Over the past few years the theater did seem like it was being poorly maintained. While the ticket cost to see a movie at Camera 12 was less than most other movie theaters, it does take effort for people outside of Downtown to drive in, park, and go see a movie. To make matters even worse, the home movie experience today has become exceptional. For people to go out and see a movie, there needs to be a more compelling reason than 10 years ago--something you cannot get at home.
What Downtown really needs right now is a destination movie theater that will appeal to local residents and pull people from around Silicon Valley. It can't just be another Cinemark or AMC, it should be something that goes above and beyond. I think the Camera 12 space would be perfect for a premium movie theater with fewer seats, food, and alcohol. A great example is the Alamo Drafthouse. Even better is iPic Theaters where you get reserved leather recliners, blankets, and service in the theater.
The multi-level setup allows for even more opportunity to turn this into a premium experience that can cater to multiple audiences. The bottom floor can have nice reserved seats with no food or drink and costs similar to a normal theater. The upper floors can be 21 and over with a full bar and food served at your seat. Fewer seats that are more expensive would make the theater easier to fill, especially with a concept not found anywhere else in Silicon Valley.
Right now there are only two premium theaters planned for the area, one in Valley Fair and another all the way in San Mateo. Both are half-measures in malls that won't be of the same caliber as the iPic Theater pictured below.
Downtown is the perfect location for a destination movie house that will bring more people to the area instead of solely rely on nearby residents. We need to step up our entertainment game, and the Camera 12 spot is the ultimate anchor location that can help take us to the next level.