Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Showing 126 - 150 of 1,099 comments

CinemarkFan on August 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm

As you know, advance tickets are on sale for “The Master” in 70mm. A source said that a DP70 will be installed in ArcLight’s auditorium #3.

That said, does anyone know the seating capacity of #3? And how large is the screen?

bigjoe59 on August 30, 2012 at 11:45 am

to Howard B.–

thanks for your reply. eventhough i live in NYC i am quite aware of Grauman’s Chinese and the El Capitan(Paramount)theaters. i last visited L.A. the spring of 2004. to which i know these two theaters held many exclusive first run engagements in their heyday so if you lived in L.A. you had to go to these theaters. but in the 1955 – 1972 period i mentioned in my original post i wasn’t aware these two theaters held reserved seat engagements as did the other 4 theaters mentioned in said post.

CSWalczak on August 22, 2012 at 5:42 am

BigJoe59, let me refer you to this excellent resource compiled by Michael Coate and William Kallay; it is a comprehensive listing of 70mm films exhibited in Los Angeles from 1955 through 2012. It does not include three-panel Cinerama showings (see the resource I cited in my 08-14-2012 comment for those) or reserved-seat 35mm roadshow engagements (except when a 70mm engagement could not be verified), but it will give you additional information regarding theaters in L.A. that had roadshow engagements over the last sixty years or so. There is a similar database for Orange County.

HowardBHaas on August 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Bigjoe59, you are not doing your homework very well as you aren’t even mentioning the Chinese and El Capitan (then Paramount)on Hollywood Blvd!! others esp in Westwood Village (esp Fox Village and Bruin), Beverly Hills, and so forth.

bigjoe59 on August 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Hello from NYC-

i thank my fellow posters from L.A.for info about the Dome’s single lens “Cinerama” engagements. i have a new question for you.

as i see it the heyday so to speak of reserved seat or to use the proper term roadshow engagements was the Oct. 1955 opening of “Oklahoma” thru the Dec. 1972 opening of “Man of La Mancha” after which the studios dropped the use of said policy. now in the immediate Hollywood area there was the Cinerama Dome and up on Hollywood Blvd. the Pantages, the Warmer Hollywood known on this site as the Pacific 1,2,3 and the Egyptian for a total of four theaters. but during the aforementioned approx. 17 year period the studios released a number of their “big” films on roadshow engagements so i should think more than four theaters were needed.

so this is my question- during the 17 year period mentioned above what other theaters in the L.A. area were regularly used by the studios for exclusive roadshow engagements other than the four in the immediate Hollywood area?

Manwithnoname on August 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm

“Mad World” was shot with a single camera in Ultra Panavision and was 90% completed before Kramer was approached to release it as the first single-lens Cinerama release. He did not “propose” the film to open the Dome. The Dome was built in 16 weeks to be ready by the film’s already scheduled opening date.

Flix70 on August 16, 2012 at 10:22 am

Jsittig: Any chance the Dome will screen Lawrence of Arabia this fall for its 50th anniv?

CSWalczak on August 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Here is another piece of information that would help to support the idea that the determination to abandon three-strip Cinerama was made in 1962: according to the IMDB, filming of “The Greatest Story Ever Told” in three-strip was ordered stopped by United Artists after thirty days of filming in 1962. (The film actually would not be released – in Ultra Panavision 70 at the Dome – until 1965 due to many problems in the making of the film). As I noted earlier, filming in three-strip on “Mad World”, also a UA film, also apparently stopped in 1962.

CSWalczak on August 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm

BigJoe59, this link will take you to Michael Coate’s carefuly-researched chronology of Cinerama exhibition in Los Angeles; as you will see, both the Cinerama Dome and the Warner Hollywood were used for initial runs of 70mm Cinerama films.

The Dome was able to be built so quickly for two reasons. First, Cinerama Inc. intended to build hundreds of these theaters around the world and had developed a prototype design before Pacific Theaters decided to construct the first one, Secondly, some parts of the building were prefabricated, such as the ceiling hexagonal ceiling sections.

Perhaps John Sittig could tell you at what point the decision was made not to install the three projectors and soundtrack processor at the Dome. Online sources indicate that construction of the Dome was announced in April, 1963. Since “Mad World" opened at the Dome on November 7, 1963, actual construction probably started in July, 1963 (though preparation of the site probably started before). The final decision not install the equipment may have been after the premiere of “Mad World” once it was clear the film was a success.

One other point that may have a bearing on the question: The Dome never installed the original deep curve Cinerama screen of about 146 degrees. The one installed at the Dome originally had a shallower arc, I think of about 123 degrees. (At least it was a strip screen then; that single sheet one they have now which has the same shallower arc cannot hold a candle to the authentic deep curve strip-screen at the Cinerama Theater in Seattle, but it is better than that abominable flat screen that was installed for the opening of “Evita” before the Dome’s renovation).

The decision to install the shallower screen probably was due to the fact that the Dome’s owners knew that 35mm films and films in other widescreen processes would be shown at the Dome in coming years, and that showing films other than three-strip Cinerama on a deeply curved screen resulted in a somewhat distorted image. (I know; I saw “In Search of the Castaways” on the deeply curved Cinerama screen at the Palace in Cleveland, and was very odd to see it projected this way). The decision not install the deeply curved screen may have been a useful compromise at the time, but I suppose it may have been evidence that some people at Pacific Theaters knew that three-panel Cinerama was on its way out.

The agreement between MGM and Cinerama, Inc. to produce two films in three-panel Cinerama appears to have been struck in 1958. I have not been able to find a start date for principal photography for “Brothers Grimm” but it probably was late 1960 or early 1961 and probably had a long shooting schedule as George Pal insisted on filming in Europe on authentic locations.The film had its world premiere in the United States on 08-07-1962. Principal photography on “HTWWW” began of May 26, 1961. “HTWWW” premiered in London, on November 1, 1962 and in the U.S. on February 20, 1963 at the Warner Hollywood (where it would play for 93 weeks). After that, the Warner Hollywood would only play 70mm Cinerama films.

I do not know when the decision was made to switch filming “Mad World” from three-strip to 70mm Ultra Panavision, but it was probably in 1962 soon after the beginning of filming, as I have found a note that Kramer needed to do substantial filming in the summer of 1962 as that was when many of the large and famous cast would be available for location work. It should be kept in mind that in addition to 166 days of filming, “Mad World” would be in post-production for quite some time for the numerous effects shots; in addition, I have read that there was much work that had to be done in getting the projection as close to perfect using 70mm equipment; also the printing of the release print involved what was called “rectificaton” to reduced the image distortion on a curved screen, a process which appears to never to have been used before.

Complicating matters further, one source indicates that Cinerama itself was in development of a single lens process when the decision was made use the already-established Ultra Panavision lenses and 70mm film.

So when was the decision made? My guess would be sometime in 1962, but it may not have been so much a decision – at that point – to abandon three-strip as it was a decision to see what the reaction was to the 70mm version. It seems more likely that the decision to finally abandon three-strip was only actually made after it became clear that 1) 70mm was at least to some extent useful in making a Cinerama production (“HTWWW” basically proved that) and that 2) the moviegoers (well, at least some of them) would still go to roadshow 70mm Cinerama productions in large numbers (as proved by “Mad World” and “2001”). However, it only took a few turkeys such as “Custer of the West” and “Krakatoa” to show that advertising a film as “presented in Cinerama” was no assurance of success. But I think it is possible that had additional three-strip Cinerama films been made after 1962, that the Dome might have installed the requisite projectors or maintained the Warner Hollywood as three-strip venue.

I am not sure that you will actually be able to find a an actual date for abandonment of Cinerama. More likely, it simply just passed away from disuse over time when no director or studio chose to use it or spend the money to film with it. Much as I and others are passionate about it, it was admittedly a difficult to use and expensive process to use on narrative films especially. It is perhaps similar to asking on what day was decided to essentially stop using B&W film except for occasional artistic reasons.

I am sorry for the length of this, but I do not think your question really has a simple answer.

jsittig on August 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

The Dome was built in 16 weeks. Working double shifts.In fact, we will be playing a short on the building of the Dome where the sign on the construction site was changed every week,,,in 16 weeks,…in 15 weeks etc. MAD WORLD had a 166 day shooting schedule so it was in production way before they broke ground on the Dome. Some of the single strip 70mm Cinerama films played at the Warner Hollywood…Hallelujah Trail, Circus World, 2001: A Space Odyssey (Not sure about Custer of The West…it did not play at the Dome. Yes we will be playing the police calls at intermission. Hope that answers everything.

bigjoe59 on August 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Hello Again From NYC To My Fellow Posters
In L.A..–

i thank my fellow posters in L.A. for answering my many inquiries about the Cinerama Dome. a new two part question-

*since the Dome was rather technologically advanced for 1963 i assumed the period from groundbreaking to the opening night of “It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World” was at the least a year if not more. yet a fellow poster replied that the period of time from the ground breaking to the opening night of IAMMMMW was only 18 weeks. is that true? it seems like an awfully short period of time in which to build a fairly large theater. the reason i bring up how long it took to build the theater is simple. i am trying to determine if the decision to abandon the 3-Strip Cinerama process in favor of the single lens version was made before the groundbreaking or after construction of the theater had begun.

*now if my count is correct there were 10 single lens Cinerama films. “Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad World” from Nov.‘63 being the 1st and “Krakatoa-East of Java” from July'69 being the last. to which a question- did all 10 single lens Cinerama films play the Dome or did some play whatever old time movie palace in the Hollywood area that had been converted to show the original 3-Strip process?

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on August 12, 2012 at 5:08 pm

The Dome played the police calls at the 40th anniversary screening in 2003.

silver on August 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm

jsittig: I saw IAMMMMW in 70MM at AMPAS’s Goldwyn Theater in 70mm about a month ago. And during the intermission break, they were playing the police radio transmissions audio over the PA system.

Are they planning on doing that at the upcoming Cinerama Dome screenings (like they did in ‘63 at the premiere at the Dome)?

RogerA on August 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm

jsittig, you might want to think about putting in a second booth, in front of and below the current booth, and install two Norelco AA 35/70’s. Then you could run some of the 70mm prints that have to be run reel to reel. Those classic 70mm films still draw a crowd.

jsittig on August 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm

An additional showing of IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD in Ultra Panavision 70 has been added to schedule of the 60 th Anniversary of Cinerama Festival. Show is Wednesday Oct 3 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are on sale at

jsittig on August 11, 2012 at 1:03 am

The Cinerama Dome construction was 18 weeks from ground breaking to the Mad World premiere! Yes the single semi -circular booth was designed for three strip but not installed. How the West Was Won had its American premiere in Hollywood in February 1963. We had three Norelco AA 35/70 mm projectors in the center booth. Changed to two CenturyJJ projectors in late 1980’s

CSWalczak on August 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm

The answer, to my knowledge is, more or less, yes. I have read that “Mad World” actually started filming in three-strip, (apparently so did “The Greatest Story Ever Told”) but changed over to 70mm Ultra Panavision soon after work began. I have read that the booths for three-strip Cinerama were built at the Dome, but the equipment was not installed (until, of course, decades later).

Three-strip Cinerama was actually dealt its death blow when it was discovered that 70mm photography could be more or less successfully incorporated into a three-panel Cinerama production. This occurred during the production of “How the West Was Won” in which 70mm footage from both “Raintree County” and “The Alamo” was incorporated; it is also very noticeable in the sequence where the Prescott raft strays into the rapids and is destroyed; the sequence involved a great deal of process work. The blending of on-location camerawork with stunt doubles (which is in sharp focus) and that made at the studio is rather good, but the background in the studio sequences is grainier and not in the same sharp focus.

With the successful release of “HTWWW,” studio bean counters came to the conclusion that the additional expense of three-panel Cinerama was not worth the investment. In addition, at the time, 70mm negatives (regardless of process) could be more easily reduction printed to 35mm for non-roadshow and second run showings.

bigjoe59 on August 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Hello From NYC-

i thank my fellow movie buffs in L.A. for
answering my questions about L.A. movie going.
i have a new question that i’m betting has
an interesting answer.

the Cinerama Dome opened Nov.‘63 with the premiere of the 1st single lens Cinerama film “Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad World”. now considering how technologically advanced the theater was for Nov.'63 i’m guessing the groundbreaking for the theater was at least 1 year maybe 2 years? before the opening night. which is where my question comes in. when the groundbreaking took place the 1st narrative 3-Strip Cinerama film “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” hadn’t even opened yet. so does that mean before “…..Grimm” and the 2nd narrative 3-Strip film “How The West Was Won” even opened the powers that be knew in 1961 that the 3-Strip process would go the way of the dodo bird and built the Dome from the get go as a single lens Cinerama house?

silver on August 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Jsittig: Thanks! Whoever came up the idea of that water curtain (presumably the 2002 Arclight architects) had a nice idea. It allows more of the Dome itself and its surface texture to be visible (since the south face is now completely blocked) yet acts as a bit of a deterrent to vandals, posters or graffiti miscreants. Plus on that warm evening the mist it created was nice!

(It’s odd how seldom I typically walk out that way— since the normal routine is to park, go to the theaters, and right back to the parking structure. But a visitor last weekend asked about it and I was stumped.

jsittig on August 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Silver The water curtain is new to the 2002 refurbishing. Before, that area was inside the brick wall surrounding the building, hiding trash receptacles and HVAC. John

silver on July 29, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Visited the Dome over the weekend and am curious about something. On the outside around the western perimeter area is a sort of curtain of falling water decoration.

Is that original with the Dome, or was that added when they built the Arclight building surrounding the rest of it.

jsittig on July 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Roger, Since we now only have one 70mm projector in the Dome, we cannot run reel-to-reel which limits us on quality print availability. John Sittig, ArcLight Cinemas & Cinerama Inc.

RogerA on July 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Well I have a ticket to see 2001 in 70mm at the Academy of Motion Pictures in the Goldwyn theater. It is nice of the Arclight people to run all of the tree strip Cinerama films and some of the 70mm Cinerama films.

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on July 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Maybe they’re not allowed to run the new print on a platter? They don’t have changeover 70MM in there now.

RogerA on July 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Why would they show a 2K digital of 2001 when there is a 70mm print available?