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Yes. I was there once when they opened the masking up in plain view as a demonstration for the audience. First 1.85, then 2.35, then the top up further for 2.2 70MM, then wider still for 3-Strip Cinerama (accompanied by several gasps from the audience!)
haineshisway: The reason the top masking came down AND the screen widened at your old theatre was simply the constraints of that particular theatre’s design and adaption to 2.35 Scope films. Because that particular theatre, or others, presented the films that way, does not mean it was the INTENTION of the filmmakers. I know the Royal theatre does this with their masking simply because they kept the screen under the old proscenium. A 1.85 screen shape will fill the proscenium top to bottom, but not quite side to side. For 2.35 scope they can widen to the edges of the proscenium but have to lower the top masking to create the more rectangular shape. In other words, I think they are doing they best they can with what they’ve got. For a lot of older theatres with the screen either under the proscenium or moved in front of it to allow it to get much wider, I think this is a lot of the times the case.
However, I think the INTENTION of the studios and the filmmakers was to have the image keep the same height but get WIDER, creating a more open, panoramic look that replicates more closely a person’s true field of vision. There would be no purpose for the image to get a little wider, but a little lower at the same time. That is counterproductive and merely a flaw or drawback in a particular theatre’s design.
I, and many others here, feel that a properly designed theatre for scope pictures only has the screen open wider to accommodate scope films. Such examples would be the Village and National (RIP) in Westwood (L.A.), Grauman’s Chinese, the Cinerama Dome, Seattle Cinerama and MOST of the auditoriums at the Hollywood Arclight.
Many of us here (and I kow Chris Utley is one) have a particular dislike for theatres designed from the ground up with top-down only masking only. Such examples would be the AMC Century 15 and Pacific’s Grove in Los Angeles. The reasons for such poor design might be several, but I feel it is doe to: poor design, cheap design, a lack of respect to the film-makers wishes, and most of all, the theatre chains idea of “lets blow them with the most crazy-huge screen possible!” The problem is with most stadium designed theatres the screen wall ends up being a square shape because of how tall the auditoriums are. This means that the biggest screen they fit in the place is largest when at a 1.85 ratio. Many of these screens are just too big. Watch any non-scope 1.85 feature at the large houses at the Century 15 and The Grove and you have to sit at least two-thirds the way back just to not be overwhelmed or get sick. Then the theatres have a big dramatic let down: You are watching the preshow “entertainment”, then some previews in 1.85 when suddenly the screen shrinks vertically but keeps a common width for your showing of “The Dark Night”. Think of it like watch a DVD on your old school TV. For 1.85 the letterboxing has narrow strips at the top and bottom. For a 2.35 scope film, which is meant to have more grandeur, the black bands at top and bottom get bigger, creating a narrow band for the image. Would you want the same effect in a movie theatre?
Most of the Arclight Hollywood’s auditoriums have side masking that open wider for scope films (as the movie gods intended) because they designed the auditoriums wider. In the bigger auditoriums the screens are still pretty big for 1.85 and they position the seats far enough away so those sitting near the front don’t get overwhelmed and still have all the picture in their field of vision.
I have not been to the Arclight Sherman Oaks, but since it is a conversion of a regular old Pacific Stadium theatre, something tells me there is top-down masking everywhere, which to me seems like Arclight on the cheap and goes against their presentation principles.
I am no expert, but this is my view of things. I’ll shut up now.
Didn’t the producers get a hint with such previous stinkers as “I Spy”, “Bewitched”, “The Avengers”, “Dukes of Hazzard”, “The Mod Squad”, “Leave it to Beaver”, “Miami Vice” etc etc that making an old TV show into a movie usually doesn’t work?
I think the National had the most beautiful interior of any theatre in Los Angeles! And those were JBL speakers…
If the Arclight website is correct then the Chinese is in for a lousy summer, year, what have you. Aside from the Strangers which starts tomorrow at the Chinese and WALL-E, which will most certainly be at the El Capitan, the next wide release coming up that is not listed on the Arclight Hollywood’s coming soon page is New Line’s Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D on July 11th!!
Brad’s letter can be found here:
Hey Brad, is there any way you can link to the letter for those of us not in LA? (or give us the text)?
Having trouble with it Michael. Do we have to join your group to view the photos?
As has every Indiana Jones flick. Since Warner Bros. (Batman) and Paramount (Indiana Jones) jointly own Mann theatres, does their ownership have any affect that Mann has on bookings? It seems like it used to be that Mann would get all the decent Warner and Paramount bookings in Hollywood and Westwood. But even in Westwood, Iron Man ended up at the AMC Avco!!
Just FYI good discussion starting up on Grauman’s Chinese page RE how Arclight has started to get all the good bookings lately:
Last comment from me:
It wasn’t like that for the first couple years that the Arclight was open, but these days the Arclight is THE place in LA to see a film. Whenever I go you see celebrities and industry people who would really rather not deal with all the tourists on Hollywood Boulevard. My feeling is studios really want their films at the Arclight for the prestige factor. Its sad because the Chinese puts on a good show. A few years ago the Chinese and even Chinese 6 were getting films like Lord of the Rings: FOTR, Black Hawk Down, Star Wars Ep 1 and 2 and Insomnia. All of those would certainly play at the Arclight if released today.
Yikes, thats still 3 weeks off. I bet they were hoping Speed Racer had done better. Hope Mr. Shymalan is back in form after that stinker “Lady in the Water”.
The Arclight tells you which film is playing in the Dome in their LA Times ad and on their website (Dome showtimes are in bold).
Anyone have any idea what the Chinese is going to get to replace the dud “Speed Racer” since the Arclight seems to get most of the good bookings these days?
Not sure. They took out the parking lot west of the building.
Is DLP equipment (and any other digital projection) “fixed” with a specific auditorium at a theatre or can it be moved around among auditoriums as demand for a title decreases?
I hear the Vine will be showing it exclusively in projected analog RCA Spectravision. They put a rush on getting the discs made now. Casings for the discs have been purchased out of the bargain bin Amoeba. They will have to remove the old “Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Extended Edition” discs first. An old curved RCA projection TV screen has been removed from the now closed Shakey’s Pizza on Hollywood Blvd. and is being installed at the Vine. Steven Spielberg and Janusz Kamiski are working furiously on a 4:3 pan & scan version for the venue. OK I’ll stop now…
Something tells me someone was misinformed.
Certainly if Mann still had a few more screens in Westwood, Paramount’s Iron Man would be at the Village or National.
Mister Topps, where exactly on IMDB did you read that the Chinese and the Arclight would get Indy 4 at the same time?
That ain’t recent!
BLADE RUNNER also played later in its run at Mann’s Chinese 6 complex for a week or so in “Digital Projection”. Any ideas what they have there?
If I’m in LA in May I’ll be at the Village to watch me some good old fashioned film. If I am in Seattle, hopefully Indy at the Cinerama. If they do strike a 70mm print, I will be at that theatre…Just wish I could have seen it at The National.
is it something about Indy 4?
I know that Janusz Kaminski (DP for Indy 4) likes film over digital. I think that he and Spielberg will continue using film as long as they can.