Downtown Hollywood hasn’t had a movie theater since 1996.
But that will all change when Fort Lauderdale art house Cinema Paradiso opens a second location later this year on Hollywood Boulevard.
While downtown Hollywood is home to a bustling entertainment scene along Young Circle and neighboring streets, the area hasn’t offered a proper cinema in 17 years.
That's because movie theaters in the 1990s began to market the megaplex, boasting 16 screens or more, a spacious beast that wouldn't fit historical Hollywood, according to Jorge Camejo, executive Director of the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency.
“The historical nature of the buildings that we have in downtown don’t lend themselves to large box spaces, so we cater to smaller, niche businesses,” Camejo says. “Big box retailers don’t meet the footprint here.”
The 3,000-square foot cinema will have 82 stadium-style seats, a lounge with cushy sofas and quaint sidewalk cafe tables. It will screen art, indie, 3D movies and foreign films. It will also offer matinees, while the Fort Lauderdale Cinema Paradiso, with limited parking, screens only evening and weekend shows.
Additional defining features at the newer cinema will include projecting films from around the world via satellite, explains Gregory von Hausch, president and CEO of Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and Cinema Paradiso.
“If La Scala in Milan has an opera, or when Paul McCartney or The Who goes on tour, we can show it live,” says von Hausch, who also plans to add monthly comedy nights to the bill.
Cinema Paradiso Hollywood intends to partner with area chefs to offer attendees discounted packages on the classic dinner and a movie night out.
The Hollywood CRA is backing the cinema with a 10-year plan to give $30,000 in funds annually, for an exchange of tickets at the same value, to give out to hotels on the beach and various clientelle.
From there, van Hausch says, “All I have to do is raise $150K, and we are home free to open on Labor Day weekend.”
And with the known flair of "Hollyweird," this art house cinema may find a new niche audience. “I think we are an artsy atmosphere that caters to those looking for something unique. Downtown Hollywood is not the typical strip mall environment,” Camejo says. “It’s a historical downtown district that’s authentic."
Cinema Paradiso Hollywood's new location is projected to open at 2008 Hollywood Boulevard. For more, visit fliff.com.