Laemmle Theaters Newhall celebrated its grand opening Friday after extended delays caused by the coronavirus.The art house cinema broke ground in October 2018 as the final in the city of Santa Clarita’s Redevelopment Block in Old Town Newhall. Construction was finished during the pandemic but the new building remained closed due to restrictions that prevented theaters from operating.
Los Angeles County entered the orange tier this week, allowing indoor theaters to operate at a maximum of 50 percent capacity — or 200 people, whichever is fewer — along with increased sanitation and ventilation requirements. Theaters were first allowed to open on March 11 at 25 percent capacity, or a maximum of 100 people, after a year of mandated closures.
The Laemmle Newhall Theater will open after Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring an array of films, including many of the 2021 Oscar nominees, as well as non-nominated films such as the Italian-set documentary on mushroom foraging “Truffle Hunters”, a drama called “French Exit” starring Michelle Pfeiffer and the blockbuster “Godzilla vs. Kong.”“The pandemic has been hard. Hard for businesses that had to be closed. Hard for the essential workers who kept things going while risking their health. And hardest for those who lost loved ones, had to endure illness and are still dealing with lingering health issues caused by the virus,” Greg Laemmle, president of Laemmle Theaters, said in a statement on the cinema’s website.“If we’re sounding upbeat, please know that we don’t want to paper over any of that pain and grief. But things really do seem to be improving here in L.A. Vaccinations are up. Infections are down. And by and large, people are still following guidelines about continuing to mask up and maintain social distancing. The time is right to slowly and safely begin to return to public spaces, and we aim to be part of that long-sought ‘return to normalcy,’” his statement read.