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‘Art film’ market doesn’t support a theater

Posted: August 12, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 12, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Recently, The Signal has published letters from Karen Kaplan, Sue Adamik and Beverly Celentano complaining about the lack of “fine films” playing at theaters out here in the SCV.

I’m sure there are also people out here that bemoan the fact that there’s not a Porsche dealership. Heck, I’m one of them.

I’d love to see a lot full of Porsches every time I drive down Creekside.

But the plain and simple fact of the matter is that there isn’t an economic reason to open one here. The population base is too small, so the existing demand for the product doesn’t justify the investment.

It’d be a losing proposition that wouldn’t make a profit.

Same deal holds true for “art cinemas” that show obscure movies that only appeal to a handful of people.

Nobody’s going to open a theater that runs films to an empty house most of the time. They wouldn’t even be able to pay the rent.

That’s why there are very few theaters like that in a metro area the size of L.A.: they need a large population base to draw even enough patrons to pay their overhead, and maybe show a profit.

I don’t see that changing any time soon. The good news for fans of such movies is that you can easily see those “fine art films” once they come out on video, through Netflix, Amazon, or other on-line providers.



Nitsho: Posted: August 12, 2014 10:54 a.m.

"I’m sure there are also people out here that bemoan the fact that there’s not a Porsche dealership."

<raises hand>

BrianBaker: Posted: August 12, 2014 11:02 a.m.


Yeah, we had this conversation the other day.

I actually submitted my first comment as this LTE.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 12, 2014 12:23 p.m.

Thank you Brian, well said.

BrianBaker: Posted: August 12, 2014 12:50 p.m.

Thanks, CG.

SkeetMan: Posted: August 12, 2014 8:41 p.m.

Jeez Brian Baker, do you have to comment on everything? You are the selfie of The Signal commentaries. Now, actually I might agree with you, the lack of high shopping and preponderance of chain restaurants in this valley would tend to support your contention. However this community does support two live theatre troupes and we now have the COC Performing Arts Center so hopefully this signals a growing environment of culture. If you have ever stopped at COC on a Friday night you will see packed houses for these same films you deride. Not sure why you felt compelled to add air quotes to fine films, but I have my suspicions :)

However you miss the point of the letters you seem to bemoan so much. We are not going to sit in our homes waiting for the next art house movie to show up on Netflix. We have plenty of disposable income and we will travel to Sherman Oaks, or North Hollywood, or Santa Monica to go see a film. And while we are there we'll have dinner, do a little shopping, stop for dessert. Our point is that this is money that could be spent here in our community, but won't be. So I personally think this valley would support a Laemmle Threater. I mean, they have one in Lancaster so I don't see a reason why we could not support one.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 13, 2014 11:38 a.m.


I'll tell you why our community can't support one, because other industries have tried and failed. Bristol Farms market was gone in 1 year. The very gourmet restaurant Melisse was gone in 6 months. We cannot even get Cheesecake Factory, PF Changs, H&M or Nordstrom's to open stores here, let alone really high end stuff like Neiman Marcus, Tiffany's, etc. We aren't exactly dripping with cultural iconic places like museums, art galleries, fine dining, haute couture clothing, etc.

Years ago I worked for TGIF and when they opened here they did a pretty large survey in our community. What they discovered was that even though there is some money here, this is a blue collar community with tastes for nothing more than pizza, burgers and beer. Which is FINE. I have no problem with that, but you shouldn't have expectations for things that don't fit this community. You're trying to make it something it isn't. Sure, there are probably several people who want to see fine art films, maybe even hundreds of people...that does not translate to running a theatre business for that purpose. You would need thousands and thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people who have a very high demand for those things to make an impact, and I just don't see that happening here.

Just embrace spending your money somewhere else, I do. I accept SCV for what it is, and I enjoy spending my money on clothes, food and entertainment in places like Pasadena, Ventura, Long Beach, Del Mar, Thousand Oaks, etc. The weather is always better and the atmosphere is much nicer. It's nice to get out of SCV and go to other places that are nicer overall, and are typically much more pleasant to drive around in than SCV too! Our traffic here and traffic lights every 100 yards absolutely SUCKS!

tech: Posted: August 13, 2014 1:09 p.m.

I believe H&M will be opening a store in the Santa Clarita Mall.

projalice11: Posted: August 13, 2014 10:43 p.m.

BINGO SkeetMan ******

ricketzz: Posted: August 19, 2014 10:15 a.m.

If I don't keep up with current culture and just go with what I can get from Netflix by accident I find more than enough decent films. I usually watch 2 or 3 movies at once. Sometimes more. Takes months sometimes. I should write a book.

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