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Arclight Cinemas has announced plans to open a 14-screen multiplex, their first outside of L.A., at the Westfield UTC Shopping Mall near La Jolla in late 2012.

This will be the fifth outlet for the Pacific Theatre-owned chain that was established in Hollywood nine years ago. Among their signature touches Arclight offers stadium seating, chairs that exceed regulation multiplex standards by three-inches, double-armrests, digital projection, and "black box" auditoriums. According to their website, the "design aesthetic...favors undistracted viewing over opulence, and feature the best in sight and sound technology, allowing films to be presented as the filmmakers intend."

Did I forget to mention that it will set you back $18.50 a pop if you go during peak hours?

Maybe San Diegans aren't that square after all when it comes to spending their entertainment dollars.


While I have heard nothing but glowing reviews from the cognescenti, other than an occasional visit to their magnificent Cinerama Dome (built in 1963), I have yet to patronize an Arclight Cinema. Hollywood will forever remain a single-screen kinda' town for me. When I visit, it's always for a rare museum offering or a presentation in a magnificent old stand-alone barn.

What will this mean for La Jolla's two other movie-houses? With its wide variety of programming and luxurious state-of-the-art facilities, the new-build is bound to render Landmark's La Jolla Village puny and obsolete by comparison. The news arrives almost a year after AMC La Jolla announced plans for a reboot as a dine-in theatre. The multiplex was scheduled to close for renovation during the 2010 Christmas season, but there were still no signs of a "Fork & Screen" conversion when I visited last month.

Thanks to friend Danny Baldwin for the heads up! Here is a copy of the complete press as posted on The Wrap.


Opening in late 2012, ArcLight La Jolla will be the company’s first theater outside Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (September 7, 2011) – Nine years after opening ArcLight Hollywood and changing the way people experience going to the movies, ArcLight Cinemas, created by Pacific Theaters, is expanding into the San Diego market. ArcLight La Jolla, the company’s first theater outside the Greater Los Angeles market and its fifth overall, represents one of the most anticipated additions to Westfield UTC.

The new 14-screen 1,800-seat cinema, which will open in late 2012, will feature ArcLight Cinema’s signature amenities including “black box” auditoriums, extra-wide seats with double armrests, stadium seating, digital projection and a wide variety of dynamic programming ranging from the newest Hollywood blockbusters to independent art house fare, cult favorites and classics, and 21+ screenings. ArcLight La Jolla will be the only theater in San Diego to operate with no commercials, all-reserved seating and no late seating after a movie has begun.

“Since 2003, our mission has been to create the ideal moviegoing experience for film lovers and casual moviegoers alike,” said Gretchen McCourt, Executive Vice President, Cinema Programming. “Today’s announcement represents a milestone for ArcLight Cinemas and we cannot wait for San Diego residents to rediscover the joy of going to the movies.”

San Diego residents will delight in ArcLight’s sit-down café and full service concession areas featuring quality, classic movie-theater consessions (sic) including shared plates, gourmet pizzas, salads, wraps and popcorn made with real butter as well as ArcLight’s famous caramel corn, made-on-premises.

In addition, the theater will offer a membership program unlike any other, giving members $1.00 of each ticket they purchase online. All money spent online and in the theater will allow members to accumulate points for purchases at the cafe, bar, gift shop, or for tickets.

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Danny Baldwin Sept. 8, 2011 @ 1:36 p.m.

The best thing about ArcLight's Hollywood location (their only other built-from-the-ground-up version, sans the Dome of course) is that it has side-masking -- the only modern megaplex I know of that allows Scope films room to breathe. Their two big, 410-seat auditoriums are probably the best pieces of megaplex construction in existence.

And if I know my ArcLight, they won't make Cinépolis' mistakes as far as the luxury experience is concerned. Even though the food is touted heavily in that press release, there is no in-seat dining or any of that distracting crappola... They simply have a restaurant in the lobby, which is actually pretty good.

The $18.50 price-point is a slight hyperbole on the Wrap's part--that's what a 3-D peak ticket will set you back at their Hollywood (highest profile) location--and the usual $13.50-$15 that ArcLights run tends to be more than worth it. Reserved seating for in-demand shows (so you never have to wait in line, even for HARRY POTTER at midnight) is the gift that keeps on giving....

Perhaps more significantly, they routinely do 35mm repertory programming at all locations, which would be a true add to the San Diego market.

I hate to make a pop-culture pratfall, but to paraphrase Rebecca Black: "We we we so excited / We so excited..."


JimHemphill Sept. 12, 2011 @ 11:06 a.m.

The Hollywood Arclight is the most overrated theatre in all of L.A. - the constant praise it elicits is proof that 95% of moviegoers have no idea what constitutes proper presentation. The Dome aside, it's just a glorified multiplex - if you're unlucky enough to see a film on one of the smaller screens, be prepared to listen to the latest Bruckheimer or J.J. Abrams spectacle booming through the walls as you try to make out the dialogue in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. To say that it's better than the Grove or AMC Century City is faint praise - a "great" multiplex is a contradiction in terms.


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