Cinerama Dome

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Cinerama Dome
Cinerama Dome front.jpg
Location6360 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California
Coordinates34°05′51″N 118°19′41″W / 34.097581°N 118.328088°W / 34.097581; -118.328088Coordinates: 34°05′51″N 118°19′41″W / 34.097581°N 118.328088°W / 34.097581; -118.328088
OwnerPacific Theatres
TypeIndoor movie theater
OpenedNovember 7, 1963
DesignatedDecember 18, 1998
Reference no.659

Pacific Theatres's Cinerama Dome is a movie theater located at 6360 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. Designed to present widescreen Cinerama films, it opened November 7, 1963.[1][2][3] Today it continues as a leading first run theater. The original developer was Saul Pick.


In February 1963, Cinerama Inc. unveiled a radically new design for theaters which would show its movies. They would be based on the geodesic dome developed by R. Buckminster Fuller, would cost half as much as conventional theaters of comparable size, and could be built in half the time. Cinerama's goal was to see at least 600 built worldwide within two years. The following April, Pacific Theatres Inc. announced plans to build the first theater based upon the design, and had begun razing existing buildings at the construction site. Located on Sunset near Vine Street, it would be the first new major motion picture theater in Hollywood in 33 years, and would be completed in time for the scheduled November 2 press premiere of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The design was proposed by French architect Pierre Cabrol, lead designer in the noted architectural firm of Welton Becket and Associates. Pierre Cabrol worked with R. Buckminster Fuller during his studies at the M.I.T..

Total construction time is reported to have been 16 weeks. The domed roof comprises 316 precast concrete panels (most hexagonal) in 16 patterns, each weighing some 3,200 pounds (1,500 kg). The first pentagonal panel was placed on August 29, with the rest to be installed over 4 weeks.

The It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World premiere (filmed in Ultra Panavision 70) marked the dawn of "single lens" Cinerama. Previously, Cinerama was known for its groundbreaking three-projector process. From 1963 until 2002, the Cinerama Dome never showed movies with the three-projector process. (The nearby Warner Cinerama at 6433 Hollywood Boulevard used the three-projector process until December 1964.)


With its 86 feet (26 m) wide screen, advanced acoustics and 70mm film capability, the Cinerama Dome remained a favorite for film premieres and "event" showings. But by the late 1990s the motion picture exhibition business began to favor multiplex cinemas, and Pacific Theatres proposed a plan to remodel the Dome as a part of a shopping mall/cinema complex. Historical preservationists were outraged, not wishing to see another great theater turned into a multiplex or destroyed. At the same time, a small contingent of Cinerama enthusiasts had begun resurrecting the three-projector process. They and the preservationists prevailed on Pacific to rethink its plans for the property.

The preservation of the Cinerama Dome came at a time when most other surviving Cinerama theaters were being demolished. An example of this was the case of the Indian Hills Theater in Omaha, Nebraska, a round Cinerama theater boasting a 110-foot screen which was razed in 2001 to make room for a parking lot.

The Cinerama Dome was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1998.[4]

The Cinerama Dome, decorated for Shrek 2
The ArcLight Cinerama Dome decorated for Spider-Man 2 in 2004


In 2002 after a two-year closure, the Cinerama Dome was reopened as a part of Pacific Theatres' ArcLight Hollywood complex. The dome remains essentially unchanged though there have been improvements, notably in the acoustics. But for the first time ever, the Cinerama Dome began showing movies in the three-projector format. It is one of only three such theaters in the world today.

The Cinerama Dome made its digital projection debut in May 2005 with Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. In 2009, James Cameron's Avatar was the first 3D film to be shown in the Cinerama Dome, using technology from XpanD 3D.

In December 2015, the Cinerama Dome upgraded to a laser projection system, using two Christie 6P projectors and Dolby 3D.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

The Cinerama Dome was featured in the 2008 film Frost/Nixon directed by Ron Howard in the scene recreating the Hollywood premiere of the Sherman Brothers' 1976 musical film, The Slipper and the Rose.[6]

It was also shown in Melrose Place's fourth episode, "Vine", as the location for the premiere of the fictional movie "Kensington Squared."

The theater also appears briefly in the 2016 film Keanu, starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele,

The Cinerama Dome will also feature in the forthcoming 2019 directorial return for Quentin Tarantino in his ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cinerama Dome". The Los Angeles Times. August 12, 1998. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  2. ^ Gettell, Oliver (April 12, 2012). "Cinerama Dome puts 'How the West Was Won' in proper perspective". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  3. ^ Hawthorne, Christopher (April 12, 2013). "Motion Picture Academy unveils ambitious plans for film museum". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  4. ^ Department of City Planning. "Designated Historic-Cultural Monuments". City of Los Angeles. Archived from the original on June 9, 2010. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
  5. ^ Carolyn Giardina (December 17, 2015). "ArcLight's Cinerama Dome Debuts 3D Laser Projection for New 'Star Wars'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ "Frost/Nixon (2008) : Filming Locations". Retrieved 2015-12-17.

External links[edit]