Santa Fe’s Jean Cocteau Cinema had its grand re-opening last week, the man tearing the tickets was none other than its new owner, writer and harvester-of-readers’-tears George R.R. Martin. The night opened with a screening of Forbidden Planet, one of Martin's favorite movies from childhood, which he cites as the greatest science fiction film of all time. The author was one of the many in the area who mourned the theater’s closure in 2006, both because of its fabulous film selection and its famed popcorn. Finally, in winter 2013, Martin was out on a barbecue-run when he noticed a “For Sale” sign in the cinema’s window and thought “Why doesn’t somebody reopen it? Why don’t I reopen it?”
Martin teamed with Jon Bowman, the former director of the Santa Fe Film Festival, and within a few months the theater was back from the dead like a popcorn-loving White Walker. The Cocteau began its new life by hosting an amazing free triple feature, showing Orpheus (in honor of its director, Jean Cocteau) and John Carpenter’s Dark Star (in the honored midnight slot) in addition to Forbidden Planet. They also brought back the unique popcorn toppings, including yeast, parmesan, and cinnamon sugar that fans of the Cocteau missed. Martin took to his Not a Blog to thank all of the minions who made the opening a success:
We had full houses for almost all our matinees and evening showings, and good crowds for the two midnight shows as well. Large, enthusiastic, diverse crowds—young and old, of every race and ethnicity, native Santa Feans and newcomers to town and tourists just here for the weekend, geeks and straights, boys and girls, old folks and children, hardcore SF fans and devotees of the French new wave... they all mixed and mingled in the Cocteau’s gorgeously redesigned cafe area, enjoyed our first art exhibition, and then filed into the hall to enjoy the films... and meet our special guest.
The special guest being this guy:
We mean the one on the right—Robby the Robot, the true star of Forbidden Planet, was on hand to pose for pictures with cinema-goers. Martin’s wife, Parris, acted as one of the hosts for the evening, and artist Janet Russek exhibited photos chronicling the theater’s history in the lobby. And yes, there were fans who asked if this would affect his writing schedule, and no, it won’t. (And even if it does, you better not say anything, ’cause Martin might show up at your door to break your stuff.)
The theater is offering free admission for its entire first week back in business, so we highly suggest you download an audiobook of A Dance with Dragons and get on the road! You can also listen to an interview with film historian Casey St. Charnez about the theater’s renovation here, where he discusses Martin and Bowman’s intention to create “an Alamo Drafthouse Theater environment,” and you can see more photos from opening night here!
Stubby the Rocket is the mascot of Tor.com. Stubby has always had a little bit of a crush on Robby the Robot.