The sad news of Landmark’s recent closure thankfully has a happy outcome.
Uptown cinephiles were dealt a serious blow in 2020 when arthouse cinema The Landmark at 57 West closed its doors for the last time. As one of Landmark’s last remaining Manhattan cinemas, The Landmark at 57 West played a crucial role in keeping the neighborhood entertained and uplifted. Located in the Brutalist VIA building near the Hudson River, the specialty theatre was a community favorite and even featured its own popular bar – JD’s Place.
While the location has remained vacant these past two years, it appears that we are finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Landmark at 57 West will soon be replaced by a brand new theatre concept that will finally bring life back into the space. The lease for the theatre was just recently acquired by Look Cinemas, a popular new chain of dine-in cinemas that was established as a response to industry shifts during the pandemic. Look Cinemas was founded by entrepreneur Brian Schultz, who savvy readers might recognize as the founder and CEO of Dallas-based Studio Movie Grill.
Brian established Studio Movie Grill in Dallas in 1993 as one of the nation’s first dine-in entertainment venues. What seemed an obscure novelty in the 90s has now transformed into one of the industry’s most popular concepts. Before the pandemic, Studio Movie Grille operated over 35 locations across the country, and that’s not including the dozens of companies who took inspiration from Brian’s innovations. After the pandemic though, the industry shut to a halt and few cinemas were able to reopen after suffering such significant losses. When Brian left the company in 2020, he decided to set on his own once again with a brand new venture, and Look Cinemas was born.
In an interview with Dallas News, Brian stated that “What we’re doing at Look is trying to bring the entire industry back,” and hopes that his new venture will help kickstart the beleaguered industry. As a cinephile and filmmaker myself, it is exciting to see a new player trying to innovate and bring audiences back to their seats in the theatre. Offering a curated selection of food and cocktails, Look offers audiences luxurious seating options with enough amenities to bring back guests time and time again.
Now, the upstart young cinema company will be taking over the iconic Landmark theatre on 67 West 57th Street. The proposed premises will feature eight different auditoriums, theatre concessions, and a bar and dining area. The bar is expected to seat 13 guests while the dining area will seat around 31 guests. Of course, beyond the dining area guests can always enjoy their food and cocktails in the comfort of their own seats in the theatre. Additionally, Brian and the Look time are hoping to develop a sidewalk cafe in 2023 that will enable them to seat an extra 22 guests.
At the moment, Brian and his team still have a lot of work ahead of them to prepare the space or Look’s first New York debut. They are currently getting ready to meet with the community board to acquire a new liquor license, and are proposing operating hours of 9:00 AM – 2:00 AM. For more information, you can follow Look Cinemas on Instagram for regular updates on all of their projects.