Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A geodesic dome built for the Cinerama format, this mini-Epcot like structure is a wonder of 1960’s showmanship. Featuring an enormous curved screen and ample seating underneath the large dome, the Cinerama Dome is famous for blending first run films with the occassional revival classic. The Cinerama Dome opened November 7, 1963 with 937 seats and the World Premiere in 70mm of “Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. Additional 70mm films included the West Coast premiere of “The Greatest Story Ever Told” on February 17, 1965, the World Premiere of “The Battle of the Bulge” on December 16, 1965 and the World Premiere of “Ice Station Zebra” on October 23, 1968. In 1999, The Dome exhibited an exclusive week long showing of the original “Blade Runner” answer print.

The Cinerama Dome was recently renovated by Pacific Theatres and the theater is now able to exhibit 3-strip Cinerama features — something it never did even when it first opened. The Cinerama Dome and the Seattle Cinerama are currently the only theaters in the US equipped to show 3-strip Cinerama prints. In 2002, the restored “This Is Cinerama” was shown in 3-strip Cinerama, the first time it had been screened at the Cinerama Dome. The original 3-strip Cinerama version of “How The West Was Won” was shown in February 2003 and October 2005.

A new 14-screen luxury theater, ArcLight Cinemas, now adjoins the original Cinerama Dome and offers first-run commercial, art, revival, and other specialty films. A unique movie lover’s paradise.

Recent comments (view all 1,172 comments)

RogerA on October 8, 2014 at 10:34 am

Yes United Artist was big on hiring 18 year old kid’s with no experience to thread projectors and push the start button. Where are the United Artist theaters now? Gone just like quality presentation. Focus, framing, presentation all became things of the past when they hired kids with no experience. AMC did the same they had one 18 year old running 20 screens. Digital has not brought the quality that was promised. Most AMC theaters have issues with sound and picture and more now with the digital projectors. All the AMC theaters in Santa Monica have had problems for years. Blown sound channels etc. The baby boom (sub woofer) channel is blown in most theaters. If they need maintenance and technical people why don’t they hire them? Because the theater owners claim to care but in reality they don’t. There are qualified people who could do the maintenance but they don’t hire them.

The presentation picture and sound at the Arclight is very good and the projectionists help keep the quality high. Projectionists do more than just run the projectors they should maintain and repair the equipment. They should go from theater to theater checking sound and picture. Fixing any problem that comes up. Of course when there is a problem you could always wait hours for a technician to show up if the tech is even available. Yes the job has changed a lot the projectionist now has to be a technician and quality control person. Most theater owners have let the quality of their product get so bad people would rather stay at home. The poor presentation in most theaters is just another reason for the distributors to release their films on pay for view. Most people would rather watch the movie at home instead of paying to go see a dim picture and hear bad sound. So in reference to your pony express comment; we can count on putting all the thousands of managers out to pasture when most of the cinemas close because of lack of business because that’s where the business is going.

markp on October 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm

As a former projectionist with over 38 years expierience, I couldnt have said it better myself RogerA. Kudo’s.

Cliffs on October 8, 2014 at 1:07 pm

And yet, as an 18 year old who was not a professional projectionist… I was great at the job (which, btw, was in addition to assistant managing). When building prints I used tricks like overlapping a sliver of the heads and tails of a reel so that you didn’t get audible pops out of the optical soundtrack. I’d use clear tape for reel change and apply a sliver of colored tape outside the sprocket holes so that you didn’t get dropouts in sound or black flashes on screen at reel changes. I insisted on tracking down the DTS cd-roms for Jurassic Park when we ran it a year later before the VHS and LaserDisc release so that we could be one of the only ones running it in 6-track digital during it’s re-release in late 94. I also insisted we put it in our largest theater (which was about 600 seats with a vary large screen) and I made sure we ran the curtains appropriately. We did about 40% of the city’s entire Jurassic business that week.

I’ve seen many a brain wrap at the hands of union projectionists. We had a union projectionist build up Exorcist 3 with reels 3&4 swapped and nobody noticed until Monday afternoon. When I saw The Rocketeer at Arclight a few years ago (it was reel to reel), every other reel was mono (which the projectionist never fixed despite several complaints from me). I was told that they unfortunately had reels from a mono print as well as a stereo print, but anyone who knows anything about optical tracks (especially circa 91) knows that’s not how it works. A “professional” projectionist would surely know that, right? Oh, and take a guess where the only place I’ve ever had a problem with digital projection is?? The Arclight- Once when the projector was flashing purple digital blocks during a screening of Paranorman and once when they had to reboot the projector for whatever reason and start over. So even the underpaid Arclight projectionists there to “handle problems” can’t always seem to.

Quality and presentation has nothing to do with your job title and everything to do with your passion and drive. If the presentation quality of these theaters has deteriorated, it really has very little to do with the job title of the people in the booth and more about the types of people they’re putting in that booth.

Like I said, projectionists the past 20 years have really been more about keeping schedules than anything else. Now, with everything as automated as it is, that responsibility is becoming evermore unnecessary. Should theaters be expected to pay more for someone on site just on the off chance that they might someday have a problem that needs fixing immediately? There’s no more prints to be built, there’s no more projector threading, there’s no more reels to be rewound, there’s no cleaning of projectors between every show. While I understand your romanticism of the projectionist as a symbol of movie-going (I really get it), it’s an increasingly outdated concept (as is the Pony Express).

I’m a special features producer for DVD and Blu-ray and as I’ve seen the market change and the demand for my job shift, I’d had reevaluate my role and decide how to adapt to make myself relevant (and successful) in the future. These guys seem to be clinging to Interstellar as a last hurrah to better their situation because they know it’s their LAST hurrah, for better or worse. It is what it is.

And the idea of putting the theater managers out to pasture because of lack of business is just dumb. 2013 set a new record of $10.9 BILLION in North America and while this year is going to be down (but not by much overall… less than half a billion at this point), next year will, in all likelihood, be even bigger and almost certainly break $11 billion.

RogerA on October 8, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Cinema seat sales has been in a decline for the last five years where have you been? And if the theaters are doing so great why can’t they project a bright clear picture with good sound? Because management hires cheap labor not skilled experts.

Cliffs on October 8, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I’d rather sell 1 seat and make $14 than 2 seats and make $10. A dollar trumps a seat and last year was more $$$ than ever before. Where have you been?

And where are you going where they can’t project a bright clear picture with good sound. I usually don’t have problems at Arclight, the Chinese, the Regencys in Westwood. Maybe you should be better at choosing theaters.

RogerA on October 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Any good business man know that a shrinking market is bad, so looks like your in the buggy whip business, or would you prefer the pony express.

And you named the only theaters that have a bright picture and good sound and even at those theaters the picture isn’t that bright. I know the business, the current business, just check out any average multiplex and you will find poor quality. More and more I stay at home to watch any movie.

I will go to watch Interstellar at the Chinese and expect they will get it right.

Cliffs on October 8, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Actually… What any good business man knows is that profit trumps volume. Would you rather sell 50 buggy whips and make $20 or sell 20 and make $50? Your answer will tell me what kind of business man you are. Eventually that may catch up to itself, but it hasn’t yet. When Disney goes to it’s shareholders, do you think they say, “We made a record profit this year, but unfortunately the number of actual ticket sold were down. Best to get out now despite the profit.”

And no… the Chinese isn’t going to do it -completely- right. Because they installed a 1.90:1 screen for digital IMAX, they’re actually going to be reducing screen size for the scope portions of Interstellar and masking big chunks of the screen on the left and the right to accommodate the full height of the IMAX filmed portions (Which is something I warned would happen when the Chinese was being discussed last year). Look at the seating chart for the Chinese and you’ll see they’re not selling seats in the lower right and left because those will be outside of the reconfigured frame. So even though they’re doing it as “right” as possible, those expecting to see Interstellar from wall to wall are going to be disappointed.

RogerA on October 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm

the 5 perf 70mm prints are going to crop the IMAX footage or letterbox it so all versions will have some cropped or letter boxed footage. It was the filmmakers decision to shoot in multiple formats. I would have seen it at the Dome but I support the projectionists. And yes I expect the Chinese will get it right enough to satisfy the director, Christopher Nolan.

Cliffs on October 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm

That’s not what I said or was talking about… I understand the differences between the IMAX and the mass cropped scope versions. I know the business, the current business, after all. I was making a point about how the Chinese is handling this release (and only THIS release). It’s a compromise that Universal City won’t have.

RogerA on October 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm

The irony here is that while The Arclight maintains a fairly high quality presentation Pacific Theaters owned by the same company is notorious for a horrible presentation.

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