Since Simi Valley's Larwin Theater closed five years ago movie-goers have had only one theater option, the Mann theater, within the city limits.
But that changed earlier this month when the Edwards Cinemas multiplex opened its doors. The theater is located in the Mountain Gate Plaza at Los Angeles Avenue and 1st Street--in the same spot once occupied by the Larwin.
The new theater is the northernmost operation in the Edwards chain of 52 Southern California theaters. It has seven screens and a total seating capacity of 1,900.
Pam Campeau of the Simi Valley Chamber of Commerce hopes that the theater will help the Plaza re-establish itself after five years in which tenants have moved out and business has declined.
"We're very excited to have Edwards in the city, particularly in Mountain Gate Plaza," she said. "It should boost its public relations and increase foot traffic."
Theater manager Jimmy Dellemonico said the Edwards multiplex will show strictly first-run movies--they have opened with the likes of "FX2," "Dances with Wolves" and Madonna's "Truth or Dare."
"There was an unusual-looking crowd checking that one out," Dellemonico said.
To make things more interesting, Dellemonico said the Edwards chain plans to open an eight-screen theater across the street from his theater. The opening is tentatively scheduled for the end of the year. "It's got space cleared, and it's permitted," he said.
A side note to the new theater: Manager Dellemonico runs his own family entertainment company in Simi Valley called UB You! He has produced several children's aerobics videos featuring dance instructor Patsy Swayze, mother of actor Patrick Swayze.
The Ojai Film Society on Sunday will show the very highly acclaimed 1988 Greek film "Landscape in the Mist," directed by Theo Angelopoulos. The film concerns two children who leave their home in Greece to find their father, who their mother has told them lives in Germany. During their trek they encounter many unusual, interesting and frightening people. What they don't know, however, is that their mother made up the story of their father's whereabouts to give them a sense of hope.
Showtime at the Ojai Playhouse is 4:30 p.m. The theater is located at 145 E. Ojai Ave.