EXCLUSIVE: The planned opening for the Academy Museum Of Motion Pictures , announced for late Fall this year has been delayed once again, Deadline has learned. The museum won’t be ready for its close-up until sometime after the Oscars on February 9; no opening date has yet been set, and the Academy is weighing all options. I have heard the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Board Of Governors were informed of this at their most recent meeting, and an Academy Museum spokesperson confirmed that the date is no longer this year. Until this week the official website for the Museum said “coming in 2019” as the opening but now just says “coming soon”, however the much awaited movie museum has seen several previous targeted opening years come and go since first being officially announced in 2012 with an opening hoped for 2017.
A drive past the site on Fairfax at the home of the former May Co. department store does show considerable progress on the exterior with the glass dome now very visible amidst the active construction zone , but its complicated. Fundraising for the reportedly $388 million goal continues. The spokesperson explained the delay.
“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 LA landmark, building a new spherical structure that includes a 1500 panel glass dome, and joining them together to produce 300,000 square feet of spectacular public and exhibition space,” the spokesperson told Deadline. “At every decision point along the way , we have always chosen the path that would enhance the structure, even it that meant construction would take more time to complete. Similarly, when we were presented with opportunities to expand the scope of our exhibitions, interior spaces, and collection for the visitor experience, we have embraced them. As we continue working through the permitting process and move closer to completion, we are weighing the overall schedule for major industry events in 2020, and on this basis will choose the optimal moment for our official opening.”
In December the Academy had a starry event across the street at the Petersen Automobile Museum in which they revealed the facade for the Saban Building at the Museum and lit it up on Wilshire Blvd with the help of Tom Hanks who M.C.’d the event.
Earlier that day a big press luncheon was held to announce the Museum’s first exhibitions including the opener saluting Japanese legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki, and an exploration of Black Cinema between 1900 and 1970. In the meantime there have also been staffing changes including the April departure of Deputy Director for Creative Content and Programming Deborah Horowitz, a key position and lieutenant to director Kerry Brougher that I am told has yet to be officially replaced.
The Academy first talked about building a museum in 1929 right from the beginnings of the organization and it has been a major goal ever since, so what’s another few months in the scheme of things? They tell me they are determined to get it just right.