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Pacific Theatres And Arclight Cinemas Won't Be Reopening


With a few exceptions, it's been a rough year for the movie industry. And the grim news continues. Pacific Theatres announced yesterday it will not be reopening its doors. The company owns Arclight Cinemas, which has locations mainly in California, also across the country. And as NPR's Andrew Limbong reports, that includes LA's historic Cinerama Dome.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: If you're not from a place, it might be hard to care why a local landmark is closing, but the Cinerama Dome was much more than just your neighborhood spot. It represented something. When Pacific Theatres announced that it'd be renovating the concrete geodesic dome auditorium, here's what then-Cinerama Inc. director John Sittig told NPR in 2000.


JOHN SITTIG: There's probably untold hundreds of thousands that have graduated from film schools since 1963 that have read about Cinerama and never had the opportunity to see it. So we really feel there is a built-in audience out there, especially in Hollywood.

LIMBONG: And he was right. Filmgoers flocked to it, and famous boosters of all types namedropped the dome, sometimes to a detrimental effect. Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt told NPR in 2015 about his addiction to movies and how one time he was at an all-night horror marathon at the Cinerama. His girlfriend at the time wasn't super jazzed about it.


PATTON OSWALT: It was now 3 in the morning, and she wanted to go home. And I just made her walk out to the parking lot of the Cinerama Dome at 3 a.m. near the end of October in LA so that I could watch the very beginning of "I Married A Monster From Outer Space."

LIMBONG: Of course, moments and memories like these go beyond just the Cinerama Dome. The closures affect 300 screens in California alone. And there are Arclight theaters outside of Washington, D.C., in Boston and in Chicago. There's also a ripple effect to these closings as many of these theaters were big draws for malls and other shopping spaces.

KEN FENYO: I think there is a big effort to figure out, what am I going to do with all this space?

LIMBONG: Ken Fenyo is the president of research and advisory at Coresight Research, which analyzes data on retail and technology trends.

FENYO: You know, I think we're seeing some malls think about more expanded food courts and food offerings, but even things like residential redevelopment or, you know, using some of the space for fulfillment operations, you know, from various e-commerce players.

LIMBONG: But somehow going to pick up the pants you ordered online just doesn't quite have the same ring as dinner and a movie.

Andrew Limbong, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.
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