Century Arden Theaters are Back in Sacramento

The Century Theaters located on Ethan Way were fondly know as the “dome” theaters. They opened in Sacramento, Ca in 1967. Many generations of kids saw their first movie there, others remember standing in line for hours for Star Wars in 1977.

Ad from the Sacramento Bee for the Grand Opening of Century 22 on June 19, 1968. Photo is Public Domain http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/6574/photos/123232

Ad from the Sacramento Bee for the Grand Opening of Century 22 on June 19, 1968.

When I started to write this post it didn’t occur to me how much the Century Theaters were part of growing up in Sacramento. I remember having my first kiss there in Jr. High, and in 1990 I had a first date to see Die Hard 2: Die Harder  😉  with my now husband. For many years after we stood in line to see a Star Trek, Batman and other countless movies.

The last movie that I saw there was Star Wars: The Force Awakens last December and the first movie I’ll see there will be Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th.

Century Arden - 2016 - Star Wars The Force Awakens Screening with Gayle Feldman and Stefani Tolson (photo credit Stefani Tolson)

Century Arden – 2016 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens Screening with Gayle Feldman and Stefani Tolson (photo credit Stefani Tolson)

Bye Bye Domes, Hello State-of-theArt

These are domes that Sacramento residents remember seeing their movies at.

Century Dome Theater Sacramento (Photo Credit Kevin Tredway)

Century Dome Theater Sacramento (Photo Credit Kevin Tredway)

All of the domes have been demolished and replaced with a state-of-the-art theater, which opens on December 1, 2016.

Cinemark Arden

Century 14 Arden - Exterior at Night


Love the artwork in the hallway. It features a hero and their villain on the other side of the wall.

Century 14 Arden - Interior - Decor - Hallway

Century 14 Arden - Interior - Decor - Darth Vader

Century 14 Arden - Interior - Decor - Luke Skywalker

XD Auditorium
The Cinemark XD entertainment environment features the largest wall-to-wall screen in the theater, custom calibrated and designed sound system, and the brightest visual display. The Cinemark XD auditorium features the latest movie each week in crisp 2D and 3D options.

Century 14 Arden - VIP Event - Cinemark XD Theater

Luxury Loungers
Cinemark Luxury Loungers are plush, over-sized recliners with cup holders and footrests. All 14 auditoriums feature Luxury Lounger these recliners.

Century 14 Arden - Theater - Cinemark Luxury Loungers -Watching a Movie

There is also plenty of room in the isle for people to walk past even when the recliners are being used.

Century 14 Arden - Theater - Cinemark Luxury Loungers - Cullo Family Feet Selfie

Cullo Family Shoe Selfie

14 Auditoriums with Wall-to-Wall Screens, RealD 3D capabilitiy and digital projection
Every auditorium at Century Arden 14 and XD features a wall-to-wall immersive screen with the brightest digital projection systems.

Self-Serve Concession Stand
Popcorn, soft drinks, candy & more! All the options are at your fingertips with the self-service concession stand and a Butter Flavoring station.


Century 14 Arden - VIP Event - Butter Flavoring Station

Due to the massive amounts of popcorn she didn’t want to leave.
Century 14 Arden - VIP Event - Abby with Popcorn

Beer and Wine are also available!! What? Yes it’s true.

Century 14 Arden - Beer and Wine

Reserved Seating, Online & Kiosk Ticketing
Stroll in a few minutes before your movie without stressing about getting a good seat. You can reserve your seat in advance on cinemark.com or in the Cinemark app. The entire theater features reserved seating to guarantee that your preferred and selected seats are available no matter what time you arrive for your movie.


Century 14 Arden - Theater - Cinemark Luxury Loungers -Feet up and relaxing

For more information about the Century 14 Theaters visit Cinemark.com

VIP Reception

My family and I attended the VIP reception and were in awe at how awesome the theater is.
Century 14 - Red Carpet

Century 14 - Red Carpet - Abby

We enjoyed free popcorn and soda at the event. All of the theaters were open so we could peek in and ‘test drive’ the seats, movies were also shown in all of the theaters.
The lobby features fun couches and seating with tables so you can chill out before or after your movie.
Century 14 Arden - Lobby Seating
The lobby is bright and inviting too. The concession stands are large and there are many options available including beer and wine! I think I mentioned that already, but it’s important.
Century 14 Arden - Lobby with Balloon Arch
Century 14 Arden - Lobby with Balloons
There were some shady characters there, but we took pictures with them anyway. 😉
We love the 501st Central California Garrison.
501st with Lily, Abby and Dylan.jpg
Century 14 Arden - 501st with Lily and Abby
Century 14 Arden - Kylo Ren and Stormtrooper
You can check out more social media photos from the event on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #CenturyArden.
I hope you will check out the new Century 14 Arden theaters soon, you will feel spoiled at this theater.
About Dawn

Dawn is a social influencer and has been writing about her nerdy side since 2004. She enjoys writing about Entertainment, Travel, Disney, Star Wars and life with two little girls. Her advice is to keep on dreaming, do what you love and life will lead you a path to your happiness. Dawn also writes for 5 Minutes for Mom.


  1. Jesse Skeen says:

    This is an open letter to everyone involved with the new Century Arden 14 theater, including those at Cinemark, SyWest Development, and the press which publicized its grand opening:
    As you may know, I spoke out against the construction of this theater several times after its plans were revealed, including an online petition, two appearances on local TV news, an article in the Sacramento Bee and appearing at City of Sacramento Planning Commission meetings where it was discussed and ultimately approved. My main concern was that it was intended to replace the iconic Century 21 and 22 dome theaters, but I felt that it hardly did justice to what those two theaters were when they were brand-new. Having attended many of my first movies at the similar domes in San Jose, they set the benchmark for how I judge an experience at any theater- despite the two Sacramento domes foolishly being split in half in the 70s (the two main ones in San Jose never were), I had hoped for years that they would ultimately be restored back to their original glory. As it was determined by Cinemark that it was more cost-effective to demolish them and build a brand-new theater, I could not argue too much with that but I did severely object to its design based on diagrams and drawings I had seen. Being a huge fan of movies and theaters (working in the business myself for ten years including a short stint at the older Century Complex, which I did not stay at very long as I found it too heartbreaking to be around the crudely-split domes) I would love to have a theater in this area that I could be confident in attending at least on a weekly basis regardless of what movies were showing; so far NONE in the area have met that standard although a fully restored Century 21 and 22 certainly would have.
    I know some of you are sick of hearing from me by now, but despite my strong opposition to this theater’s construction I vowed that I would attend a showing there and give it a fair chance once it opened. Having done so on its first day open to the public, I hope that you will read my impressions of it:
    I’ll start with the positives first. I saw “Arrival” in the “XD” auditorium, and was pleasantly surprised by the overall size of the theater and screen. It is quite spacious and comparable at least to the two smaller domes in the old complex, although of course it lacks their unique shape with its rather plain square design. Additionally, the size of the screen itself appears comparable to those of the larger (un-split) domes, which exceeded my expectations. I even saw good reason for the reduced seating capacity, as the installed seats are of significantly higher quality than any other theater seats I have seen and given plenty of space so that patrons can enter and exit their seats without disturbing those remaining seated. (The low seating capacity will still likely prevent this theater from EVER hosting any sort of gala premiere event, as there simply won’t be room for more than a handful of people.)
    That said however, I will NOT be returning to this theater again, and while I admit that it could have turned out far worse than it did I will forever refer to it as “The Mistake”, as I mentioned at several of the meetings and even on a TV appearance. The reason is one that I had brought to the forefront in my online petition as well as at a number of meetings: All 14 of the screens in this new theater are natively 1.85 ratio. This means right away that movies in the 2.35 “scope” format (roughly 95% of the big tentpole releases intended to pack theaters) appear SMALLER on these screens, rather than larger and wider as they were intended. The older Century domes were designed with widescreen movies in mind (the very first in San Jose was even built for 3-projector Cinerama), with screens that commanded the audience’s entire field of vision and made these movies appear larger than life, many of which are still in my mind decades later. It was alarming when many theaters built since the late 1990s had native 1.85 screens showing scope movies in a smaller area with masking that came down from the top ; I have always avoided such theaters and had hoped that this new one would have proper side-masked 2.35 screens. (An argument against these types of screens that I found online many years ago states simply that “Die Hard should never be smaller than Driving Miss Daisy.” I mentioned this to Chuck Shaw, who scoffed at it. Others simply reacted with blank stares.)
    Cinemark has added even further insult to these screens by not installing movable masking on any of them! Screens should ALWAYS be properly masked for the feature! Instead, EVERY scope movie at this new theater is letterboxed with dead space at the top and bottom of the screen, just like at home. It’s tolerable to watch a movie that way at home because home video is inherently a compromised way to watch a movie- although many people have installed home projection systems with 2.35 screens and projectors that properly zoom movies in that ratio. At a theater, this looks very sloppy and unprofessional- Cinemark should be ashamed and embarrassed to be presenting movies this way. It severely affected my enjoyment of the movie “Arrival”, as much of it was dark yet the entire 1.85 screen was lit up. (While I’m aware that 1.85 is also the native frame of digital cinema, I regard that as a HUGE mistake and hope that eventually the industry will fix that, either by revising the standard with a native 2.35 frame or using anamorphic lenses. In the meantime, any theater that cares about presentation can still properly mask its screens and set the digital projectors to zoom the 2.35 picture cropping out the black space in the frame, the digital equivalent of a film projector’s aperture plate.) Any “Star Wars” movie will certainly look awkward being letterboxed on this screen, and with Cinemark showing many older movies that can already be seen at home I have to question why anyone would go out to see an ultra-wide movie like “Lawrence of Arabia” on a letterboxed screen, the same way it can be seen at home, rather than on a screen with the proper dimensions? (I certainly would have loved to see some of the classics at properly restored Century domes!) Even having exclusivity on brand-new movies is not as much of an advantage for theaters anymore, with studios releasing them for home viewing in a shorter time these days than ever before. Having a shorter wait time to see a movie at home gives me even less reason to go out to a theater and pay its premium prices if its presentation standards aren’t much better.
    After the movie I peeked in a few of the other auditoriums (some of which seemed ridiculously small, holding only about 40 seats) and saw that their screens were also natively 1.85, showing scope movies in letterbox format with no masking. It appears that the majority of the movies being shown at this theater today were in 2.35, which makes it even more appalling that these theaters weren’t properly designed for that format! I finally asked one of the assistant managers about this and he referred me to the Projection Manager, who I was surprised was even present at the theater. He was very cordial and understood my complaint, but said “That’s just the way new theaters are these days.” Well, if that is the case, I simply will NOT patronize newer theaters. General Manager Frank Johnson was also quick to reply to my feedback through Cinemark’s website, saying “With our new Next Gen format we offer the ability to present our screens from wall to wall ceiling to floor however this does remove the need for masking but I do understand your concern here.” An oddly-structured sentence, but in any case NO theater design “removes the need for masking” as long as movies continue to be made in different screen ratios! When designing a theater you can choose either “wall to wall” OR “ceiling to floor”, but it’s impossible for BOTH to consistently exist- the way this new theater was designed, all pictures are “wall to wall” but 2.35 movies are NOT “floor to ceiling” (and thus look smaller than 1.85 films, the opposite of their intended effect.) PROPER screens would have been consistently “floor to ceiling” with 2.35 movies being “wall to wall” and 1.85 having masking on the sides. That I even have to EXPLAIN that to anyone in the theater business is pretty sad itself. In any case, this is where the “Next Gen” is a clear DOWNGRADE from the “previous gen”.
    In an online article from our local newspaper last week about this theater’s opening, Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi was quoted as saying “People have a lot of alternatives (regarding where to spend their free time. Everything from staying at home and watching television to going out to some other form of entertainment. If we want to continue to motivate people to go to the movies, we need to make that moviegoing experience really good.” Why would he say that yet approve these compromised unmasked screens that more resemble an average home projection system than a proper theater? Again, he should be ashamed and embarrassed to have any part in this. He was also quoted as saying “Those (dome) theaters were fantastic and what I grew up with, but at a certain point, you keep up with all the new things.” While I cannot argue much against the reasons for their demolition, the point I had been trying to make during the past year was that the new theater should MEET or EXCEED what the old theaters were when they were new! With these screens, that simply isn’t possible. Few compromises were made when the old theaters were built; anything that replaced them should have outdone them- this new theater’s general design seems to be the quickest and cheapest building they could squeeze into the property with the other new businesses, showing little to no qualities of “progress” and is overall a DOWNGRADE from the site’s original domes. While it does look shiny and new right now, that newness will eventually wear off and its flaws will be all the more apparent.
    This theater could have been something VERY special, whether it restored or reproduced the original domes (which would have given Sacramento TWO theaters equivalent to Hollywood’s famed Cinerama Dome, one of the world’s premiere movie venues which is a few years older than the domes here were yet is still operating), duplicated other fallen theaters in the area (a proposal I made which fell on deaf ears) or been something else ENTIRELY unique and innovative that would cause patrons to seek it out over any others in the area. While the seating is certainly a novelty for now (it’s likely other theaters in the area will install similar seating, and be a standard in any other new builds), the movie presentation itself, which is the MAIN thing that customers enter a theater for and spend the MOST time looking at, is simply sub-par. Bottom line is that at the minimum, this theater should have been designed with proper 2.35 ratio screens with side masking for 1.85. The way it has turned out, I have no choice but to never return and refer to it as The Mistake, as I promised to do from the beginning. (Believe me, I REALLY wanted to be proven wrong in calling it that, but now that it’s been built it would be next to impossible to convert the auditoriums to the proper screen dimensions. As the auditoriums were mistakenly built for 1.85 ratio screens, simply replacing them with proper 2.35 side-masked screens would still not be as optimal as designing the auditoriums for the correct ratio in the first place would have been.) Just as I said on KOVR’s news story, this really shows how the moviegoing experience has declined, as well as the name of Century Theatres whose trademark used to be huge wide screens in huge spacious theaters.
    Jesse Skeen

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