Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Manwithnoname on April 7, 2005 at 10:22 am

Wow….I just kinda like the place. :–)

JimRankin on April 7, 2005 at 10:13 am

Vincent is, of course, right; the demise of most real motion pictures is part and parcel of the demise of our culture, though it is not just caused just by greedy and slovenly people, no matter how much they have spent on their clothes from Rodeo Drive. The reason is multifaceted and peers into the very fabric of humanity itself, and is therefore beyond the scope of this forum, sad to say. With today’s modern communications, however, it no longer takes any immigration of peoples anywhere to influence the nature of film or most anything else; blight in the aesthetic sense travels even more quickly by electronic media than automobiles. I must agree that most of today’s films if they could be seen in such as the ROXY and other true palaces, would be so dwarfed in significance that the audience would indeed see such films as “ludicrous.” However, the “glass and steel box fungus” of ‘architecture’ which Vincent refers to is not so much a cause of the demise of the glorious palaces, as a symptom of the cultural degeneration which Vince refers to. Merely read the short novel form 1980: FROM BAUHAUS TO OUR HOUSE by the noted writer Thomas Wolfe, and you will notice the real reason that the ‘fungus’ spread so quickly through the architectural garden that we once enjoyed, complete with movie palaces blooming right and left. (Of course, we cannot forget that it was television which did the major damage to those palaces along with other cultural phenomena of the “black fungus.”)

VincentParisi on April 7, 2005 at 6:38 am

Jim the aesthetic which governs our black box rooms also governs the criminal blighting of our neighborhoods everywhere. The northern immigration from the south in the 70’s which destroyed the lower middle and middle class fabric of so many of our cities has now transformed itself into glass and steel box fungus which is eating away at what was left.
Most of the films made today would be ludicrous if presented in a movie palace or even a single screen 60’s theater. Their stripped down faux intensity(where nothing really happens which is ad nauseum the point) is the critical and audience rage. For goodness sake people just wait for the DVD.
Would you really want to see Sideways or Million Dollar Baby at the Roxy or the Cathay Circle?
By the way these black boxes are not cinemas they are screening rooms.

JimRankin on April 7, 2005 at 5:04 am

On the “About ArcLight” portion of their web site is this statement: “ArcLight Hollywood’s 14 new auditoriums begin with a “black box” design aesthetic which favors undistracted viewing over opulence….” Statements such as this are found throughout the new, aesthetically-challenged wunderkind that populate most of our cinema world these days, where they give lip service to the beauty of the palaces, but then turn around and dismiss them with statements such as the above. MANIFESTLY: if a film is so weak or unappetizing that the viewer can be ‘distracted’ by an opulent decor, then the film should be seen as the culprit, not the decorations! It is only the supreme arrogance of the filmakers that makes them assume that anything put on a screen should automatically command the complete attention of each and every member of the audience. Those few of greater humility will acknowledge that much of what comes upon screens these days is self-indulgent crap where pretension masquerades as art. Give me a gorgeous ‘palace’ to see a move along with good projection and sound and service, and I will then have something to occupy my time and justify the stiff admision fees when portions of a film are bad or dull, and there will ALWAYS be portions of any film that do not command attention at every second. The ArcLight and other such screening rooms should never be called theatres, but only cinemas at best. They may not be ‘cheap’ as the previous post explains, but in no sense was their expense evident in the decor, for true ‘decor’ they never have had.

elstree6 on April 6, 2005 at 3:20 pm

Lest anyone read this comments page and get the wrong idea from edward’s post: “…too cheap to spend on any interior decor. Many film lab screening rooms are nicer than some monsterplex mini-theatres” — this is simply not the case with the Arclight.

Yes, the decor is aesthetically minimalist. But, I can assure anyone that Pacific Theatres was not being too cheap when designing the Arclight. These are, simply put, the best public screening facilities. The picture and sound quality is top-notch and, even better, the auditoriums are the best-designed with the viewer in mind. There is not a bad seat in this house, no matter where you sit (unless you may be sitting in the seperate first three rows, but as someone else already pointed out, these are MUCH FURTHER away from the screen than one would assume). I prefer sitting in the middle, but I’ve had tickets in the upper or lower corners and the view is still fantastic. Plus, these are not mini-theatres, as stated in edward’s post. The Dome and a number of the black-box screens are huge, with a couple of the black box screens of medium size and few more being the smallest size. BUT, here’s the thing — the smallest of those is still a good sized screen (about the size of most multiplex medium screens). As someone who is quite picky about paying $10 to see a movie on a screen smaller than my tv set, I was thrilled to find out that even the least-known art house film is playing on a great sized screen with perfect sound. (The Grove has a similar set-up, as far as the size of their screens)

As a writer/producer, I’m thrilled that the Arclight is around. Yes, I love going to the old palaces! The El Capitan, Chinese, Egyptian, and The Orpheum are all amazing. I’m still hoping for more of the old Broadway theatres to be renovated and reopened (and the Warner Pacific to the general public!). But, when it comes to presentation perfection, I can’t imagine going anywhere other than the Arclight.

Manwithnoname on February 25, 2005 at 4:01 pm

Peter, I again think at least one of my posts has vanished but I can assure you “How the West Was Won” will eventually return. I saw it during it’s first 2 week engagement here and it was a historic event. “This Is Cinerama” has played twice although the second time was for 2 days only. Keep checking their website When it, and any other of their many special events, are scheduled you will find it there. Will probably be an announcement on this site too.

PeterJohn on February 25, 2005 at 3:10 pm

Can anyone out there answer a question for me? It concerns the film HOW THE WEST WAS WON.

I was six years old in 1963 and one of the first motion pictures which made an impression upon me was HOW THE WEST WAS WON. Although I was only a child I remember being awe struck by it’s grandeur.
I have hoped for many years now that I would some day be able to relive the Cinerama experience of this film. As much as I appreciate the efforts nowadays of DVD producers to present films in their original wide screen format, it still doesn’t translate very well where HOW THE WEST WAS WON is concerned. While recently visiting a web site devoted to the making of this film, I learned that it had played about a year and a half ago at the Dome. Being relatively new to Los Angles it was the first time I had heard of the Cinerama Dome. I was so disappointed to learn that I had missed it. My question is; Do they ever bring films back to the Dome once they’ve played? I would assume since HOW THE WEST WAS WON is one of the most famous of the Cinerama productions that this would be the case, but I would appreciate it if anyone out there has knowledge of how they plan their scheduling. Also; Is there any kind of mailing list that one can sign up for to keep abreast of their schedule?
They seem to be rather difficult to contact by phone. Whenever I call the number at the top of this page(323-466-3401)the phone just rings off the hook. There isn’t even any voice mail. So if anyone out there could be of help, I would truly appreciate it. Thank you all.


Peter John

Englewood on January 10, 2005 at 10:52 am

During my time playing in the Marine Band at Twentynine Palms (CA), we played a swearing-in enlistment ceremony at the Cinerama Dome in 1965 or ‘66. We played for the swearing in of the “Bob Hope Platoon.” Hope couldn’t make it so one of his daughters, Nora, if I remember, stood in for him. First there were some speeches followed by an public relations film about the Marine Corps, showing scenes from Vietnam and the Dominican Republic. (There was a revolution occuring at the time and the Marine Corps went sent in to keep order.) Then came the swearing in of the Bob Hope Platoon, about 30 guys. Immediately after, they had roll call. Two guys were missing. After being sworn in, the platoon would head to Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego.
That was the only time I was ever in the Cinerama Dome. Anytime I drive by it, I think of that day.

Knatcal on January 6, 2005 at 8:31 am

I am sorry “William” but in December of 1996 “Evita” did only play at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles before its general release in early 1997. Sometimes reality differs from an idolized, isolated view of history.

William on January 4, 2005 at 5:13 pm

When “Evita” play at the Cinerama Dome, they installed a special flat screen and special sound panels in the ceiling for this engagement. The days when it only played at the Cinerama Dome was long over by the time “Evita” opened.

Knatcal on January 4, 2005 at 4:22 pm

I saw “Evita” at the Cinerama Dome (however the first movie I saw here was “Fletch” while I was in high school). It was the only place in Los Angeles where “Evita” was playing before its general release. I remember it was very crowded and we waited for hours. I returned recently to see “The Phantom of the Opera” and the place is much better after the remodel.

trooperboots on January 2, 2005 at 1:37 pm

I recall seeing “Krakatoa: East of Java” and how awful the special effects were. Even then, it was pretty lame. The theater, however, was amazing, and was worth the admission to see it alone! I also remember the press later said that Krakatoa was not “east of Java”, but rather “west of Java”, so they renamed the film “Volcano” for the European release in 1975 and added “Sensurround”… remember that?

rroberts on November 14, 2004 at 11:07 pm

Can’t we build these kinds of theatres anywhere else? Why should Hollywood have all the fun???

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on October 28, 2004 at 9:19 am

Back in the early 80s, I can recall William Shatner being one of our regulars. Bill used to party often back then. On a few occasions, we would arranged for his transportation home. Leslie Ann Warren once presented a part of herself by accident to me. I then went upstairs to do a changeover and mixed-up the reels out of sequence. Like a jerk, I denied doing it, even though the screenplay writer was in the auditorium. OOPS! :)

Manwithnoname on October 22, 2004 at 12:21 pm

I have said so much about the Dome but I need to say more after seeing “This is Cinerama” again last night. I could write an essay but will keep it brief. For a film 53 years old which is definitely showing it’s age the presentation was flawless. I particularly enjoyed the Kinopanorama clip from Russia which looked better than TIC and the tour of the projection booths (with a copy of Cinema Treasures on a table in the Abel booth). To see that equipment (the projectors came from the now closed Hawaii Cinerama and updated) was a real treat. However, here comes the soapbox. Pacific remodeled the Dome and made it one of only 3 places in the world where true 3-strip Cinerama can be shown. They schedule 2 showings (2 years after it first played there) and there should have been great interest in this. Yet, last night’s show was not a sell out. Today I see why. Tomorrow morning at 10 another screening of the film in 3-strip will be held. In today’s L.A. Times that program is not even mentioned in the Arclight ad as playing tomorrow. No ads, no mention, NOTHING!! What a rare experience to go completely un-publicized. This becomes even more shocking when you remember that Pacific actually owns the Cinerama process! How many film buffs, fans, etc. will miss this because they simply didn’t know? It’s a crying shame.

Manwithnoname on October 19, 2004 at 2:50 pm

Why go to all that trouble? Just play it somewhere else, already. “Evita” was before the remodel so the other theaters weren’t there yet. As for the curved screen, “This is Cinerama” is showing twice in original 3-strip format Thurs at 7 and Sat. at 10.

walkerre on October 19, 2004 at 1:42 pm

I remember going to see “Evita” expecting to see it on the 86 x 34 ft. screen, boy was I shocked. Apparently Alan Parker, the director, did not want that deeply curved screen. He shot the film to be shown on a flat screen (what a disappointment), and I read that he was very insistant that a flat screen be installed. With the deep curvature of the wall behind, the screen could not be made very wide. Although the screen was moved forward a little, I guess to allow more room for width, you could only go so far because of the seats in front. In my opinion, this did not look so good when sitting in the back balcony. It was really designed for the curved Cinerama screen. If you want a flat screen, show it at the Chinese or even the Village in Westwood, both are big theatres with big screens.

mattepntr on October 11, 2004 at 12:36 am

Does anyone remember when “Evita” premiered at the Dome? I was shocked when I walked in and saw that they had installed a FLAT screen and masking in front of the normal huge curved screen! Does anyone have the story on why they did that for this one film? weird. I’m glad they didn’t leave it like this. My first trip to the Dome was in the early 70’s when my dad took me to see “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 70mm 6-track stereo. I’ll never forget it.

bruceanthony on August 6, 2004 at 9:30 pm

I love the Cinerama Dome and I like the ArcLight Cinemas but the Grove usually does more business on the same film unless its in the Dome. The Grove is a little more popular than the ArcLight. Pacific Theatres owns and runs both theatres but to there surprise the Grove has been more successful as has been stated in Variety a number of times.I am from the old school I like the decor of a theatre like Grauman’s Chinese where the theatre can be as exciting as whats on the screen.The Arclight has great picture and sound and presentation and Pacific has invested a great deal of money in there flagship operation.I have friends who live on the westside and will make a special trip if a film is playing in the Dome but not a special trip for the Arclight blackbox theatres unless its an exclusive run.I have to applaud Pacific Theatres showmanship in bringing a little class back to moviegoing in Hollywood.I regard the Cinerama Dome,El Capitan,Grauman’s Chinese,National and Village theatres as the best theatres in LA to see a movie.brucec

scooty on August 6, 2004 at 12:06 am

I agree 100 percent with the last poster, the Arclight is incredible. The Grove is nice, but much more of a suburban kind of outing, with crowds, teenagers, and families.

It may be the best theater in the country…or maybe that is the Chinese. Not that I’ve been in every theater, but is there a better one?

As for the Dome, why aren’t they showing more Cinerama presentations? I missed the first round.

walkerre on July 26, 2004 at 3:40 pm

We do have to remember however, that the Arclight exceeds THX Certifaction standards. The Grove is not even THX Certified (in any auditorium). I’ve been to both theatres many times and the presentation at Arclight is much better than the Grove hands down. Technically speaking the Arclight is superior to the Grove in sight & sound presentation. The picture is always razor sharp & there is never any dirt or scratches even after a film has played for a week or so. The sound system is from JBL: Projecting this immersive sound throughout each auditorium are custom-designed JBL systems that feature technology honored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences with a technical achievement Oscar, March 2002. Their two largest auditoriums are equiped with Dolby Digital SRD 6 channel, Dolby EX & SDDS 8 channel and have 3 stage speakers, 2 subwoofers and 9 surrounds, all JBL., the other auditoriums have Dolby Digital SRD 6 channel, Dolby EX & DTS ES. The two largest auditoriums have 70mm projectors & all auditoriums have scope screens with sizes ranging from 40 – 60 ft. The Grove may be more luxurious looking but I am going to see the film not the architecture or uniforms. The front row in all auditoriums (except the dome) is as far back from the screen as it is wide so that patrons are not forced to look up or turn their heads to see the entire screen. People will not be seated 5 min after the movie start time so as not to disrupt those already seated and watching the movie. Each movie is introduced by an arclight employee who gives a brief synopsis & lists the cast. On a comfort note, the arm rests are double width so you don’t bump arms with your neighbor and they are 3 inches wider than other stadium seats. There is no better theatre in LA.

bruceanthony on May 9, 2004 at 1:18 pm

Correction the Cinerama Dome is still owned by Pacific Theatres this is there flagship operation. The Arc Light has wonderful programming such as the Director Series, AFI top 100 films,etc. This is an industry house. Its the Cinerama Dome that sets the complex apart from the others. The Arc Light complex is has top presentation and sound. The Arc Light has been successful but the Dome is its greatest asset. The Grove megaplex near the Farmers Market is more popular unless the film is playing in the Cinerama Dome. The Arc Light black box auditoriums had major input from the film industry where the Grove was built by an independent developer who wanted his theatre a little more upscale than the norm to match the upscale shopping center.The Grove pays homage to the old Hollywood including the uniforms worn by the employees. Pacific had the managing contract in running the Grove which became the top gossing megaplex in Southern California. In fact a bidding war broke out to purchase the Grove when the owner put the Theatre up for sale and Pacific who had ist choice to by it had to purchase the Grove for 25 Million.I think the film industry should take a good look at the Grove and build more megaplexe’s like it. Its to bad the Arc Light complex that includes the Cinerama Dome didn’t build it a bit more luxurious like the Grove and it would have been a bigger success.brucec

pantages on May 9, 2004 at 12:12 pm

Maybe ‘hoeing’ the west wasn’t such an error, eh? ;)

pantages on May 9, 2004 at 12:11 pm

‘Hoe The West Was Won’ was the last of the three-strip Cinerama films. Thereafter all ‘Super Cinerama’ presentations were either 70mm, 65mm or 35mm prints. ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ started to be made in 3-strip but after a week it was decided to make it in 70mm. I firmly believe there is a new market for 3-strip Cinerama and i hope someone will take the plunge one day soon. There is nothing to equal the clarity and depth of focus in Cinerama, except maybe IMAX, but then again, that is another story…

Mikeoaklandpark on May 9, 2004 at 11:05 am

Teh screen in the downstairs Cinerama theater was great. It was the curved cinerama screen. I saw Hello Dolly there in the Broadway on Broadaway series in 1978, As I just posted on abnother site, I hate the fact that we don’t get to see 70mm films anymore.