Laemmle to screen eponymous documentary Saturday, CEO will take questions at Q and A

by Mick Rhodes | editor@claremont-courier.com

Claremont’s Laemmle 5 Theatre will host two screenings of “Only in Theaters,” the new documentary about the long history and recent travails of Laemmle Theatres, at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, November 19.

The 1:30 p.m. screening will be followed by a Q and A with Laemmle President and CEO Greg Laemmle and the film’s director, Raphael Sbarge, which will be moderated by COURIER editor Mick Rhodes.

Laemmle told the COURIER he is prepared to take all public questions regarding his plans for the Claremont property at the Q and A.

Advance tickets are at laemmle.com/theater/claremont-5. Just toggle to the date of the screening, November 19. Group discount tickets are available by calling (909) 621-5566 or visiting the box office at 450 W. Second St., Claremont.

The COURIER reported last December the Claremont Laemmle 5 property was in escrow, and if the sale went through the building would be transformed into a two-story structure housing an organic market with outdoor dining on the first floor, two restaurants on the second, and a rooftop bar. The proposed buyer was Win Fund Investment LLC, a company based in Rancho Cucamonga. Claremont Public Information Officer Bevin Handel told the COURIER Claremont’s Planning Division is reviewing a revised project application and anticipates bringing it to the Architectural Commission in early 2023.

“Staff has reviewed two project concepts for the property since November of 2021,” Handel wrote in an email. “The revised application for the mixed-use hotel and dining project was received by staff in September of 2022. The proposed project would require Architectural Commission review for exterior changes, as well as an amended Conditional Use Permit for the sale of alcohol, outdoor dining, and roof top use from the Planning Commission. A zone change would not be required.”

“Only in Theaters,” directed by actor and director Sbarge, explores the Laemmle family’s history in arthouse cinema, with a particular focus on 2019, when it was considering selling the company, and 2020, when Covid changed everything. It features Allison Anders, Cameron Crowe, Ava DuVernay, Nicole Holofcener, James Ivory, Kenneth Turan, Bruce Joel Rubin, Leonard Maltin, Michael Renov, Mark Ulano and more.

Laemmle Theatres President and CEO Greg Laemmle, left, and filmmaker Raphael Sbarge will be on hand for a Q and A following the 1:30 screening of “Only in Theaters,” the new documentary about the Laemmle family’s long history in the film business, on Saturday, November 19 at the Laemmle Claremont 5 Theatre. The film also screens at 4:30 p.m. Photo/courtesy Laemmle Theatres.

“Laemmle Theatres, the beloved 84-year-old arthouse cinema chain in Los Angeles, is facing seismic change and financial pressure,” read a press release. “Yet the family behind this multigenerational business — whose sole mission has been to support the art of film — is determined to survive.”

Variety magazine said “2022’s most emotional theatrical experience so far is watching Greg Laemmle struggle with the fate of his family’s eponymous arthouse business.”

“There has been a Laemmle in the movie business since there’s been a movie business,” read the press release. “This is the story of a beloved arthouse cinema chain in Los Angeles with an astounding legacy. Over four generations, Laemmles have dedicated themselves to supporting, innovating, and elevating the art of filmmaking. Popularizing independent films, documentary films, and their filmmakers, the Laemmle Theatres’ impact on Hollywood and world cinema cannot be overstated. Filmed over two-plus years, Only in Theaters chronicles the Laemmle family, their business, and their determination to survive. But in a changing world, this is also a story about the future of Cinema.”

The 18,743 square-foot Claremont Laemmle 5 property, built in 2007, is currently listed on loop.net for $4.7 million. The five-screen theater opened in 2007. It closed in March 2020 amid the initial wave of COVID-related shutdowns. The theater reopened in April 2021.

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