Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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JSA on October 5, 2007 at 12:46 am

Chris and Cliff,

Thanks for sharing! Indeed sounds like it was a lot of fun, despite the late starts and the micro-intermission for Spartacus . When this all came about, I was on a business trip back in the Midwest, and by the time I got to my hotel, the shows were sold out.

I’m wondering about those empty seats at the Dome…


Cliffs on October 4, 2007 at 10:53 pm

I was also in attendance for the Rocky show in the regular Arclight complex (lower theater #6). Much like Chris’s show, Rocky started very late (I’d say 7:40). Same spiel (repetitive Rocky trivia, “Gonna Fly Now” on an endless loop for an hour, then the Maryland AFI rep, AFI film clip…) then Talia Shire comes out to introduce Stallone. She talked for a few minutes about her experience shooting the film and then introduces Stallone, who enters to a standing ovation. He talks for about five minutes and then away we go with Rocky (at which point a huge group of people all rush Stallone to get various Rocky products autographed at the side of the theater – I was surprised they let as many people get stuff signed as they did).
Now, here’s what I found interesting (and I need to call the Arclight to double check). I’m about 90% sure what we saw was a digital projection and it looked pretty amazing, but it also showed every flaw in both the photography and sound mix (which was the original mono, but was terribly shrill and painful at times). The reason I think it was digital projection is that I saw no changeover dots or reel changes throughout the entire film. There were a few points that showed odd cuts during shots, but there were none of the tell-tale signs of a film splice or reel change (any extra dirt, analog pops). The audio sounded to be some form of digital and, like I said, showed more flaws in the mix than I’ve ever really heard before. I could be wrong and it could have been film, but if it was, it was the best made up print I’ve ever seen in my life. Regardless, it probably looked better last night than it did in 1976.

But one of the coolest moments of the night was the arrival. People coming from the Sunset side of the Arclight, had to walk just to the other side of the red carpet as the presenters were all doing their press interviews. So as we entered the complex, it was, “Hey, look, it’s Rob Reiner! Oh, and there’s Clint Eastwood! Hey, George Lucas! And Billy Crystal! Wow, Kirk Douglas!” In fact, the only presenters we didn’t see there were Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty.
And the poor people who bought for The Shawshank Redemption were SOL because Morgan Freeman couldn’t make it so that show was cancelled.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on October 4, 2007 at 8:12 pm

Thanks so much, Chris. It does sound like a night to remember and I’m really glad you shared your memories of it with us.

R2D2 on October 4, 2007 at 7:54 pm


Yes, “The Slipper And The Rose” played at the Dome. It opened March 25, 1976 and ran for eight weeks. The presentation was 35mm & 4-track mag stereo.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on October 4, 2007 at 7:19 pm

Alright folks! Here’s the report from AFI’s 40th Anniversay on 10/3/07:

The entrance to Arclight was covered in Red Carpet (neato).

Folks were dressed in everything from suit to jeans and everything in between. I shoulda dressed sharper.

All the movies got started REAL LATE. The events were supposed to kick off at 7:00 PM – most didn’t start till close to 8:00 PM.

They broke the cardinal rule of cinematic presentation: NO SLIDE SHOWS! The Dome screen was 50% open so AFI could run a myriad of “Spartacus” triva stuff over…and over…and over…and over…and over again! Ugh!

Far Left/Right seats & the whole stadium seated section of The Dome was full. The middle floor seats, though, had some serious gaps. A bunch of folks didn’t claim their seats at all.

1st intro to the night happened round 7:15 or so when one of the directors of AFI’s Silver Springs Maryland branch did a mini intro.

7:45 – 8:00 or so gave the REAL intro. Curtaiss close, lights dim, and a 1-2 minute clip of AFI’s history kicks off. Clip shows President LBJ announcing the forming of the American Film Institute and finishes with a plethora of clips with a voiceover underneath. The Chairman of AFI’s Board of Directors makes his spiel and introduces LA Mayor Antonio Villarigosa. We gave him a nice applause – no boos. He talked about how “Spartacus” influenced him to get out there and change the world, blah blah blah. AFI Chairman comes back and introduces Kirk Douglas.

Weird seeing Kirk Douglas at 90 years old. Not used to seeing him in his twilight. Speech was slurred (of course) but absolutely passionate. The highlight of his remarks were about how he fought to get Dalton Trumbo’s screenplay on screen and, of course, how he fought to ensure that Trumbo got his proper screenplay credit. We gave Mr. Douglas 2 standing ovations.

Mr. Douglas leaves, the Oveture kicks in, lights dim, curtains open (and open and open and open), Universal International logo pops up on screen and we’re off and running.

The version of “Spartacus” that we saw was the 1991 restored version. No one told us (and nothing was advertised on site) if we were seeing the 35MM or 70MM version. Heck…doesn’t matter. That film looked AWESOME on the Dome screen! As much as many folks balyhoo about images on edges of the Dome screen being distorted & out of focus, I have to say that I didn’t notice any of those issues at all. Everything looked crisp, sharp and, most of all, BIG!

Film ran without an “official” intermission. The “Intermission” title appeared onscreen but, 2 seconds later, the Entra'cte (sp?) for Act 2 rolled in and we were off and running.

Film ended after the 11:00 hour and was greeted with mucho applause.

All in all, it was a night to remember.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 19, 2007 at 10:50 pm

Chances are they were shooting something.

eosborn on September 19, 2007 at 9:55 pm

I was walking by the Cinerama Dome last Friday (9/14/07) on my way to a movie at the Arclight and a crew of guys was covering the outside forecourt of the Dome with signs and photos from the 1976 movie “The Slipper & the Rose: The Story of Cinderella.” I have never heard anything good about this 30 year-old movie; were they really planning to show it in the Cinerama Dome? Or was someone shooting a movie set in ‘76 and the Dome was being put in period? Did this movie play at the Dome in '76? This has been on my mind all week; anyone have an answer? Thanks.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 19, 2007 at 7:36 pm

As of 11:35 AM today, all tickets have been sold out. So glad I got mine!

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 19, 2007 at 6:40 pm

Crossing my fingers, Terry.

terrywade on September 19, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Will ‘Spartacus’ be shown in 70mm In the Cinerama Dome? Hire some new ushers and put them in gladiator outfits!

Manwithnoname on September 19, 2007 at 5:25 pm

If tickets went on sale earlier than my email stated they would then they suck for doing that. Those of us who have lives and can’t sit online all day are the big losers. I’ll be checking ebay to see how many tix turn up there.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on September 19, 2007 at 4:52 pm

I sure hope the AFI is going to record all the celebrity introductions and make them available for viewing on their website. This is the kind of event we could never pull off in New York City, sad to say.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 19, 2007 at 3:59 pm


As of 7:55 AM PST, EVERYTHING except a few seats for “The Birds”, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Spartacus” is SOLD OUT. I suspect everything will be gone by 8:30 – 9:00 AM…if not sooner.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 19, 2007 at 5:23 am

Arclight’s selling ‘em now (Tuesday 9/17). I just got my tix! SWEEEEET!

I will post a report of the festivities. Stay tuned.

Justin: The Dome uses Dolby Digital EX or SDDS 8 Channel for 35MM films (depending on the film)and DTS for 70MM films (that have been encoded for DTS).

moviebuff82 on September 19, 2007 at 12:52 am

BTW, what sound system does the dome theater use? I guess it’s every major surround sound system used up to today. Also, is the dome better than the omnimax theater in Jersey City? I wished they just show other IMAX movies, not just docs on science and stuff.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on September 19, 2007 at 12:47 am

Chris Utley: I really hope you score a ticket to “Spartacus” in the Dome. Wow – seeing it on that screen, with Spartacus himself in the house … it doesn’t get any better than that.

Be sure to tell us all about the show.

exit on September 18, 2007 at 10:08 pm

Oops. that’s “showing.” I am a lousy typist… and I don’t even know da klessics.

exit on September 18, 2007 at 10:04 pm

I saw the restoration of Sparticus when it first opened at the great Ziegfeld years ago. What impressed me first (after seeing the blank screen clearly through the title curtain all during the overture) was what a very bombastic score… the opening credits sounded more like a John Philip Sousa marching band than a film composer… but hey maybe that’s what he was going for.

It was certainly epic. And I love Tony Curtis’s intro. Each of the slaves interviewed is gruff and butch, then they come to Bernie, who says “I am a singer of so-wungs. And I also worked at da Kestle, ware i tawt dem da klessics.” No worse than John Wayne as Gengis Khan, just amusing.

It would be great to see Kirk Douglas introduce the film, showimg how hard he’s worked to overcome the effects of the stroke. He’s come a long way.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on September 18, 2007 at 9:46 pm

I’ve never seen Spartacus… maybe this will be a good excuse.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 18, 2007 at 9:40 pm

Spartacus it is, then! I had a feeling.

exit on September 18, 2007 at 9:35 pm

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

exit on September 18, 2007 at 9:32 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 9:22 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 9:22 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 6:11 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.