Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

You Can't See 'Straight Outta Compton' In Compton

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Straight Outta Compton may be breaking box office records across the country, but the city where the film is set is one place you can't see it.

That's because there are no movie theaters in Compton. Sure, movie goers from Compton could travel north to South Gate or east to Paramount or south to Carson—or really almost anywhere else across L.A. County—to see the film that took inspiration from their own city. But locals—or anyone looking for a meta-movie-going experience—will have to head, well, straight out of Compton to see what everyone is talking about.

“It’s a low income area, it’s been heavily dis-invested in,” USC professor of sociology Manuel Pastor tells CBS LA. “When you live in a community that doesn’t have that kind of retail, it’s a sign that the community is devalued and people within the community feel devalued.”

Of course, Compton did once have movie theaters—perhaps most famously the Compton Drive-In and the Fox Compton Theatre, but both were demolished many years ago.

Support for LAist comes from

The good news is that there is a 16-screen movie complex planned for Compton in the near future. Compton City Manager Johnny Ford tells CBS LA, “Seventy percent of that would be the movie theater, and then there would be an additional thirty percent retail space.”

There are also plans to build a new arts and entertainment center for kids in Compton, which will receive a major boost when Dr. Dre donates the royalties from his upcoming album. The album, appropriately titled Compton, is a companion piece to the movie.