Cinerama Dome Among ArcLight, Pacific Theaters To Close Due To Pandemic Losses

by Bob Mondello

ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters said late Monday they are ceasing operations, closing all of their roughly 300 screens mostly found in California.

None has inspired more distress among Hollywood notables than the Cinerama Dome on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard.

“After shutting our doors more than a year ago,” the company said in a statement, “today we must share the difficult and sad news that Pacific will not be reopening its ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters locations.”

“This was not the outcome anyone wanted,” the statement continues, “but despite a huge effort that exhausted all potential options, the company does not have a viable way forward.”

The Cinerama Dome’s concrete geodesic dome was built to house the wide, curved screen required for single-lens Cinerama. It opened in 1963 with the premiere of Stanley Kramer’s extravagantly wide-screen comedy It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World — with its swinging hook-and-ladder finale.

The Dome has since hosted dozens of Hollywood premieres, including Shrek 2, for which it was painted green and fitted out with tubular ears. It has also figured in movies and television shows including Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.

Hollywood Reacts to Arclight News

And its closing prompted an outpouring of sentiment from Hollywood notables.

“I’m so sad,” tweeted actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. “I remember going to the Cinerama Dome to see Star Trek IV with my dad when I was little. So many memories since then.”

“Sad. HAIR opened in the Cinerama Dome,” tweeted Treat Williams, who starred in that musical.

And Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson wrote on Twitter: “Well this sucks. Every single person who worked at the Arclight loved movies, and you felt it. Sending love to every usher, manager and projectionist who rocked that blue shirt and made it such a special place.”

Long among the highest-grossing theaters in America, according to Deadline, the Dome and Arclight Cinemas are now the latest casualty of a pandemic that has kept many of the world’s cinemas closed for more than a year.