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Even though the box office and exhibition have been rebounding from the effects of the pandemic, the industry was dealt a big blow when it was announced on Monday that Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres would be closing permanently.
According to “Deadline“, the chain was actually aiming to reopen over Memorial Day weekend when A Quiet Place Part II and Cruella are set to hit theaters. These plans ultimately changed when Decurion, the owner of the once-popular movie theater chain, decided to hand the keys back to the landlords on all of their Arclight and Pacific locations. The chain reportedly isn’t bankrupt but the landlords now decide which keys they want to keep and which they’d like to return to the exhibitor. There is no word if the chain is up for sale but many of the Arclight locations the chain doesn’t own and these venues are where the company is down on its leases. For instance, the Arclight’s new Culver City location was in arrears on its March rent which reached a staggering $181,900 that is due in full to collections agent Caitlin Brannon. Decurion had this to say about their decision to not reopen:
“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.”
What makes the news seem even more permanent is that the chain gave notice to its theatrical staff that they would not be reopening. If there were some hope for a last-minute save, I don’t think the chain would’ve let go of their workers. The biggest and most notable location is the Hollywood Archlight on Sunset Boulevard and the 58-year old Cinerama Dome. The Cinerama Dome is beloved by the likes of Quentin Tarantino who featured it prominently in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. The Hollywood Arclight location is also one of the highest-grossing movie theaters in the nation so its closure will be a huge blow to the industry and the Los Angeles market. Los Angeles County is at a 50% limited capacity for movie theaters some believe that they could be operating at 100% by Memorial Day which is well ahead of Governor Gavin Newsome’s June 15 wide-open order. The timing for all of this makes the whole thing even more frustrating because moviegoing is poised for a comeback and you just wish there was some way for these places to hold on just a bit longer.
If there is some hope, particularly for the Cinerama Dome, is that it’s very much loved by filmmakers and studios. One would think some of these power players won’t want to see it die and could step in to save it. If Decurion can’t resurrect the location, there is a thought that someone will come along and make sure that the location continues its legacy in the area. As for other Arclight Light Cinema locations, they are mostly in big shopping centers, and their presence drives business to other retailers in the area. Not having these luxurious cinemas will certainly hurt other businesses so there is hope from the landlords that another exhibitor can revive these locations and make sure the rest of their businesses don’t suffer due to the absence of the movie theater.
There is an Arclight location in the courtyard where I work and it’s going to be sad to see it go. Pre-COVID, the location had plans for a major revamp and remodel because the business was thriving and they wanted to make the location even more appealing to moviegoers. To see this place shut its doors after these promising plans make it more disappointing that the last year destroyed the business so quickly. I have a lot of memories at that location and have seen many movies there over the years with my friends. It’s sad to see it come to an end, especially as things are starting to truly rebound for the industry.
Are YOU sad to see the Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theatre locations go? Also, just to give you a hint at how loved these locations are, check out some of the reactions from various people in the industry below.
???? 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.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) April 13, 2021
This is so painful. The Arclight is my go-to. Clean, great sound, assigned stadium seating, great popcorn, usher movie introductions. A true movie-going experience. ???? https://t.co/EtkfA9sMCx
— Gina Prince-Bythewood (@GPBmadeit) April 13, 2021
Thank you ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres for the many wonderful cinematic experiences. Cinephiles will certainly miss the iconic Cinerama Dome, which is such an integral part of the Los Angeles movie culture! https://t.co/iMSqGj89sI
— Roland Emmerich (@rolandemmerich) April 13, 2021
So far every movie I’ve done I make choices thinking about the experience of watching it in the perfect theater. That theater in my head was always an Arclight. Sad to see that option go away for us movie fans.
— Wes Ball (@wesball) April 13, 2021
WOW!!! This is the 1st place I ever saw 2001. The DOME. And the Arclight with the announcements. The experience of going to watch a movie there was otherworldly, being in one was absolutely humbling. If Randy lived in the real world I feel he would have managed the joint! ?????? https://t.co/633oI44N7V
— Jamie Kennedy (@JamieKennedy) April 13, 2021
If the Arclight is really going away, I will be crushed – it is such an integral part of my life in Los Angeles. I have been so, SO looking forward to the day when this is all over and I could go back to @ArcLightCinemas…
— Mike Flanagan (@flanaganfilm) April 13, 2021
The Arclight Hollywood was my most favorite theatre in the world to see movies. My home court of cinema in LA. I saw my first movie in LA there when I moved here in 2009 and the last movie before the pandemic there. Truly a bummer. https://t.co/sziPORAGcA
— Ben Schwartz (@rejectedjokes) April 13, 2021
I love the Arclight. Hollywood, Valley. They were great.
One of the biggest thrills of my life was seeing my tiny 16 mm movie shown in the Cinerama Dome.
I’ve seen so many of my favorite movies there. So many wonderful after-movie Q and As.
This is a real blow.
— Brian Lynch (@BrianLynch) April 13, 2021