Claremont’s pandemic burdened, local movie theater finally closes an unsteady chapter in the fate of the neighborhood’s historic landmark.
To the relief of many 7C students and Claremont locals, the 16-year-old Laemmle’s Claremont 5 Theatre is not set to close any time soon. However, with sparse business since the beginning of the pandemic, the ultimate fate of the theater remains uncertain.
The Claremont Courier prompted the initial rumors of the theater’s closing in Dec. 2021, after naming Winfund Investment LLC as a potential buyer for the property. The Rancho Cucamonga based company planned to reconstruct the lot as a restaurant complex. With the recent closing of Laemmle’s NoHo 7, the company’s North Hollywood property, many in Claremont feared that their local theater would see a similar end.
But earlier this month, owner Greg Laemmle told a Daily Bulletin reporter that the Claremont property was no longer for sale.
According to Laemmle Claremont 5 Manager Carlos Castillas, Greg Laemmle appeared on site two weeks ago and notified the staff that the theater would stay open for the rest of the year.
However, Castillas admitted that business has been slow for the theater in recent years and explained that a timeline beyond 2023 may be more difficult to predict, depending on the theater’s earnings.
“[Greg Laemmle] will try to keep the theater open as long as people keep coming in,” Castillas told the Daily Bulletin.
Since Laemmle’s appearance, the theater’s earnings have doubled, according to Castillas. He is optimistic that with profit continuing to rise, the Claremont community has a chance to keep the independent “arthouse” film establishment in their own neighborhood.
Jeremy Martin PO ’25 and Adam Osman-Krinsky PO ’25 are grateful the uniqueness of the Laemmle experience will be preserved.
“I think it’s a great movie theater, I really do,” Martin said. “They have a very diverse set of movies.”
Osman-Krinsky marveled at the theater’s quaint charm that can’t be found at larger theater chains in the area.
“There’s a lot of personality there,” Osman-Krinsky said.“There was this guy who worked at the concessions stand [who collected] what must have been a hundred enamel pins of different movies and video games [to wear] on his uniform.”
Both Osman-Krinsky and Martin noted that the Laemmle is integral to entertainment in Claremont.
“It is one of the few things that you can really do to have a good time in Claremont without a car,” Martin said. “There are AMCs in the area, but all of them are an Uber away.”
Martin believes that the theater could attract more customers from the Claremont Colleges with a simple change.
“You can get seven dollar tickets from Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC),” Martin said. “I wish the ASPC deal was more widely publicized. I didn’t know about that for a long time.”
Given this budget-friendly ticket option and the Laemmle’s accessibility to campus, Martin urged students not to take the Laemmle for granted.
“Once it’s gone, only then will people realize how much of an impact it has here.”