Jason Reitman Enlists Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, Bradley Cooper and More to Buy Westwood’s Village Theater

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Westwood’s historic Village Theater is now owned by a coalition of 35 filmmakers led by Jason Reitman, the group announced Wednesday.

The group’s mission “is to preserve the architectural gem and create a cultural landmark dedicated to the beloved experience of moviegoing,” per a release. The theater, situated at 945 Broxton Ave., is “known for its soaring tower, neon marquee and one of the largest screens in Los Angeles.” First opened in 1931, it is 93 years old.

More from The Hollywood Reporter

The coalition of filmmakers includes J.J. Abrams, Judd Apatow, Damien Chazelle, Chris Columbus, Ryan Coogler, Bradley Cooper, Alfonso Cuarón, Jonathan Dayton, Guillermo del Toro, Valerie Faris, Hannah Fidell, Alejandro González Iñárritu, James Gunn, Sian Heder, Rian Johnson, Gil Kenan, Karyn Kusama, Justin Lin, Phil Lord, David Lowery, Christopher McQuarrie, Chris Miller, Christopher Nolan, Alexander Payne, Todd Phillips, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reitman, Jay Roach, Seth Rogen, Emma Seligman, Brad Silberling, Steven Spielberg, Emma Thomas, Denis Villeneuve, Lulu Wang and Chloé Zhao.

“I’ve been coming to Westwood for as long as I can remember,” Reitman said in a statement. “Many of my movies, including Juno, Up in the Air and Ghostbusters Afterlife all premiered at the corner of Broxton and Weyburn. When the Village Theater went on the market, I had visions of how quickly the National Theater became a block of condos. I immediately made an offer and hoped my fellow directors would join me on this adventure. We take this stewardship very seriously and hope to offer a true community for anyone who loves the movies.”

News of Reitman’s endeavor first made headlines earlier this month, but the list of his collaborators only became public on Wednesday.

Filmmakers who own and preserve theaters in Los Angeles is not a new phenomenon: Quentin Tarantino owns the Vista and the New Beverly, for example.

At the Village Theater, the coalition of directors will showcase many artifacts from their personal collections, including props, wardrobe and film prints. Columbus will share his extensive collection of 16mm film prints.

“The theater will remain open while plans for a restaurant, bar and gallery are finalized,” the release continued. “The Westside Purple Line extension will arrive in Westwood in 2027. The Olympic Village for the LA28 Olympic Games will also be located in Westwood. In 2031, the Village Theater will celebrate a hundred years in operation.”

In a statement, Nolan said, “Cinema has always been the place where filmmakers and moviegoers meet, and I’m thrilled to be collaborating with so many of my favorite directors on a space that will show what the future of film exhibition can be.”

Del Toro described the vision as “a way to ensure perfect screening conditions but also a place where filmmakers and cinephiles and future filmmakers can gather to celebrate and discuss the art and the craft collectively.“

“I’ve been advocating for the in-theater experience for years,” said Villeneuve. “Thank you to Jason for this fantastic opportunity, allowing me to put money where my mouth is.”

“All across L.A. we’re seeing neighborhoods embrace theaters that offer fresh programming, real personality and a sense of community,” Johnson said. “That’s where the moviegoing experience is flourishing. I’m so excited to be a part of this, with Jason and this incredible group of filmmaker friends.”

Wang added, “There’s nothing like watching movies in a theater, and I’m very excited to celebrate with this group of incredible directors who love cinema and the community it can provide.”

“The audience is everything,” McQuarrie said. “They deserve to be reminded of that every time they grace us with their presence.”

Gunn, who is one of several of the new owners to have had their own work premiere in Westwood, said: “From seeing Terminator opening day in 1984 to having my own film The Suicide Squad premiere there in 2021, the Village has been a part of my personal film journey. I’m ecstatic and, honestly, a bit overwhelmed to be a part of this group of directors committed to making it a vibrant place to experience cinema.”

Spielberg added, “I have so many vivid memories of seeing films at the Village Theater and I am excited to be part of this group that is intent on restoring Westwood to its glory years as a film-going cultural institution.”

Chazelle said, “It’s an honor to be able to join with so many of my favorite working filmmakers to help give a new lease on life to a legendary theater. I remember when Jason first pitched me the idea last year and I’m just so thrilled to see it coming to fruition. Long live cinema!”

Heder added, “It’s thrilling to be a part of this venture with so many of my filmmaking heroes. And to create a place that is celebrating both movies and community. This group of artists might be the most badass cinematic gang ever assembled.”

The Village Theater project is represented by Scott Gordon, project developer and head of investments at Blatteis & Schnur. Blatteis & Schnur’s principal business specializes in the acquisition and creative development of High Street mixed-use properties in the top urban markets in the United States. Glaser Weil served as legal counsel to the new owners.

Best of The Hollywood Reporter