The ArcLight Expands East!

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.

9 Replies to “The ArcLight Expands East!”

  1. I’m glad to see the Arclight is expanding further. I know Los Angelenos like to scoff at its prices, but if I’m going to be shelling out for an already expensive night at the movies, the Arclight’s perks are well worth the extra. I’ve been going to the Hollywood theatre since it opened; after years of increasingly annoying multiplexes, I love knowing I’ll be nestled in a comfortable seat with a (usually) respectful audience, cheerful staff, and no screaming babies in R-rated movies or ads for TV shows beforehand.

    Oh yes, and the caramel popcorn.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with the Monkey above. For the extra couple of dollars it costs, the benefits are well worth it. ArcLight(s) provide a superior movie going experience, *and* that extra couple of dollars seems to deter the riff-raff.

  3. Inspiring, will definitely go to this location to see the place for myself and enjoy iron man again tonight! By the way, splendid review! I’m a fan of yours now! I read it from beginning to the ending without hesitations or feeling uninterested and start jumping around in the process of reading.

  4. I love the Arclight theaters. While I still prefer the one in Hollywood, having other locations has expanded the number of movies they can show. I LOVE being able to buy my tickets online and do not miss the days of standing in line for hours just to get good seats for new releases. I probably won’t go to the new one in Pasadena very often, but it is nice to have a third option.

  5. Yea I did have a friend point out to me that it might be more expensive, but next time I go see a movie on the first night or anything like that, it is great having a line-free, reserved-seating experience this close to home.

    And thanks, Jose, I’m glad I live up to your exceptionally high standards for blog writing. :P

  6. Archlights are probably the best theaters to see a movie at in Los Angeles. That being said, the conversion of what was formerly a regular Pacific Theaters multi-plex with stadium seating into a more-expensive ‘Enhanced’ theater is a blow to the youth of Pasadena.

    This was the last regular theater in Pasadena, and a very popular destination for Pasadena teenagers. The Mann Theater in Old Town on Colorado and DeLacey closed years ago, Pacific’s 8-plex in Hastings Ranch has sat abandoned for 2 years, the AMC at One Colorado is now an even more ‘Enhanced’ Gold Standard Theater, and Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 with the best-priced tickets in Pasadena at $11, shows only independent films. Leaving the only other theater in Pasadena, the bargain-priced Academy 6 Theaters. But they only show films after they’ve been out for a month or two.

    So what’s a Pasadena teenager to do on a Friday night? Head over to Glendale, Arcadia, or Alhambra to see a new movie? Or just hit up BitTorrent and skip the $15+ admission all together.

  7. Oh, and speaking of premium entertainment venues, this new Archlight should go nicely with the new Intelligentsia opening a couple blocks down on Colorado Blvd.

  8. I think they pulled a lot of the staff from the previous location though, and of course some of the incompetence that comes with jaded youth. The slouched girl at the west screens ticket collection area couldn’t explain what the “Lounge” was when I asked, so I had to ask 20 questions and figure it out myself.

    “What’s the lounge?”

    “you can’t go in there without a ticket.”

    “Yes, but is it a theater?”

    “There’s nothing playing right now.”

    And on and on…

    They take tickets at a different point of the architecture than before, so we just walked by the ticket collector in a very wide, unroped hallway with a large crowd and he had to chase us down to check our tickets- not very clear that anyone needed to stop there. The spiel they do before the projector starts spinning was slurred and rushed as well. Nice presentation, but the crew was pretty half-assed.

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