Things were quiet around 3:05 PM on Tuesday at the Miracle Mile construction site of the film academy’s new movie museum. Along Wilshire Blvd., a passer-by was enjoying what seemed to be a puff of medical marijuana. On Fairfax, a guy with no shirt or shoes dangled from the sidewalk scaffold, then wandered across the street toward Johnie’s Coffee Shop, where a multi-colored Bernie Sanders mural still graces the side. Inside the construction fence, giant concrete pilings were still a work in process–about where they stood two weeks ago–and there was as yet no sign of a Renzo Piano-designed sphere, or even of a back wall to the empty department store structure that will house the collections.
But one afternoon’s work won’t be much missed, as the museum’s expected opening date has quietly slipped again. Now, the target is in 2019, perhaps a month or so after that year’s Oscar show, according to people briefed on thinking at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
An academy spokeswoman offered no comment. But the people briefed on strategy said the group’s officials have decided that their last target–in late 2018–made less sense than a somewhat later opening that could take advantage of the annual Academy Awards as a promotional opportunity. That puts the debut in the late winter or early spring of 2019, about two years later than an earlier-announced 2017 date. The opening had already slipped more than a year, as construction was slowed by a difficult interface with a massive subway project on, under and around Wilshire.
Presumably fund-raising for the museum, with a goal of nearly $400 million, continues apace under the museum’s new managing director for advancement and external relations, Katharine Dashaw, who was to start last November 1.