Hollywood’s Vista Theater Reopens Under Quentin Tarantino’s Ownership – Annenberg Media
About four miles east of the TCL Grand Chinese Theater, there’s a quaint little movie theater on historic Sunset Blvd. Its entrance features the names and handprints of artists such as John Woo and Spike Jonze on the floor leading to an Egyptian-style ticket booth and a lobby inspired by the Golden Age of Cinema.
This is the Vista Theater, an iconic Hollywood landmark that opened in 1923. However, the pandemic caused the theater, like many other small theaters across the country, to close its doors in 2020.
That was until famed Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino, of Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds, purchased the theater in 2021. The theater officially reopened on November 17, more than a month after its 100th anniversary.
The next day, more fans stood in front of the stage, taking photos and discussing their favorite movies as they waited for the theater to open for Eli Roth’s “Thanksgiving.” Among them was Cesar Ortiz, who first went to Vista after seeing the site in the opening scene of “Scream 2,” which led to his frequent attendance.
“The first time was two years before they shut down because of the pandemic, and then the second time, was when they did ‘Scream,’” Ortiz said. “I’m really excited to see the new changes with the redesign and everything.”
At 2:20 p.m., the metal grate in front of the stage went up and fans streamed in as the smell of popcorn spread from the lobby to the streets of Los Angeles.
The theater’s interior is something to behold – decorations range from a Gogo Yubari mannequin, a character from Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Volume 1” and several Egyptian-themed installations.
The hall itself has been renovated from the ground up. The sides of the wall continue the ancient Egyptian imagery, featuring the faces of the pharaohs overlooking the audience while the brick walls are decorated with wings and snakes. Audience members crowded together as they waited for the red curtain to be drawn.
Stage manager Victor Martinez stood at the front door in a red tuxedo, scanned the audience’s tickets and welcomed them into the lobby.
Martinez has worked at Vista for 35 years and is thrilled to finally be able to bring it back after it closed.
“Nowadays, laptops come with a high-end graphics card. I mean, this was my home away from home,” Martinez said. “We’re very proud to reopen with (Tarantino), because if this theater is going to last another 100 years “It will be because he took charge.”
Theatre’s appeal extends far beyond its status as a Hollywood staple. Martinez hopes they can be part of creating a unique niche for film screenings. This means that it will be played on traditional film reels rather than digitally.
“We will show (films) in 35mm and 70mm,” Martinez said. “We’re building this amazing Hollywood movie club for all movie fans, and we’re very proud of it because Quentin doesn’t like digital.”
Martinez said the relationship between Vista Theater and Tarantino began many years ago. He stated that the director was a regular presence before its closure in 2020, which eventually led to their collaboration.
“He’s seen me work over the years,” Martinez said. “He would come in and see the sold-out shows. He would see how quickly we were cleaning up with the crowd, and we would joke and say ‘Hey, maybe one day you’ll be the owner…'” I’m flattered because I feel like Quentin gave me a lifetime achievement award as a manager.
The theater’s opening night on Friday saw hundreds of excited moviegoers greeted by the cast and crew of “Thanksgiving,” but it didn’t go without a hitch. Leonardo Parikala, a local who attended the Vista Theater for the first time on Friday, stopped by the theater on Saturday in hopes of getting another ticket after leaving the opening show early.
“The movie started about 15 minutes late, but we were surprised by the director and the crew… The movie started out okay, but about 30 minutes in, the sound started coming in and out… and then it started getting really crazy.” “It was like two minutes without sound,” Barikala said. “What I saw yesterday was really good. The place looks great, and they had this unfortunate problem, so I’m hoping to come back to see ‘Thanksgiving’ before it closes.”
Martinez attributed this to “small glitches that come with the projectors,” but explained that all of these issues had been resolved before the weekend. With massive crowds waiting in line for concessions and crowding outside the theater before opening hours, it’s safe to say that audiences were not deterred from visiting the venue.
Martinez said he holds the theater close to his heart after its closure and subsequent revival. Now he is more than excited to welcome long-time regulars and new visitors alike outside the renovated Vista Lounge.
“I definitely learned a valuable lesson that what they say is true; “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” Martinez said. “The good news is that because of the pandemic, I will never retire.”
If watching movies at the movies and occasionally seeing the cast and crew doesn’t sound interesting enough, Martinez has provided one last reason to catch a show in Vista.
“We have the best popcorn.”
(Tags for translation)Hollywood