If you were looking forward to visiting the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures this year, make other plans. The opening of the museum at the historic 1939 mid-Wilshire May Company Building is facing yes another delay, one of many it’s suffered since plans were first announced in 2012. Despite earlier promises by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that it would open this year, the museum now won’t even be ready for next year’s Oscars in February.
The site was initially slated to cost $250 million and open in 2017. That projection has since ballooned to $388 million and the opening day moved to an unspecified date, “largely due to unanticipated challenges involving the Death Star-like spherical structure that will be the space’s defining feature,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
An Academy rep said in a statement, “The Academy Museum’s intention is to create a unique and unparalleled museum experience. Achieving this has required a highly complex construction effort, renovating a 1939 L.A. landmark, building a new spherical structure that includes a 1,500-panel glass dome and joining them together to produce 300,000 square feet of spectacular public and exhibition space.”
The statement doesn’t offer much about when the museum will be open for business, concluding, “[W]e are weighing the overall schedule for major industry events in 2020, and on this basis will choose the optimal moment for our official opening.”
When it’s finally ready for visitors, the museum plans to launch with a temporary exhibit featuring Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, followed by Regeneration: Black Cinema 1900-1970, an exhibit tracing Black filmmakers’ role in shaping modern cinema.
While annoying, delays to the project should come as no surprise. Decades of neglect have resulted in massive degradation of the landmark site, and every step to restore it requires extensive permitting.
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