And then there were three. Joining the locations in Hollywood and Sherman Oaks, the Pacific Theaters at the Paseo Colorado in Pasadena has now been officially transformed into the ArcLight Cinemas Pasadena (also owned by Pacific Theaters)! Despite some sneaky “soft open” screenings that went on over the past week, Thursday night’s Iron Man 2 premiere was billed as the theater’s “Grand Opening”, though there didn’t seem to be all that much hoopla involved. Coupled with the Gold Class Cinemas down the street, Colorado Blvd. is shaping up to be the go-to place for “luxury” movie-going (luckily that pesky super-cheap Academy 6 is safely away from view on the opposite side of Lake Ave., so it won’t infringe on Old Town’s and the Paseo’s reputations).
The newly remodeled and redecorated theater was quite nice, of course. It looks basically like a smaller version of the original Hollywood ArcLight, so much so that I decided to dub it “ArcLight Lite” (Disclaimer: I’ve never been inside the ArcLight in Sherman Oaks, which I’ve been told is just like this place). Even the big clock in the lobby was duplicated (seen here in a photo by my friend Michael, whose iPhone photography skills far outweigh my own, even though I was armed with an actual standalone digital camera).
Sadly, the bar isn’t open yet! I mean, there were cool tables to sit around at, but the bar looked so sad being all dressed up but totally empty and sans booze. The popcorn was delightful as usual, a nice combination of classic movie theater taste and the real butter that provides that illusion of it not being that horrible for you. The decor was nice, including a wall of movie posters that ranged from classic to random and confounding (Twilight? really?) to totally freakin’ awesome (Revenge the Jedi, as seen after the jump). And I did like the bathrooms at this location better than the original’s, possibly because there were so many mirrors.
The theater lobby was smaller than I expected, despite having patronized it in its prior incarnation. I also thought there would be more general craziness when I arrived an hour before showtime, but it didn’t occur to me until I arrived that due to the reserved seating, there wouldn’t be people standing in line or basically having any reason to show up early. That, combined with the short amount of time it took for me to give the place a once-over, led to me having enough free time to wander into the old standby next door, Yard House, where I was disappointed to learn that the half-price appetizer late-night happy hour is only through Wednesday (still ate plenty of wings, however).
But the place certainly filled up by the time I made it back into the theater, where I was greeted with Iron Man toy giveaways (I didn’t win anything), nice, comfy seats with headrests and a quality movie-viewing experience. Though that may well be attributed to it being a midnight, opening-day showing of a big sequel, so the crowd was enthusiastic before the movie and abuzz with nerd talk after. Or wannabe nerd talk, in the case of the girl in front of me who joined in the shouts of “OOOHH” from many dudes in the audience at the end of the teaser clip after the credits, waited a second, then said, “… I don’t get it.” (that was a highlight of my evening).
Overall, it’s a nice theater in close proximity to multiple places I consume chicken wings, which is always a good thing. But it obviously doesn’t quite have the clout of the Hollywood venue, or, at least so far, the frequency of awesome guest speakers and presenters. Definitely someplace I will go when the scheduling just doesn’t work and I can’t make it to the slightly closer and $3- or $5-cheaper theater at the Americana in Glendale instead. Definitely.