Last week, I discussed Sunshine Cinema which is a part of the Landmark Theatre independent movie chain. This week, I would like to venture deeper into the history of the chain, itself, and its current New York City chapter.
Parallax Theatres (previous name for Landmark Theatres) was conjured by a man named Kim Jorgensen in 1974. Jorgensen is an American film director from Copenhagen, Denmark and started his own theatre chain for independent films and everything alike. The first theatre opened in 1974 under the management of Jorgensen. With the use of an old movie theatre he housed the first of many Landmark Theatres.
According to Cinema Treasures, Nuart Theatre was built in 1930 and had an occupant capacity of 600; it opened its doors for the first time in 1931. Fox West Coast Theatres owned the space from 1941 until their departure from the lot in 1954. In the early 1970’s Jorgensen set prey on the space, purchasing it and making it his own cinematic paradise. It was more than just a theatre, it was a concept; a concept that was lacking in the American movie industry. He introduced to the country an art house theatre that was so versatile that it was bound to be loved by many. It wasn’t exclusive to the movies that were financially pumped with propaganda and almost destined to succeed with gross profits. It showed the films that were under-funded and under-advertised giving them a chance to be seen. The outcome was grand, which ultimately led to the concept growing into something bigger than the old theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard.
In 1989 Jorgensen sold his company to Todd Wagner (movie producer) and Mark Cuban (yes, the Shark Tank guy) and together they manage the chain under 2929 Entertainment. Now, Landmark Theatres has fifty-six theatres dotting the country in 30 different cities.
The move into VIA 57 West seemed only innate since the main concept of the space was to create this type of self-dependent community that satisfies all types of everyday necessities and common pleasures.
The building, itself, was completed in 2016 and has already began to house people.
I’m not sure if this is just incidentally ironic, but the entire esthetic of the building was based upon the classic Copenhagen dwelling complex which is strangely reminiscent to Jorgensen’s cultural background. BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) made the building to surround a courtyard in which all the services and trades would reside. One of the corners reaches for the sky like every other skyscraper in its surrounding. It towers over four hundred fifty feet in the air; this enables the inhabitants with clear views of the Hudson river.
At the foot of the structure lies the new cinematic neighbor, Landmark Theatre. It just opened its doors to the public on September 15, 2017. In its short life, it has already seen Q&A conferences with well known authors, directors, producers, and actors/actresses. Growing in potential and gaining popularity, the small theatre with 8 auditoriums, continues to flourish. It still holds that main concept of giving much needed light on the quickly over-looked and underappreciated films while capturing the most avant-garde approach to the movie theatre experience.
Although this new move means the close of one chapter, it also opens vast possibilities on an uncharted territory. May the young Landmark Theatre see as many good times as Sunshine Cinema did in retrospect. Only time will tell the true potential of the new location and new face of Landmark Theatres.