Pret-a-Reporter

Private Entrances and a Popcorn Palooza, Mother's Auxilary Theater Hits Sunset Boulevard (Exclusive)

Courtesy of Krupa Consulting

There's more than just butter. The new theater has over 40 popcorn flavors.

The Sunset hotspot Estrella (8800 Sunset Blvd.) has upped its menu with the opening of the boho-chic Mother’s Auxilary Theater. The unveiling of Hollywood's newest theater is led by the restaurant's Alan Nathan and Brett Nestadt (Choice Hospitality Group). 

The design concepted by Christian Schulz and Studio Collective is a rebirth of the '60s and '70s, decorated with plush hunter green velvet love seats meant for an intimate setting for 55 guests in the walnut-trim and copper-accented space. The copper accents highlight the theater's state-of-the-art technology by tech partner New Box Solutions. Some features include 3D capability and 7.1 surround sound. Events that can take place in the space include screenings, musical performances, presentations, weddings, seminars and more. 

It’s not the first theater to hit the building, though. Its Hollywood history is endless.

"I remember going to a screening of Chaplin with Robert Downey Jr. It was one of those Oscar screenings," says music executive Ricardo Vinas who frequented the theater in the '90s. The space used to be its own destination for Oscar parties. Not the main ones. It would be the go-to-spot for the overflow of people from "Swifty" Lazar's famous Oscar parties. "All of the people that couldn't get into "Swifty" Lazar's party because they weren't on the list or the place was too small there was a whole overflow of people back-and-forth between both of those places," adds Vinas.

“People walk the stage and say, ‘Oh my God this used to be Carolco’s screening room — they did screenings here 20-plus years go,” says Estrella’s partner Nathan about the independent film company that once screened the Sylvester Stallone-starring Rambo in the space. It also screened some box-office blunders, which ultimately led to it closing down. “Showgirls and Cutthroat Island were the two disasters that brought down Carolco pictures. For Showgirls it was like, ‘What the hell is this?’ One of those films where you go to the after party and you don’t really know what to say,” quips Vinas. 

Geena Davis and Matthew Modine in 'Cutthroat Island'

The former theater also ended a relationship. It was the last time Women on the Verge star Carmen Maura would ever star in director Pedro Almodovar's films. According to one historian of the theater, the Spanish starlet got into a heated argument with the director (who won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Hable con ella). The reason for their spat? They got into a screaming match in the theater because Maura refused to sit next to the director during the film’s screening there.

Carmen Maura (left) and Pedro Almodovar 

After Carolco owned the theater, Ticketmaster bought it, and then it was bought by Barry Diller’s IAC. Most recently The Hunstman: Winter’s War, PopstarHacksaw Ridge and The Nice Guys have all screened at the Mother's Auxilary Theater. “The idea of the theater now is how we now created a space that will bring together movies, TV, and music,” says Nathan.

Nathan also hopes to host the spot to give a shot to Hollywood’s rising artists. And for them to get in it’s easy, Nathan says: “They just call Estrella and we’ll set them up.” For celebrities who don’t want to walk through the public area, there’s a private entrance to the theater and to the lounge. They’ll walk through the hidden entryways and stay for the popcorn. Chef Dakota (Top Chef, pictured below) of Estrella has her Pop Parlor Popcorn Bar with more than 40 to 50 flavors, including green tea, coconut and white chocolate. There's vodka too. The Oyster, Potato Chips, Vodka Bar is ready for the theater's new audience.

Mother's Auxilary Theater bookings are available. To get in on Hollywood's new screening room, call Estrella at 310-652-6613 for a site tour or booking. 

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