Bigfoot Entertainment Has Big Plans for Majestic Crest Theater

OneModelPlace.com‘s sister company, Bigfoot Entertainment, has purchased the Majestic Crest movie theater in Westwood. The firm, which produces movies and TV shows for international markets, plans to screen mostly mainstream releases as well as its own films.

Bigfoot Entertainment Chief Executive Kacy Andrews (pictured above) said that Bigfoot bought the Majestic Crest because it “wanted a great theater to showcase our films… Everyone knows the Crest. It gives us a lot of prestige.”

About 75% of the bookings will be commercial films, such as the animated kids’ film “Alpha and Omega” and the upcoming “Tron: Legacy” from Walt Disney Studios, while 25% will be set aside for independent movies, including those produced and distributed by Bigfoot, Andrews said. Most of Bigfoot’s 11 films, with budgets of $1 million to $4 million, have gone directly to DVD or appear on cable channels.

Beyond the typical Hollywood fare, Bigfoot will offer “niche cinema,” such as midnight horror movie screenings catering to nearby UCLA students, Asian Film Nights and an annual film festival beginning next year. The theater will also hold monthly classes tied to film schools that Bigfoot operates in the Philippines and Miami.

As reported by Richard Verrier in the Los Angeles Times, Bigfoot Entertainment bought the Los Angeles landmark, founded in 1941 by Frances Seymour Fonda, wife of actor Henry Fonda and mother of Peter and Jane. Bigfoot, a Venice, Calif., company that produces and distributes independent films, TV programs and reality shows for the international marketplace, last month acquired the 460-seat theater in Westwood for about $4 million.

The company, whose owner and chairman is German investor and filmmaker Michael Gleissner, produces action and horror flicks, like the cult film “Midnight Movie,” in which a killer comes out of the film to “attack” those in the theater.

But it’s no stranger to the theatrical business: Its chief financial backer is a Hong Kong-based private equity firm called Bigfoot Ventures that happens to be the largest investor, with a stake of 14%, in Carmike Cinemas Inc., the nation’s fourth-largest theater chain.

Not coincidentally, Bigfoot has tapped Carmike to manage the Crest. The Columbus, Ga.-based chain operates 240 theaters mostly in small towns and suburbs in the South and Midwest. Carmike has theaters in Arizona, Washington and Oregon, but the Crest is the chain’s first theater in California. “Even though it’s in a big metropolitan market, it fits nicely into our model of community locations,” said Carmike Chief Executive David Passman.

It won’t be all change at the Crest, however: Bigfoot will keep the theater’s famous “night sky” scene of star constellations on its ceiling, the back-lit wall murals of old Hollywood and Art Deco style.

Originally intended as a showcase for live theater, the Crest became a venue for local residents to watch newsreels about battles during World War II. The city designated it as a historic cultural monument in 2008. Former owner Bucksbaum bought the theater in 2002, taking over operations from the Pacific Theatres chain.

Read the full article at the LA Times website

Photos: Mariah Tauger, Los Angeles Times

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