The historic Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California is in serious trouble.
Movie fans were heartbroken last night when movie theater company Pacific Theaters announced that they would not be reopening after the pandemic. The move will effectively shut down hundreds of movie screens operated under the ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific name.
One specific theater took center stage: the closing of the iconic Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles, operated by ArcLight. The beloved theater has been a treasured part of Hollywood history, used by some of the most celebrated directors in movie history to spotlight their films. And this morning, one movie fan and filmmaker in Los Angeles is petitioning for someone to save the Dome.
This petition – www.change.org/SaveTheDome – launched late on Monday night after the news of the theater closings started to spread, and within just a few hours built more than 1,000 signers. This morning it’s one of the largest new entertainment petitions on Change.org. It was started by a filmmaker and actor named Ben Steinberg, who notes how deeply important the Cinerama Dome is in movie history.
“It has been the choice of the greatest filmmakers in the world to showcase their films including Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and many more,” Steinberg writes in his petition. “It is one of the last remaining Cinerama domes in the world! With the recent news that Arclight Cinemas is closing forever, we cannot allow the Dome to be demolished or changed.”
The Cinerama Dome is the only concrete geodesic dome structure in the entire world. It was initially contructed over a period of only six weeks, with each of its concrete tiles weighing approximately 70,000 pounds.
Steinberg hopes that a company like Disney, Netflix, Apple or Amazon might step up and help preserve the Dome. And flocks of signers agree, leaving comments on the petition about how important it is to save the Cinerama Dome. Netflix, in particular, does have a track record of rescuing historical sites – their purchase of the Egyptian Theater in 2020 saved it from certain destruction.
“I’ve seen amazing films and Q&A’s at this historic location. It needs to be preserved as a monument and used for films. It has equipment that not many places have anymore as well,” writes petition signer Robert Andruszko from Anaheim.
“I’m signing because LA is the city of film. We are synonymous with the magic of the movies. And with all these historic, landmark theatres struggling and this one in particular going away, it’s devastating,” says petition signer Dylan Hoang of Northridge.
“The Cinerama Dome is the most iconic, magical cinema in the world. A true Hollywood legend. Please save the Cinerama Dome and the Arclight theaters,” adds petition signer Tim Breen of San Mateo.
Countless other comments can be viewed (as well as real-time signatures) at: www.change.org/SaveTheDome
And others are also using the hashtag #SaveTheDome on Twitter and Instagram to try and show their support for preserving this venerable Hollywood institution.
“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 privately held company said in a statement.
“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,” the statement added.
Originally built in 1963, the Cinerama Dome has been the venue for numerous movie premieres and other red carpet events. It was declared a historic monument in 1998 and was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to the industry, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”.
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