Regency acquires historic theaters

Company nabs Bruin, Westwood Village cinemas

Single-screen theaters, a dying breed in most of the country, are getting a reprieve in Los Angeles’ Westwood Village with the acquisition of the lease for the Bruin and Village theaters by small regional loop Regency Theaters.

The Calabasas-based company announced Tuesday it will assume the lease on the two historic theaters from Mann Theaters as of Thursday.

Regency’s show of faith is good news for standalone theaters, and could spark interest in other historic venues, including the for-sale Grauman’s Chinese.

“We want to continue to steward these old buildings and keep them in pristine condition,” said Regency prexy Lyndon Golin. “The Village and Bruin are two of the greatest L.A. theaters for presentation and seating.”

Regency entered long-term leasing negotiations with the theater’s local owners at the beginning of the year, after previous operators Mann Theaters decided last year not to renew its leases.

The acquisition could help persuade studios to continue hosting premieres in Westwood. Golin said “they’re still spectacular movie venues” and plans to “bring back more premieres.”

Over the past few years, studios have both reduced the number of premieres and gravitated toward Hollywood for many events. Downtown’s Regal Cinemas L.A. Live megaplex had hoped to lure studio events, but has met with resistance from traffic-fearing industryites.

The two theaters hosted several high-profile preems last year, including Sony’s “Julie and Julia” and Summit’s “Twilight: New Moon.”

Six preems are already skedded at the theaters through the end of the year, including CBS Films’ “The Back-Up Plan” and Summit’s “Furry Vengeance.”

The Village, which opened in 1931, seats more than 1,300 moviegoers and features the 170-ft. Spanish Revival-style Fox tower. The Art Deco style Bruin opened in 1937.

In 2001, Regency acquired and renovated the 1938 Lido theater in Newport Beach. The company operates 22 locations in Southern Calif., Nevada and Colorado.

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