Showing 1 - 25 of 52 comments found
UA Marina is re-opening as an AMC. In addition to taking over the former Odeon Marina Marketplace across the street and turning it into an AMC Dine-In, American Multi-Cinema has also acquired this once very busy sixplex.
BTW – The correct and full name was “Mann 9 Theatres at The Grove”.
I haven’t been to that shopping center in over 20 years, have no idea where the gym you mention is located, nor do I know how the shops are configured there today. However, as I recall, it straddled the length of mall facing away from the freeway on the northwest side and somewhat hidden in the back.
@Cliffs – 1162? That figure sounds wrong to me but, of course, I can’t very well say that I’ve done a physical count. A Mann Theatres employee once told me that the seating capacity was 2300. I suppose that it’s barely possible he was meaning to include the old Chinese Twin Theatres which were once adjacent but that wasn’t my understanding at the time (we were speaking in and about the main theatre). Web articles say the original Grauman’s was 2000+ when it opened but is now only 1151. However, who knows if that’s even accurate (nowadays many just take one erroneous web piece and regurgitate). The 2001 renovation gave up some seats for an expanded snack bar but around a thousand?
RobertAlex – Maybe they’ll “do it right” and maybe they won’t; but taking a 2600-seat movie palace and turning it into a 900-seat IMAX auditorium is on the face of it a diminution and a sorry idea—both for the theatre and for LA. Watching a movie with over 2000 patrons is by itself a unique experience (one that is harder and harder to find) and that experience is a draw for Hollywood Blvd. There are many fine IMAX screens around but very few movie palaces left. The LAHTF should oppose this, not support it.
od_sf – You’re thinking of the Coronet Theatre, which played that 1985 single triple bill performance for the Bay Area. Coronet-San Francisco was a huge and venerable single-screen. The Galaxy, while very nice and having THX, was a multiplex with smaller auditoriums. In Los Angeles, however, the triple bill did show at two locations: UA Egyptian Theatres-Hollywood (in the original Grauman’s portion, which was an enormous palace back then [before Cinematheque butchered it in 1999]) and GCC Avco Center Cinemas-Westwood (a multiplex but one with a decent size main auditorium then [befoe it too was carved up in 1993] and THX).
Roger A – “The Master” in 70mm, it should be added, is not a widescreen presentation. As opposed to a stretched 35mm “scope” blowup, it appeared to be a 35mm “flat” blowup. Typically, this type of 70 format features black, vertical bars on left and right sides of frame (not visible, of course, to the audience). In other words, the film stock itself is extra-wide but the projected image is not.
Auntieagent – Most movies look great there—film or digital. However, when possible, the very best pictures to be seen and heard at the Cinerama-Hollywood are the widescreen epics of the 1960s presented in their original, premium FILM formats (something that is increasingly rare, even there). “How the West Was Won” in 3-strip Cinerama (three 35mm projectors working together to form a single great image) is, however, showing there soon and should not be missed—it’s unbelievable. The Cinerama travelogues and the like are impressive too but they can be boring. That is not the case with “HTWWW”. It’s an event. Also, widescreen 70mm 6-track magnetic prints—particularly for visual and orchestral masterpieces like “Ben Hur” and “Lawrence of Arabia”—are stunning and thunderous experiences in the dome. Unlike the 70mm runs of the 1970s and 80s—most of which were 35mm blowups, the great 60s epics were PHOTOGRAPHED in the 70 format and so are particularly breathtaking on the Cinerama’s very large screen. Unfortunately, they seldom show these films in 70 anymore and, when they do, I believe it’s usually with only digital sound.
Markp – Wikipedia.org has a nice history on the Sherman Oaks Galleria. The old indoor mall (from “Valley Girl” and also seen in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) and the current outdoor mall are basically completely different properties located on the same site. The old mall had tons and tons of stores, a Pacific 4 Theatres complex and, during its day, was super busy. The new mall has very few stores, a restaurant venue that can’t seem to make it, parking a mile away, and a gym. Progress.
Robert L. – There are already a couple pics of the former II-III annex building under the Photos tab. However, I’ve uploaded one more for you from a web article on LA movie houses. Unlike the original Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre building, the tiny 1972 annex was not a pretty site (my friend used to say it looked like a tenement house). It was located in the back, way behind the main, original theatre—on Las Palmas. There was once even a turnstile at the annex entrance (presumably to allow minimal staffing). In the 1980s I understand that United Artists Theatres wanted to get rid of these two small screens and put in something much nicer to complement the original Egyptian: a pair of 600-seat, state-of-the-art houses built high above the original and intact Grauman’s building to create a whole new Egyptian entertainment complex. However, reportedly, Mann Theatres' allies on the City Council blocked approval.
The annex building was called Egyptian Arena post-UA.
As bad as this annex was, at least it did not affect the original building. UA did not divide and destroy the auditorium of the original Egyptian Theatre as American Cinematheque did. In its days as a commercial venue, the Egyptian was an enormous movie palace. Its main auditorium was so large then that, as UA company officer Jim Sherman once said, you could stand in one part of the auditorium and not be able to see every seat.
Previous names: Pacific 6 Theatres (main signage); Pacific Sweetwater 6 Theatres (full, original name).
A nice sixplex originally, this place had a rough opening in 1983. A reel was missing from one of its “Return of the Jedi” prints. Rather than make an announcement, however, management decided to let the film play as is and hope for the best. Things got ugly enough for the story to wind up on the evening news. Disgruntled fans, of course, were given another showing.
Although prestigious road show houses had long since used ticket agencies to similar purpose, this was one of the first multiplexes in San Diego County to have computerized ticketing from its own box office that was capable of beyond same-day advanced sales.
CSWalczak – Understood, but then how can the Seattle Cinerama claim they are “the one and only” theatre “that can show Super Cinerama”? Surely Cinerama-Hollywood and others can still play 70 Cinerama. Hollywood, of course, had that ability even decades before they finally installed 3-strip 35 in the early 2000s.
No, I don’t think that’s it, Mark_L. If you read the blurb on the Seattle Cinerama’s website – www.cinerama.com —> click on The Experience, it says “there are only three theaters in the world that can still show Cinerama movies, and we have the one and only that can SHOW (caps. added for emph. -z) Super Cinerama”. That wording to me suggests a format or a process. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Michael Coate – Perhaps you know… What is “Super Cinerama”? I’ve twice asked the people at the Seattle Cinerama (since they claim on their website to be the only Super Cinerama venue left) but don’t get an answer? 3-strip? 70?
Just curious, where did this picture come from? I knew several people who worked here. Have any more?
Mr. Sittig: I was asking, of course, about the screen SIZE of your 4k showing for “Ben Hur” (versus a 70mm 6-track magnetic presentation of same) and not the AMOUNT of in-frame image retained/cropped, etc. I was speaking of the actual masking in the auditorium; while you were referring to the virtual masking for the image itself (i.e. black bars). Naturally, the in-frame composition is subsequently projected and therefore no minor matter. However, I was simply trying to find out if this week’s digital showing would be comparable at all to the enveloping, extremely “large” (both visually and aurally) 70mm performance of “Ben Hur” at the Cinerama-Hollywood in 1990. Since we’re talking about a movie that is, after all, on television every Easter and Christmas—fully letterboxed and in beautiful HD, the paramount question for many of us concerning so sharp/expansive a picture is, frankly: how big is the theatre screen? Since I still wasn’t able to ascertain that from your nonetheless very thoughtful answers, I decided to just go find out for myself.
In answer to Giles and for those interested (and forewarned of my tendency to idealize film): I found the 4k format certainly serviceable but far from the magnificent, event-like splendor of the 1990 70mm engagement. The size of this Sunday’s “Ben Hur” showing was comparable to a 35mm scope projection: the picture was about 15-20% shorter than a 70 presentation at the Dome; and neither did it extend as far to the left or right as 70 in that venue. As Mr. Sittig indicated, this digital showing, like with the HD letterbox version on TV, is a more elongated picture (i.e. with a wider aspect ratio because of less cropping on the sides). And certainly more image/less cropping is always better than the reverse. However, the 4k picture overall is a much smaller projected image than a 70 performance in the Dome. The picture resolution was likewise decent. In fact, some scenes I have to admit popped more in digital. However, other scenes were much darker (too dark) and the focus overall was soft—particularly away from the center of the picture. Speaking of which, the aperture plate (if there is such a thing on digital projectors—I haven’t been in a booth in decades) appeared to be slicing off the two bottom corners. Also, for some reason, the auditorium masking wasn’t brought in over those black bars and on the sides (i.e. set to properly frame the readable image) to achieve a nice professional, finished look. Instead there appeared empty screen on all four sides of the picture. I know sometimes auditorium masking is left ajar for sound or technical reasons but it looks like the devil. The digital soundtrack was very good but it sounded strained at times. At least as far as my extremely subjective recollections go, 6-channel magnetic stereo still seems to me to be a richer experience. Of course, it’s always possible that I’m allowing my prejudice in favor of film to distort my memory on these matters. However, I don’t believe such is the case. I really have no problem with digital projection/sound for regular movies (they look and sound great). However, 70 in the Dome is still overall a much better experience—particularly for a giant epic like “Ben Hur” and for a large-screen theatre with a name and expectations like “Cinerama”.
Jsittig: Did you see my follow up question on May 8 at 3:29p? Will this Sunday’s digital showing of “Ben Hur” be the same projected image size as that film’s 70mm performance in the Dome in 1990/91?
Mr. Sittig – Thank you for responding to my questions. Just one final clarification, if I’m not being too much of a nuisance. When you say that 4K’s picture size is the same as “film”, do you mean the same as 70mm film projection as presented in the Dome? I ask because, as you know, whereas 35-scope and 70 are often the same projected image size in smaller (multiplex) auditoriums, that is not the case with very large screens such yours. I’m not as knowledgeable as you are regarding widescreen formats such as “Ultra-Panavision”, etc. However, my recollection of your early 90s showing of “Ben-Hur” was that the masking was pulled back to its outermost settings (picture nearly to ceiling and incredibly wide). Alternatively, “El Cid” in ‘93, which was in 35-scope at the Dome, had heavy masking dropped way down and brought in, even though it too was a widescreen. Will your upcoming showing of “Ben-Hur” in the Dome be akin to the former or the latter? Thank you.
Mr. Sittig – What is the projected image size of a 4K presentation of “Ben-Hur” or “Zhivago” as compared to if you had 70 prints of those films for the Dome? Also, has anyone mentioned to you that the Seattle Cinerama has been playing a whole wad of great celluloid recently (35 and 70; bran new and classic prints). The 3-strip movies are cool (particularly “How the West Was Won”) but surely Hollywood, CA should not be outdone by Seattle, WA?
CSWalczak – thanks, that’s what I thought it would be. And it sounded great btw. However, and this is possible memory idealizing, the old oxide/magnetic stripes seemed to have more depth, more umph.
Nothing mentions the soundtrack. Traditional married magnetic tracks? Synchronized digital? Anybody know?
This theatre’s original marquee name was “UA 8 Movies” – not “United Artists Theater”. It was an extra-beautiful eightplex: bright white exterior with blood-red tile and ginormous columns inside and out, double-striped neon above the lobby on high brass ceilings, and a super-wide two-story front entirely of glass. This was the first THX house in San Diego County. Built in 1985, “Explorers” was one of its opening movies. For those of you who are fans of Dan Barron from UA Del Amo-Torrance, this was Dan’s first UA. He was an assistant here (under Mr. Moreno) and later became manager. Dan was very well thought of by all of his friends and colleagues in SD (Thomas, if you read this and remember the Long Island Iced Teas, send a hello!). UA 8 Movies-Escondido [informally called just UA Escondido or Escondido 8; sometimes UA Del Norte (its 411 listing) or Del Norte Plaza Movies (post-UA)] had a total capacity of 2048; the main auditorium seated only 394 but it had 70mm capability. If anyone has a photo of this place, please post—particularly if it was taken when the theatre was bran spanking new and the most striking (they later painted the front columns pink, which was a huge mistake). Today’s LA Fitness remodel also does not even do this place justice. In addition to having once been a great looking multiplex, when Dan was there, UA Escondido also had an unbelievably sharp-looking and well-trained staff.
Capacity (total): 1128
Capacity (main auditorium): 332
Ironically, older and smaller Brea Mall (4) outlasted the much nicer and newer Brea Marketplace (8) nearby. This, in spite of the fact that there was talk of litigation in the late 80s after the mall buried the exterior mall entry nearest this fourplex under a mountain of new parking and development. The exterior mall entry was still accessible, of course, but no longer as visible. This was a double-whammy for the UA Mall (and its managers' snack bar %) because it was around the same time (1988) that the UA Marketplace opened just across the way. The only advantage the four retained over the eight was its ability to play weekday matinees, which were not allowed at the Marketplace because of limited parking and/or lease restrictions.
Hey Renee – If you stumble upon this webpage someday, a huge thank you for the all those passes that you gave me from 1990 to 1992, when you were an assistant here.
The LAHTF has been given assurance that there will be no “Gulla Gate” walling off the Chinese forecourt and that that picture (uploaded now onto this website, see Photos tab above) is going to be removed from the Gulla Jonsdottir site.
Thespians – Thanks for posting that link. What a grotesque illustration and proposal. So they want to gate off something that has been free and open to the public for almost a hundred years. Hopefully it can be prevented. If necessary, please write your city councilperson, the Chinese’s new owners and management, the CIM Group/Hollywood & Highland Center, the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, and the architecture and design firm of Gulla Jonsdottir.