The folks at the Nickelodeon Theaters in Santa Cruz made an audacious move when they decided to move into Gary Culver’s abandoned Aptos Twin cinemas. As reported in the Sentinel, the Nick is interested in a trial run to see if its brand of indie/arthouse movies can fly in the ‘burbs. I, for one, thinks its a great move.
For one thing, the films that play at the Nick and its sister movie house, the lovely Del Mar, are, for the most part, more accessible to general audiences than ever. We’re not talking about Ingmar Bergman double-featured with documentaries on 19th-century mine disasters (though there’s nothing with either of those). The Nick is, in fact, often competing for many of the same highly anticipated films that the big bad multi-plex wants to sell its popcorn. Dramas and comedies such as ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘A Prairie Home Companion,’ as well as documentaries such as ‘The Road to Guantanamo’ and ‘Wordplay’ have broad appeal to wider audiences. In fact, many of the films that usually play at the Nick — including “Bobby,” the new cast-of-thousands drama about the death of Robert F. Kennedy — have also been picked up by Culver to play in Aptos or in his other theaters, the 41st Avenue Cinemas and the Scotts Valley Cinemas.
Also, Aptos isn’t Podunkville. There’s lots of bright, curious, culturally informed folks south of Santa Cruz. I think they’ll respond very favorably to more creative movie programming at the Rancho Del Mar movie house.
I just hope the folks at the Nickelodeon know how to get to Aptos.