The rumors are true, Quentin Tarantino has purchased the iconic Vista Theater in Los Angeles, California. The film auteur recently sat down with Dax Shepard for a chat on the Armchair Expert podcast. There, Tarantino discussed the future of moviegoing and the resurrection of the theatrical experience. He should know, his first venture with The New Beverly Cinema has proven there is an audience missing, or wanting to experience for the first time, what going to the movies used to be. The iconic cinema shows double features, exclusively in 35mm (or 16mm, depending on print availability), with some films coming from Tarantino's private collection.
Tarantino said: "As long as I'm alive, and as long as I'm rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm."
Acquiring The Vista Theater is among the many acts of Quentin Tarantino to create little time capsules celebrating and preserving Hollywood. The Vista Theatre opened on October 9, 1923, as a single-screen theater. In addition to screening films, the theater also showed vaudeville acts on stage. It is one of the remaining historic structures from the 1920s, when Hollywood was first built and began attracting residents to its new suburban homes from areas near downtown Los Angeles and East Los Angeles, which, at the time, were middle and wealthy class sections of Los Angeles.
Tarantino doesn't mince words when talking about the state of modern movie theaters.
"I never like any theater closing, but some of these exhibitors that are going, they fucking deserve to go. They've taken all the specialness out of movies anyway, some of these chains."
Tarantino told Shepard, explaining that he doesn't believe a movie theater should "recreate my living room." But, Tarantino said he thinks boutique cinemas, "will actually thrive in this time". Thus announcing his purchase of the Vista Theatre in Los Feliz, with plans for a Christmas-time grand opening.
"When we opened up the New Beverly about two weeks ago, in June, we sold out every single show. And I'll announce one thing here that people don't know yet: I bought the Vista. We're going to probably open it up around Christmastime. And again, only film. But it won't be a revival house - we'll show new movies that come out where they give us a film print, we'll show new stuff. It's not going to be like the New Beverly, the New Beverly has its own vibe. The Vista is like a crown jewel kind of thing. So it will be the best prints, we'll show older films, but they'll be like older films where you can hold a fortnight engagement."
The Vista has been catering to the celebrity cinephile scene for years, but it's getting the love that only Tarantino could give. The Secret Movie Club, La Collectionneuse, and El Cine are frequent renters of the theater for niche screenings, often including speakers before or after. Expect 'going to the movies' at The Vista to be elevated to an experience.
The films and the film lovers at The New Beverly Cinema will vouch for that. For Angelenos, it will be another dusting off and spit-shine for old Hollywood and Los Feliz, a hub for many eclectic neighborhoods. For visitors to Los Angeles, I'd say a screening at Tarantino's vision of The Vista will be a solid choice to soak up the L.A. experience. This news comes via Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast.