Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Barry Lyndon opens at the Cinerama Dome, 1975

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 Hollywood, 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 1,284 comments)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on December 5, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Hello From NYC-

i was reading about early sound film and the book stated the 1st feature length sound western was In Old Arizona starring Warner Baxter. it said the film opened at the Criterion Theater. i can find no theater on the L.A. page that was called the Criterion.

RogerA
RogerA on December 5, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Cinerama Extravaganza what a laugh both of those showings are digital not Cinerama; unless they are using three digital projectors.

stevenj
stevenj on December 5, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Hi bigjoe59 – Perhaps this is it? Listed as Fox Criterion:

Fox Criterion

Flix70
Flix70 on December 6, 2016 at 8:16 am

Instead of dissing the projection method, let’s be happy Cinerama is still being exhibited at all, in any format. Technology changes, we adapt and move on.

RogerA
RogerA on December 6, 2016 at 10:02 am

Well adapt to the fact that film is the new vinyl!

I am a IMDB listed Director of photography so I do know a little about this.

For ten years Cinerama ran films that were just well done home movies. Boring. The three camera movies are only worth watching in the three projector format. The Seattle Cinerama does it. Some people just don’t get it film, when done right, looks better than digital! The resolution of film is much higher than digital. As for presentation; Star Wars at the Chinese in 70mm on Norelcos with 13.6 carbon arcs was brighter and sharper than the laser projection they have now. Three projector Cinerama was super sharp and super bright. I saw a a three projector presentation of How the West Was Won at the Dome. I sat in the Cinerama Zone. I was impressed. Yea there were the lines but it was clear and bright. It was also interesting to see the resolution drop when 65mm ultra-panavision footage was used. It was the first time I noticed grain. But the three camera footage show on three projectors is stunning.

The Dome management has a history of just not quite getting the point. Years ago they did a 25 year re-premier of It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. The only print they could find was a 35mm anamorphic with optical sound that belonged to an archive and a pan and scan print used for television broadcast. They ran the archive print for the re-premier and the pan and scan print for a week. There were so many complaints and pissed off people the manager locked himself in the office and gave orders to refund anyone who complained. If the cheap bastards had just had the lab make a new print they could have run that for weeks with no complaints. Even now a 70mm print of Mad World continues to run in theaters.

I was even asked by someone while at the re-premier if these old negatives were even worth saving. Some people just don’t get it. Like that young executive that trashed years of old video instead of saving it.

If I am going to sit in a theater with old style seats it has to something special. I would have paid a few bucks to see that short film that was shot in three strip Cinerama. I can watch video at home or in a small theater with lounge chairs and drink service. Why haven’t they run a good Ultra Panavision print of The Hateful Eight at the Dome? Are they afraid it will look better than the video? Or have they just given up on film?

The people who run the Aero get it.

Flix70
Flix70 on December 8, 2016 at 8:37 am

Hey, I’d prefer to see Cinerama in three-strip projection, too, but, I’m not going to completely write off the format because they’re exhibiting it digitally.

Cinerama’s too important historically to just be swept under the rug completely (I’ve been a film journalist for over 25 years, so I know a little about it, too). These films still deserve to bee seen on the largest screen possible. Granted, three-strip projection is ideal, but we, unfortunately, have to take what we can get it this digital age, whether we like it or not.

I can tell you I’d sure prefer to see them on the Dome’s concave screen, in any format, in their “old-style seats,” instead of in my living room.

Sure, Seattle Cinerama and Aero get the significance of film over digital, they’re not a corporation like Decurion, which owns Pacific & Arclight. But as long as palaces like the Dome still stand, I’ll take whatever they exhibit for as long as I can. Because one day they’ll be gone and all we’ll be left with is our living room.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 9, 2016 at 9:35 am

Answering Roger’s question: When Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened in December 2015, The Dome touted their new laser projection system…thereby putting the nail in the coffin in regards to film. They DO have a 70MM equipped auditorium in the regular ArcLight complex. But the days of film in The Dome look to be over.

So…no. They don’t care. They have followed the wave of change and new technology. I’ll be leaving LA for good in 2017 but I’m thankful that I was able to see The Dome utilized in its full and complete glory. I’ve seen 70MM, 3 strip Cinerama and the recent 120 FPS experiment that was “Billy Flynn’s Long Halftime Walk” here. I will always cherish my memories of this theatre.

RogerA
RogerA on January 9, 2017 at 5:22 pm

I just went to see La La Land in cinema 10 at the Arclight. After one hour I couldn’t stand it any more and left. It might have been enjoyable if the quality of the picture wasn’t so poor. Poor is an understatement it was unwatchable. The big joke at the beginning was the CinemaScope logo! A CinemaScope picture was bright and sharp. Not dim and fuzzy. Digital just looks like $hit. I know you people don’t get it. Maybe your vision isn’t what it used to be. Maybe you just don’t remember. The fact is when you blow up a low quality video it looks bad unless you are sitting in the back row of the theater. And at this point I don’t care if it is 2k 4k or 8k. 24FPS 48FPS 60FPS 120FPS (anything over 60 is a waste by the way). It doesn’t seem to matter. Digital looks great on my small screen. Looks great on a large screen TV. But when digital it is projected on a large screen it just looks bad. The bigger the screen the worse it looks. I walked out of Star Wars at an AMC because the presentation was horrid. Management apologized and refunded my money. So Chris “the days of film are over” well if that is true then most of the theaters will soon follow. The real sin is they had two film projectors in Cinema 10 and supposedly this was shot on film. But of course they probably went to digital to do the edit so there goes all the goodness of film.

stevenj
stevenj on January 10, 2017 at 9:29 am

I emailed the manager of my local neighborhood surviving movie palace (in another Calif. city up north) last month asking what was up with the dismal presentation of the 4K “restoration” of The Thin Red Line (last summer) and then 2 other films I’d seen recently in late fall. In all cases I asked why the projectors were not projecting bright and sharp. His answer – “We are not responsible for the digital files sent to us”. Oh.

I had seen Star Wars in 3D digital in early Jan 2016 at a different (large screen) theater. Their presentation (sound and picture quality) of it was extraordinary – they used a Sony 4K dual projection system.

Either customers are going to have to start complaining or will just stop going – or – dim projection is going to be the new normal.

StanMalone
StanMalone on January 10, 2017 at 10:02 am

Theater owners who were used to getting three, four, five, and even as much as six thousand hours from a xenon bulb in the film days are having a hard time facing the fact that with at least some of the digital projectors, the light starts to degrade after only a thousand hours and needs to be replaced at the two thousand hour mark.

I am speaking from a very narrow experience with digital projectors but they also require more than the once or twice a year visit from a booth tech to maintain good picture quality.

I guess that after decades of trying to get rid of us pesky projectionists, some owners are having trouble facing the fact that now that it has happened they still have to pay at least some money to make the booth run right.

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