ollywood is steeped in history centered around an industry responsible for two experiences that affect the daily lives of everyone in the world: film and television. And for us native Angelenos, going to the movies is embedded into our DNA as a rite of passage. So, when the news broke that ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatre (including the iconic Cinerama Dome that opened in 1963) would not be reopening amid post-pandemic life, we all felt like we got sucker punched in the gut.
The Cinerama Dome is the most beloved architectural oddity of film in all of Los Angeles and the loss of it—and the announcement that ArcLight would be shuttering—has hit hard. While, yes, Cinerama Dome may be brought back to life if some cinephile benefactor rises to the occasion (hello, Netflix), ArcLight which opened in 2002, was one of the few movie theaters that did it right. It offered a full experience that included meal packs (with healthy options), wine, beer, and a craft cocktail bar. The restaurant was worth the trip and the swanky seats made moviegoing a treat. ArcLight also hosted a wide array of screenings and vital Women in Entertainment live panel discussions.
Why have these theatre giants called it quits? “It’s the amount of debt these companies have incurred,” says Jeff Bock, an analyst at Exhibitor Relations. “They couldn’t see a way to profitability over the next couple years. It’s hard to sustain a business like theatrical exhibition with everything still unstable.” Sadly, PPP loans were unsuccessful in saving many companies in LA, ArcLight among them.
With so many uncertainties amid the global pandemic, we’ll sadly be saying goodbye to too many iconic locations in California, and across the nation. Remember them well.