The United Artists Theatre on Broadway has what is probably one of the most significant histories of all the theatres on the Los Angeles Broadway Theatre District.
Now known as the Theatre at the Ace Hotel, it began its life in 1927 as the home of United Artists. United Artists was founded in 1919 by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith as in independent production house outside of the Hollywood studio system. The studio allowed actors to control their own interests instead of being deputed on commercial studios.
The groundbreaking was done May 5, 1927. A crowd of 5000 people gathered to watch Mary Pickford operate a steam shovel to remove the first scoop of earth.ceremonies. Fairbanks told the LA Times that he hoped the theatre would “always be a reminder of the fact Los Angles is the center of production of the film industry.”
Since that time both United Artists and the theater have changed ownership a number of times. The United Artists Theater stayed active as an arts venue until 1989. Then after a major restoration of the movie palace to its original glory it reopened as The Theatre at Ace Hotel in February of 2014.
Since the reopening, the Ace Hotel has worked to run the theatre in the spirit of its original founders. It’s rather interesting to note that we are seeing a resurgence of that independent spirit again in modern times with more and more producers bypassing the Hollywood studio system and producing their films independently.
The Theatre at the Ace Hotel is located at 929 S Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.