EDITORIALS

Landmark Opening 12-Screen Flagship - Things Getting Interesting in LA

by
April 27, 2007
Source: Variety

Landmark Theatres

An article arrived in Variety this morning, a lengthy one, about a new theater opening in Los Angeles that's going to really shake things up. It's the new flagship theater for Landmark Theatres and will simply be called The Landmark. The Landmark Theatres chain is very well known as being one of the most wide-scale art house and independent feature chains in the US, with small art house theaters playing indie features that no one else will play in around 24 markets in the US.

The new Landmark will open adjacent to the Westside Pavilion (nearby to a 15-screen AMC) and feature 12 screens, the most ever for a theater that is dedicated to playing independent features, and is planning to open on June 1st. This sounds promising and if anything will make things a lot more interesting in the Los Angeles theatrical exhibition industry.

If you're interested, you can catch a pretty fun tour of the theater on Landmark's website.

I know, at first thought you're just wondering why the heck does this matter to you if you don't even live in LA! It matters in the same way that the Alamo Drafthouse matters. Not in a way that it will directly effect you, but in a way that it will hopefully have a positive impact on the theater industry on a whole. So far I can't say how much change this will bring about, but they seem to promising quite a damn bit at this flagship Landmark.

"I think this will dramatically change the landscape of exhibition in Los Angeles," predicted Warner Bros. exec VP-general sales manager Jeff Goldstein, who did a walk-through of the Landmark facility a month ago. "It's a hip, cool place to see movies, particularly for a smart, upscale crowd, and they didn't spare one penny."

Landmark -- under owners Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner -- will compete with giants such as AMC and Pacific by expanding beyond its arthouse roots, reinventing itself as a hybrid chain that isn't afraid to book both blockbusters and indie pics under one lavishly designed roof.

I'm not exactly the biggest fan of Landmark at the moment, despite being fairly fond of the theaters they have in Denver. For some reason, they just don't have that superior quality and excellence to me. Maybe they're missing the point: it's not all about the theater design and presentation, or amenities such as good food or free parking, it's about the experience on a whole. Whenever I go I never feel like I'm being treated the grandest and greatest experience, even when I'm seeing a barely-heard-of independent film. Landmark chief operating officer Ted Mundorff spoke about the new theater quite a bit in the article, providing a few more key quotes, including this one.

Mundorff is also vowing the Landmark will boast "the highest level of customer service in the country," including concierge service and valet parking.

"We want to bring people back to the theater," he said. "This is the experience the public is looking for."

That's a great statement, let's just hope he delivers what he's promising. I can't argue much more what he's saying, because the theater isn't even open yet and I don't have first-hand experience attending movies there. I'm going to make it a mission to get to this theater around its opening and profile it here on First Showing, to give all of you a better look at what Landmark is promising. And if it turns out great, the least I can to help this cinema world is show everyone a theater that is doing it right. To put an end to it, here's the quote Mundorff gives to encapsulate everything, and it's fairly poignant.

"Independent film has matured so much, that for a larger part of the population, it's the main thing," he said. "This is the culmination of that."

I'm looking forward to a hopeful positive change that this will bring, rather than increased competition and brutality in the LA theater market. So far they've made a scene in promoting its opening this early, and I hope that means something. Landmark Theatres has got some of the great strategies down that the other big chains are missing, but that doesn't mean they have everything right.

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  • Taylor
    RE: "playing indie features that no one else will play in around 24 markets in the US." In some instances, it is not so much that no one else will play them but that Landmark uses its national purchasing power to keep other independent theaters such as the Alamo Drafthouse from screening features that they themselves will be showing. The hold a virtual lock in securing films from certain distributors thus making it harder for independent theaters to show independent films.

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