After more than a year of widespread theater closures, delayed release dates, and tragic losses in the film community, Hollywood has been dealt another blow. Pacific Theatres and Arclight Cinemas, known particularly for Los Angeles’s legendary Cinerama Dome, will shutter more than 300 screens across California. “After shutting our doors more than a year ago, today we must share the difficult and sad news that Pacific will not be reopening its ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres locations,” the company Decurion, which owns the chain, said in a statement on Monday. “This was not the outcome anyone wanted, but despite a huge effort that exhausted all potential options, the company does not have a viable way forward.”
News of Arclight’s mass closures quickly devastated filmmakers, pundits, and producers alike, inspiring several high-profile voices to air their grievances on Twitter. The Old Guard director Gina Prince-Bythewood was one of the first to share her reaction, writing, “This is so painful. The Arclight is my go-to. Clean, great sound, assigned stadium seating, great popcorn, usher movie introductions,” adding, “A true movie-going experience.”
Other directors and stars followed, including Parks and Recreation’s Ben Schwartz, who referred to Arclight Hollywood as “my most favorite theatre in the world to see movies” and Oscar winner Barry Jenkins, who declared in all-caps, “F–K.” Rian Johnson (Knives Out), Lulu Wang (The Farewell) Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Edgar Wright (Baby Driver) also shared memories of days spent lost in the company’s movie theaters. Wright asked: “What can be done to help?” to which Olivia Wilde replied, “We have to do something!”
But while other celebrities poured one out for the maligned theater chain, Mindy Kaling pondered whether the announcement might be a ploy to drum up excitement for a comeback. “I am cynical,” she wrote. “I feel like the archlight’s not really gone and some corporation has already bought it and this is part of a strategy to cause mourning and then they swoop in and save it and we love them and forget they’re a corporation.” She slyly added, “I mean, that’s how I would do it and I’m evil.”
Adding possible credibility to this theory, a GoFundMe titled “Save The Arclight” was launched Monday—and taken down within a matter of hours. According to a note from organizer Scott Prendergast, the fundraiser was removed at the request of an Arclight Corp representative. “Maybe they have something else in motion?” Prendergast wrote.
Consider this a formal request for said corporation or veiled beneficiary to make its purchase known, say…at the quickly approaching Oscars? Cinephiles everywhere could use a win.
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