Even though it’s been quietly open all week, the ArcLight Pasadena officially unveils itself today with a midnight opening of Iron Man 2.
We checked it out last weekend for a press preview movie, and as is so often true in life, there’s good news and not-so-good news.
First, the good: The theaters themselves are up to ArcLight standards, with quality projection and sound and large, comfy seats with double-wide arms. Seats are reserved, there are no commercials, and ushers are available to enforce the no-talking rule if need be (but the vast majority of ArcLight customers would never talk or text during a movie).
The not-so-good news: The roster of movies, at least for now, is as mainstream as can be. It’s showing none of the indie films you can see in Hollywood, although even the mothership ArcLight has been shifting more big-budget-movie in search of full houses. It’s understandable, since the nearby Laemmle Playhouse 7 does such a good job with indie and foreign films, but there are plenty more out there that we’d like to see here in the 626, and you’d think a theater complex designed for film lovers could at least set aside two or three of the 14 screens for movies that don’t star Jennifers Lopez or Aniston. Management says they plan to broaden the programming, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
As for the café, bar and shop… well, don’t expect the Hollywood setup. The seating and choices are limited in the café, and the shop is just a hint of the original. But since the complex is in the Paseo, there are other places to drink, eat and shop.
All in all, we’re grateful for a quality screening experience, and it’ll be interesting to see if the ArcLight helps the Paseo finally find its groove. The biggest question is: Will teens pony up the couple of extra bucks for a ticket in a fancier theater? And if not, where will they go?
Paseo Colorado, 336 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena