This was brought to my attention via an item at Hollywood-Elsewhere and was confirmed this morning at Variety.com: The 1112-seat Mann National in Westwood, one of the last large, single-screen theatres built in Los Angeles, will close tonight after the final 10:10pm showing of Shooter.
I’m told Westwood was once prime movie watching territory and there are still a number of old theaters left, but traffic, parking and the other concerns apparently drove audiences to the multiplexes. I suppose diminishing audiences and rising rents have taken their toll and even fans of the theatre will tell you it had seen better days.
Being an LA transplant living in the Valley (and having an instinctual aversion to the 405), I don’t frequent the Westwood neighborhood for my movie going and I don’t have stories about seeing films like The Godfather, The Exorcist or Apocalypse Now at the National (many do), but it’s one more relic from an age where going to the movies was the thing to do and by tonight it will be history.
The 7 people who saw Zodiac might recognize the National as the stand-in for a San Francisco theater in a scene from the film, apparently its last great role.
For those living in Los Angeles, there is talk of showing up for the last screening. If I find details, I’ll post them here. Even if you can’t make it tonight, in the future consider checking out The Crest, another old theater in Westwood that was recently saved from demolition by private owner Robert Bucksbaum (tip from a comment by RoyBatty at HE). Down Sunset in the Los Feliz/Silverlake area you can find The Vista. These aren’t the only old theaters in LA, but they’re independently owned and operated and deserve your support. Check them out. Wherever you are, raise a glass to another victim of the modern age and think about seeing your next movie at one of the aging giants in your neighborhood.