Regent plans to buy Showcase Theater

Company eyeing Dallas hardtop

Continuing its expansion into theatrical exhibition, “Gods and Monsters” producer Regent Entertainment has contracted to buy the popular Showcase Theater on La Brea Boulevard in Los Angeles.

The company, which owns and operates the Regent Westlake Theaters, is also planning to build a new theater in the Preston Center area of Dallas.

Regent will take over the Showcase from its current operator, Cineplex Odeon, when the lease expires next year.

The company has no plans to divide the single-screen theater’s auditorium, according to Regent partner Paul Colichman. Instead, Regent will enlarge the screen and add wider seats with increased leg room.

“The Showcase is one of the very few free-standing theaters that can still kick out a gross,” Colichman said. “We want to make sure we maintain the luster and the bigscreen experience.”

Regent hopes eventually to add a second screen in an area currently occupied by an adjacent restaurant.

Distribution execs familiar with the Showcase concur that the venue, located just south of Melrose Ave. in a densely populated residential area, offers excellent presentation quality and does solid neighborhood business.

The theater’s one limitation, distribs said, is it’s lack of off-street parking.

To address that issue, Regent plans to offer reduced-rate valet parking for movie patrons. “Our plan is to do it at no profit and charge between a buck and two bucks,” Colichman said.

By stepping up its theater-building and acquisitions, Regent plans to create “an automatic network of distribution for its own theatrical releases,” according to Regent partner Stephen Jarchow.

In Dallas the company plans to build the Regent Berkshire Court on land now owned by Jarchow. Regent is looking for additional sites in Dallas and hopes eventually to operate theaters in New York.

In addition to Jarchow and Colichman, Regent partners include Mark R. Harris and Peter Dekom.

Regent’s “Gods and Monsters” won the Academy Award for adapted screenplay as well as three Independent Spirit Awards.

Recently, Regent announced its foray into film acquisition with the purchases of “Sixth Happiness” and “Free Enterprise, as well as 2,000 film masters through a bankruptcy auction.

In addition to exhibition and production, the L.A.-based company has its own foreign sales division, Regent Intl.