Pacific and ArcLight theaters to close permanently

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

Pacific and ArcLight theaters are bidding farewell after 94 years of operation.

By Anthony Lopez, Staff Writer

The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood is seen here boarded up and closed to the public on Thursday, April 15, 2021, following the announcement of the closure of every ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres. (Photo by Jeremy Ruiz/The Valley Star)

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted lives, it has also caused many hardships to businesses such as movie theaters.

According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, as of April 5, theaters are allowed to seat 50 percent of their occupancy or 200 people, whichever is fewer. However, ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres did not take advantage of the reopening allowances and therefore have remained closed for more than a year.

“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,” the company wrote in a statement yesterday. “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.”

A recent report from IndieWire stated that Pacific Theaters Exhibition had not paid an estimated $181,900 in rent for March 2021 for its Culver City Arclight location and could be in danger of owing $2.2 million for a full year.

This closure means that some of the most popular movie theaters within the film industry will be closed, including the iconic Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. The theater has hosted movie premieres and has appeared in everything from “Melrose Place” to Tarantino’s 2019 film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

According to an article by the Hollywood Reporter, The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood was constructed in 1963 by Pacific Theatres' parent company the Decurion Corp., and designed by Welton Becket & Associates — who was also the architect of the Beverly Wilshire and Beverly Hilton hotels. The unique structure was built to house what was then a new widescreen Cinerama system which employed a 70mm single-projector process of displaying images on a huge curved screen (rather than the original Cinerama system that used three synchronized projectors). The Dome opened on Nov. 7, 1963, with the world premiere of Stanley Kramer's “It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

Pacific Theaters and ArcLight had six locations each in the Los Angeles area. ArcLight also operated theaters in Boston, Chicago, San Diego and other cities throughout the country. The 18 Pacific Theatres screens at the Glendale Americana and 14 at the Grove in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles are both major landmarks. Other locations for the two brands were in Northridge, Sherman Oaks, Lakewood and Chatsworth.

Although Pacific and ArcLight theaters are saying goodbye to moviegoers, AMC and Cinemark theaters are not in the clear just yet. MarketWatch stated that ever since theaters have started to reopen with limited capacity in some states, they still remain closed in many major cities such as Los Angeles and New York City. Movies that were originally scheduled for release in the year 2020 have been pushed back to 2021. Three percent of U.S. movie theater companies posted losses of 75 percent or more in the second quarter due to coronavirus-related closures.

“If the status quo continues, 69 percent of small- and mid-sized movie-theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or to close permanently, and 66 percent of theater jobs will be lost,” the group said.

Social media went into a frenzy after the announcement by Pacific and ArcLight theaters was made. Actors and filmmakers like Gina Prince-Bythewood, Barry Jenkins, Rian Johnson and Elijah Wood headed to Twitter to use their platforms to express their feelings in regards to the closure of these iconic and memorable theaters.

“The Arclight Hollywood was my most favorite theatre in the world to see movies,” said actor Ben Schwartz on Twitter. “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.”

Correction: The caption for the photo incorrectly stated it was taken on March 15, 2021. It was taken on April 15, 2021. The caption has been updated.