TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm

More articles about the renovation.

A site called THE DISSOLVE:

Curbed LA:

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 23, 2013 at 1:15 pm

OK…time for honesty. It’s not their BIGGEST screen. For some strange reason, IMAX is disowning their original 6 story tall screens. Every SoCal area member of this site knows Rave, Citywalk and Irvine Spectrum are bigger than Chinese. And our NYC area friends will cosign that Lincoln Square is bigger too.

moviebuff82 on September 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm

The most famous theater in the world now has the most famous imax theater in the world and the biggest screen.

RogerA on September 23, 2013 at 11:59 am

They used the curtain, nice.

RobertAlex on September 23, 2013 at 10:52 am

This seems to be paying of for the TCL Chinese. The theater had the highest grossing auditorium for the country this weekend!

“The Chinese gross for “Oz” marks the highest of any film this weekend for a single theater, though higher-priced Imax tickets certainly goosed grosses, as well as anticipation for the renovated theater, which now is the largest Imax theater in the world.”

RobertAlex on September 23, 2013 at 10:38 am

I also went this weekend, Sat 430, and I have to agree with most everything Chris mentioned above. It is absolutely beautiful. The Stadium seating is a bit steeper then I had thought, and the accessible aisle in the middle of the auditorium is right where the best seating should be……..but aside from that….Gorgeous. The picture itself was amazing. The 3D just worked and was not gimmicky at all. It still feels as if you are in a grand theater from days gone by.

The seats are not as wide as Arclight, but there is way more leg room and they recline a bit. There was about 600 or so people, with everyone applauding, booing the witch and clapping throughout the film’s run time. It was so special to see this many people in the auditorium…last time I have seen this many (aside from the TCM festivals) people here for a screening was when Titanic came out.

There was no masking for our showing either, but when the film ended, the curtains did close. It took a few minutes for them to shut, and when they did, people CLAPPED…clapping for curtains! I was in dork heaven.

RUN and see movie here. For the first time in forever I felt as if I got my moneys worth for a 3D showing.

RogerA on September 23, 2013 at 10:31 am

Chris, I agree that for $20 a seat the management shouldn’t be running ads but there could be some contractual thing where they must. It would be much nicer and give the place some class to go old school with the music and curtain but alas showmanship almost dead (still alive at the El Capitan). I want to thank all of you for the updates it saves me I trip into the city to check it out myself. I went to the “buy a ticket” site for the Chinese Theater and it requested credit card information before it let me select a seat. Yes it gives a chance to cancel if you don’t like the seat. I was just curious how well the site worked and didn’t buy a ticket. The Arclight site let’s you select a seat before entering the credit card info. Members might not have to do that step.

Cliffs on September 22, 2013 at 2:14 am

Will be interesting to see what happens when they drop the IMAX. Will Arclight pick up the standard release or will the Chinese hang on even without the IMAX. Also, Don’t forget Ender’s Game on 11/1. They’ll be hopping for the rest of the year. But it looks like they’ll be getting at least 1 or 2 tentpoles every month.

RogerA on September 21, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Well Chris glad to hear that there was enough of an audience to cheer.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 21, 2013 at 7:50 pm

With WOZ, Metalica & Gravity on the schedule, it looks like a given that ALL (non-Disney) IMAX will play here. They’re gonna clean house w/Hunger Games Catching Fire & The Hobbit this Thanksgiving/Christmas!

Darn shame about Disney, though. Star Wars Episode VII would be PERFECTION in here!

Cliffs on September 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm

70-80% on a Saturday afternoon is impressive. That gives me great hope.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm

1:30 PM show was about 70-80% full.

Forgot to mention: They did not mask in the sides for the screening. So we saw a 1:33 projection with white space to the left and to the right. The COOL thing, though: IMAX created a 1:33 sepia toned version of their countdown trailer. That was just GREAT!

Cliffs on September 21, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Chris, So happy to hear the renovation was such a success. How large was the crowd? My concern still is that people have been away from the Chinese for so long that they don’t know to come back.

RogerA… I misspoke. Meant the Cinemiracle upgrade. My mistake.

bigjoe59, Not to derail the Chinese conversation too much, but the 3D problems at the Dome are twofold. 1) The size of the Dome’s screen is just too big for their projectors to handle and 2) to correct this, they installed dual projectors to up the brightness, but the curve of the Dome’s screen meant that it was impossible to align them properly. 3D using the 2 projectors was bright enough, but the entire right and left thirds (yes, THIRDS!!!) of the image were misaligned and blurry. Location cards on the edges of frame (like in Transformers 3) would be impossible to read and things were just a mess unless they were dead center on screen. To finally fix this problem (after about a year of complaints and who knows how many terrible shows) they removed the second projector and produced a picture that was so dark, it was nearly unwatchable. I saw the “new and improved” 3D for Amazing Spider-man and I ended up watching ¾ of the movie with the glasses off because it was so dark. “ArcLight is more than a place to see a movie, it is an experience.” – Yes, and it’s more and more frequently been a BAD experience.

But the Chinese is back and ROCKS!!

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on September 21, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Chris, GREAT review! I’m so glad! I’m going on Monday and can’t wait!! There are some stunning photos on the LAHTF Facebook page if anyone wants to see how things are looking!

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Got home from the Emerald City about an hour ago…

First things first: my pictures STINK! I’ll retake them when I go to “Gravity.”


The upgrade is BREATHTAKING! Super comfortable seats, plenty of legroom between rows, top notch IMAX level sound & picture (won’t get a REAL sound test till “Gravity” as they didn’t do too much surround sound dancing with a 1939 movie).

THE SCREEN: NOWHERE CLOSE to “LieMax” status, but not the 6 story monsters we know and love…and it doesn’t need to be. As we’ve (ARGUED) discussed previously, 2:35 IMAX is projected dead center on the 6 story screens. If they actually masked the image on the top and bottom, you’d end up with the size of the new screen running at Chinese. And I have no complaints at all. Neither should anyone else. Just be happy that there are now 2 MASSIVE screens to choose from (AGAIN!) in Hollywood!


  1. The ushers still need to be trained on helping folks find their seats. I saw 3 separate incidents in my row where folks had the wrong seats. The 1st one got handled by the ushers…but the 2nd & 3rd patrons had to resolve themselves – and the 3rd one happened AS THE LIGHTS WERE DIMMING!

  2. So…I walk into this epic, renovated auditorium to be greeted by A FULLY OPEN IMAX SCREEN running some goofy preshow featuring Cheetos commercials and the $2.00 teen band of the week! UGH! A screen like this needs to be properly unveiled at the beginning of the attraction – old school style! In this joint and on this screen, a PRESHOW is a NO-NO!

THE MOVIE: Absolutely the best 3D upconversion ever seen. Not a single flaw in the picture. The darn movie looked like it was SHOT in 3D. Even 1930’s era Leo The Lion got the 3D treatment (I couldn’t stop grinning when I saw that – and the audience ERUPTED in applause as he roared!)

THE BOTTOM LINE: The fear about our beloved theatre can come to an end. This theatre is alive, kicking, and ready to move forward into the 21st century! Congratulations to all involved!

RogerA on September 21, 2013 at 9:38 am

Some people don’t like the curved screen at the Dome.

bigjoe59 on September 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm


as I said in my last post I haven’t been out to L.A. in approx. 7 years so i’m intrigued by the comments on 3-D films at the Cinerama Dome. to which my question-what essentially is the problem? is the large curved screen not optimum for showing films in 3-D or are the films just not shown correctly? when Arclight built its multiplex adjacent to the Dome didn’t they fully restore the Dome as well?

RobertAlex on September 20, 2013 at 9:34 am

When I think of what “could” have happened here, I only have to look down the street on Hollywood Blvd.. The Chinese dodged a bullet and yes it’s an IMAX with stadium ish seating, but I will take that any day over what could have been…such as…

1) The Egyptian – the restoration was horrific and although they saved that beautiful theater, they essentially ruined it. That awful steel structure frame and terrible seats with no leg room and bad stadium seating. The first time I walked into the Egyptian, Oklahoma was playing in Todd AO on a 90 foot screen. Almost half of the screen they have there today. At least they still show 70mm now and then, if your lower back can take it.

2) The Vogue – One of my high school haunts, great little theater that is now a disco…

3) The Pantages – Fantastic restoration but only shows musical touring shows so the chance to see a movie there again is nill.

4) Pacific 3 – Home of LA’s original Cinerama, now carved up, sad and shuttered.

This is what could have happened to the Chinese.

That is the prism I’ll look through when I go the Chinese…I don’t really care about 2K or 4 K (ok i do, but not enough from keeping me away), IMAX, Digital or Film. As long its its open, there is NEW product, there are people there enjoying themselves and they stay in business and don’t let it go to hell like the Dome did, I will be happy.

RogerA on September 20, 2013 at 8:15 am

Cliff’s there was no big conversion to Cinemascope. The Cinemascope screen was installed on the stage and the original projection booth was used. The major renovation that changed the stage area of the theater to make room for a huge screen was to install Cinemiracle a three projector process very much like Cinerama. To install the 120 foot 120 degree curved Cinemiracle screen two columns were removed and most of the stage. The Cinemiracle projection booth was where the rear of the new concession stand is now. The Cinemiracle projectors were removed and three Todd-AO machines were installed with 13.6 carbon arcs. Star Wars ran in 70mm on water cooled Todd-AO machines with 13.6mm carbon arcs on a very big screen. Eventually xenon lamps and then automation was installed. The light from the xenon was no where near that of the carbons so the masking settings were changed and the 70mm picture reduced in size. Eventually one of the Todd-AO machines was removed and a platter installed.

Film IMAX is dead the theater at Universal will be digital soon. The Chinese looks like it is the new standard for IMAX.

Cliffs on September 20, 2013 at 12:56 am

Nevermind… spoke too soon. They added reserved seating for Gravity.

Cliffs on September 20, 2013 at 12:50 am

Yeah, The Chinese was in pretty big trouble ever since Mann dropped them a few years back. Their bookings were horrible and they were playing to empty houses most of the time. The IMAX conversion (which I view as not that much unlike the Cinemascope conversion in the 50s) allows them update the auditorium again and gain a booking advantage they haven’t had in a while. Without the IMAX, they would never be showing Gravity. They’d be probably be showing week 4 of The Family that weekend.

RobertAlex… Totally agree about 3D in the Dome. I’ve complained multiple times about how terrible their 3D is and I’ve begged them to at least offer 1 or 2 2D showings in there on opening weekends and they steadfastly refuse. So I go to the Village in Westwood for those needs now. They actually listen to customer complaints and alternate 2D and 3D.

But The Chinese NEEDS NEEDS NEEDS to get reserved seating for EVERY show otherwise people will continue to go to Universal City and Rave. I was excited when OZ appeared and had reserved seating, but disappointed that Gravity does not. They need to sort that and quick.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Not a silly question, BigJoe. :)

There is an IMAX to the north of this theatre: AMC Theatres' Citywalk Stadium 19 + IMAX at Universal Studios. The theatre is an original 15/70 built from the ground up IMAX with the 7 story tall screen that made them legendary.

I think the time and expense has more to do with keeping the world’s most famous movie theatre alive and kicking for future audiences than about any perceived proximity to other IMAX theatres.

RogerA on September 19, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Well I’m glad someone is going to see Gravity in IMAX when I read it was shot in 2K I put it on my watch at home list.

RobertAlex on September 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Has anyone read the reviews about Wiz OZ in IMAX? Its at a 99% on RT. I was skeptical of it at first,I thought just seeing the new Chinese would be enough, now Saturday cannot come fast enough!! Once I am there I will happily purchase my tickets for Gravity, since I am thrilled that I do not have to suffer through anymore 3D showings in the Dome, I have emailed Arclight 3 times and I get the same response…“we have no control over the format that plays in the Dome.” yea right.

I am getting more excited about seeing all the changes this weekend, the blog review above was great, as well as the pictures that have been floating about. Is it too much to also wish for comfortable seats?

bigjoe59 on September 19, 2013 at 11:38 am

Hello From NYC-

I haven’t been out to L.A. in approx. 7 years so though this question might be silly to ask at this point i’ll ask it anyway. I am assuming the reason the new owners of the Chinese went thru the time and expense of IMAX-ing the Chinese’s auditorium is that there are no other IMAX theaters anywhere close to the Chinese.