Dear Gossips,   

One thing that came up a lot during the height of pandemic lockdowns, movie-wise, was the theater-going experience and saving it from utter destruction in the face of convenient at-home streaming, especially in a pandemic environment. 


Four years removed from the strictest lockdowns, theatergoing is climbing its way back to pre-pandemic levels—or it was until the strikes screwed with the release calendar again. But part of this conversation was made up of filmmakers who probably aren’t going to public theaters all that often, and either don’t know, or don’t care, how lousy theaters can be for the general public, from bad sound and projection, to dirty facilities, to frighteningly long lines at concessions. A chance presented itself, though, for filmmakers to put their money where their mouths are, and 35 of them took it.


Led by Jason Reitman, a group of filmmakers including Guillermo Del Toro, Steven Spielberg, Judd Apatow, JJ Abrams, James Gunn, Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve, Ryan Coogler, Bradley Cooper, Lulu Wang, Karyn Kusama, Damian Chazelle, Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro Iñárritu, Justin Lin, Emma Seligman, Chloe Zhao, Christopher McQuarrie, and Phil Lord and Chris Miller, among others, bought Westwood’s Fox Village Theater, saving it from potential destruction and redevelopment. The Village is the home of many film premieres in LA, besides being one of the biggest screens in town, and dates back to 1931. 


The filmmakers intend to showcase their personal prop and memorabilia collections at the theater in a gallery they intend to install, and Chris Columbus (of Harry Potter and Home Alone fame) will run his personal collection of 16mm prints. There are also plans for a restaurant and bar, which—fine. Theaters need the additional revenue because studios take a big bite out of box office. I go to the Music Box a lot in Chicago, they have a bar, it’s fine. As a business plan, turning the Village, which is a great place to just see a movie, into a full night-out experience isn’t a bad idea. 

These filmmakers join Quentin Tarantino, who owns and operates the Vista and New Beverly theaters in LA, in putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to going to the movies, by footing the bill to keep a movie theater open. Granted, it’s a theater they have a fondness for because it tends to host their premieres—Spielberg’s Masters of the Air series premiered there a few weeks ago—but still. They want us to go to the theater, and they are keeping one (1) theater open for us to go to.

I still think they should visit any random multiplex in any random city, even New York and LA, and see what the rest of us are dealing with, but I will take “buying and upgrading the Village” as an acceptable compromise. 

Live long and gossip,