Arclight, AFI Fest & The Cinerama Dome

The Cinerama Dome is the crown jewel of the ArcLight Cinemas Complex in the heart of Hollywood. 2004 marks the third year in a row that AFI FEST gala presentations will be held at the Dome, a unique structure that dates back to 1963 and an entirely different motion picture era.

 The post-World War II generation was fascinated by television and a myriad of new diversions that kept suburban families away from movie screens. Hollywood decided the way to fight back was to market the advantages of seeing a movie in a theater, highlighting the superior picture quality and size. By the early 1960s, though, large-screen formats such as CinemaScope, 3D, VistaVision, and Todd A-O had fallen out of favor as a means of drawing audiences back to American cinemas. Still, Cinerama Inc. had not given up, and unveiled plans in February 1963 to build at least 600 theaters worldwide that would show its movies, with designs based on the geodesic dome developed by Los Angeles architect R. Buckminster Fuller.

 The Pacific Theaters chain , headed by William R. Forman and his son Michael , announced in April 1963 that it would build the first theater based upon the design. Construction took just 16 weeks, and the Dome was completed in time to host the World Premiere of Stanley Kramer's IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD in November 1963.

 The Cinerama Dome was the first new major motion picture theater built in Hollywood in 33 years, and no comparable movie theater has been built in Los Angeles since it opened.

 In the late 1990s Pacific Theatres reevaluated what visitors wanted from the movie going experience and the decision was made to create the ArcLight Complex. As an important component of the complex, the Cinerama Dome was carefully refurbished and refreshed over a two-year period. The Dome sound system and acoustics were upgraded, and the signature marquee and portico on Sunset Boulevard were restored to their original dramatic presence.

 All of the ArcLight cinema auditoriums were engineered to feature the best in sight and sound technology. The Dome and the complex were open in 2002 and hosted AFI FEST in November of that year.

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