Jason Reitman and a coalition of 35 other filmmakers have together acquired one of Los Angeles’ most historic and iconic movie palaces.

The group together are the new owners and caretakers of the Village Theater in LA’s Westwood neighborhood. The 93-year-old theater, which is a block from the UCLA campus and continues to host many studio premieres weekly or monthly, is distinctive for its soaring tower, neon marquee, and massive screen. The Village Theater has been hosting premieres since the 1930s; in 2023 alone, 50 movies premiered there.

The new owners will work to preserve the theater and upgrade it to show both first-run films and repertory programming, equipping it with 35mm, 70mm, and digital projection. The group will also influence the lobby galleries, the theater’s programming, its picture and sound capabilities, and will even showcase memorabilia from their personal collections, such as props, costumes, and film prints.

“I’ve been coming to Westwood for as long as I can remember,” Reitman said in a statement, having screened premieres of “Juno,” “Up in the Air” and recently “Ghostbusters Afterlife” at the theater. “When the Village Theater went on the market, I had visions of how quickly the National Theater became a block of condos. I immediately made an offer and hoped my fellow directors would join me on this adventure. We take this stewardship very seriously and hope to offer a true community for anyone who loves the movies.”

The coalition of filmmaker/investors includes: JJ Abrams, Judd Apatow, Damien Chazelle, Chris Columbus, Ryan Coogler, Bradley Cooper, Alfonso Cuarón, Jonathan Dayton, Guillermo del Toro, Valerie Faris, Hannah Fidell, Alejandro González Iñárritu, James Gunn, Sian Heder, Rian Johnson, Gil Kenan, Karyn Kusama, Justin Lin, Phil Lord, David Lowery, Christopher McQuarrie, Chris Miller, Christopher Nolan, Alexander Payne, Todd Phillips, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Reitman, Jay Roach, Seth Rogen, Emma Seligman, Brad Silberling, Steven Spielberg, Emma Thomas, Denis Villeneuve, Lulu Wang, and Chloé Zhao.

Many of the directors have seen their films premiere there. The group gathered in person outside the theater earlier this week for a photoshoot — many meeting one another for the first time.

“From seeing ‘Terminator’ opening day in 1984 to having my own film ‘The Suicide Squad’ premiere there in 2021, the Village has been a part of my personal film journey,” James Gunn said. “I’m ecstatic and, honestly, a bit overwhelmed to be a part of this group of directors committed to making it a vibrant place to experience cinema.”

The theater will remain open while plans for a restaurant, bar, and gallery are finalized. The acquisition of the theater coincides with the ongoing construction of an extension of the Westside Purple Line for LA’s Metro, which will be completed and reach Westwood by 2027. Westwood will also be home to the  Olympic Village when the Olympics come to Los Angeles in 2028. The Village Theater will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2031.

Guillermo Del Toro describes the vision as “a way to ensure perfect screening conditions but also a place where filmmakers and cinephiles and future filmmakers can gather to celebrate and discuss the art and the craft collectively.“

Christopher Nolan adds: “Cinema has always been the place where filmmakers and movie goers meet, and I’m thrilled to be collaborating with so many of my favorite directors on a space that will show what the future of film exhibition can be.” 

“I’ve been advocating for the in-theater experience for years,” Denis Villeneuve said. “Thank you to Jason for this fantastic opportunity, allowing me to put money where my mouth is.”

“I have so many vivid memories of seeing films at the Village Theater and I am excited to be part of this group that is intent on restoring Westwood to its glory years as a film-going cultural institution,” Steven Spielberg said.

Bruin Westwood Theatre Unveiling at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, CA on Monday, February 12th, 2024

(photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)
Bruin Westwood Theatre Unveiling at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, CA on Monday, February 12th, 2024

(photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

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