Index Silver Screens
Greater Los Angeles (2)
The theater is part of an shopping center, with a large food-court (in front of the theater), a large Sega arcade, a huge Barnes-And-Nobles bookstore, a Tower Records store, and other stores.
OntarioEast of L.A. A huge mall near the freeway. This is getting wild!
Ultrascreen Theatre and AMC 30
The Edwards 22 seems to be based on Irvine's Edwards 21, but a few years later (it opened in early 1997). The auditoriums are larger, they all have stadium seating, curved screens and digital sound. Like the Edwards 21, the largest auditoriums wear names from the golden age of movie theaters palaces, and are decorated accordingly. The largest auditorium is the "Grand Palace"; it can seat up to 750 people, and it has the largest screen on the West Coast (85ft!). The two other largest auditoriums, the "Chinese" and the "Hollywood", are a bit smaller.
Why are these two multiplexes located so close to one another? It looks like Edwards started to plan a theater in the mall, before giving up on that idea (AMC later built a theater there), and decided to build the Edwards 22. Few movies are played in both theaters, but many are played in three or four auditoriums.
MurrietaThe Movie Experience 17
On the I-15 (one of the freeways leading to San Diego), The Movie Experience built this seventeen-screen theater, which became the company's showcase. There is SDDS sound, but seemingly not in every auditorium.
The usual question: "What makes this multiplex different from the others?" - Well, among our concession stands, we have a real cafe; and we are the largest all-THX movie theater in the United States...
Twenty-five auditoriums, all with the THX label! This theater owns 25 times more THX auditoriums than all Paris (in theaters open to the public)! The proof than THX still is a major player in movie theaters.
All auditoriums (for a total of 5,500 seats), located on the same level, have stadium seating and digital sound. The two largest (theaters 1 and 13) are identical; they have 525 seats, and the screens are about 80ft wide. The screens in all other auditoriums are 30 to 65 feet wide, and have ratios of 1.85; 65ft-screens are about as high as the screens in the largest auditoriums; a widescreen movie will be very nice, whereas the picture of a 1.85 movie will be really big.
Near the theater is a complex of restaurants and a large video arcade.
AMC 30 at the Block
Santa MonicaAnother dream name. Santa Monica is near the Ocean; it is crossed by a pleasant pedestrian shopping street, 3rd Street Promenade, bordered with many stores, restaurants, bars, and also most of the city's movie theaters. The AMC has seven auditoriums with SDDS sound, the Mann Criterion six, all with digital sound and THX, the Cineplex Odeon Broadway four with DTS sound. The Laemmle Monica 4 (four screens), closer to the Ocean on 2nd Street, and the Landmark NuWilshire (two screens), play art movies.
The fate of traditional movieplexesAmerican movie theaters from the eighties were usually more than correct: rather large auditoriums with screens up to 40 to 50 feet, while the smaller auditoriums were decent, usually with Dolby Stereo sound, sometimes even digital sound. But these complexes hardly put up with the arrival of large modern multiplexes, offering larger screens, larger choices of movies and schedules, brighter and more friendly lobbies. And when it comes to older and smaller theaters, the choice is even easier...
Most of these theaters are still open, but many close down when multiplexes are built nearby.
AMC Plaza 10 Puente Hills/AMC Puente Hills 20
The relief team: theAMC Puente Hills 20
ConclusionLos Angeles was a birthplace for many movie palaces. Nowadays, after many changes, few palaces still exist, but they seem to be there to stay. More and more, multiscreen theaters are replaced by brand new multiplexes; love them or not, but viewing conditions have never been better, thanks to quality equipments, large screens, digital sound, room for the legs, stadium seating...
Acknowledgements : Many thanks to : Chris Hood (Cinemapolis Anaheim Hills), Ray Mealey (Edwards 22 Ontario), and David Stowers (Century Stadium 25 Orange), who helped me a lot.
All pictures : Silver Screens © 1999.