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Royal Theatre

11523 Santa Monica Blvd.  Los Angeles, CA 90025
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The Royal showing off the updated signage installed following the 2012 tripexing. Thanks to Stephen Russo for his 2014 photo, one that appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.

Phone: 310-478-3836   Website:

Opened: March 8, 1924 as the Tivoli Theatre. The location is about five blocks west of the 405. The theatre was a project of A.J. Fyhn and a Mr. Armour of the Fyhn and Armour Theater Company. At the time they also had the Majestic in Santa Monica, a theatre later renamed the Mayfair.

The new Tivoli was a replacement for their nearby Crown/Sawtelle Theatre as they thought the neighborhood "had entirely outgrown the old Crown theater..."

A March 7, 1924 article from the Santa Monica Evening Outlook about the Tivoli's opening. Thanks to Samuel de la Torre Dórame for finding the article via the Santa Monica Public Library. He's got it, along with other fine research, on the Tivoli Theater Grand Opening page of his blog Sawtelle 1897 - 1929. Also see his Sawtelle Crown Silent Picture Theater page about the theatre that was replaced by the Tivoli.

The March 8, 1924 opening day ad in the Santa Monica Evening Outlook. Thanks again to Samuel de la Torre Dórame for the research. He notes that 107th St. is now Butler Ave. and 108th St. is now Colby Ave. See his Tivoli Theater page for more early ads and articles.

Architect: Not known

Status: Long operated by Laemmle Theatres, the Royal remains one of the premiere venues for foreign films in Los Angeles. It became a three screen operation after a four month remodel in 2012.

Seating: Nearly 800 originally, later down to 600. With the triplexing, the total seat count is down to 300. The front half of the original theatre space is the large auditorium, screen #1. Screens #2 and 3 are back at the rear of what had been the original auditorium.

The Tivoli's booth in 1924. Thanks to Cinema Treasures contributor Dallas Movie Theaters for the photo on the site's page about the Royal Theatre.

The Royal was once equipped for 70mm projection. It's now all digital. "Hamlet" got a 70mm run in 1996 and the theatre had sometimes run festivals of 70mm prints such as 2010's "Star Wars" marathon.

In this booth photo from the theatre's single screen days on the site we're looking at a Norelco DP70 35/70mm machine and a Simplex XL. The third machine looks like it might be a 16mm unit. The photo by Johan Wolthuis is on the DP70s in California page. The site, curated by Thomas Hauerslev is a wonderful place to visit for information about 70mm projector history, news of 70mm festivals and more.

The triplexing project: In July 2012, Greg Laemmle announced "imminent" plans to triplex the theatre. The big house (about 175 seats) retains the existing proscenium. The smaller houses include one with less than 50 seats and one with about 100 seats. The Westwood-Century City Patch's Sarah Fay had the story.

A nice story in L.A. Biz by Annlee Ellingson in December 2012 discussed the reopening and the company's strategy to stay competitive in a changing business.

A lobby view that appeared on the Laemmle website c.2010.

A pre-triplexing auditorium photo once on the Laemmle website.

Looking into the lobby post-triplexing. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

The Laemmle memorabilia on the west wall of the outer lobby. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

The inner lobby. The entrance to one of the smaller houses is behind us and to the left. The other is down on the other side of the bar. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018 

The corridor to the big auditorium along the house left side. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

The original proscenium remains intact in the forward auditorium. It's a 2013 photo by Stephen Russo that originally appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.

A proscenium detail by Stephen Russo appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page in 2013. Thanks, Stephen! The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation is actively involved in the study and preservation of the vintage theatres in the Los Angeles area. The group frequently supports events and offers tours of the buildings. | LAHTF on Facebook

A proscenium detail. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

A look from farther back in the big house. It's a 2016 contribution from Vincent V. on the Yelp page about the Royal.

A view from the left corner at the rear. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

The rear of the big auditorium. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

The corridor back up to the lobby. Photo: Bill Counter - 2018

More exterior views:

The theatre in 1938. It's a photo from MGM in the collection of the Los Angeles Public Library.

A 1977 L.A. Times photo by Bill Varie appearing on Calisphere. It's from the UCLA - L.A. Times Photo Collection. Note the lovely metal cladding on the facade, later removed by Laemmle. 

A c.1988 look at the theatre from Bill Gabel's collection appearing on the Cinema Treasures page about the Royal. Thanks, Bill!

The theatre in 2007. Photo: Bill Counter

A night view of the Royal. Thanks to Mark Peacock for his 2010 photo. It's from his Vintage Theatres set on Flickr. Also visit the blog: On the Road With Mark Peacock

A 2011 post on the Los Angeles Movie Theater Reviews blog about the "Laemmle Royal Theatre" features this great view of the entrance and spiffed-up marquee. The photo has also been seen on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.

Thanks to Doug Simmons for this 2016 facade photo, added by him as a comment to a post he did on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles about the Laemmle Monica Film Center.

More information: See the Tivoli Theater Grand Opening page on Samuel de la Torre Dórame's blog Sawtelle 1897 - 1929. Another resource is the Cinema Treasures page on the Royal Theatre.

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