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Without fanfare, the Landmark Theatres’ location at Westside Pavilion shutters for good

A sign reading "Landmark Theatres" pointing to stairs and an escalator
The first floor of the Westside Pavilion leading to the Landmark Theatres. The cinema closed its doors on Sunday.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

It seemed like just another Sunday at the Landmark Theatres at the Westside Pavilion. But it was not.

With a minimum of ceremony, the upscale multiplex on Pico Boulevard, which has screened fare ranging from major studio blockbusters to art house films for Westside audiences for the last 15 years, hosted its final showings on Sunday, employees at the theater confirmed to The Times. The closure is the latest casualty of local cinemas caused by the pandemic.

The specialty cinema chain Landmark Theatres, which owns the complex, announced earlier this month that it would be shutting down the location at the end of May after failing to reach terms to extend its lease. But a scan of the website revealed the theater was not selling tickets beyond Sunday. Insiders said the theater space, including equipment, had to be cleared by June 1, which could not have been achieved if the location had operated through May 31.

Pandemic-accelerated streaming of first-run movies — even blockbusters like “Black Widow” — has kept film fans close to their home screens. But theaters are reopening and moviegoers at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema talk about what they want from a theatrical experience.

“It’s very sad,” said one staffer behind the concession stand on Sunday.

Patrons on Sunday may very well have failed to realize that they were in attendance for the theater’s last screenings — there were no banners or decorations marking the occasion. Employees seemed upbeat and thanked attendees showing up for “Men,” “The Duke,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “Montana Story” and other movies.

The just-released “Downton Abbey: A New Era” seemed to be the biggest draw, and fans of the British saga, which originated on television, applauded several moments. A Friday screening had featured a Q&A with cast and crew members.

Theaters such as the Lumiere Cinema at the Music Hall, Alamo Drafthouse, Landmark Theatres and Laemmle Theatres try to rebound as they wait for big indie releases.

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One of the larger auditoriums was featuring “Men,” about a woman (Jessie Buckley) being terrorized at an isolated English country house. Some of that film’s bloody and grisly scenes provoked laughter instead of screams.

The only element of the experience that hinted that the theater was closing was tip jars at the box office and snack bars that read, “We really appreciate it.” Cleanup crews thanked fans as they exited screenings.

Landmark President Kevin Holloway had said in an earlier statement that the chain was “exploring opportunities to expand our Los Angeles footprint, which we hope to be able to share more on soon.” Landmark continues to operate two Los Angeles locations: the Nuart Theatre and the Landmark Westwood.


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