• Pamela Froman

The Montalbán Summer Movie Series

The Montalbán is an amazing theatre that is coming alive this summer. The theatre was designed by Myron Hunt (of Rose Bowl fame) and built in 1926 as the Wilkes Brothers Vine Street Theatre. The building was the first legitimate live Broadway-style theater in Hollywood with orchestra, mezzanine, loge, and balcony seating and excellent sightlines and acoustics.

Over the years, the space has had many incarnations. It was owned by Howard Hughes as The Mirror, CBS Radio converted it to being a live audience radio theatre from 1937 through 1954, and then it was bought by Huntington Hartford. In 1964, James Doolittle, who was running the Greek Theatre, bought the venue and staged productions for 20 years. UCLA took over in the 1980s until the Ricardo Montalbán Foundation bought the building in 1999.

Emmy Award-winning actor Ricardo Montalbán’s vision was to create a presence in Hollywood that provided inspiration and employment for young Latinos as well as other underrepresented people. Montalbán’s son-in-law Gilbert Smith is currently the Chair of the Foundation and the Executive Producer of the theatre. Through his direction $4 million has been invested into theatre restoration to help preserve this beautiful Hollywood classic.

“Ricardo became a father figure to me and we enjoyed a great relationship in regards to my taking charge of the theatre,” says Gilbert. “He was very pleased with the changes that were taking place. He really enjoyed seeing the growth and the positive efforts that we were able to start making for the community that he had originally envisioned.”

The Montalbán is hosting its outdoor preeminent rooftop event space with the 2018 Montalbán Summer Movie Series. Carrying on the historic venue’s tradition of screening films since 1933, the series is scheduled to run through Wednesday, October 31, 2018. There will be a diverse range of Montalbán-curated films including Black Panther, Grease, Inglorious Bastards, Sunset Blvd., Superbad and many others.

There will even be a Ricardo Montalbán film thrown in the mix! “We are showing Border Incident on the 24th of July, and we are also looking at other films that we be able to start putting in to our rotation that are memorable MGM classics,” says Gilbert.

In addition, is partnering with the Montalbán for two Saturday screenings a mont as ell as the Summer Movie Series. There will be trivia contests and prizes and it will kick off with The Big Lebowski on August 9.

The Montalbán is also working with its Hollywood neighbor, Umami Burger to create a custom menu with movie theater-style offerings. These will include such Umami favorites as the Truffle Burger, Cheesy Tots and the famous UFO dessert. Game-changing Impossible Burgers and Sliders (made entirely from plants) are also on the menu.

The Montalbán also has a relationship with Nike and LA84. The partnership started in 2008 when they created a pop up store and rooftop activity center for Nike during the Olympics. “We expanded the roof and Nike thought it was a terrific idea,” says Gilbert. “We then engaged with Inter Milan, FC Barcelona and the kick off the World Cup.”

The rooftop area has increased the footprint of the theatre. “We are able to have events that can run simultaneously and don't conflict with each other,” says Gilbert. “It's also fun, we have one of the best screens in Hollywood. It's quite a spectacular place to sit and have drinks and enjoy film.”

In addition to the screenings, the Montalbán will be introducing short subject films in a series called 60 Second Docs through Indigenous Films. These are one-minute shorts that feature subjects about artists or community service that are unique. The films kickoff on July 23rd.

The 2018 film series will also be technically amazing with a new Canon 4K laser projectors for its rooftop screenings. This will be complimented by The Montalbán’s Sound Off™ stereo headphone system and its KV2 Audio system that is Dolby 7.1 sound.

Films run five nights per week – every Tuesday through Saturday – with two screening on Friday and Saturday evenings. Doors open at 6 p.m. and films start screening 10 minutes after sunset. Prices are either $10, $15 or $18. Please visit

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

You are in for a night of beautiful music when San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra and founding Music Director and Conductor James Domine present the Year of the Violin featuring violinist Fiona Sh

Foodies rejoice! Do you have an event or party coming up that you need special eats for? Maybe it's a birthday or anniversary? Or perhaps it's a business-sponsored gala? Then look no further because E