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A Valentine for SLO movie audiences 

Two weeks after the abrupt closure of San Luis Obispo’s historic Fremont Theater, the building’s owners have reached an agreement with their tenant to reopen its doors just in time for Valentine’s Day.

According to a press release by Rob Rossi of Rossi Enterprises—who co-owns the building with John King of King Ventures—previous confusion over the temporary closure wasn’t merited, though he didn’t dish details of why it shuttered in the first place.

“To all who love and admire our treasured Fremont Theater, the earlier announcements of its demise were both premature and inaccurate,” Rossi wrote in the release. “We and The Movie Experience continue to work together extending the movie arrangement and helping the vitality of this unique landmark.”

He continued: “This architecturally significant, social gathering place for more than 70 years remains an important community asset. We appreciate the community’s continued support.”

In addition to feature films, Rossi said they’re looking to continue featuring live musical acts. In addition, the release states, Rossi and King are looking to hold other events at the theater, which seats more than 850 people. Further details on what types of events qualify, and what restrictions would be placed on scheduling those events, weren’t readily available.

Rossi stated that the changing economic landscape in the “first run movie” business has made screening movies alone infeasible. He pointed out that when the theater was established in 1942, it originally seated more than 1,000 patrons and combined movies with live performances.

Bruce Sanborn, who owns The Movie Experience as a subsidiary of his Newport Beach company, confirmed the information in Rossi’s release and told New Times the new lease agreement is good until February 2014.

He said the Fremont will screen two films on Feb. 14: the romantic drama Safe Haven and the Bruce Willis action flick A Good Day to Die Hard.

Sanborn added that over the next year, the theater will also revive its SLO Rewind series, kicking off on Feb. 18 with a screening of the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Sanborn said other minor changes may be coming as well, such as replacing the running of on-screen commercials with music prior to showings.

“I just think it’s a good experiment,” Sanborn said. “One of those things that gives you the feel of the old days.”

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