Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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exit on September 18, 2007 at 4:35 pm

Oh boy. Early morning typo. Cinerama Dome, not Cinemama Dome, which sounds kinda funny.

exit on September 18, 2007 at 4:32 pm

Mark: it’s not the curved screen that disorts the picture. It’s the severe angle of the projector throw. If the projector were in the back of the mezzanine, the picture would just wrap around the curve with no dip in the horizon line. Cinerama is not the only film format to use a curved screen. Todd-AO (70mm) was conceived for a screen just as curved as the Dome.

And AFI called back this morning. The movie in the Cinemama Dome will be Sparticus.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 18, 2007 at 4:22 pm

If ANYTHING is shown in 70MM, those will be the first to sell out. As for Kram’s “Lawrence” in a fishbowl experience, it couldn’t have been worse than the time I saw it in 70MM on a puny 45 FOOT SCREEN(!!!) at the Egyptian almost 7 years ago. I’d suffer through edge distortion just to see BIG MOVIES projected on BIG SCREENS as they were intended.

Anyone know if the tickets go on sale at Midnight or later in the morning? I hope to have my ticket purchased by 8:00 AM PST.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on September 18, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Saps: it’s very tempting. At least I did make the trip to this great theater twice in my life on a kind of impulse, to see “How the West Was Won” and “Mad Mad World”. Not this year, though.

terrywade on September 18, 2007 at 1:11 pm

Are they showing any of the three 70mm films in 70mm? Is the Cinerama Dome the only theatre in the ArcLight complex ready to show 70mm? The list up on the AFI site does not tell you anything about 70mm. I guess everything will be in 35mm how sad.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 18, 2007 at 12:21 pm

Bill, just make a left on John F. Kennedy Boulevard and go about 2783 miles…you should be there in about 40 hours.

KramSacul on September 18, 2007 at 12:19 pm

I can’t imagine a more painful experience than seeing your favorite movie distorted on the Dome’s screen. I remember seeing Lawrence of Arabia in there and it was like viewing the desert through a fishbowl.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on September 18, 2007 at 11:37 am

Chris: I also think “The Sound of Music” has a good shot at playing the Dome, along with the other two you mentioned. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow when the tickets go on sale. If only I didn’t live 3,000 miles away …

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 18, 2007 at 11:04 am

My money’s on either “Spartacus” or “Star Wars” to play The Dome. Crossing my fingers that “Spartacus” gets it – cause that’s what I wanna see!

Either way, if I missed this event, I’d never forgive myself. It don’t matter what plays where – just as long as I’m there!

exit on September 17, 2007 at 11:35 pm

Yeah but with eleven films and 15 screens, what is showing where? I asked AFI and got no answer. Who gets the Dome? My guess is nobody.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 17, 2007 at 11:20 pm

Breaking News:

American Film Institute is hosting their 40th Anniversary celebration on October 3rd at the Arclight.

Not only are the films they’re showing monumental, but wait till you see who’s presenting them!


veyoung52 on August 17, 2007 at 9:13 pm

I still have two Cinerama tee-shirts, a jacket, and real frames from HTWWW, all from the New Neon in Dayton.

Manwithnoname on August 10, 2007 at 3:34 pm

I also have a Cinerama logo baseball hat, a keychain with a rubber reproduction of the Dome building and a coffee mug with the Cinerama logo along with the magnets. All of these things I bought at the gift shop and they definitely had shirts along with tote bags with the Seven Wonders of the World ad. Some other goodies in the “Mad World” giveaway bag were a postcard, a reprint of the This Is Cinerama program (which also sold in the gift shop) and a card celebrating the film/theater’s 40th anniversary.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on August 10, 2007 at 2:52 pm

I’m glad I got my Cinerama Dome and Cinerama logo fridge magnets in 2003. They gave them away, too, for “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”.

exit on August 10, 2007 at 1:40 pm

There were several Dome souvenirs in the works a few years ago, including a Dome snow globe, but they never happened and aren’t likely now.

terrywade on August 9, 2007 at 11:23 pm

Good news in todays LA Times Thurs Aug 9 the Pacific team has the listing CINERAMA DOME not just The Dome. Did they read my note this week? Now lets get the great Cinema Treasure book for sale in the gift shop and bring back the Cinerama shirts. The tourists will snap them up. It’s time for a new print of Cinerama Holiday to play. Play it up for the summer vacation people in Hollywood.

KramSacul on August 9, 2007 at 7:35 pm

Yeah, that’s a simulation I found somewhere. Red masking would be kind of wild. lol

Flat 1.85:1 films aren’t actually too bad at the Dome so just masking the sides work for that. The masked 2.35:1 image would use the full width, just not the bottom. I’m surprised this isn’t done now. The benefits would far outweigh using the bottom sides of the screen.

exit on August 9, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Wow, Mark, sure looks bizarre, doesn’t it? Red masking? Is that a real picture or a simulation of what the masking may have looked like? The red part clearly defines the odd shape caused by the throw angle.

You’re on target about the masking, the further down the picture goes, the more distortion there is, which is why you want to keep the picture closer to the top of the screen than the bottom, and not use the entire width like they try to do now.

Evita looked okay but strange… in order to have a flat screen they needed to bring it forward so far that at least a third of the orchestra level was behind the screen, and and to reduce the keystoning, it was up so high that the only decent place to sit was upstairs. This made the screen feel a little too “in your face.” Not an ideal situation at all.

KramSacul on August 9, 2007 at 7:08 pm

Roadshow, since you were there for the Evita experiment how did the image look? Was there any distortion on the flat screen?

I heard that for the recent It’s A Madx4 World showing at the Dome the screen was masked so all of the frame was shown, something like this:

View link

A similar masking configuration could be used for 2.35:1. Only the bottom would have to be masked. This would decrease the projection angle and allow for more of the frame to be seen that would otherwise be cut off if all of the screen was used. The last time I was at the Dome was for Spider-man 3 and so much was cut off at the bottom of the frame that the Sony Pictures text under the Columbia Pictures logo was completely cut off.

exit on August 9, 2007 at 6:52 pm

No I meant the downstairs of the old Warner theatre after it was converted in 68 to the Penthouse/Cinerama/Orleans. They ran regular movies on the Cinerama screen for years until it was torn down about 20 years later. I saw National Lampoon’s Vacation there in its initial run. No picture distortion because the booth was in the back of the auditorium.

HowardBHaas on August 9, 2007 at 6:41 pm

Are you talking about a Cinerama screen still in New York? Where? or maybe you are talking 20 or more years ago?

exit on August 9, 2007 at 6:11 pm

Again, don’t blame the screen. Cinerama screens in places like New York, Washington DC, Seattle and Omaha, have all shown standard movies on a reduced area of a Cinerama screen for decades with very popular results. Tilting a curved screen upwards is problematic and doesn’t really solve the problem as much as change it.

Evita’s flat screen happened because Alan Parker freaked out over the throw angle making her coffin looking like a wiener. Disney engineers came in and turned the Dome into a black box. Flat ceiling, flat screen with no curtains, looked like a cheesy multiplex. I was there to see Evita. I can’t tell you how many people went down and peeked behind the flat screen to make sure the curved one was still there.

Except for using a low-gain sheet in place of louvers, the screen at the Dome is a Cinerama screen. Check with American Widescreen Museum for more information on Cinerama. There were not really a hard set of specs for the screen. Could be 146 or 126 degrees, curved sides like a cylander or flat sides like a bowtie. A lot depended on the venue.

Later processes like Todd AO and D-150 tried to imitate the Cinerama screen, and AWSM has a neat illustration about D-150 and the areas allowed for each format. You were never supposed to blow up 35mm to the full size of the screen because you lose to much light and sharpness… but the Dome does now, and you can see the result.

As for the current geometric distortion at the Dome, ArcLight’s insistance on using the entire screen for everything magnifies the distortion, and the enormous task of closing up the place to build a new frame with a flatter or tilted screen makes much less sense than simply building another booth in the rear mezzanine where it should be. It could be done in stages without missing a single screening, and the result would be a nearly straight throw to the center of the screen, eliminating any horizon sag. And since a straight line is a shorter distance than a diagonal line, the shorter throw means a brighter sharper picture. Louvers could be put onto the existing screen frame in a couple days if they had the right people working on it. BTW, 3 strip Cinerama hasn’t much problem with horizion sag becaust it’s 3 projectors, aimed directly at left, center and right, so they can stay where they are.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on August 9, 2007 at 4:24 pm


I’m pretty sure that a branch of Pacific was called Cinerama Theatres. I was under the impression that the theatres they operated in Marin County were all operated by Cinerama Theatres Inc.

KramSacul on August 9, 2007 at 3:43 pm

I should’ve added that it probably wouldn’t/doesn’t matter much if the screen in the Dome isn’t technically a Cinerama screen. As long as it’s huge and somewhat curved and the sign on the building says Cinerama then I think Joe Public will be satisifed.

Supposedly the picture at the Dome was worse before the Arclight addition. The focus across the screen wasn’t as uniform as it is now.

William on August 9, 2007 at 3:31 pm

The problems at the Dome have been the same problems it’s had for the last 40 some years. “Evita” looked good but I did not like the flat screen. The studio have over the years struck special lighter prints for that curved screen. I’ve run the Dome many times, it was a fun booth to run. (Before the automation install) The operator ran that booth, everything was run manual.