With the 9:40 p.m. screening of Sharkwater last Sunday evening, Santa Monica’s NuWilshire Theatre at 1314 Wilshire Boulevard quietly closed its doors forever. “The theater opened in the early 1930s and has been in business for over seven decades,” according to NuWilshire employee Nick Iller.
Part of the Landmark Theatre group for the last 15 years, the NuWilshire screened a regular fare of films not always found at the national chain cinemaplexes, including indies, limited release documentaries, obscure Academy Award nominees, foreign films, and other non-mainstream productions. Business at the NuWilshire was brisk according to theater operators, which should come as no surprise, given the large number of Santa Monica residents who work in the entertainment industry. “There are a lot of sad people,” noted NuWilshire manager Eugene Busbey in the lobby of the theater as its last screening was in process. According to Busbey, the theater was closed to enable an alternative retail use of the historic building.