Tom Hanks, a trustee of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and a co-chair of its campaign, broke long-awaited news about the project while taking the stage during last night’s Academy Awards: “We’re all very proud of what has been accomplished so far in the landmark that is taking shape on Fairfax and Wilshire, and it is a pleasure to announce that the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will open its doors on December 14th, 2020.”
On that date, the museum’s first two exhibitions will take in the main gallery spaces of the renovated 1939 May Company Department Store (also known as the Saban Building): Hayao Miyazaki, a retrospective of the famed Japanese filmmaker’s career, and Regeneration: Black Cinema 1900-1970, an archival presentation of black participation in American filmmaking. Programming has not yet been announced for the David Geffen Theatre, a 1,000-seat auditorium set in a Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)-designed semi-sphere attached to the Saban Building via the Barbara Streisand Bridge. As AN covered last August, the auditorium building is being constructed using an innovative double-layer system that provides soundproofing without compromising expansive views of the surrounding Hollywood hills.
Opening dates for the museum have been repeatedly set and re-set since the capital campaign was launched in 2012. The project’s original $250 million budget has ballooned during the course of its several-years-long construction, causing significant delays in installing the finishing touches. A recent pre-opening campaign has helped the museum reach the 95 percent mark of its revised $388 million budget. In that time, founding museum director Kerry Brougher left his position was been replaced by Bill Kramer, a former managing director of development and external relations at the museum that helped raised $250 million for the new building.
Though the major structural and aesthetic portions of the project is complete, work on the mechanical and electrical engineering details is being finalized alongside the installation of the museum’s first exhibitions. “The dream of this museum will finally become a reality,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a press statement. “[It will be] a gathering place for filmmakers and movie fans from around the world, where we can share the Oscars legacy and further fulfill the Academy’s mission to connect the world through cinema.”
The Academy Museum will become the latest cultural attraction on Los Angeles’s Miracle Mile and will open shortly after the majority of the original building on the adjacent LACMA campus will have been demolished to make way for its groundbreaking redevelopment.