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There’s no way this becomes a nightclub in its new incarnation. They would literally have to gut it again and do another multi-million dollar renovation. And luckily, based on the attendance for Wizard of Oz, Metallica and now Gravity, the renovation was well worth it.
And once they IMAX craze is over (which I don’t think is anytime soon)… guess what? It’s still a theater. I think we have to worry more about what happens when the land lease runs out in about 10 years than we do a dip in the IMAX craze hurting this theater.
Well, I’ve read that Lincoln Square is 97'x76', so the Chinese is almost the same width (97' vs 90'), but not nearly as tall (76' vs 46'). Doesn’t really matter with Gravity though, because Gravity is a constant 2.4:1, so both screens use up roughly the same real estate.
And yes, some LA theaters do still offer matinee discounts except they’re like $12 or $13 now. But Arclight doesn’t… no.
They’re leaving it unmasked (for now). I suspect they are trying to impress people with the screen size in these early days. It’s also the reason I think they have the curtain open before the show, because they closed it when it was over. There also was no pre-show, although we walked in about 2 minutes to showtime so maybe it was just over by then. I just think the game plan is to try and wow people upon first entering the theater. I know I was wowed. Yes, I’d like to see them start using the masking, but I’m willing to cut them some slack these first couple months. I honestly never even really noticed the lack of top/bottom masking. I can say for sure… I feel sorry for the people seeing Gravity at the Dome.
The IMAX renovation at the Chinese is GORGEOUS!! Definitely feels different, but was great to see the place so busy for Gravity. There was a line on Hollywood Blvd to buy tickets and for a moment, I was confuse as to why all those people were there (It’s been a while since she was this happening).
If you see Gravity 3D in the Dome instead of the superior presentation at the Chinese, then you deserve the worlds worst 3D presentaion (which is what you’ll get).
Well, Good luck to those willing to suffer the world’s worst 3D in the Dome when there is a superior alternative down the street.
Chris, Thank you. That was the point I was trying to make about a month ago but was chided as attacking the Chinese. I didn’t see how you could fit a traditional IMAX screen (like those found at Rave, Citywalk or Lincoln Square) in the Chinese and the fact was they couldn’t. They installed most of the width but without the most of the height. It’s a fantastic IMAX for the future (probably the best), but it’s not a traditional 6 story 1.43:1 IMAX venue.
Well, Wizard of Oz is 1:37, so they’d only be using that center portion of the 1.90:1 screen. So not sad… correct.
Will be interesting to see what happens when they drop the IMAX. Will Arclight pick up the standard release or will the Chinese hang on even without the IMAX. Also, Don’t forget Ender’s Game on 11/1. They’ll be hopping for the rest of the year. But it looks like they’ll be getting at least 1 or 2 tentpoles every month.
70-80% on a Saturday afternoon is impressive. That gives me great hope.
So happy to hear the renovation was such a success. How large was the crowd? My concern still is that people have been away from the Chinese for so long that they don’t know to come back.
RogerA… I misspoke. Meant the Cinemiracle upgrade. My mistake.
Not to derail the Chinese conversation too much, but the 3D problems at the Dome are twofold. 1) The size of the Dome’s screen is just too big for their projectors to handle and 2) to correct this, they installed dual projectors to up the brightness, but the curve of the Dome’s screen meant that it was impossible to align them properly. 3D using the 2 projectors was bright enough, but the entire right and left thirds (yes, THIRDS!!!) of the image were misaligned and blurry. Location cards on the edges of frame (like in Transformers 3) would be impossible to read and things were just a mess unless they were dead center on screen. To finally fix this problem (after about a year of complaints and who knows how many terrible shows) they removed the second projector and produced a picture that was so dark, it was nearly unwatchable. I saw the “new and improved” 3D for Amazing Spider-man and I ended up watching ¾ of the movie with the glasses off because it was so dark. “ArcLight is more than a place to see a movie, it is an experience.” – Yes, and it’s more and more frequently been a BAD experience.
But the Chinese is back and ROCKS!!
Nevermind… spoke too soon. They added reserved seating for Gravity.
Yeah, The Chinese was in pretty big trouble ever since Mann dropped them a few years back. Their bookings were horrible and they were playing to empty houses most of the time. The IMAX conversion (which I view as not that much unlike the Cinemascope conversion in the 50s) allows them update the auditorium again and gain a booking advantage they haven’t had in a while. Without the IMAX, they would never be showing Gravity. They’d be probably be showing week 4 of The Family that weekend.
RobertAlex… Totally agree about 3D in the Dome. I’ve complained multiple times about how terrible their 3D is and I’ve begged them to at least offer 1 or 2 2D showings in there on opening weekends and they steadfastly refuse. So I go to the Village in Westwood for those needs now. They actually listen to customer complaints and alternate 2D and 3D.
But The Chinese NEEDS NEEDS NEEDS to get reserved seating for EVERY show otherwise people will continue to go to Universal City and Rave. I was excited when OZ appeared and had reserved seating, but disappointed that Gravity does not. They need to sort that and quick.
Now we’ll just have to wait and see what happens with Arclight. If they book Gravity as well, they’d be fools to put it in the Dome in 3D. If they don’t book it, they’ll have been a bit cocky booking the companion Children of Men screening before locking the Gravity booking.
You can find it here:
I hope you’re not referring to me when you say someone will always find something to complain about. I’ve been a supporter of this plan since the tour in April pre-closing. I simply pointed out the differences in geometry between 1.43:1 and 1.90:1 and what that might mean in terms of traditional IMAX fare. That was oddly (and incorrectly) seen as bashing The Chinese by some in an argument that grew akin to someone denying it gets dark at night.
I’m excited to see The Chinese soar again and am even more excited by your first hand account. It sounds like they made all the right choices. Now let’s just hope they get all the IMAX bookings they can to keep that place packed week after week.
Thank you Edward, that was the only point I was trying to make with regard to 1.43:1 on the new Chinese screen.
Robert, you are correct. Trek’s IMAX scenes were 1.66:1, still taller than the 1.90:1 ratio of the new digital screens, requiring either cropping top and bottom or pillarboxing on the sides (but in this particular case it was cropped top/bottom for digital). I don’t understand… does something start to burn if you simply say, “that’s correct?”
Sorry all. My frustration grew from the fact that the single and irrefutable fact I was trying to point out (that anything that continued to be shot with IMAX cameras – in the traditional 1.43:1 IMAX ratio – would not be able to be fully presented at the Chinese) was somehow still being refuted and that I was somehow attacking the Chinese and the new screen. I’m excited for the new Chinese and have been saying so since the last Historical Society tour this past April. I was simply pointing out that, while 1.90:1 might be the digital future and the future of IMAX, any IMAX titles, past or future, still shot on film at 1.43 (like Catching Fire or Interstellar) would have to be cropped at the Chinese. Whether that number of films is 20% or .5%, it’s still true. The size of the screen or it’s ranking in the world or whether it’s digital projection or 15/70 is irrelevant. I’m not saying that to bag on the Chinese, I’ve just been trying to point something out for the instances (however rare) it might be relevant.
If that still doesn’t make sense… How about this:
The Chinese Theater screen is fantastic and NOTHING (past or present) EVER will have to be cropped on that screen until the end of time.
That should cover it.
I NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT OR THOUGHT THEY WOULD INSTALL A 15/70 PROJECTOR!!!!
Robert, just answer this… Is the screen at the Chinese a full, traditional IMAX screen? Yes or No?
How can you say, “here’s how it’s open to debate” and then go on to reaffirm all the points I just made? I’ve NEVER said the new Chinese screen won’t be great or appropriate for most of the IMAX titles released, just that it’s not a traditional IMAX screen and couldn’t show native IMAX without cropping picture information. You yourself call it “a step between the dreaded “LieMax” label and the true blue 15/70 6 story tall screens we all know and love.” So you’re basically confirming what I said that it’s not a true blue traditional IMAX screen. And given that we now know JJ is shooting Episode VII on film, do you really think he’s not going to shoot 15/70 IMAX as well? (whether it shows at The Chinese or the El Cap will remain to be seen).
Is it a “true blue 15/70 6 story IMAX screen?” No. Can it show films shot with IMAX cameras in the camera’s native ratio without cropping? No. What the new screen REALLY is, is a really large traditional “flat” screen with top/bottom masking. LA Live’s Premiere Theater is 38x70 with top/bottom masking. Should we call that an IMAX because it’s as big if not bigger than many of the “LieMax” retrofits?
Robert, none of your links talk about reducing the ratio of IMAX from 1.43:1 to 1.9:1. It’s just about converting to digital, which as Chris points out, “allegedly, can be projected to fill the entire IMAX screen (so I read).” When Chris says that, do you think he’s talking about the projectors FINALLY being able to fill the whole 1.90:1 screen, because they can do that now. I don’t know how I can make the point any clearer.
My original statement was only that, with an advertised width of 90ft, a traditional IMAX screen would have to be about 65 feet high and I didn’t see how that was possible at The Chinese. Turns out, I was right.
It’s actually IMAX that determines that. It’s the native ratio for IMAX cameras (1.43:1). With digital and IMAX DMR, the options for ratios are nearly endless, but the FACT (yes, FACT) still remains that the new 1.90:1 screen at The Chinese, while certainly suitable for the vast majority of IMAX presentations and clearly the new standard as we move into a totally digital age (they call it IMAX 1.9:1), isn’t capable of displaying ALL IMAX movies correctly. Unless they’re planning to pillarbox natively shot IMAX with bars on the side, full 1.43:1 IMAX photography (either of the newly shot or revival variety) will be cropped top and bottom. It is not a full, traditional IMAX screen, it’s a new, digital friendly IMAX screen. How is this even open to debate?
My point was simply that The Chinese doesn’t HAVE an entire IMAX screen. I’m not bashing The Chinese, merely pointing out that (until they also do away with SHOOTING on IMAX film) the new screen will be a compromise for certain films. Christopher Nolan has just started shooting Interstellar using IMAX cameras. If/when Interstellar shows at the Chinese… it will most likely be cropped for their new screen. It won’t be cropped on traditional IMAX screens. When Catching Fire comes out later this year, the IMAX portions will also be cropped (much like they are for a Blu-ray) if shown at The Chinese. I’m not complaining, just offering observations and math. I didn’t realize that was controversial.
Well, Universal City is not projecting EVERYTHING in digital. Star Trek into Darkness was 15/70, as was Pacific Rim. While Pacific Rim was close to 1.90:1 (due to Del Toro shooting 1.85:1 anyway), Trek certainly was not. And I saw Dark Knight Rises full 15/70 1.44 there as well. So, as I said, MOST things will be an improvement when shown at the new Chinese, but not everything will. But I was happy to hear that they’ll have adjustable masking to show things in more traditional ratios.
Well that answers my question about how you were going to fit an IMAX screen in there. You don’t. 47.2x90 means the screen is pretty much 1.90:1. Noooooooooooot exactly IMAX. The Universal City IMAX is (by their own website) 7 stories tall (which translates to about 70 or so feet high and 50 or so feet wide (at the correct IMAX 1.4:1 ratio). So the Chinese will be 80% wider but only about 70% as tall. So for the majority of Hollywood product converted to IMAX, the Chinese will be better. For true IMAX stuff like Dark Knight or Catching Fire… Not so much. The other sad thing will be that the Chinese will now essentially be a top/bottom masking theater for films presented in 2.4:1.
The Village is actually bucking the trend and showing Man of Steel in 2D for their first midnight show (Thursday night, June 13). Support some 2D and let’s fill the Village like the good old days.