Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Chris Utley
Chris Utley on January 23, 2008 at 11:07 pm

The AFI people said tonight (as they introduced “Dr. Strangelove” – which played in one of the large Arclight auds) that they print they’ve got for “2001” is supposedly better than the one they were gonna originally show.

Rizzo, care to share some details?

JSA on January 23, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Yes, that’s true. The Seattle standard screen has a slight curve though. Many years ago, I saw a 70 MM presentation of 2001 in a large flat screen and it looked great, so no doubt that the Seattle shows will be fine. I was planning to make the trip there until the Dome announcement. I’ll definitely make the trip north when they pull out the large Cinerama screen.

And come to think of it, since the print at the Dome is going to be run in a platter, maybe a 70 MM screening of “2001” at the Ziegfeld is not out of the realm of possibility…


Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 23, 2008 at 8:06 pm

JSA… My understanding is that the screening of “2001” in Seattle will be on the standard flat screen – though it WILL be a 70mm print.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on January 23, 2008 at 7:04 pm

I’m just glad they’re giving Rambo the night off on the 30th.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on January 23, 2008 at 3:37 pm

In case anyone gives a darn…The Dome’s got “RAMBO” starting 1/25/08.

JSA on January 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm

The “2001” screening is sold out! JSA

Manwithnoname on January 8, 2008 at 7:19 pm

I’m pleased to say I just got my ticket and although in the center I am near the back. Tickets really are almost gone.

The comments about only a single screening are valid. Read one of my comments from 2002 where I mention THE WILD BUNCH played in 70mm for 6 weeks at the Dome BEFORE it was renovated.

JSA on January 8, 2008 at 5:50 pm

I agree with Chris: Rizzo, I would like to thank you for aswering my goofy questions and keeping us informed.

Another factoid: This is the first time in decades that “2001” will screen in 70 MM at two Cinerama theatres (i.e. the Dome and Seattle) during the same week. JSA

Flix70 on January 8, 2008 at 3:41 pm

It’s nice to see “2001” screening at the Dome. Would it have killed Archlight and AFI to extend it for a weekend? It is the 40th anniversary afterall. They do have 12 other screens to showcase all the other crap. They seem to forget that the Dome is a palace that desrves to host a little royalty beyond one-night stays. The last “classic” to have an extended run(a weekend or more) was “Alien” in 2003. That’s five years ago. Prior to 2002 when it was just the Dome screen, at least a dozen classic films had extended runs every year.I’m talking week-long festivals that coexisted with current studio bookings. And they were always packed. In a span of one year, I saw Apocalypse Now, River Kwai and Close Encounters. You’ve never seen any of those films until you’ve seen them at the Dome. It’s sad that today’s generation can’t experience classic films on its concave screen beyond one night. I don’t know about you but given the choice of screening “Star Wars,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or “Lawrence of Arabia” on my 65" TV or on the Dome screen, the Dome wins every time. Archlight prides itself on being the movie lover’s choice. It would be nice if they actually showed movies we love.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on January 8, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Rizzo: Is there any way for us who are Cinema Treasures regulars who will be attending “2001” to meet you before the show so we can touch bases and whatnot? I’ll be there with 15 other members of my movie club(s) and we’ll be having dinner at the Arclight Cafe at 6:30 PM.

Let us know.

JSA on January 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Thanks Rizzo. Sounds like it’s going to be a good show. My only request is that please allow a reasonable break time during the intermission!


JSA on January 6, 2008 at 10:40 pm


You had mentioned some time ago that the Dome was no longer setup for reel-to-reel operation, thus effectively eliminating the possibility of screening quality 70 MM prints. Has the situation changed?


JSA on January 4, 2008 at 10:49 am

I have the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission.


Chris Utley
Chris Utley on January 4, 2008 at 8:55 am


JRandell on January 1, 2008 at 11:41 pm

The Dome is considered a “historical landmark” by the city so I believe a renovation to put in a mezzanine-level booth isn’t legally allowed, even if Pacific wanted to spend the money to do it (this is the reason that the seats are still crappy). And if they could, they wouldn’t because 90% or more of the patrons only care about “BIG SCREEN!!” and not about the improvement in quality it would bring from a lower projector and shrinking the screen for digital and 35mm.

KramSacul on January 1, 2008 at 6:03 pm


If the projection angle was lowered or only the top of the screen was used the picture would be much improved. The lack of light and cross reflections would probably remain though.

R2D2 on January 1, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Regarding the recent discussion about image distortion… Isn’t the distortion a result of the high projection angle more so than the curved screen?

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 27, 2007 at 8:08 am

Thanks, Rizzo…I think.

JSA on December 26, 2007 at 11:25 pm

I attended a 70 mm presentation of “2001” at the Dome back in the early 90’s. To me, the distortions were tolerable, with the notable exception of Discovery’s image during the “Jupiter Mission” segment, as described by Kram a few postings above. To say it looked like a “banana” is kind. But in the end, the good outweighed the bad: the landing at Clavius and the entire “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” sequences were absolutely spectacular. I was engulfed, or rather “enveloped” by the huge images on screen and the terrific soundtrack. Because this film has influenced me in many ways, I would definitely make the trip to the Dome if it plays there again.


KramSacul on December 26, 2007 at 7:26 pm

Actually the Dome’s problems are not limited to geometry distortion which is visible from any seat. There’s also cross reflections, the loss of vertical picture info in the middle of the screen, and the lack of light. 70mm probably helps quite a bit there though.

IMO 1.85:1 films are much more tolerable in the Dome but the light problem is a deal breaker, even if it’s being projected in 2k. It’s just too dim.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 26, 2007 at 3:54 pm

Thanks, Rizzo.

One reason why I’ve never witnessed the distortion for myself: in almost 17 years of being a Dome customer, I have managed to always sit in the center section…never on the far left/right sections. Everything looks alright to me from a center POV.

Another question, Rizzo: any chance your bosses will browse this thread since a few folks seem to have an idea on how to fix the distortion issues?

CSWalczak on December 26, 2007 at 12:02 pm

There always was some distortion when “2001” is shown on any Cinerama screen; this was true even during the original engagements simply because it was filmed in Super Panavision 70mm, rather than three-strip Cinerama. From the projection point of view, the center of a Cinerama screen is further away than the sides, and even with custom projection lenses, when a single strip 70mm film is projected onto a screen such as this it is difficult to compensate for this fact. Essentially what is happening is that a rectangular image is being projected onto a curved surface. (Tape an old 35mm slide to the lens of a flashlight and point the beam onto something curved; the problem will be obvious).

When the decision was made to go to 70mm for Cinerama exhibition (initially with It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World") there was an attempt made to minimize the distortion by filming in Ultra Panavision and then using what was called “rectification.” Ultra Pan does use an anamorphic squeeze and the rectification process altered the squeezing during the film printing process by reducing it gradually across the printed frame so that there was most squeezing at the sides and gradually less until at the center of the frame there was none. This helped reduce but did not eliminate the distortion at the sides when the film was projected. (This process is described in detail on Martin Hart’s excellent “Widescreen Museum” website in the Cinerama section).

Films shot in Super Panavision (and some other processes such as Super Technirama) were shot on 70mm stock without using an anamorphic lens and these prints were never “rectified” for Cinerama showings as far as I know.

The degree of distortion is also affected by whether the film is being projected on a classic, louvered, deeply-curved Cinerama screen or one of those installed in the 1960s or later (including the one at the Dome) that were not quite as deep.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 26, 2007 at 9:59 am

Arclight just launched their own message board as part of their site. I wonder what would happen if all of us registered on it and made enough of a ruckus about how they’re mismanaging the programming at the Dome. Do you’d think they’d listen?

As far as “Sweeney Todd” showing at the Dome right now, I have no beef with that. I’ve seen it twice (BEFORE it was released) and I can declare that it’s Dome-worthy. The only thing missing is the fact that Tim Burton shot it in 1:85 instead of 2:40.

Speaking of which, do films shot in 1:85 have the same distortion issues?

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 26, 2007 at 9:12 am

The Star Gate sequence is at its most spectacular on a curved Cinerama screen. Sit in the front row for the full effect!

KramSacul on December 26, 2007 at 5:14 am

I guess you’re right. It has it’s nostalgic purpose. The distortion is godawful though. Prepare to see a bannana-shaped Discovery.