Samuel Novoa, a construction worker for Krikorian Premiere Theatres, took a break outside the company's six-screen complex a week before it opened on Aug.and more »
Harrison Ford in “Air Force One” was on the playbill at Krikorian San Clemente Cinema 6 when it opened in 1997, together with such movies as “George of the Jungle,” “Conspiracy Theory” and “Nothing to Lose.” The San Clemente cineplex closed Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. (File photo by Matt Brown, for the Orange County Register/SCNG)
Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable look-alikes attended a benefit screening of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” at Krikorian Theatre in a 2003 celebration of San Clemente’s 75th birthday. The cinema closed Thursday, Nov. 2, after 20 years in business. (File photo by Nancy Ellick, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Samuel Novoa, a construction worker for Krikorian Premiere Theatres, took a break outside the company’s six-screen complex a week before it opened on Aug. 8, 1997. (File photo by Chas Metivier, Orange County Register/SCNG)
For movie-goers in San Clemente, it appears to be out with the old and in with the new.
After a 20-year run in San Clemente, Krikorian Premiere Theatres reached the end of the reel Thursday, Nov. 2. The cinema chain announced San Clemente Cinema 6 was closing, effective immediately.
On the heels of that closure, Outlets at San Clemente owner Steve Craig confirmed Friday, Nov. 3 he is prepared to step up with a state-of-the-art 10-screen theater.
“It will be a premium theater,” Craig said. “We are down to the final stages of design.”
The 325,000-square-foot outlet center, which opened in the fall of 2015 along I-5 at the Avenida Vista Hermosa exit, includes space designed for a cinema.
Craig said it could open in 2019 or in late 2018. To accommodate today’s premium-theater specifications, the outlet center will have to raise ceiling heights, Craig said, but it will be within specifications for the building already authorized by the city. No discretionary approvals will be needed, he said.
“We’ll have the name of an operator in the next 30 to 45 days,” Craig said.
This comes as Krikorian announced it was closing San Clemente Cinema 6 “after 20 years of great times and wonderful memories.”
Krikorian Premiere Theatres thanked the community for its support in a message on its website. “Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your lives,” the announcement said. “If you have any questions about Krikorian Gift Cards, Premiere Tickets or fundraiser vouchers that you still have, please e-mail Tickets@kptmovies.com.”
Krikorian did not cite a reason for shutting down the six-screen cinema at 641 Camino de los Mares, and a spokesman could not be reached for comment Friday, Nov. 3.
Craig said Krikorian’s lease in San Clemente was ending, and the company would have faced a major investment for upgrades.
Meanwhile, Craig said, Krikorian still would face parking constraints on Camino de los Mares while up against a brand-new 10-screen at the outlets with plenty of parking available.
Krikorian’s closure leaves San Clemente, for now, without any movie theater. The closest is Regency Theaters at 26762 Verdugo Street, San Juan Capistrano.
Krikorian opened San Clemente Cinema 6 on Aug. 8, 1997. “Despite competition from cable TV and videos, the movie business is experiencing a renaissance,” The Register wrote at the time. “More people are going to the movies than at any time since the 1950s – and people in Orange County are going to the movies more often than people anywhere else in the nation.”
By 1997, San Clemente had been without a movie theater for eight years, since the historic Miramar Theater closed in 1989. Multiple entrepreneurs tried to restart the single-screen theater. It had operated since 1938 at 1700 N. El Camino Real but couldn’t compete with modern multi-screens.
One proposal would have twin-screened it but that never came to fruition.
In the early 1990s, the Miramar hosted occasional surf movies and special events until its final gasp in 1992. Subsequent proposals to redevelop the landmark either drew community opposition over scale or design or didn’t pencil out.
In 2012 the city, hoping to help resurrect the blighted landmark, used a historic preservation grant from the state to hire a design firm that specialized in saving old movie houses. The goal was to explore ways to repurpose a historically consistent Miramar.
That led to a plan for the Miramar Events Center that the City Council approved Oct. 17.
It proposes to restore the building and establish an events center, paired with five restaurants that would share indoor and outdoor seating next door, occupying the former site of San Clemente’s 1947 bowling alley.
The project requires approval by the Coastal Commission, including an agreement to waive 92 required parking spaces as an incentive for historic preservation.
Movie-goers who have patronized Krikorian’s San Clemente Cinema 6 over its 20 years in San Clemente have witnessed blockbuster movies, special screenings and occasional special events. In 2003, when San Clemente put together a month-long celebration of 75 years of cityhood, one of the events was a nostalgic Krikorian screening of the Marilyn Monroe motion picture “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
Look-alikes of the actress and of actor Clark Gable arrived at the cinema entrance by limousine, and the Monroe look-alike sang a sultry “Happy Birthday” to San Clemente.
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