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movie commented about National Theatre on Mar 1, 2006 at 7:48 pm

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Curtain may fall on Mann theater

JENNIFER HUANG/daily bruin

James Lazarre works the ticket booth at the Mann National Theatre on Lindbrook Avenue in Westwood. Mann will not renew its lease on the theater, which expires in July.

By Roberta Wolfson

Though the lights of the Mann Village and Bruin movie theaters will continue to vibrantly flash on the corner of Broxton and Weyburn avenues, the static lights of the Mann National Theatre may soon go dim.

Come this July, Westwood may be one theater short, as Mann Theatres will not renew its lease for the National Theatre, located on Lindbrook Drive.

The one-screen cinema has been in Westwood since the 1970s and has been managed by the Mann Corporation for most of its existence. It is one of five local theaters in Westwood Village, which includes the Village, Bruin and Festival theaters, all operated by Mann.

The fifth theater, the Regent, is operated by Landmark Theatres. Mann will be unable to renew its lease due to the National’s cost of rent, said Peter Dobson, CEO of the Mann Corporation.

The future of the Mann National Theatre is uncertain at the moment, as the landlords may either seek redevelopment, rent the theater to someone else or look to renegotiate a better term lease with the Mann Corporation.

“The lease is renewable, but it is an unrealistic rent, so we need to change the terms. As yet, we have not had confirmation that the landlords are willing to change the terms,” Dobson said.

The company, which has been involved with Westwood cinema for several decades, will be renewing its lease for its other three theaters in Westwood, as the rents for those facilities are financially reasonable, Dobson said.

There is a possibility that the National Theatre may have to close down, at least temporarily, though the possible closure is not an indication of Mann’s departure from Westwood, Dobson said.

“We are definitely not saying we want to get out of Westwood, as we are very involved and dedicated to Westwood. We’ve had a long and happy relationship with the Westwood community, but it has to be on a sound financial footing,” Dobson said.

Chris Escobar, a year-long resident of Westwood looking to enter the UCLA Medical School, said he sees movies in Westwood every two weeks or so, and though he does watch movies at the National, many people come to the Village and Bruin theaters because they “are a lot nicer and more clean.”

For movie-going Bruins such as Vikram Balakrishnan, a second-year electrical engineering student, the closure of this theater would mean a loss of entertainment and individuality for Westwood.

“Each theater in Westwood offers only one movie, which is a fun experience that is unique to Westwood and other parts of L.A., but once you leave Westwood, it’s hard to get to theaters,” Balakrishnan said.

Dobson said he was very sad about Mann’s departure from the National.

“The implications of our withdrawing this lease are obviously having one theater less in Westwood and one less screen for students to watch,” Dobson said. “This marks the end of an era. If the theater ends up closing, it will be a very sad thing.”

With reports from Derek Lipkin, Bruin senior staff.

movie commented about Amboy Multiplex Cinemas on Jun 4, 2005 at 1:43 pm

Back in the day, this WAS the high tech most state of the art theater in New Jersey with the best picture and sound.
I remember waiting with my parents on a 2 hour line to see Indiana Jones and the last crusade in 70 mm on opening night. I also remember seeing Dead Poets Society, Back to the Future 2 and 3, Ghostbusters 2, Great Balls of Fire, and Alien Nation at this theater. The Amboy would often get exclusive New Jersey runs of Oscar contender films before they went into wide release making the Amboy theaters very lucrative around the Thanksgiving to New Year season. During the early to mid 90’s, a multi-plex boom happened overnight in central New Jersey with new multiplexes opening in nearby Menelo Park, Edison, South Plainfield, and the final downfall was probably the two New Brunswick theaters on Rt. 1, (one a regal, one a lowes, both state of the art stadium mega plexes). Sadly, this theater has been neglected and was deteriorating in the last 10 years. Hopefully National Amusements will see what a gem they once had and use this closing to give the theater the much needed renovation that it deserves.

movie commented about Mann Plaza Theater on Oct 15, 2004 at 12:06 pm

It survived one more week. The official closing has been pushed back a week to Thursday, 10/21. Napoleon Dynamite will be the last film for The Plaza. I will keep everyone updated if anything should change!

movie commented about Mann Plaza To Close Thursday, Says Source on Oct 15, 2004 at 12:03 pm

It survived one more week. The official closing has been pushed back a week to Thursday, 10/21. Napoleon Dynamite will be the last film for The Plaza. I’ll will keep everyone updated if anything should change!

movie commented about Mann Plaza Theater on Oct 5, 2004 at 1:41 pm

Sad news-I work at the Plaza and as of now, October 14 will be the last day. It is set to be demolished and a shopping center will be built in it’s place(Just what Westwood needs)!

The staff is bumed about this little gem closing. If you haven’t seen a film here yet, please do, or make one last trip to the Plaza to see one last film here. The small but cosy balcony is a must!