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Sundance Cinemas to Take Over Sunset 5 From Laemmle Theatres

The five-screen movie house will close its doors beginning Dec. 1 for renovations before reopening in late spring 2012.

Changes are in store for West Hollywood's Sunset 5 theater complex.

At the end of November, Laemmle Theatres will no longer operate the movie house, which opened in 1992, after being unable to agree to a new lease with the landlord, it announced earlier this week. 

Robert Redford's Sundance Cinemas, which has theaters in San Francisco, Houston and Madison, will take over Sunset 5 beginning Dec. 1. It plans on renovating the venue before reopening it in late spring 2012.

“It was a heated mix of eager young talents, amusing indie hucksters and hangers-on, and a passionate, razor sharp cinephile audience," said Roger Christensen, the original manager of the Sunset 5, of the venue's heyday.

Laemmle's exit from Sunset 5 is a notable shift for the independent film industry in Los Angeles, with directors like Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen), Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) and Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters) premiering their films at the venue.

In the past few years, competition stiffened for top-rate indies with most notably, The Grove's Pacific Theatres opening in 2002, Landmark Theatres in 2007 and the Arclight Hollywood in 2003.

As of late, Sunset 5 showed films that had previously opened in larger theater chains. Margin Call and Take Shelter are titles that are currently playing at the Sunset 5.

Laemmle is planning on opening a seven-screen theater in the North Hollywood area, Laemmle NoHo 7 Theaters, by Dec. 21.