Eagle Rock -- A film nonprofit plans to reopen the legendary Vidiots video store along with an independent theater inside the former Eagle Theatre.
Vidiots Foundation is launching a fundraising drive as it prepares to renovate the 90-year-old theater at Eagle Rock Boulevard and Yosemite Drive with new sound and projection systems, the organization announced on its website. An adjacent storefront will stock Vidiots’ more than 50,000 titles on DVD, BluRay, and VHS for rent.
Vidiots closed its landmark Santa Monica store in 2017 after a 35-year-run that saw it become a favorite destination for those seeking hard-to-find film titles.
The announcement by the Vidiots Foundation, the nonprofit that took over the collection, comes a few months after an effort began to bring back movies to 200-seat theater, which has served as a church for the past two decades.
The approximately 9,400-square-foot building, which was most recently home to a church and dance studio, is now vacant, with the landlord asking nearly $19,000 a month.
"Bringing the Eagle Theatre back and providing L.A. with a long-needed new film space is thrilling," said foundation Executive Director Maggie Mackay. "Vidiots at the Eagle is a community space created by and for film lovers and filmmakers. We welcome and encourage everyone who believes in our mission to join us as we work towards opening in Fall 2020!”
In addition to the original 200-seat theater, which will screen repertory, new independent and classic titles, the foundation also plans to create a smaller, 50-seat theater for smaller screenings, events and workshops. The plans is for Vidiots to operate seven days a week and offer daily screenings and special programs.
The theater was originally called the Yosemite Theatre, which played silent films and two days of vaudeville acts, according to Cinema Treasures, a website devoted to old movie houses. It was also known as the New Eagle Theatre and, during the 1970s, screened adult films as part of the Pussycat chain.
By the 1980s The Eagle was back playing mainstream films but it closed in 2000 and later started hosting church services, said the Los Angeles Theatres website.
While movies have not been screened at the Eagle in nearly two decades, the theater's marquee -- which now proclaims "Jesus Christ is the Lord" and "Stop Suffering" -- remains in place. Inside, the auditorium with a proscenium arch awaits another show.