EXCLUSIVE: Deadline hears that family-owned Los Angeles-based arthouse chain Laemmle Theatres is up for sale.
At this point in time, it’s not clear whether it will be a portion or the entire 41-screen chain.
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Laemmle Theatres also touts an upcoming new 7-plex with a 500-seat auditorium in Newhall, CA, not far from the Melody Ranch where Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Django Unchained, as well as HBO’s Westworld and Deadwood were filmed. Laemmle’s Newhall cinema is expected to open toward the end of the year.
The chain has been renowned throughout its history for booking Oscar qualifying runs for contenders, including independent pics, shorts and documentaries.
Note this is poised to be a very different sale from the recent Landmark Theatres one, which saw its 252 screens in 27 markets purchased by Cohen Media Group for a reported $100M in cash and stock, from previous owners Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner. Sometimes in these theater deals there’s actual hard real estate owned, along with some leases. The latest Landmark sale began at the onset of April 2018 and was finalized last December.
The Laemmle circuit was started in 1938 by Max Laemmle, and it has spanned three generations, including Max’s son Robert, and Robert’s son, Greg, now operating the business. Robert’s father Max and uncle Kurt were cousins of Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle. Robert bought his first movie theater in Highland Park of Los Angeles. There are currently nine locations: Claremont 5 in Claremont, the Ahrya Fine Arts center on Wilshire Blvd., The Glendale, The Santa Monica Film Center, the Beverly Hills Music Hall, the Noho 7 in North Hollywood, The Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, the Royal on Santa Monica and the Town Center 5 in Encino, CA.
Laemmle’s upcoming multiplex in Newhall fills a void in the community which is in need of a fresh new movie theater (the nearby Regal multiplexes in Valencia and Canyon Country are long overdue for a significant 21st Century upgrade). The Daily News reported back in October that Laemmle will own that theater through its single purpose entity Laemmle Newhall LLC. The City of Santa Clarita gave Laemmle the land to build on as well as some additional unreported financial incentives.