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Dallas chain takes over former Magic Johnson Theaters

The former Magic Johnson Theaters at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza will be taken over by upscale theater operator Rave Motion Pictures.

Dallas-based Rave will manage the 15-screen multiplex in the South Los Angeles mall after a $10-million renovation of the complex is completed in May, owners of the mall said Monday.

In Los Angeles, Rave currently operates the Rave 18 at the Howard Hughes Center (which was formerly known as the Bridge). Rave, founded in 1999, owns or manages 61 theaters with about 1,000 screens in 20 states.

The Magic Johnson Theaters opened in 1995 with great fanfare as one of the first real estate ventures by basketball great-turned-developer Earvin “Magic” Johnson. He sold the theater operation in 2004 to Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp., which was taken over by AMC Entertainment Inc. in 2006.

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The upgraded theaters will have stadium seating and digital and 3-D projection technology, said Ken Lombard, president of mall owner Capri Urban Investors. Improvements to the theaters and the selection of a new operator are part of a $30-million upgrade of the mall on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard announced last May by Capri.

In the first phase of the upgrade to the mall, Capri will also tear out some of the interior walls and pillars to improve visibility and enhance a sense of openness. Skylights and recessed light fixtures will be altered to eliminate dark parts of the shopping center, completed in 1988.

“It’s critical this mall go from a C level to an A,” Lombard said in May.

roger.vincent@latimes.com

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