After months of seeking a buyer the owner of the Laemmle Theatre chain has decided against selling its properties.
The family-owned theatre chain, which has been in operation in Pasadena for decades, and currently owns the Playhouse 7 at 673 E. Colorado Blvd, decided against selling its remaining seven properties after it recently closed its historic Music Hall property which has been at its location on Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills for more than 82 years.
The Music Hall, which had been a Laemmle property since 1974, had fallen into disrepair and, as it only showed small independent films, didn’t bring in the revenue that big budget movies take in to cover the rising costs of operations.
Laemmle concluded last year that it would be in the companies best interests to sell its remaining assets last summer after a 30 percent decline in box office ticket sales that began at the start of 2019. However, when the theatre chain began to see an upturn in revenue recently, it decided to reverse its decision and continue business as usual.
Greg Laemmle, president of the chain told the L.A. Times, “Business has improved in recent months, but ticket sales for the year are still expected to be down between 10 percent and 20 percent. We don’t want to react to short-term trends, but for us, something that goes on for more than six months becomes more than a short-term trend.”
Interest in buying the Laemmle’s remaining movie houses was expressed by a number of possible buyers. It was even contemplated that large movie house chains like Landmark or Regency theatres would throw their hat in the ring for a possible purchase of Laemmle’s remaining assets. However, interested parties could never come to an agreement on terms or price.
“While there are risks to continue owning and operating the business, the reward of continuing was greater than the reward of selling, ultimately and part of that reward is doing what we do.” Said Laemmle.
Laemmle said that he does not foresee any other theater closures through the end of 2020.
The Lammle theatre chain has been in operation since 1938 when Max and Kurt Laemmle , who were cousins of Universal Founder Carl Laemmle, purchased their first theatre in Highland Park and has been family-owned since then.
Besides Pasadena, the remaining locations are in Claremont, Glendale, Santa Monica, North Hollywood, and West Los Angeles, Encino.
Pasadena has been the location of several Laemmle operated movie theatres for almost 70 years. In 1964, the Laemmle chain opened the Esquire Theater on Colorado Boulevard near San Gabriel Boulevard. The chain also ran The Colorado, which was near the corner of Colorado Blvd. and Vinedo Avenue, and opened the Laemmle Playhouse 7 on Colorado Boulevard in 1999. However the Esquire and The Colorado were both closed in 2000.
Laemmle continues to employ approximately 200 employees, with 60 to 70 people on its full-time staff.