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Some Ideas for Movie Theaters

October 04, 1987

As a professional film maker and an apparently above-average-in-frequency moviegoer, I found the article about the proposed theaters at Sunset and Laurel Canyon (Times, Sept. 20) interesting and inspiring of two points for possible consideration by the developers.

First, the claim by (AMC Vice President Gregory S.) Rutkowski that the location is a "very attractive theater site" ignores the fact that in the last 20 years an attempt to open a first-run theater, the Granada, on the far end of the strip proved to be a failure, primarily because of traffic and parking problems, while the two theaters which did make it for a while on Sunset specialized in either second-run or classic films, drawing their audiences largely from the neighborhood.

Secondly, while listing the total number of seats planned for the complex, the article did not say how many auditoriums these seats were to be divided among. While the practice of combining several auditoriums under one roof is an economically valid idea, the indiscriminate manner in which it is currently being done, without serious consideration of location, neighborhood impact, etc., leads much to be desired.

A complex placing the equivalent of all the theaters on Hollywood Boulevard may work for a previously theater-less community like Lancaster, but not for an area already served by a plethora of theaters such as the Westside.

All interests might be better served by three or four houses of 250 to 300 seats reflecting the classic ambiance of neighborhood houses of the '40s or '50s rather than austere "Odious" Cineplex shoe boxes, and rather than compete with Hollywood Boulevard and Westwood houses for first-run audiences, fill an obvious need for theaters in which one can catch up with pictures one might have missed in those houses, possibly at reduced prices at least in mid-week. That there is a need and audience for such theaters can by verified by the reopening with such a policy of three Westside theaters previously closed or on a Spanish-language policy. This area has continued to be supportive of such theaters even when they've been closing in other parts of town. Though AMC is not known for such a booking policy, at least locally, it could solve the problems to the satisfaction of all involved.

RICK MITCHELL

Los Angeles

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