Cinerama Dome and ArcLight Cinemas

6360 Sunset Boulevard,
Hollywood,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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RogerA
RogerA on October 14, 2014 at 2:40 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.

Cliffs
Cliffs on October 8, 2014 at 10:36 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
RogerA on October 8, 2014 at 5:06 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
Cliffs on October 8, 2014 at 4:16 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
RogerA on October 8, 2014 at 3:54 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
Cliffs on October 8, 2014 at 3:28 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
RogerA on October 8, 2014 at 3:15 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
Cliffs on October 8, 2014 at 3:07 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.

markp
markp on October 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm

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

RogerA
RogerA on October 8, 2014 at 12:34 pm

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.

Cliffs
Cliffs on October 8, 2014 at 4:26 am

In Arclight’s defense… it’s not like film projectionist is an in demand job anymore. We weren’t utilizing projectionists when I was working for United Artists 20 years ago (other than district-wide “maintenance”), so I’m not sure what’s changed. Projectionists used to be a vital part of the exhibition of film (with the necessary film changeovers and projector maintenance), but as we moved to platters and certainly now with digital, the role and importance of the projectionist is evermore questionable. This is not to start a debate on film vs digital, but just a question about the demand and supply of projectionists in the current exhibition climate. Most theaters really need part-time DITs now (again… district wide). It’s like being the guy who still maintains the horses for the Pony Express complaining that he’s underpaid.

RogerA
RogerA on October 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm

low pay, 12 bucks an hour and no benefits

Flix70
Flix70 on October 1, 2014 at 11:35 am

What’s the issue with the projectionist?

RogerA
RogerA on October 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

and in IMAX 70mm at the Chinese. I’ll have to see it at the Chinese. I won’t go to the Dome until they settle their dispute with the projectionist. I have been waiting to see an IMAX movie at the Chinese since the redo.

Flix70
Flix70 on October 1, 2014 at 11:02 am

Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” will screen in 70mm at the Dome starting Tue., Nov. 4. Tickets on sale now.

RogerA
RogerA on September 4, 2014 at 8:44 am

Maybe there were exceptions but souvenir programs were a part of being a road show. Even road shows with general seating had the program.

Flix70
Flix70 on September 3, 2014 at 11:15 am

Anybody catch Ghostbusters in the Dome over the weekend?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Hello From NYC-

I refer to the Oct. 1955 opening of Oklahoma to the Dec. 1972 opening of Man of La Mancha as the prime roadshow period. so from its opening Nov. 1963 to when the roadshow policy was discontinued the Dome hosted many a reserved seat engagement. to which my question- can anyone remember a roadshow engagement at the Dome that did not have a souvenir program?

RogerA
RogerA on August 16, 2014 at 8:03 pm

I went to the Ziegfield in New York to see the Apocalypse original release and the presentation was excellent.

Coate
Coate on August 15, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Thirty-five years ago today, the Cinerama Dome was among three North American theaters to open Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” in a reserved-performance, guaranteed-seat exclusive engagement. A 35th anniversary retrospective article was posted today at The Digital Bits.

KramSacul
KramSacul on August 8, 2014 at 6:46 pm

It’s been discussed here before. The real issue isn’t the curved screen or whatever masking they’re trying now. It’s the angle of the projection which makes movies with lots of horizon shots and horizontal lines look ridiculous. I remember seeing LoA in the Dome a few years ago and every epic shot of the desert looked like it was filmed through a fish bowl. Same thing with each of the Lord of the Rings movies.

Maybe for some the grandness of the screen compensates for the distortion but for me it’s annoying. I like a big curved screen (Grauman’s pre-2002 screen was great) but not when it makes everything look like it’s going to fall over.

RobertAlex
RobertAlex on June 14, 2014 at 2:07 am

Roger, I agree with you 100% which is why I was so disappointed. The problem is not the screen but rather what arclight has done to diminish the affects of the curve. The issue is the masking on the bottom corners of the screen.

RogerA
RogerA on June 13, 2014 at 7:23 pm

The screen at the Chinese was 120 feet but the curve made up for 20 feet of that so if you look at it dead on it was a little less than 100 feet wide the same size as the Imax screen is now. Only a small area of the screen at the Chinese was used. Width was limited to 65 feet for the 2:35 format 35mm film as the amount of light required to get 18 foot lamberts on a big screen will damage the film.

RogerA
RogerA on June 13, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Yes, the Cinerama Dome opened with Mad World in Ultra-Panavision the print being a single 70mm strand with 6 channels of mag sound on the print. The screen has a medium curve. I don’t know the exact angle. Not as curved as the original Cinerama or Todd-AO screens but the screen at the Dome is curved.

Some people hate it and to those who do I would suggest they just go see the film in another theater. There are loads of flat screens in the city. The screen at the Dome does not bother me even the mild distortion that some presentations have. I have seen films at the Dome for over twenty years. When A Million Ways to Die in the West was moved from the Dome to a Smaller theater I decided to wait and watch it in my home theater when it comes to DVD in a week or so. I don’t have a curved screen in my home theater but if someone would find me an anamorphic adapter I would install a curved screen. Some people hate curved screens and some people love the curved screen. I have seen 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Dome and at the Egyptian (flat screen) and it looked much better on the curved screen at the Dome.

The best curved screen was at Grauman’s Chinese in early 90’s. It was a very shallow curve and no one ever complained about that curved screen. I don’t think most people even knew it was curved.

RobertAlex
RobertAlex on June 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Jason, I know. I stood there with my mouth open knowing this dude had no clue to what he was speaking of and just walked away. I emailed Arclight, lets see if I get a response. Yes, it was Days of Future Past…or as I will call it now, the movie that smiled at me for 2 hours.:)