The iconic Los Gatos Theatre will reopen for the first time in three years for a free holiday film festival this week.

On Wednesday and Thursday, visitors can catch a showing of “Elf,” “Polar Express” and “Christmas Vacation” for free, before the theater opens for regular, ticketed showings of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Avatar: The Way of the Water” on Friday.

“We thought it’d be fun to do a few days of free movies to welcome the community back and so we got the free holiday shows for Wednesday and Thursday, and then Friday we go into the regular programming for Avatar and Black Panther,” said Paul Gunsky, President of CineLux.

This marks the first public showing at the downtown Los Gatos theater since 2020, when the theater shuttered during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gunsky said he initially hoped the theater would reopen in mid-December, but supply chain delays caused the reopening to be pushed back. The theater also will host a benefit on Jan. 19 to support the Los Gatos Educational Foundation with a showing of Tom Hanks’ newest movie, “A Man Called Otto.”

The theater is returning with its familiar concessions and a new ICEE machine, with beer and wine sales and meals like sliders and chicken tenders starting mid-January.

The Goetz Family had remodeled and restored the historic theater in 2014 and donated it to the town in 2020. After searching for a new operator, the town signed a five-year deal with CineLux, a theater management company that owns several theaters in the South Bay.

The town will receive 5% of the theater’s gross revenue and must open its doors to nonprofit organizations for fundraising events at least six times a year. The theater is more than 100 years old and the Goetz family purchased the building in 2011.

Tickets are required and can be reserved online at www.cineluxtheatres.com/cinelux-los-gatos-theatre. Several showtimes are sold out, but as of Monday afternoon, there were still tickets available for the following:

Dec. 28

“The Polar Express” at 4:15 p.m., “Elf” at 1:30 p.m. and “Christmas Vacation” at 7 p.m.

Dec. 29

“The Polar Express” at 1:30 p.m., “Elf” at 7 p.m. and “Christmas Vacation” at 4:15 p.m.


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