Comments from Cliffs

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Cliffs commented about Arbor 4 Cinema on Jun 8, 2020 at 1:16 am

I worked at the Arbor 4 under United Artists Theatres from summer 89 to spring 91. It wasn’t a technically great theater but it was great fun to work at. When I first started we used to play in between showtimes and one of the funnest games was “Uncle Buck Baseball.” There was a banner for the John Candy comedy Uncle Buck at the other end of the lobby, above the bathrooms. We had a soft plastic ball and a bat constructed out of a cardboard poster tube stuffed with paper towels and a small piece of rebar inside, all taped up on each end. Rules were baseball… pitcher pitched and with a hit you ran the bases. Hitting John Candy’s face was a home run. It was a blast until someone up to bat swung and we noticed the piece of rebar came halfway out of the tube in the direction of the large plate window in the front is the theater. So… that was our final game of Uncle Buck Baseball.

Cliffs commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Oct 11, 2017 at 3:13 am

I saw Dunkirk at the Citywalk 70mm IMAX and was surprised (sitting higher in the middle) that the bottom of the screen was cropped at the lower corners by railings and the floor. The screen is so massive it’s hard to notice unless you’re looking for it, but it’s happening.

The thing about the Chinese that makes me crazy is that god*$&m center railing that cuts down the middle of the front. If you’re sitting anywhere within the middle 8-10 seats for about the first 3-4 rows in the back half, that rail pops right up into the screen (and even on the center edge of row K). It’s a massive screw up in the otherwise beautiful IMAX conversion.

Cliffs commented about El Capitan Theatre on Oct 11, 2017 at 3:04 am

@cubdukat, Because 3D isn’t a draw anymore. The theaters have realized that when given the choice, most people choose 2D now. I had a conversation with a high-up at Arclight and he told me that 3D shows in the Dome NEVER sell as much or as quickly as 2D shows in the Dome. The theaters are just following customer preference. Even IMAX has started to cool on IMAX 3D and are offering more and more IMAX 2D engagements.

And if you go to a Dolby Cinema screen, you won’t see it in 3D there either.

Cliffs commented about AMC Lincoln Square 13 on Jan 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Nope, Red did tests and found 35mm film to be approximately equivalent to 3.2/3.5k, but that gets down to around 2k when you get to mass produced release prints, which is what I said.

Here it is from cinematographer David Mullen (who has shot major features and television): “It’s easier to just talk about the resolution on the original negative and avoid bringing in the resolution of various printing and projection methods, etc. Red has tested Super-35 and generally found it to be, I forgot, 3.2K or 3.5K, something like that.

You could therefore say that if a 24mm wide piece of film negative resolves 3.2K, for example, a 36mm wide piece of film (VistaVision) would resolve 4.8K, and a 52mm wide piece of film (5-perf 65mm Super Panavision / Todd-AO) would resolve 6.9K, and a 70mm wide piece of film (15-perf 65mm IMAX) would resolve 9.3K. However, this ignores some real-world issues like the fact that older medium-format lenses used on large format movie cameras have a lower MTF compared to modern 35mm cine optics (because the larger negatives don’t need lenses with high MTF’s because if you have more millimeters overall, you don’t need to resolve as many lines per millimeter…)

If you really want to be crude, you could say that you lose maybe half the resolution of the negative once it is printed through dupe elements and thrown onto a theater screen, which is why 2K projection seems on par with the best 35mm print projection, and 4K projection would be similar to 70mm projection, but it therefore also means that IMAX digital projection should be at least 6K…"

Don’t confuse comfort with mathematical certainty. And unless you’ve seen Hateful 8 under optimal 4K digital projection, how do you know the 70mm was better?

And also: “It is well known that digital projectors go out of date way quicker than any 35mm film projectors ever did!”

That’s because digital is constantly evolving where film has remained stagnant for decades. You’re basically confirming that film now is as good as it’ll ever get but digital is constantly and rapidly evolving and getting better and better. That’s not really the strongest argument in favor of film. Take the emotional love for film out and look at this from a purely logical/technical standpoint… would you rather have a tech that has hit it’s ceiling or one that is being made better every year? REGARDLESS of where you think each sits today…

Cliffs commented about AMC Lincoln Square 13 on Jan 4, 2016 at 2:39 am

I’ve seen Hateful 8 in both 70mm and DCP. Care to guess which one looked better? (I’ll give you a hint… it WASN’T the 70mm, which had various focus, dirt, and stability issues- none of which were present on the much sharper/more detailed/more stable DCP)

Digital acquisition and projection is improving every single year. Film is exactly the same as it’s been for decades. I love film for nostalgic reasons, but the MASSIVE improvements that digital has seen in only about a decade of existence is why it’s the future. 35mm release prints are the rough equivalent of about 2K, so 4K digital projection (and especially when you start to introduce laser and HDR/DolbyVison) are already superior to film on the majority of releases. And Arri has already released a 65mm 6K digital Alexa, so even 65/70mm film is getting lapped by digital acquisition. Film’s days are numbered and instead of calling out people as laser/digital apologists, try to understand that these improvements in digital are only going to continue to equal/surpass film as time goes on. Rigidly gripping onto 35 and 70mm film means keeping the technological advances of movie making stagnant and less than it could/should be. This isn’t 2002 when Lucas was shooting Attack of the Clones at 1080p. We’re way past that. Try to keep up.

Cliffs commented about Universal Cinema AMC at Citywalk Hollywood 19 on Dec 26, 2015 at 6:37 pm

The IMAX screen is now sporting Laser projection.

Cliffs commented about Cinerama Hollywood on Dec 22, 2015 at 11:44 pm

It can if there’s no 70mm option available…

Cliffs commented about Cinerama Hollywood on Dec 21, 2015 at 10:59 am

Sorry, I had posted this but was asked to keep it quiet until Arclight had a chance to announce it themselves (which is why I deleted it a few days ago)…


ArcLight Announces an incredible cinematic viewing experience for guests starting with “Star Wars” release in the historic Cinerama Dome

(LOS ANGELES, CA—December 15, 2015 2015) ArcLight Cinemas, a premiere movie-going destination is excited to announce their collaboration withChristie® and Dolby® to bring the most advanced movie-viewing experience possible for ArcLight guests at the legendary Cinerama Dome in time for the most anticipated movie experience of the year “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Beginning this Thursday, December 17th, visitors to The Dome will be fully immersed in both cinematic history and new technology.

“We are always looking for the most innovative and immersive experience for our guests and feel the timing is perfect to bring the laser viewing experience to The Dome, which has such an iconic cinema history in Hollywood,” states Gretchen McCourt, Executive Vice President, ArcLight Cinemas.

The Dome has been upgraded with dual-head Christie 6P laser projectors and Dolby® 3D, which can project more than double the light of an average 3D projection system and will enable guests to view the nuances of the film and thoroughly enjoy the brilliance of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and future releases. Christie®extends the boundaries of 3D cinema with dramatically increased 3D light levels combined with Dolby® 3D advanced color separation technology. The Dome is already one of the largest screens in the nation and with the projection upgrade, it will be one of the largest screens with Christie laser projection.

“For more than 50 years, the iconic Cinerama Dome has been pushing the technological boundaries of movie presentations, and with the installation of the groundbreaking Christie 6-Primary (6P) dual-head laser projection system, ArcLight Cinemas is once again ensuring that their patrons have a most memorable movie-going experience,” said George Scheckel, senior director, Americas, for Christie. “We congratulate ArcLight on their choice, which continues our decade-long relationship that has seen Christie install scores of projectors in the chain’s theater throughout the United States.”

Dolby® 3D uses advanced color separation technology instead of the polarization technology. That makes it ideally suited for next generation laser projectors, which generate more light and create brighter images than bulb projectors. Dolby® 3D uses the laser’s native color light sources (red, green, blue) so no filters or light re-cycling is required.

ABOUT ArcLight Cinemas ArcLight Cinemas, created by Pacific Theatres, a privately owned, Los Angeles based company with 60 years of theatrical exhibition history throughout California, Hawaii and Washington is a premiere moviegoing experience with an unparalleled commitment to bringing a variety of rich cinematic content to moviegoers in all markets. ArcLight Cinemas operates eight theaters in California including Hollywood, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, El Segundo, Santa Monica, Culver City and La Jolla, as well as one theater in Bethesda, Md, Chicago and Glenview, Ill. ArcLight also owns and operates the historic Cinerama Dome and programs the TCL Chinese Theatre and IMAX in Hollywood. Pacific Theatres currently operates theaters in Los Angeles that include The Grove and The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif. Additional information about ArcLight Cinemas is available at

Connect with ArcLight: and

ABOUT Christie Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc. is a global visual and audio technologies company and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ushio, Inc., Japan, (JP:6925). Consistently setting the standards by being the first to market some of the world’s most advanced projectors and complete system displays, Christie is recognized as one of the most innovative visual technology companies in the world. From retail displays to Hollywood, mission critical command centers to classrooms and training simulators, Christie display solutions and projectors capture the attention of audiences around the world with dynamic and stunning images.

Cliffs commented about Cinerama Hollywood on Dec 6, 2015 at 7:13 pm

Christmas day shows for Star Wars now on sale in the Dome. So there’s your confirmation that there will be, in fact, no Hateful Eight 70mm in the Dome. At least not until mid January.

Cliffs commented about Cinerama Hollywood on Nov 20, 2015 at 9:01 pm

And the Village is showing Star Wars, so… same problem. Honestly, the Weinsteins should just move up H8 2 weeks to get out ahead of Star Wars. But instead it’s the perfect storm of the theaters most capable of playing H8 also being the ones most capable of playing Star Wars the best. The fact that the Weinsteins STILL haven’t released the theater list of 70mm engagements is telling in how hard it’s been locking down theaters less than a week after Episode VII.

It’s probably too late now, but I wonder what would have to be done to the Pacific 1-2-3 (Warner) on Hollywood Blvd to make it a temporary roadshow house for 4-6 weeks. I’m sure it’d be extremely pricey, but it’d be worth it.

Cliffs commented about Cinerama Hollywood on Nov 20, 2015 at 1:13 pm

I thought the same thing, but recent conversations with Arclight have given me doubt.

Cliffs commented about Cinerama Hollywood on Nov 19, 2015 at 5:43 pm

RogerA… Arclight is telling a different tale. Star Wars in the Dome for a month.

Cliffs commented about Cinerama Hollywood on Nov 15, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Don’t be surprised if Hateful 8 doesn’t make it to the Cinerama Dome (despite being the perfect venue for it). It’s looking more and more like Star Wars is going to bump it to a smaller screen inside.

Cliffs commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on May 24, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Hmmm… that would certainly be a question for Michael Coate. He’d be the one most likely to know. Let me see if I can get him here.

Cliffs commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on May 23, 2015 at 12:36 am

I would think the Village and Bruin theaters, both in Westwood, would qualify. The Village opened in 1931 and the Bruin in 1937. Both still show first run films (the Village currently has Mad Max and the Bruin has Tomorrowland).

Cliffs commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on May 19, 2015 at 4:41 pm

bigjoe59- Yeah, I saw the 8pm Thursday showing of Catching Fire at the Chinese (first showing ever) and it was barely half full. It’s certainly picked up since then. I think a lot of people had abandoned the Chinese when it wasn’t showing much (and also, truth be told, it ended up being a bit too tourist-y for most locals, who instead were more inclined to go to the less hectic Arclight and Grove). The average movie-goer probably hadn’t seen a film there in several years. I’m a massive movie-goer and had probably only been there 6 times in the 5 years before the conversion (I went twice in 2011 and didn’t even step foot inside there in 2012). Catching Fire was only two months after the re-opening and I just don’t think anyone knew about it.

The other thing to remember is that no one uses a newspaper anymore for showtimes and the Chinese didn’t fall under some larger corporation, so to find out what was playing at the Chinese, you had to seek it out. The showtimes weren’t sitting there across from the Pacific ad or under the AMC times. That’s another reason I think it took a little while to get the word out. As I said, I think the fact that they specifically installed a 70mm film projector for Interstellar got the theater a lot of eyeballs again. There was a lot of press that they were doing this and I think it put the Chinese back on people’s radar.

Cliffs commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on May 19, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Yeah, Danny’s right. It’s hard to compare before to after since the last few years of the Chinese before the IMAX conversion they were booking nothing but junk (essentially what The Dome and the El Cap didn’t want) and holding onto it for waaaaay too long (they ran Tyler Perry’s Temptation for 4 weeks… it wasn’t an engagement, it was a sentence). Every once in a while they’d book something big (like The Hobbit in HFR3D), but they’d still be stuck playing it to empty houses for weeks (7 in this case) after the opening weekend flurry came and went. Now, they can book with more frequency and get films they didn’t have access to before. They didn’t even run Avengers for a full two weeks (returning Furious 7 in there for the last 3.5 days). I’m not so sure it even outdraws the El Capitan across the street. The El Capitan has a crazy following and sells out faster then the Dome even.

The better news about the Chinese is that it is now IMAX’s premiere house. Whether it’s installing a film projector to present Interstellar (the first time since Harry Potter 7.2 that an actual line formed on Hollywood Blvd) or the new laser projector, IMAX is treating this theater like home base.

Cliffs commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on May 17, 2015 at 2:59 pm

It’s definitely picked up. It still doesn’t sell out like the IMAX in Universal City would, but it’s also got twice the amount of seats. It seemed like it was a fairly well kept secret for a while, but the secret seems to be getting out little by little. The 70mm film run of Interstellar did a lot to get people back in there to realize what they’d done with the IMAX conversion. It doesn’t really seem to be totally keeping pace with the Dome on the same films, but a quick glance at the seating for tonight’s Mad Max evening shows seem to maybe be slightly fuller at the Chinese versus the Dome.

Cliffs commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on May 16, 2015 at 7:35 pm

No, Arclight now runs the Dome pretty much exclusively 2D. You could also hit up the Village and the Bruin in Westwood, they stagger 2D and 3D.

It’s too bad, because IMAX has branded all of these films as “The IMAX 3D Experience” meaning they won’t even show any of these films in 2D because their branding is more important to them than their customers. That means 3D only for Mad Max, San Andreas, Jurassic World, Terminator Genesys, etc, regardless of what their audience actually wants.

I agree, it’s sad because I really want to support the Chinese and keep them strong, but I’m not going to settle for an experience I don’t want to do so. My next trip to the Chinese won’t be until Mission Impossible at the end of July.

Cliffs commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on May 15, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Yeah, sooooo… While I was supremely impressed with the new IMAX Laser projection during Furious 7, I was far less impressed with IMAX Laser 3D during Mad Max Fury Road. The new glasses (which remind me of Dolby 3D’s) are murky and cloudy. Nearly everyone in our group (of 13) for Mad Max last night said they attempted several times in the first 15-20 minutes to clean them, realizing eventually that that’s just how they are. Not so noticeable during bright scenes, but distracting during darker ones. They’re also quite a bit smaller than the old IMAX 3D glasses, meaning the closer you sit, there’s a chance that the “lenses” on the new glasses won’t be big enough to completely clear the screen and will block part of the image.

We were thinking we might be seeing Episode VII there this December and Mad Max was a test, but we’ve ruled that out with the current Laser 3D tech. It’s too bad they can’t offer up IMAX 2D showings staggered with the 3D. Then at least people have a choice and don’t get forced the, in my eyes, substandard experience.

Cliffs commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Apr 9, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Yeah, the sound post IMAX conversion wasn’t very impressive. Very loud but not very crisp or detailed. Since the redo with the 12.1 it seems to have fixed that problem and made the sound better than ever.

markinthedark, My understanding is that IMAX won’t allow masking on IMAX branded presentations. They want that full screen displayed regardless of whether or not it’s fully used. I agree, on stuff like Furious 7 that doesn’t shift aspect ratios, it would be nice to get it masked properly. I will say, however, that with the new laser projection and new deep black levels, I almost could never tell there was no masking. Hopefully IMAX relaxes that rule in the future, but they want to make sure audiences know their screens are BIIIIIIIIG!!!!

Cliffs commented about TCL Chinese Theatre on Apr 5, 2015 at 6:38 pm

Laser projection at the Chinese is tremendous! The new IMAX trailer that played before the Furious 7 had the deepest black levels and most vivid colors I’ve ever seen projected anywhere. And the picture on that huge screen was razor sharp and jaw droppingly beautiful. In fact (and shockingly since F7 had a 2K DI), you could see a definite drop in quality when the movie pulled in footage from Tokyo Drift (which was Super35). Aside from the slightly bigger screen overall, the sound appears to be better as well. At least 4 new ceiling speakers were counted. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sound at the Chinese since the IMAX redo, but I’m converted with this redo redo. It was truly spectacular.

Cliffs commented about Carmike 5 on Jan 18, 2015 at 12:25 am

Word is that this theater (which I had the pleasure of asst. managing about 23 years ago) is now closed.

Cliffs commented about Cinerama Hollywood on Oct 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm

That’s not what I said or was talking about… I understand the differences between the IMAX and the mass cropped scope versions. I know the business, the current business, after all. I was making a point about how the Chinese is handling this release (and only THIS release). It’s a compromise that Universal City won’t have.

Cliffs commented about Cinerama Hollywood on Oct 8, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Actually… What any good business man knows is that profit trumps volume. Would you rather sell 50 buggy whips and make $20 or sell 20 and make $50? Your answer will tell me what kind of business man you are. Eventually that may catch up to itself, but it hasn’t yet. When Disney goes to it’s shareholders, do you think they say, “We made a record profit this year, but unfortunately the number of actual ticket sold were down. Best to get out now despite the profit.”

And no… the Chinese isn’t going to do it -completely- right. Because they installed a 1.90:1 screen for digital IMAX, they’re actually going to be reducing screen size for the scope portions of Interstellar and masking big chunks of the screen on the left and the right to accommodate the full height of the IMAX filmed portions (Which is something I warned would happen when the Chinese was being discussed last year). Look at the seating chart for the Chinese and you’ll see they’re not selling seats in the lower right and left because those will be outside of the reconfigured frame. So even though they’re doing it as “right” as possible, those expecting to see Interstellar from wall to wall are going to be disappointed.