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It was Immortals, Apollo 18, Sherlock Holmes, Dark Knight Rises and (in 3D) Three Musketeers. Other than Sherlock Holmes, I wasn’t really impressed with the trailer selection (don’t think Dark Knight Rises is a great teaser). My guess is that we’re going to see Cowboys and Aliens at the Chinese in a few weeks because Arclight still hasn’t posted any showtimes for Hollywood. That could obviously change, but between X-Men: First Class, Zookeeper, and Harry Potter all within about a month of each other, it seems like the new owners are being really aggressive with the bookings finally. There were also Potter costumes on display in the lobby, so they’re definitely going all-out to try and make the theater work again.
Harry Potter was rocking for the midnight show tonight. The line to get in stretched around Hollywood Blvd and down Orange hours before the show was to start. This was the Chinese of old. The theater was packed a good hour before showtime (they let us in at 11) and the crowd was hardcore fans. The 3D looked great and when we left it looked like there was a line outside for what I can only assume was an additional 3am show. It was good to see the Chinese looking like the Chinese again.
I also noticed that Arclight isn’t yet showing any Hollywood times for Cowboys and Aliens, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese might be making a play for that one as well. I certainly hope that to be the case… I’m pretty disillusioned with Arclight these days. In any case, it looks like the new owners and whoever is running things at the Chinese now is making a serious effort to get that theater back on its feet.
That’s impressive. When I suggested that to the management at the Cinerama Dome here in LA, they said the studio would never allow that. As I thought… they lied to me. Kudos to the Ziegfeld.
I agree, except the theaters and studios aren’t giving us the choice. If you want to see Harry Potter 7.2, great news… It’s showing at Grauman’s and The Village in Westwood, except BOTH theaters are showing it in 3D. So if you want to see it in the best theater possible, you’re forced into seeing it 3D; dark, gimmicky, extra surcharge 3D. Same with Transformers. If you want to see it in The Dome, you’re forced into 3D. I asked why they can’t designate a late showtime for 2D presentation and the manager said the studios wouldn’t allow it. I don’t buy that for a second, except to say the studio and theater knows they’d almost certainly sell out a 2D showtime in the Dome faster than 3D and they don’t want to have to acknowledge that they’ve been extorting movie-goers. 3D is a form of extortion… You want to see it in IMAX- only in 3D. You want to go to The Dome, The Chinese, The Village- only in 3D and only if you pay extra.
I thought Super 8 looked good. Nice 35mm film print. The problem is that ever since Arclight took over Sherman Oaks and then added Pasadena and Beach Cities, their attention to detail and dedication to quality has radically diminished. They seem to be spreading themselves too thin. They’ve been showing 35mm in there for the last week and a half, so they’ve had plenty of time to get the room ready for T3 without other digital presentations getting in the way, but from what the manager said, they really only spent 3 hours to get the projectors set for 3D on Transformers. They certainly (and I told this directly to the manager last night) have NO BUSINESS charging a premium for a mediocre presentation. And in this case, they’re charging a DOUBLE premium for a poor presentation (Arclight charges topped with 3D charges). The fact that anyone who works to set up their projection in the Dome thought that what they showed last night was “good enough” is insulting. They should have been handing out refunds to everyone in that auditorium last night. The upside is that I know someone working with Michael Bay right now and I texted them to try and get word to Bay that the Dome really botched the 3D, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they got a very LOUD phone call today, which may actually force them to correct the problem.
Transformers 3 in The Dome was a disaster. That screen has no business showing 3D anything in there. Half the screen was out of focus/misaligned and it was terribly distracting. I told one of the managers that they better start getting reacquainted with quality presentation because they’ve really been dropping the ball a lot lately. Certainly not the Arclight that most people came to appreciate and depend on.
The Chinese is for tourists and premieres because that’s what Mann set their sights on. I know I would go there whenever I could but the class of moviegoer Mann targeted over the past 4 or 5 years has been less than desirable. That’s why you go to Arclight. Movie lovers willing to pay a slightly higher price to see movies well shown. I heard from someone that the Hero Complex Superman screening they had at the 6 on Saturday was botched with that 3D lens dimming the 2D presentation (and that was with Richard Donner in house). He commented when he came out to do q&a how horribly dark the movie was. (Apparently this was very embarrassing and they took the filter off for Superman II, but I can’t see that happening at Arclight.)
The Chinese had become the world’s greatest dollar theater (both in the quality of films shown and with the quality of the people paying to see said films). I’m hoping the new management has higher standards and a bit more self-esteem.
Great job Mike, but is no one else bothered by the fact that the site’s new formatting makes this next to impossible to read? It looks like code from The Matrix. I know Mike didn’t work as hard as he did and create this to look the way it does. So why does it… look the way it does?
Ugh, we we’re just talking about The National and that horrible empty lot tonight. I don’t generally wish bad upon someone, but I have to hope that the developer/owner that destroyed The National the way they did got some financial karmic retribution. It definitely seemed like they tore that thing down as fast as they did almost to fend off any additional preservation efforts. And now, here we are three years later and NOTHING has been done with land deemed so important and valuable they had to destroy a local favorite to get at it. To think, if the building would have been allowed to survive an extra year or two, Regency might have picked it up along with the Village and Bruin (maybe).
Westwood is most certainly dying, but it appears to be self-inflicted.
Then it’s already being run better than it was by Mann.
Oh really? I walked out for (literally) 60 seconds right at midnight so I obviously missed it.
Agreed. Hopefully the new owners are more aggressive in their bookings than Mann was (who I think just didn’t care any longer).
But separate from the bookings, the thing they have the most control over (and the thing Mann REALLY let lapse) is creating a better experience overall. Arclight’s motto is “Where Movie Lovers Belong.” The last few years, The Chinese’s seemed to be “You’re Probably Not Doing Anything Else, Right.” They need more of the former and less of the latter. Movie lovers are loyal. Tourists… not so much.
That’s nice to hear Segask. They didn’t do that for the Thursday midnight show. Although they also didn’t have a pre-show video presentation. Hopefully the new owners are taking a cue from the Arclight playbook and are going to attempt to class the place up (which seems odd to say considering it’s the world-famous Chinese). The sad truth is, in addition to the horrible bookings from the last few years, The Chinese has been attracting (intentional or not) a “lower class” of movie-goer. Too many talkers, teens, cell phoners… you know, tourists. I can go to a Saturday night 8:00 show in the Dome and almost always have a great experience. Saturday at The Chinese is an almost guaranteed recipe for a disruptive disaster. I would absolutely rather see Harry Potter DH2 at The Chinese over The Dome if I knew the audience could keep it together. I think there are others out there who have all but abandoned The Chinese because the environment there has become so low-class in the last few years.
Now if they could also add on-line reserved seating- that would be a whole new world of awesome.
A decent sized, happy crowd for the midnight X-Men show. Was good to see a line on Hollywood Blvd for the first time in I don’t remember how long.
Let us not ignore the fact that the sale also includes the adjacent 6-plex. I can’t imagine taking over both Grauman’s AND the 6-plex if you only want to convert Grauman’s to a nightclub. Perhaps they’ll convert the 6-plex to a nightclub and I wouldn’t loose a moment’s sleep if they did.
Also… Grauman’s is a cultural landmark so I’m not sure how easily or extensively it could be converted into a nightclub. Obviously they COULD do it, I just don’t know what additional hoops and accommodations would have to be gone through to make it actually happen and if it would be worth it or not to the new owners. Nightclubs in Hollywood are about as stable and longstanding as most of the marriages in this town.
A major problem with the Chinese is that Mann has no interest in catering to the hardcore moviegoer anymore. Frankly, I don’t want the knuckleheads milling around Hollywood Blvd to start buying tickets to the Chinese. The tourists can’t (and won’t) keep the Chinese afloat. I want Mann to start utilizing the Chinese as a competitor to Arclight Hollywood and The El Capitan (which is what it really is). Mann’s so busy trying to get out of the movie business that their only plan of attack is to pull in a few stragglers off the street. They’re just lazy now and it’s the reason they’re on the ropes with the Chinese. They need to look at what makes the El Capitan, the Dome and the additional Arclight theaters so appealing to locals that the locals will travel from all over the metro area and the Valley to see films there. I’ve already got my midnight tickets to Tron at the El Capitan on the 16th of December. The Chinese has become more of an impulse buy. I’ll see something there now, but I probably won’t decide until the day (often times because they won’t even tell you what’s playing there until a few days beforehand). With Due Date, I’ll probably hit that over at the Village because the Chinese will probably end up being about 70% tourists who had nothing better to do. Mann has been working hard to relinquish the Chinese’s ‘event’ identity.It’s sad because I love the Chinese, but I no longer love “going” to the Chinese.
It’s funny, but that May 2010 pic that monika just posted looks almost exactly like the 1981 pic posted on April 27, 09 by Lost Memory.
The fire at the Continental happened during the run of Return of the Jedi in 83. The Cooper was the only theater in Denver to open both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. Return of the Jedi opened at both the Cooper and Continental.
That’s more like it-
Regency Village and Regency Bruin sound just fine to me. It’ll certainly look better on a marquee than:
“Theater Closed- Thank you for you patronage.”
Brad… 15, your right. I always think of the 14 as the total number and not just the new screens.
But you didn’t really read what I wrote. I said regardless of the technical merits of The Dome. I was speaking of the pure Arclight experience. Not the movie viewing experience, but the overall experience (which I assume you agree with since you have nothing but praise for Arclight otherwise).
Now imagine if they took all of the best from the Arclight experience and utilized it at The Village and Bruin? I hope Regency treats The Village and The Bruin better than other theaters because they are.
Not that I don’t totally love the outright doom and gloom you’re pontificating (and before the change has even taken place, no less), but I’m hopeful that Regency might be a bit more aggressive than Mann has been for the past decade. Mann spent the first decade of the new millennium letting their once great dynasty wither away one closure and demolition at a time. The worst part is Mann operates a great many of the Cinema Treasures this site is devoted to and they singlehandedly put almost all of them in danger. While I think that there are things that have happened that were outside Mann’s control, I think an overriding lack of enthusiasm and aggression on Mann’s part were directly responsible for the slow hemorrhaging they have seemed content to allow. I’ll provide a pair of examples…
Los Angeles has a handful of theaters that people are willing to go out of their way for… The Dome, The Chinese, The Village, The Bruin, The Vista (and a list that used to include The Festival and The National). Yet The Village would almost always mirror the showings over at The Dome or Grauman’s leaving several films without a premiere screen engagement. The Chinese and The Village are both theaters I would enjoy seeing a movie at. Why make me decide between them rather than giving me an option at both? Now I know that the reason for this is because those films are typically the most popular, but if something’s playing at The Village and also at The Dome, I’m more inclined to drive the extra 20 or so minutes to hit The Dome. Which brings us to point number 2-
Regardless of what anyone thinks of the technical pros and cons of the Cinerama Dome, I don’t think very many could dispute that it is probably the greatest movie experience in Los Angeles: reserved seating purchased with no service charge online, no on-screen advertising, great presentation (movie props and costumes in the lobby, the curtains always operate as part of the show), excellent staff, exciting alternative programming (Cinerama presentations, great Q&As), and a generally well-mannered, enthusiastic crowd. Mann took all the things people loved most about the Arclight experience and implemented NONE OF IT (and they had the better part of a decade to do so). Arclight took moviegoing and classed it up for a new era. Mann stuck to the same old rigid theatrical dogma that served them well in the 80s… except it’s no longer the 80s. Think about it- In late 2001, Mann added 6 adjacent screens to Grauman’s. A few months later, Arclight reopened The Dome with 13 additional adjacent screens. Which one of those two theaters was more forward thinking and which on is currently reaping the benefit?
As the market changed… Mann didn’t, plain and simple and that’s why they were losing money.
Now I do think there needs to be some kind of move over complex built in Westwood. The closing of all of those old screens (again, mostly Mann it seems) needs to be replenished somehow. It may not be possible behind The Bruin, but I know there’s space available on Gayley and Lindbrook (both east and west side of the street- which could put a complex right on Wilshire). Unless the studios suddenly stop demanding a film play for more than a week, it’s gonna be a necessity.
But I believe Regency knows the financials for these theaters (they wouldn’t have taken then over if they didn’t) and are prepared to work hard to make The Village and The Bruin the flagships of their organization (probably with an eventual eye towards The Chinese as well). But if anyone from Regency is actually reading this… Don’t simply continue to run these houses same old same old as the classics they are (and how Mann ran them) but rather give people reasons to return time and time again.
How about an ‘Enhanced Theater Experience’ where people in the audience don’t talk or text and generally know how to be civilized and behaved. AMC theaters seem to be the worst at attracting a courteous moviegoer. That would be worth paying extra for.
That rendering does appear to be the Campus West in Ft Collins, although the carport/drive-through wasn’t located to the right (which would have been Elizabeth St). In that drawing, the carport/drive-through would be in the center of the image in front of the theater. It makes some sense that they confused it with being in Boulder because the Campus West was pretty much adjacent to the Colorado State University campus (not the University of Colorado, which is Boulder). It was a nice little theater and probably had the best presentation in Ft Collins for many, many years. Saw The Living Daylights, Die Hard 1&2, The Abyss, War of the Roses and many others there. There was a second, smaller screen added at a certain point that was pretty much identical to the set up at the Cooper/Cooper Cameo in Denver. Maybe the carport/drive-through was relocated when the second screen was added.
The theater has definitely been demolished. I was in Ft Collins for an afternoon last summer and there is no longer any trace of it.
And the Chinese has an aisle right down the center, which that mock up doesn’t.