ArcLight and Pacific Theaters are closing, including Cinerama Dome

On Monday, we heard the surprising and sad announcement that ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres will not be reopening. Their parent company, Decurion, is handing the keys back to the landlords on six Los Angeles area Pacific Theaters and 11 ArcLight Cinema locations nationwide. The biggest blow is the chain’s center gem, the Cinerama Dome, located on storied Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Deadline got the exclusive and explained what was going on with the closures and what it meant for the theaters.

The last thing we needed to hear as the box office and exhibition are rebounding from the pandemic was a piece of bad news, but word spread like wildfire in distribution and exhibition circles Monday that the Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres won’t be reopening. The chain, owned by Decurion, has issued a statement — read it below.

Decurion’s crown jewel is the Hollywood Arclight multiplex on Sunset Boulevard and its 58-year old Cinerama Dome, which made a big cameo in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and remains many filmmakers’ favorite venue. The Hollywood Arclight is also one of the highest-grossing movie theaters in the nation; again, a huge blow to the industry and the L.A. market, which is in its fourth week of a robust reopening.

Here’s Decurion’s statement:

After shutting our doors more than a year ago, today we must share the difficult and sad news that Pacific will not be reopening its ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres locations.
This was not the outcome anyone wanted, but despite a huge effort that exhausted all potential options, the company does not have a viable way forward.

To all the Pacific and ArcLight employees who have devoted their professional lives to making our theaters the very best places in the world to see movies: we are grateful for your service and your dedication to our customers.

To our guests and members of the film industry who have made going to the movies such a magical experience over the years: our deepest thanks. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve you.

Behind the scenes, what I hear that’s technically happening is that Decurion has handed the keys back to the landlords on all their Arclight and Pacific properties. That doesn’t mean the chain is bankrupt — rather, it is part of a thick lease negotiation. What happens in this instance is that the landlord decides which keys to keep and which they’d like to return to the exhibitor. No word yet that the chain is up for sale; I think it’s waiting to see what leases it gets back. Many of the Arclight venues the chain doesn’t own, and it’s those, I’m told, where the company is really down on its leases.

[From Deadline]

I’m sure this was obvious, but I don’t completely understand what’s going on. Deadline said that Decurion doesn’t own many of their ArcLight venues. The New York Times said Decurion does own their theaters but since IndieWire reported that ArcLight was just evicted from its Culver City location due to failure to pay rent, I think ArcLight’s leases are killing the entire chain. Most outlets confirm that unlike Alamo Drafthouse, which filed Chapter 11 in March, Decurion has not declared bankruptcy nor is it for sale as of this writing. We do know that the ArcLight and Pacific staffs were let go, so there were casualties. Imagine sticking out the entire pandemic, riding the hope that your job would be waiting for you, only to have a pink slip mailed to you right after the governor announced the state’s reopening date. That really stinks. I feel terrible for those staff. Especially since box office numbers are rising throughout LA.

The main focus, however, is the Cinerama because it is such a Hollywood institution. It’s a favorite of Quentin Tarantino and he looks for any opportunity to show it off. As mentioned, it appeared in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and even made it on to the movie poster. Filmmakers love to have premieres there because it’s such a showpiece and conducive to whatever extra way they want to promote their film. It looks like a miniature EPCOT from the outside and inside it boasts the largest contoured motion picture screen in the world. It’s 86 feet wide and 32 feet high – it’s a film geek’s wet dream. All of that is to say, I doubt it’s going anywhere. Pacific Theatre might lose it but someone else is already negotiating for it. I almost hope it goes to a chain because I fear a studio will buy it and then we’ll only get that studio’s films played there. It might be picked up by a single owner, but that could also come with its own issues with inheritance rights and such. Maybe it’s my ignorance, but I’m just not that worried about losing it. It is one of the few things Angelenos care about, I think it’ll be saved.

Photo credit: Instagram

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9 Responses to “ArcLight and Pacific Theaters are closing, including Cinerama Dome”

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  1. Lightpurple says:

    This is sad. Arclight had just opened a beautiful new theater here in Boston as part of the Garden complex, bringing life and activity into the area when there were no games at the Garden.

  2. WildWaffles says:

    I grew up going to the Dome. It was a big deal to see a movie there. I hope someone responsible and invested in LA history takes it over.

  3. Snuffles says:

    I’m bummed! When I lived in LA, it was down the street and I would was able to walk there all the time when I was car less. I went to see movies at both the Cinerama Dome and the Arclight. I’ve been to movie premieres there. Went to movie Q&As there with actors, writers and directors. I browsed the bookshop to flip through books on Hollywood’s golden age. Ate at the restaurant. I loved it!

    And when I moved back to Maryland, I was thrilled there was an Arclight nearby. Once you get to sit in assigned seats in super comfy chairs, it’s hard to go back!

    I wonder if the movie theater will turn into a relic of a bygone era. I must admit I’ve come to prefer watching movies at home. My teenage nephews find going to the theater a strange, foreign concept. They hate the idea of not being able to pause, rewind and rewatch at will. They are like “So, you just sit there?”. Completely incredulous.

  4. D says:

    The Arclight was one of the only things I liked about LA when I lived there. No kids, food & drinks, comfy seats and no ads. My husband is devastated about the Dome closing. It must be so hard for these theater chains to survive.

  5. Lady Luna says:

    I love this theater, but then it started to get too expensive to go see a movie there. It’s sad that they’re closing, but it was hard to go there when you have a big family.

  6. Meredith says:

    This is so sad. I loved the ArcLight and Cinerama! I still think of ArcLight’s caramel popcorn.

    We have a Cinerama here in Seattle and I’m hoping it eventually reopens. It was the best place in the area to see a movie…

  7. lascivious chicken says:

    It’s totally going to be saved. I’m already sick of the hand-wringing about it!

  8. Katie says:

    This is such a blow. The Arclight Hollywood was more than a movie theater, it was an experience and a chance to see the best of what Hollywood has to offer. I had so many “Hollywood” moments there, like seeing the beautiful costumes from a movie and even seeing a few movies with the director or the actor from the movie in the audience with us.

    I know people are sure it will be saved but I have my doubts. The dome is a designated landmark, but that doesn’t stop someone from keeping the outside the dome the same and carving out the skeleton of what the theater was inside.

  9. Soupie says:

    Noooo make it a museum at least. 😫😥 Like a few others here, I grew up seeing movies there. It needs to be prescribed somehow.