Regency rescues two vintage L.A. theaters

Co. to take over Mann's Westwood-based Village, Bruin

The Village and Bruin theaters have been saved.

The landmark mono-screens in L.A.'s Westwood section -- founded in 1931 and 1937, respectively -- have been operated for the past few decades by Mann Theatres, which had tagged them for closure. But regional theater operator Regency Theatres said Tuesday that it has agreed to take over the properties on unspecified terms starting Thursday.

Mann's lease on the theaters expires Wednesday, though the circuit intended to continue to operate the venues on a month-to-month basis.

"We are excited to be adding the iconic Village and Bruin theaters to the Regency family of theaters," Regency president Lyndon Golin said. "These celebrated movie houses have been landmarks in Los Angeles since the 1930s, and we plan to extend their legacy far into the future."

Mann -- which is owned by Cinemerica, a co-venture of Warner Bros. and Paramount-parent Viacom -- will continue to operate 60 Los Angeles-area screens in eight theaters, including the landmark Grauman's Chinese in Hollywood. Cinemerica has been searching for a buyer for the Chinese for two years.

Cinemerica topper Millard Ochs applauded Regency's move.

"The most important thing was to keep the theaters open," said Ochs, who also is president of Warner Bros. International Cinemas. "We did not want to see those theaters go dark."