The independent group has agreed a deal to take almost 30,000 sq ft of space in the development which was only given planning permission in March.
Arc follow Hollywood Bowl who committed to opening a 16-lane bowling alley in the council-owned state-of-the-art project back in November.
The news was greeted by city council leader Coun Matthew Brown who said: “It’s fantastic to see a growing independent leisure operator committing to the project and Preston which is an acknowledgement of the attractiveness of investing in our community.
"Bringing tenants like Arc here will stimulate further investment and boost the local economy so more local people can benefit.
“The Animate development is a key project in Preston’s 15-year City Investment Plan and will help complete the long awaited regeneration of our city centre with the asset in the ownership of the city so Prestonian’s can benefit more directly from it."
Having landed Arc and Hollywood Bowl, an announcement on other tenants could be imminent. Four of the restaurant spaces are now said to be under offer.
The Animate scheme will incorporate eating places, bars, a food hall and public space on land where the old indoor market hall and its multi-storey car park once stood. The Arc Cinema will have eight screens.
Maple Grove Developments are delivering the scheme with building work expected to begin in October with a target completion date of summer 2024.
“It couldn’t be better news to have a cinema operator join the tenant line-up at Animate,” said Andrew Dewhurst, development director at Maple Grove.
"In addition to The Arc Cinema, four of the restaurant units are now under offer and we expect to be able to announce more names throughout the spring."
Brian Gilligan, director at Arc, said: “We are extremely proud and excited to be an anchor at Preston’s Animate scheme.
"Animate will be an amazing leisure destination when we and our neighbours in the scheme open in 2024 and its location in the heart of Preston’s vibrant city centre fits perfectly with The Arc Cinema’s ambitious expansion plans.”
Animate is expected to generate more than £7m of extra economic activity in Preston annually while creating 140 jobs.