Forgive Me as I Take a Moment to Mourn the Passing Of Legendary Theater

It’s the end of an era for the famed ArcLight Cinema in Hollywood

The front of the Cinerama Dome UpdateNerd, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

I’d never seen my dad cry before, not even in the worst of tragedies.

He’s not a nostalgic or sentimental guy. But when I took him and my mom to ArcLight Cinemas to see the 2011 premiere of the documentary — Page One: Inside the New York Times — I watched as my dad wiped away a few hidden tears from his eyes as the movie credits rolled up.

What affected him so much? The end of the newspaper era.

My father spent his entire life working in the newspaper industry, from being a paperboy at 11 until he retired as an executive in his late sixties. My father had ink in his blood, and he loved making and delivering the news to people.

But it wasn’t just the passing of newspapers that hit him so hard, but how much the world he knew and lived in was changing.

And I feel somewhat the same way today.

It’s the end of an era for Hollywood

I’ve always loved movies and believed in the power they have to transport people to another world, allow them to feel and experience other people’s lives, and, most importantly, have a group experience with others in the theater.

But today, the owners of the pioneering movie theater experience — Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters — announced they are closing their theaters down.

Like many small businesses, they are a sad casualty of the pandemic. But ArcLight Cinemas was not just a theater; it was a cultural institution and icon for Hollywood the place and Hollywood the industry.

A photo of the courtyard entrance to the Arclight Hollywood multiplex in Hollywood, California. Lionclaw, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you loved films and revered seeing them in their full, uninterrupted glory, then ArcLight Hollywood was your headquarters. It was sacred ground for movie lovers, film buffs, cinephiles, directors, actors, screenwriters, and all those who worked in the industry. And it was also a defining showpiece for Hollywood the district.

Some might say to stop crying over the past and embrace Netflix on my iPad. But I need to take a knee to mourn the passing of a one-of-kind theater experience.

And I also need to take a moment to say thanks to ArcLight Hollywood for all the laughter, screams, cries, tears, date nights, popcorn, and Milk Dud memories you’ve provided us.

You deserve an Oscar and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for all you did for the movie industry and the art and craft of filmmaking.

And we’re going to miss you!

I’m a retail architect that studies human behavior, perception, and decision-making. I’m fascinated with the intersection of where commerce and community meet.

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