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On Sunday, March 26, filmmaker and journalist Simon Thompson took a photo of the Arclight Hollywood’s interior. Plywood boards that were fixed to the windows in 2020 when the venue, located at 6369 Sunset Blvd., “temporarily” closed during the pandemic, have started to fall off. Inside, the theater appears frozen in time, with posters for 2020 releases like “The Invisible Man” and “The Way Back” clearly visible behind the ticket counter.
Thompson uploaded the photo on Twitter, and it has since received roughly 2 million impressions, with former patrons of the famed multiplex eulogizing the location.
“It’s just such a loved location by [both] the casual movie goer, because it feels a little fancy, and the cinephile because they treat film really respectfully, and the staff are all informed film lovers,” Thompson said. “They’re not just people doing a job. There’s a respect amongst the clientele where people shut up when they watch a movie. And they turn their phones off when they watch a movie. So, the Cinerama dome and the Arclight are kind of the church – the big cathedral for movie goers in Los Angeles.”
News on the Arclight’s future, however, has been uncertain. The 15-screen multiplex, which also includes the Cinerama Dome, a Los Angeles historical-cultural monument, was operated by the Decurion Corporation, the company that also owned Pacific Theatres. Decurion announced in April 2021 that it would be closing both of its theatrical chains.
“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 statement issued to The Los Angeles Times read.
An Arclight location at the Sherman Oaks Galleria was leased by Regal Cinemas. Others around the country were taken over by AMC Theatres.
In June 2022, Variety Magazine reported that Decurion would be reopening the Hollywood location, though The Hollywood Reporter later said the theater would not return until late 2023.
Decurion has not responded to a request for comment, and no updates have been reported by any news organization since fall 2022. In the meantime, the area surrounding the structure has suffered, with homeless encampments popping up nearby and few nearby businesses operating. An adjacent 24-Hour Fitness recently reopened its doors after shuttering during the pandemic. Amoeba Music, which formerly operated next door to the theater, has moved to 6200 Hollywood Blvd., with the former site marked for a large-scale development.
Los Angeles Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez, 13th District, who represents the area, has also not heard anything recently on the property’s future.
“Hollywood is home to so many businesses with tremendous historical significance,” Soto-Martinez said. “It’s imperative that we remain committed to revitalizing these cultural landmarks in our community for residents and visitors to enjoy.”
Thompson said that the large venue could be utilized in many different ways.
“I’m surprised that it hasn’t even partially opened in some way. You could open the top or the bottom [floor], which would then create revenue. I have ideas for the Arclight coming out of my ears. I think it could be utilized not just as a movie theater, but also so many other things. I’m really amazed that the industry hasn’t come together. There’s no reason why part of it can’t be turned into production suites or studios.”
The Cinerama Dome opened in November 1963, showcasing a curved screen for films shot in the large-format process Cinerama. The first movie screened was “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” in its inaugural engagement. The site has hosted numerous premieres over the years, as well as making appearances in movies like “Frost/Nixon” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The Arclight theater initially opened next to the Cinerama Dome as an upscale multiplex in March 2002.
“I think if anything, the reaction to my simple tweet of looking through a window – in a time where so many people do question how many people go to movie theaters – [it shows] that is a location in the heart of the industry where people are genuinely [saying], ‘If they opened tomorrow, I would go.’”
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