AMC Criterion 6 Goes Dark On Third Street Promenade

Friday, 5 Apr 2013, 9:22:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

AMC Criterion 6 at 1313 Third Street Promenade screened its final film last Thursday.
Photo by Mitch James
AMC Criterion 6 at 1313 Third Street Promenade screened its final film last Thursday.

For almost 90 years, a movie theater occupied this space

on the Third Street Promenade, almost directly across from a seven-screen

theater on the corner of Third Street and Arizona Avenue. Originally built in

1924 and rebuilt in 1983, the AMC Criterion 6 has officially screened its last

film.

When this writer visited the theater just before 9 pm

Friday evening, the AMC Criterion 6 was dark. The doors were locked and no one

appeared to be inside. The large marquee sign hanging above the front doors was

not lit up.

Though the Promenade has had three theaters on site for

years, a current search on the AMC website, www.amctheatres.com, yields only

two results in Santa Monica: AMC Loews Broadway 4 (on the Promenade between

Broadway and Santa Monica Boulevard) and AMC Santa Monica 7 (on the Promenade

at Arizona).

Following up with City Hall, the news was confirmed: the

AMC Criterion 6 went dark late last week.

“The Criterion is closed,” Andy Agle, the City’s Director

of Housing and Economic Development, told The

Mirror.  

Agle said the former six-screen, 1,600-seat multiplex

will give way to a retail store.

“My understanding is that the building owners are working

with a retailer who will take over the space,” Agle said. “They have not told

us the name of the retailer.”

Phone calls and emails to the AMC Media Relations

Department were not returned prior to press time.

The departure of the Criterion 6 marks the second time in

a few months span where AMC has altered its presence on the Promenade.

AMC had planned to build a new multiplex on the corner of

Arizona Avenue and Fifth Street, where Parking Structure 3 currently stands.

Plans called for a 70,000 square foot theater with more than 2,100 seats. A

restaurant and public lounge were also part of the plans.

However, AMC allowed its exclusive negotiating rights

with the City of Santa Monica to expire in November 2012. As previously

reported in The Mirror, AMC had

walked away from the proposed theater after it estimated the new location would

not be profitable.

City Hall still moved forward in seeking to build a new

theater on the Promenade. Last month, the city council approved a $60,000

contract extension allowing a consulting group – IJM Enterprises – to continue

searching for a movie theater operator to bring a new facility to the downtown

core.

A new movie theater was sought in the downtown area in

light of a study released by the Promenade Uses Task Force. Established by the

City Council in 2001, the Task Force sought “to understand how best to enhance

the vitality and maintain the proper balance of uses on the Third Street

Promenade and in the Bayside District.”

As part of its study, the Task Force determined the

current mix of movie theaters in and around the Third Street Promenade “were

outdated and likely would become less competitive in the near future unless

they could provide appropriate amenities such as stadium seating and

state-of-the-art technology.”

Agle said that City Hall has yet to find an operator to

build that theater with “stadium seating and state-of-the-art technology.”

“On the cinema side, although there is nothing to report

now, we are continuing our pursuit of upgrading the quality of the movie-going

experience in the downtown,” Agle said.

The AMC Criterion 6, which was expected to shut down due

to changes in the City’s zoning ordinance, was located almost directly across

from the AMC Santa Monica 7, just south of Arizona.

According to the corporate office, AMC owned 338 theaters

and 4,865 screens in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and three countries.

Founded in 1920 and based in Kansas City, Mo., the theater serves 200 million

guests annually and employs about 17,000 associates, according to the company. All

numbers were as of September 2012.

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