Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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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.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 25, 2007 at 7:43 pm

Kram said:
>> Why would anyone want to see 2001 on the Dome’s smile-vision screen?

Because it’s a Cinerama screen, and “2001” was shown on Cinerama screens exclusively when it first came out in 1968. It was meant to be shown on a screen like the one at the Dome. I wish we had one here in the New York area. Even though Arclight doesn’t seem to be taking full advantage of it, Los Angeles moviegoers are lucky to have that screen.

HowardBHaas on December 25, 2007 at 5:39 am

Cliff, what’s playing in the Dome? National Treasure is #1 movie, so I don’t understand why they didn’t open it in the Dome in place of whatever is playing there (which could be shown in one of the other screens).

Cliffs on December 25, 2007 at 3:48 am

While I won’t debate or defend technical problems with the Dome, I will say I still enjoy the Dome because it’s one of the last big screens available in Los Angeles/Hollywood. Movie lovers in most towns would kill to have a screen like the Dome, but unfortunately have to settle with the latest Carmike/AMC googleplexes. Unfortunately for us though, Arclight treats it just like screen #1 of a 15 screen plex. I would love to see Arclight rotate some of their new releases a bit more. In a week such as this one with a ton of new openings, why not run Sweeney Todd in the Dome on Friday, National Treasure in there on Saturday, maybe run Charlie Wilson’s War in there on Sunday, and then run your Christmas Eve showing of Gremlins in there on Monday? I’m not saying you have to do it that way every week, but why not try some variety? National Treasure is going to be the number 1 movie this weekend, and there’s not a single large theater showing it in LA. The fact that they feel Sherman Oaks is adequate to show Close Encounters is embarrassing (ditto for Scarface, a film so successful when they DID run it in the Dome a few years ago, they actually had to hold it over).

KramSacul on December 24, 2007 at 7:06 pm

Why would anyone want to see 2001 on the Dome’s smile-vision screen?

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 24, 2007 at 10:44 am

I call Sherman Oaks “Arclight Lite.” It’s literally a smaller version of Arclight Hollywood – but they went too far trying to replicate Arclight Hollywood’s lobby at the Sherman Oaks location. “Cramped” is an UNDERSTATEMENT!

Cliffs on December 21, 2007 at 4:54 pm

Oh, and it appears tickets for Close Encounters have gone one sale…

At the Arclight Sherman Oaks!!!!

Hey Rizzo, does Arclight know that they actually own the Dome?

Cliffs on December 21, 2007 at 4:43 pm

Well, it looks as if the Chinese is getting Cloverfield on the 18th, so I would think Rambo in the Dome is a good bet now (which actually makes 2001 in the Dome a less likely proposition since Rambo will be in its first week). I hope 2001 was pulled from sale so that they could establish a Dome showing (although, based on Rizzo’s new info, I wonder if they are waiting to evaluate the condition of the 70mm print before committing to the screen).

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 21, 2007 at 11:35 am

Call me crazy, but I’m willing to give Arclight a pass if they can’t get a good 70MM print. Just as long as they boot “Cloverfield” or “Rambo” out of the Dome if only for 1 night so they can show 2001 in there.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 21, 2007 at 11:32 am

My fingers are crossed…

neeb on December 21, 2007 at 5:55 am

FYI, the ArcLIght website is no longer selling 2001 tickets.
It is now in the “On Sale Soon” box.
And since the topic of 70 mm has come up…
Is there a 70 mm print of Dr Zhivago available? I thought there was one for the 1995 re-release but I’ve not seen anything since.

Cliffs on December 20, 2007 at 3:00 am

Rizzo, I’m sure your source was very clear, but the show (Jan 30th @ 8PM is now available for sale and it does NOT indicate a Dome showing. The showtime isn’t bolded and when you get to seating, it’s clearly one of the black box auditoriums. There’s also no indication at all that this will be in 70mm. The show page just has info on 2001’s AFI rankings.

However, I also bought tickets for Beowulf’s Pre-Opening Thursday Dome show about a month ago and a few days before the show, the listing suddenly became Black Box. When I called to ask about the November 15th 10PM Dome show, the first time I was told that it was still in the Dome. When I called back the next day (the day of the show) I was told that it was never for sale in the Dome. I’m fairly confident that I know the difference between the shape of the Dome and the shape of the black boxes (oh and the seats I had don’t exist in the boxes.

But the moral is, there’s no guarantee that 2001 will ultimately end up in the theater its booked for right now (for all we know, Arclight could move it to a smaller screen by Jan 30th). But I’m fairly confident, based on their track record, that 2001 will NOT be in the Dome. These AFI shows never are, especially if Arclight manages to snag either Cloverfield or Rambo.

JSA on December 19, 2007 at 9:49 pm

Well, that’s a disappointment.
Might as well head north to Seattle: “2001” will screen in 70 mm at the Cinerama early next year…


Cliffs on December 19, 2007 at 9:29 pm

Tickets are now on sale, but unfortunately it’s not showing in the Dome, but rather one of Arclight’s smaller theaters. Also no indication of a 70mm show. Arclight is continuing to become one big bust. They seem so preoccupied with their branding that they’ve forgotten why they bothered in the first place. It’s quickly becoming something quite different than “where movie-lovers belong.”

JSA on December 19, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Per the Arclight website, “2001” will screen January 30, 2008. Other goodies for the month of January include “Dr. Zhivago”, “El Cid”, “Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind” & a few more classics. Not a lot of details though.


JSA on December 14, 2007 at 3:56 pm

Thank you Rizzo, that’s great news!

KramSacul on December 7, 2007 at 9:28 am

Is Beowolf being shown on a 2k projector at Arclight? They used to have an older 1.3k DLP.

KramSacul on December 6, 2007 at 10:53 am

So essentially it’s playing windowboxed. Jeez, no wonder people would be disappointed.

Is the Village showing Beowolf like that too? I hope not.

KramSacul on November 19, 2007 at 6:53 pm

Anyone see Beowolf in digital 3-d here? I was thinking about going but heard it’s being shown letterboxed, not using the full screen. If that’s true then forget it.

neonitenick on October 17, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Thanks William. When the change occured the grosses were phenomenal and still breaking b/o records. The film played for a year and 5 months. The Palace was the first in town to convert to CinemasScope in ‘53 opening with “The Robe” in stereophonic sound, so it may be that the upstairs booth still contained the mag penthouse. But apparently they didn’t utilize it when they went upstairs with the SOM print as the soundtrack reproduction was no longer in stereo. Unless the unit was not operational? I think you offered the best explanation: the studio probably pulled the Mag print for another engagement and exchanged it for an optical print.