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
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
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
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
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
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.
Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.