but attendance usually goes up," he said.
Construction will begin this spring and should be complete later this year, he said.
Laemmle has been at the complex for 11 years and built a niche following by showing arthouse and Indian films. An especially popular feature was a Wednesday afternoon matinee with discounted ticket and concession prices.
The company said it was leaving the center in the middle of January because it could not secure a long-term lease, said Greg Laemmle, president of the eight-theater chain.
He's now looking for land in the West Valley to build a new theater.
"Our goal has been to own our own theaters and that's something we've pursued ... where we can be in an ownership position with our own dirt," he said.
"We love the area and built a loyal clientele."
AMC said it wants to build on Laemmle's success.
"We ... understand
Patrons wait to buy their movie tickets at the Laemmle Fallbrook 7 in West Hills, Calif., on Jan. 16, 2013. (Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer)
there's a passionate group of guests who have loyally relied on this location, and we're looking forward to meeting the needs of the current guests while welcoming in new guests through our programming and amenities," McDonald said in his statement.
Neither company would comment on the lease arrangements but Noonan said that the two companies have partnered on projects like this before.
And General Growth is happy that some money will be spent improving the movie space.
"We are always looking to provide a positive entertainment and shopping experience for our customers," said Daniyel John, the mall's senior manager.
"We feel that AMC coming in and the improvements they are going to do, our customer and theatergoers are really going to appreciate it."
AMC Theatres operates 332 theaters with 4,804 screens primarily in the U.S.