In the ever present and continuing saga of the so-called “war” between how movies and television a.k.a. video content is being consumed, it seems that movies has lost another battle.
Last week, Pacific Theaters and the Arclight Theater chain that has much of its presence in the Los Angeles region, announced that they are closing their movie houses for good, thanks to the results of The Pandemic.
The closing include all of the Arclight Theaters that’s scattered around Los Angeles, including the location in Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, and the one in Hollywood. Also closing is the Cinema Dome, an architectural landmark that used its repatriation concept based on Buckmeister (“Bucky”) Fuller’s geometric design.
Arclight was one of the profound chains of movie houses that catered to the real movie lover that offered films that were both of a mix of standard blockbusters, as well as “smaller” films that can be deemed as “independent”–a genre that took hold in the middle 1990’s and continued through the early 21st century. Its lobby consisted of a large LED tote board with the names of the movies playing in its theater rooms, with a very large clock that hung over the LED signs. This facade resembled a scene that could have been found in a train station where the names of the movies showed where the “train” was headed to, and the clock reminded when the “train” was “departing” (i.e. when the movie would start!) This design was indeed intentional as if to state that seeing a feature would take the movie viewer on a journey to a place depicted in the film, with the cast of characters as its inhabitants.
The Hollywood location served as a theater that would host red carpet-type premiers, a place where the celebrity guests would have their image taken by the gaggle of photographers and video people along a backdrop, as well as having a space to service as the after party spot. When there was no premier, the space for the after parties would be a cafe where one can order a dish of something along with a beverage (alcohol or otherwise) that would be the ideal place to discuss the movie that was just viewed.
The Cinemarama Dome was one of the many single screen theaters that existed in Los Angeles. It opened on November 7th, 1963 with the epic comedy It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World that played at that theater until January of 1965. Over time, it also screened many other films, mostly of the “epic” variety that used to play first at the more profound theaters that were in downtown regions across the USA, and later arriving at the neighborhood theaters with admissions that were described as “at popular prices”.
As of this writing, it’s not known on what will be the fate of these places. Pacific and Arclight is dabbling the idea for a buyer as Netflix recently obtained the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.
This writer has seen many of flick at the Arclight in Hollywood, and even attended a few revival shows at the Cinerama Dome that ranged from The Scent of Mystery a.k.a Holiday In Spain (in its original “Smell-O-Vision” concept) to a (mostly) restored version of Mad World. The Arclight screenings seen there were more of the mainstream films. Some of those titles were worth worth its effort to trek to Sunset Blvd to view., while others were just a way to kill an evening’s time. Ditto for the other Arclight locations, such as the Sherman Oaks place where it was a lot closer to trek to from where the writer hangs his hat (and now works from) to see a movie that either was great to experience, amusing for what it was, or as “meh”! I even attended a few test and advance screenings of flicks there that film reviewers were not suppose to attend. But that was OK since many of the movies I did see as test films stood between the “amusing” and “meh” categories!
Although movie houses are currently open at limited capacities, many folks started getting used to seeing movies and its related content at home, whenever they desired, and at “popular prices”! Considering the notion that admission to view a feature at the Arclight Hollywood location costs an average of $14.00 per person. Concession prices varied. This didn’t count the cost of parking a vehicle be at it the garage behind the Arclight building, or at a meter space on the street–assuming you can find a place to plop the car, as well as getting to the movie house itself.
To give an example, a couple (two people) who wanted to spend a Saturday night at the movies would plunk down $28.00 for admission for both, and let’s say an additional $20.00 for concessions (popcorn, soda, etc.). Parking would cost around $10.00 in the garage. And if they wanted to have a drink in the cafe, that would be another cost. ($20.00) So with the above figures, it would cost the couple nearly $78.00. All of this just to see a feature that may have a running time of some 100 minutes–give or take!
Crunching the numbers, a Netflix subscription is around $10.00 for a month’s subscription time. Food can be anything the views(s) desire, from pizza order out, a pasta dish made at the stove, to a bowl of cold cereal poured right out of the box. Parking costs are non existent. So is the time getting there. And best of all, one doesn’t have to deal with others who may be acting obnoxious, from talking during the movie, playing with their phones, and so on. Granted, it won’t get the viewers out of the house and well as not getting the emotional appeal of experiencing the movie in a darken room with a bunch of strangers who react to what’s going on the screen. But you get what you pay for. And since this is the time where people would want to save their expenses through opportunity or necessity during these trying times, then why not?
I will admit that I am of an age where going to the movies was a big ordeal, and the only way to see such a film that TV could not duplicate was in a theater. Even when home video and pay TV entered the marketplace in the 1980’s, movies seen in a theater still made all of the difference. And over time, I would try to see just about every movie I was given the opportunity to review. Some of these movies I did see did get a review, while others were just placed aside. But as I now see it, The Pandemic because a game changer in both making movies, as well as consuming them.
Perhaps this was the virtual kick in the a$$ that the industry, as well as the consumers, needed and yet didn’t know of it! But movies, as well as TV/video has been involving since they began. This is yet another chapter in the continuing saga on why movies are made, why people go to the movies, and why video content is here to stay.
So as it’s been long stated, stay tuned…!
On Sunday, April 25th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented the 93rd Academy Awards, presenting the Oscar for the best films of the 2020 calendar year, held at the Dolby Theater within the Hollywood & Highland complex in Hollywood and at Union Station, downtown Los Angeles, as another “no hosted” event.
Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor for the feature release The Father. Frances McDormand won Best Actress for Nomadland. Chloe Zhao won Best Director for Nomadland, that also won as Best Picture.
For a list of all nominees and winners, visit the official web site at http://www.Oscars.com
On Saturday, April 24th, the Golden Raspberry Foundation announced the “winners” for the 41th Razzie Awards, awarding the Razzie for the worst films released in the 2020 calendar year.
Mike Lindell (the “My Pillow” guy) won Worst Actor for the feature release Absolute Proof. Kate Hudson won Worst Actress for Music. Sia won Worst Director for Music, and Absolute Proof won as Worst Picture.
A special Governors Award was presented to the year 2020 for Worst Calendar Year Ever!
For a list of all nominees, visit the official Razzies web site at http://www.Razzies.com
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