End of Gibson's run will force Hollywood to turn elsewhere for its premieres, award shows and concerts.
Universal also plans to close its Curious George playland to provide space for the Harry Potter theme park.
The Terminator 2: 3D Battle Across Time ride, that closed at the end of 2012, will serve as the home of another new attraction, not related to Harry Potter, according to sources.
The Gibson, an indoor theater perched right behind Universal CityWalk, can host up to 6,189 people for concerts and events. Its final shows will take place in September, at the end of the building’s lease agreement.
As a celebration of the many legendary artists who have played on its stage, Live Nation’s Southern California office will assemble a lineup of shows as “a fitting farewell,” it said, with more details to be announced.
Fans with tickets to shows that are scheduled after September 2013 should hold on to them, Live Nation said. “Live Nation is currently working on moving these events into other venues and will notify fans when there is more information. If a show cannot be moved then fans will receive a full refund.”
Eros Ramazzotti was set to perform on Oct. 17, and Sarah Brightman on Nov 1.
“We, like music lovers across Los Angeles, will miss Gibson Amphitheatre,” said Bret Gallagher, president of North American Concerts, Southern California and Las Vegas. “It is a tremendous venue with a uniquely intimate setting that has made it a very special place for fans and artists alike. The list of musicians that have played here is simply staggering. We are honored to have been a part of its remarkable story. While a change like this is difficult, we look forward to putting together a series of great shows that will celebrate everything about this marvelous building.”
The Gibson, named after the guitar manufacturer who purchased the naming rights for the venue in 2005, as part of a 10-year deal worth around $14 million, has hosted a variety of events, from premieres for Universal’s films to award shows like the MTV Music Awards, Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards, VH1 Honors, the Academy of Country Music Awards, HBO’s Comic Relief, NAACP Image Awards, and 106.7 KROQ FM’s annual “Almost Acoustic Christmas” show.
Many of those events already have moved to other locations around Los Angeles, including downtown’s L.A. Live complex, Hollywood’s TCL, Dolby and Arclight theaters and others in Westwood. Universal held the premiere for Tom Cruise vehicle “Oblivion,” at the Dolby and Hollywood & Highland ballroom, earlier this month.
The TCL Theater, however, won’t be available for three months during the busy summer premiere season as it converts to an Imax screen.
Live Nation employees were briefed of the Gibson’s closure Wednesday morning.
The Curious George part of the park is situated right behind the Gibson.
The Gibson’s closure had been expected since Universal and Warner Bros. announced plans for the Hollywood addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in late 2011.
In addition to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood, Warner Bros. also has a deal with Universal Studios to build a third version of the themed area in Japan. It’s also expanding the original park, in Orlando, that first opened in 2010, and has increased attendance there to record numbers.
Until Harry Potter moves in, Hollywood will surely spend some time reflecting on the history of the Gibson.
Comedians Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Kathy Griffin, Louis C.K., Chelsea Handler, George Carlin, Cheech & Chong, George Lopez, Steve Harvey, Chris Rock and Daniel Tosh have all performed there. In addition, Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama have filled its seats.
But it was most notable for serving as a venue where icons like Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, the Beach Boys, Steely Dan, the Grateful Dead and Miles Davis performed, along with Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Shakira, James Taylor, Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Kanye West, Keith Urban, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Lil’ Wayne, D’Angelo, Joni Mitchell and BB King.