Tara Cinema To Reopen Under Local Ownership
Indie movie lovers in Atlanta thought their beloved Tara was gone forever, but like any good romantic comedy, they're getting the girl in the end.
After Tara Cinema abruptly shuttered in November, the theater is expected to reopen in the spring under new ownership led by Christopher Escobar, the owner of Plaza Theatre on Ponce de Leon Avenue, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Escobar announced the news during the closing of the 2023 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center on Tuesday. Escobar inked a six-year lease with landlord Halpern Enterprises earlier that day, the AJC reported.
“It’s a testament to what is possible when Atlantans come together, and how our cultural institutions can live on when we all get a say. For the first time in decades, the Tara will once again be run locally,” Escobar said, according to The Saporta Report.
Tara's prior owner, Regal Cinemas parent company Cineworld, filed for bankruptcy protection and closed a number of its low-performing movie houses in recent months.
The new ownership, under the name Tara Theatre LLC, is a partnership between Escobar and the nonprofit Friends of Tara Foundation, which is being used as a fundraising arm for the theater. Other partners in the venture include other local film industry players such as Steve Krams, whose company, Magna-Tech Electronic, provides projectors to theaters, according to the AJC.
Tara was first opened in 1968 by Loew’s Theatres. In the 1980s, local theater owner George Lefont purchased the cinema, located off Cheshire Bridge and LaVista roads, and it soon became one of the few theaters in the city to screen arthouse and foreign films. In 1993, United Artists — which eventually was acquired by Regal Cinemas — purchased the movie house and operated it until its closure last year.
Cineworld Group filed for bankruptcy in September and has since shuttered theaters and renegotiated leases with landlords in its efforts to emerge from bankruptcy reorganization. Cineworld has amended 150 of its leases and could close more than 100 locations.
Regal has given Escobar permission to continue using the Tara name, according to the AJC.