Two or three years ago I ended up sitting next to Quentin Tarantino at the Yarrow Hotel Bar in Park City, during the Sundance Film Festival. It just sort of turned out that way – Tarantino and critic Elvis Mitchell simply ponied up to the next table from where my friends and I were sharing some excellent local microbrews (when in Utah try Wasatch Brewery’s Polygamy Porter and Evolution Amber Ale).
So you’re a film critic and sort-of-journalist and you’re sitting next to Quentin Tarantino. You have to say something. You have to ask him something. I asked him the one question that had been on my mind for some time: “Are you buying the New Beverly Cinema?”
The New Beverly is a rep house here in LA that runs double features every night of the week for 7 bucks. Everything they show is on 35mm film. They were family owned for decades, and when Sherman Torgan, the long-time owner and evangelist for film, died suddenly in 2007, things looked bad for the New Bev. Things had been bad for the theater, which was faced with diminishing audiences in the world of home video, and Tarantino – who had been coming to the theater since he was a kid – happily ponied up 5 grand a month to keep the place open. But when Sherman died things really, really got dark.
It looked like even Tarantino’s 5k a month wouldn’t be able to save the theater from the landlord, who supposedly wanted to turn the place into a SuperCuts. So Tarantino moved in to buy the building.
That was about when I ran into him at Sundance. He confirmed to me that he was paying the theater’s rent and that he was looking in to buying it. Who would have imagined it would have taken years for it to go through? But it has, and now Quentin Tarantino is officially the owner of the New Beverly.
But don’t expect the theater to suddenly turn into Tarantinoland (although they have been playing midnights of Reservoir Dogs for years, and recently started doing midnights of Inglorious Basterds). Tarantino has always let Sherman’s son, Michael, run the business as he wanted to, with the input of the beautiful Julia Marchese and the slightly less beautiful but very brilliant Phil Blankenship. They, along with Michael, make the New Bev work day in and day out, and Tarantino occasionally steps in to program something special.
And so the New Beverly is safe. And it will be safe for some time to come – “As long as I’m alive, and as long as I’m rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm,” Tarantino said.
Thank you so much, Quentin. These days I don’t get to the New Bev as often as I would like, but it’s still my favorite place in LA. And it’s really uplifting to know that here’s a film lover literally putting his money where his mouth is. At the prices of the New Bev – 7 bucks for a double feature, pennies for concessions – that theater will never turn much by way of a profit. But it’s going to be there to help influence and educate young film nerds in the years ahead.
When you’re in LA go to the New Beverly Cinema. Check out their film listings at their site.
via the Hollywood Reporter