Goodbye Arclight, Hello Regal: An Optimistic Epilogue
We all know everything is opening back up again. However, at least in the part of Los Angeles where I live, few establishments actually shuttered their windows throughout the entire pandemic – malls were still open (albeit with limited capacity), many restaurants made outdoor accommodations, and even a few gyms made COVID-related adjustments. But one venue that couldn’t mold to the times – and that I imagine all of us are thrilled to see dusting off the cobwebs – was the movie theater. That said, I went with my family to see In The Heights just this past weekend, and it was as if nothing had changed! Seriously, at some point Lin-Manuel Miranda and others involved in the film popped on the screen just to thank the audience for being brave enough to return to theaters or whatever, and we all applauded. It was weird.
Anyway, if you read my Ode to Arclight piece, you’ll know that I was heartbroken when I learned that THE Arclight was permanently closing, and that losing the Sherman Oaks location in the San Fernando Valley would be a particularly deep wound for this firmly-entrenched Valley Girl. Well, I am thrilled to announce that this story does not end in sadness – the page has been flipped, and the Galleria is getting set to turn these lights back on. And before you panic, no, this theater is not becoming another CVS (I’m still salty about our Barnes & Noble on Hayvenhurst being taken from us; Valley people know what I’m talking about), this Arclight is becoming a Regal! It’s all very exciting, and I’m not just saying that as a former Regal employee. Yes, I did once wear this crown, so to speak, but that was many moons ago. So allow me to quell the fears of even the most diehard Arclighters and share why this new Regal will be a welcome replacement – both as a former employee, and after having done a bit of research on the topic.
First of all, the new location is reportedly set to have an IMAX auditorium as well as something called 4DX, which, according to the LA Times, is “a format of auditorium with seats that shake and move to mimic the onscreen action.” Additionally, there will be a ScreenX auditorium, which is “an immersive three-screen experience”. I assume this means that the screen will act as a wraparound situation similar to that of the also-closed Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. All very cool; likely pricy, but certainly intriguing. The article goes on to state that the new theater will incorporate a VIP Lounge, and if that means I can sit at a bar and call myself a VIP, I’m all in! No word yet on when all of these changes will take place – or when the theater will become operational again – but the article does say that this location will stay open throughout renovation. So basically, we’re getting a fancier new theater that should open "soon". Can’t wait!
As previously mentioned, I was just a wide-eyed lassie when I worked at a Regal theater, but hearing this news reminded me that our new location may very well carry something I think you’ll all perk up over – reclining seats! That’s right, folks, seats in Regal auditoriums recline. Good news for eager patrons looking to relax after a long work week, enjoy a date night, or chill with friends. Bad for this tired college student who may or may not have nodded off during more than one shift. Also, if these new Regal employees are anything like myself and my definitely-never-goofing-off-with-me coworkers, you’re in for a lovely customer service experience. So get ready, folks, this is really happening! Dry your eyes, wash your face, and throw those crusty tissues away, because Regal is coming to town!
I’m obviously super excited for this. I think having a movie theater in the Sherman Oaks Galleria is so important, no matter which company runs it, and I can’t wait to see how this new installment looks once renovations are completed. Like I said, we're not sure when doors will actually open to the public, but what I am sure of is this – whether it is in the Summer, at the end of the year, next year, or whenever, my friends, family, and I will welcome Regal to the Valley with open arms. Mm, I can practically taste the Sour Patch Kids from here.