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In Pacific Palisades, Rick Caruso will revive 1940s-era Bay Theatre as a fancy Cinépolis

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The new theater will feature a marquee inspired by the old movie house

A rendering of the new Bay Theatre by Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas.
Courtesy of Caruso

Shopping mall developer Rick Caruso announced Thursday that he has found an operator to bring a movie theater to Pacific Palisades for the first time since 1978, when the neighborhood’s strikingly-designed Bay Theatre shuttered.

The new Bay Theatre by Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas will hold five screens with reclining leather chairs, reserved seating, and in-seat call buttons for full food and bar service. The company has theaters in a handful of suburban neighborhoods across Southern California, including Laguna Niguel, Pico Rivera, and Westlake Village.

The Bay Theatre on opening night.
Courtesy of Santa Monica Public Library Digital Collections

“We are inspired by the nostalgia of our new location and the community that Palisades Village will create, and are honored to contribute to this valued connection between family and friends, ”Cinépolis USA CEO Adrian Mijares Elizondo says.

Caruso, who’s building a Grove-style open-air mall in downtown Pacific Palisades, had promised residents he’d bring back the Bay Theatre as part of his development. His Palisades Village is scheduled to open next summer.

The new theater will incorporate the Bay Theatre’s name, and its big marquee will look sort of like the old movie house’s.

Designed by prolific theater architect S. Charles Lee and opened in 1948, the Bay Theatre “was the only theater north of Santa Monica, so it was always very busy.

The Los Angeles Conservancy says Lee designed theaters, “to garner from passing automobile traffic but to draw in pedestrians by using the sidewalk itself as part of the design. He famously claimed, ‘The show starts on the sidewalk.’”

Shortly after the Bay Theatre closed, it was converted into a hardware store.

The Bay Theatre, photographed in 1953, with its marquee advertising John Wayne in "The Fighting Kentuckian"
Courtesy of Santa Monica Public Library Digital Collections