There aren’t a whole lot of 92-year-old theaters left in the country. For the Vista Theatre in Hollywood, success means walking a fine line: adapt to the changing times while holding on to the motif from days gone by. With just one screen, there’s not a lot of room for error.
“You can’t make a lot of mistakes here,” owner Lance Alspaugh says. “You can’t book the wrong movie, or you’re gonna be slow for a week or two. It’s very important to always be right.“
If always picking a hit isn’t hard enough, Vista’s success is closely tied to the quality of the movies Hollywood puts out.
“[With] all of the technology, there are so many opportunities for people to not go here,” Alspaugh says. “It’s gotta be something unique that’s attractive to the audience, so they can’t wait to see it.” With its 50-foot screen and Dolby speakers, visually impressive movies tend to fare the best.
So, how’s business? Alspaugh says things could always be better, but there are frequent surprises: the theater’s recent screening of “Mad Max” was so wildly successful, they decided to keep it for an extra week, pushing back Disney’s “Tomorrowland.”
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