The Glendale City Council this week greenlighted two expansive signs at the new high-end Five Star Cinema in the former Mann 10 Theatre complex in the Exchange, but concern was raised about how the entertainment complex will compete with another movie venue planned nearby.
A new Laemmle Theatre complex is planned for the northwest corner of Maryland and Wilson avenues, a stone’s throw from Five Star Cinema.
Both theaters plan to screen foreign films.
“Would you and the Laemmle Theatre cannibalize the type of film-goers that would come to see a foreign film?” asked Councilman Ara Najarian at a meeting at City Hall on Tuesday. “Is there any danger in having two theaters showing the same genre of movies so close to each other?”
“No more danger than having two hotels next to each other,” said Greg Astorian, the broker on the real estate deal that brought Five Star its first theater complex in the United States. “The more the merrier.”
The company has 13 locations in Russia and Armenia.
Astorian added that the two theaters will offer different types of experiences.
Five Star will feature roomy luxury seating, he said — workers are currently removing the 2,500 seats in the complex’s 10 theaters and replacing them with just 508 luxury seats.
The former Salo-Salo Grill, which is adjacent to the theaters, has been gutted and will become the complex’s lobby, along with a new restaurant, lounge and piano bar.
Patrons can bring food and drinks into the Five Star theaters, where there will be tables for their dishes and cup holders on cushy seats. They can also order from the restaurant while in a theater.
Mann’s old ticket station has been removed from the courtyard, making room for a fountain.
Five Star owners could not be reached, but project architect Aram Alajajian said after the meeting Tuesday that tickets will likely range from $17 to $19.
The signs that were approved by the City Council include a large film reel with a spike made of corrugated metal going through it, and LED lighting inside, that will be over the entrance on Maryland. The other sign will be a projecting roof sign along Wilson that will look similar to marquees on historic theaters.
The City Council also approved a zoning variance for 10 changeable movie poster signs outside the entertainment complex — four along Wilson and six facing a corner parking lot at Wilson and Louise Street.