Showing 1 - 25 of 29 comments
Hi Bigjoe59, Not sure if you know about this website, it is the best resource I know of for Chinese Theatre history. He has a very detailed timeline put together. Here is the 1955 page:
I do think the Chinese and other theaters suffer from the wide releases. Within the Hollywood Blvd district they seem to avoid having the same movies in multiple theaters, but just hop over the hill to Universal Citywalk and you can see the same movies in the multiplex (I never do though!).
Yes, there have been some big films that have attracted crowds, in fact Guardians of the Galaxy is a good draw right now. I’m pretty sure they don’t do discounted matinees, but not sure.
I think the biggest thing that works at the Chinese is the premieres and special events. They block off the street and really do a great job.
One of the drawbacks of success with tourists is that the associated crowds and aggressive costumed characters scare away locals. I just talked to a guy who lives walking distance from the Chinese and he hasn’t seen the renovation because he doesn’t like dealing with the “circus” of the Blvd. (Very much like walking through Times Square!) I understand his sentiment, but will always take the subway and brave the crowds to see a movie in the Chinese.
The reduction in seating was actually for a number of reasons. New red comfortable seats made for current patrons sizes are a little wider, and there were requirements for handicapped accessibility that required a cross aisle in the middle of the auditorium. One nice detail is that the decorative standards at the ends of the seats are historically accurate. Can’t remember if they reused the old standards or they are replicas. They look good though. Click here for a photo: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200821034544552&set=o.125430125723&type=3&theater
Hi Bigjoe59, Yes, this can be a problem at the Chinese and other theaters in L.A. too. The whole first weekend gross calculations that seems to drive the wide release might be great for the studios but is not as good for the theaters in my opinion. Too bad since the exclusive openings of the past made for such special events! I remember many times in my youth standing in lines all night to see an opening on Hollywood Blvd!
I was just in Manhattan for the week long League of Historic American Theatres Conference and got to visit so many wonderful theaters, and really got a good sense of NYC. It was an amazing week! Didn’t get into the Ziegfeld but will make the effort next time. The trip was made even better by the wonderful tour guides we had as we explored the city via subway!
Very exciting news for the Rialto, in June the owners decided to put the Rialto up for sale! After working for 27 years on getting the Rialto restored, there is FINALLY some movement! The owner’s representative announced that they were accepting bid proposals, deadline was July 16th. As an advocate for the Rialto I consulted with many potential buyers, and heard some very intriguing proposals.
The owners have been deliberating for a few weeks now, I have been told that the majority of offers were proposing to restore the theatre as a THEATRE, but until the owners go public with their choice, we do not know for sure who will be the new owner and what they are planning to do with this beautiful theatre.
I have been reporting what I can on the process at my Facebook page, and have some beautiful new photos there by my friend Hunter Kerhart. Please check there for the latest info and discussions: www.facebook.oom/FriendfsoftheRialto
Dear LoveCinema, Thanks for sharing your first time in the Chinese. I agree, it is a magical place! I have been going since I was a kid and I still feel a sense of awe when I walk in the auditorium!
Let me assure you that the changes that were made in 2013 did not harm any of the historic details of the theatre at all! In fact, great care was taken to protect the beautiful theatre. The new work was done with taste and it honors the original design. In fact, in some ways, it looks closer to the original than what you saw in 1982. The L.A. Historic Theatre Foundation awarded the Chinese with our Theatre of the Year award for the great work done to protect the Chinese.
I hope you have another chance to come to Hollywood and experience the Chinese, and while you are here, see some of the other gorgeous movie palaces in Los Angeles! We have so many treasures! Please visit our site for some pictures and information on events and tours: www.LAHTF.org
Not sure who WPT is but that twitter address doesn’t exist. The Facebook page for Hollywood Pacific Theater is run by a fan with good intentions, not the owner or leaseholder.
There are new rumors swirling around, and preservation groups are mobilizing. Someone claiming to be a representative for the developer was meeting with community groups last week, and falsely claiming that the Theatre is not worth saving.
Here is a great article: http://parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com/news/2014/07/advocates-fear-warner-bros-theatre-is-at-risk/
Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation and Hollywood Heritage are working together on this and will be reporting on Facebook and our websites of any developments. www.LAHTF.org
I don’t play the game, but I found a screen cap:
Looks vaguely familiar!
I agree with Bway, can the admin please put a more representative photo up as the first photo? Thanks!
I saw the original Star Wars at the Chinese when it opened with a group of friends, and it changed my life in many ways! Every time there has a rerelease of SW film at the Chinese the same group of friends reunited to see it. It would mean so much to me to see the latest SW at the same theatre! Robert, Chris, and Cliffs, I hope you you are right! I will be there for the first midnight showing!
dctrig, As others have mentioned, the ceiling and other historical elements were not changed, just better lit. LEDs were used to replace some old incandescents, but there are still a lot of original lighting that is not being used. As RogerA mentioned, there were 3 different circuits of color in the ceiling, my understanding is that those are not in use at all. I hope to report later with more details on the lighting!
BigJoe, In my opinion the 3D IMAX version of Wizard of Oz was wonderful! I have seen the movie countless times, including on the big screen twice. The 3D was subtle, not over-the-top “in your face”, but just accentuated the already beautiful photography. Small parts worked best for me, the Wicked Witch’s fingers, flowers in Munchkin Land, etc. The IMAX large screen conversion was much more impressive, I noticed things I have never seen before, camera moves that were amazing, subtleties of the actors faces, details of the production design, etc. The tornado scene was absolutely terrifying! For me it was VERY worth seeing in 3D IMAX!
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! https://www.facebook.com/groups/125430125723/
Cliffs, I was not referring to you. There are plenty of people scared of ANY change to the special place, and many who think it should somehow have been “preserved” as they first saw it! For a while I responded to these folks informing them that I doubt anyone alive remembers the original! The Chinese has been remodeled before many times, and it probably will be again!
This is a private business, and as much as some of us wished we owned it, we don’t! We are lucky that the current owners care as much as they do for both the legacy and the future of this important theatre!
By the way, if anyone wants to see progress photos by me and my fellow L.A. Historic Theatre Foundation photographers, check out our Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/groups/125430125723/
I was able to get inside the Chinese today, and it looks fantastic! This will be the premier place to see any movie, so of course they have moveable masking on sides and top and bottom as needed. The manager specifically talked to me about this, and said he has seen tests over the last few days of different movie formats and it looked great!
Existing Dolby speakers will be used, and additional IMAX speaker clusters have been added in the rear corners as well as a small read center speaker.
They are reusing the huge front curtain, and to extend it for the new height they have added a new section to the top.
The side curtains and silver murals on the side walls are still in place as before.
They are relighting the chandeliers so they will glow once again, using long-lasting LED bulbs. They were lowered to the seats when I was there.
The seats are luxurious red high backs, with a nice classical shape, not just a contemporary flat top.
The new carpet in the aisles is color matched to the original carpeting in the lobby. It is a nice pattern, featuring a lotus flower and swirls reminiscent of details in the lobby carpet, which has been carefully protected during construction.
As has been discussed, the stairs at the back of the house are removed so the last row is at lobby level as it was originally, and the slope goes down to the lowered floor in front of the screen, where they have replicated the Chinese dragon from the forecourt in the carpet, nice detail!
No matter what they do with the most famous movie palace in the world, SOMEONE will find something to complain about, but I think they have done a marvelous job, protecting all of the historic elements, and putting a lot of thought into new details! I am very much looking forward to next month’s opening!
I hate to dive into the whole IMAX debate because frankly it bores me, but it seems to me IMAX knows what the future of IMAX is, and since the Chinese was digging down into the basement to make the screen taller they could possibly have dug even deeper if they needed to. There was a decision made somewhere along the line, and I’m guessing IMAX execs were part of it, That this screen ratio would be the standard from here on out (until the next time someone invents a new projection technology!)
This bickering over IMAX/LieMAX is pointless. IMAX is a privately owned brand, and any theater using an IMAX system, be it 70mm or Digital, IS an IMAX theater! It is not a “lie” to call the Chinese an IMAX theater! Unless you folks own the company, you can’t tell them how to use the brand! So if the screen is 69.5 feet tall it is not “true IMAX”? Sorry, but I think this is silly!
The article presented above it helpful, except for the snarky misuse of the the term LieMAX. People should be made aware that the same ticket price should not be charged for different experiences, but I feel that way in any mall theater, IMAX or not. a shoebox should not charge the same as a larger screen. Simple solution, I always ask about screen size before I buy.
The real argument, which is fully legitimate, is screen size and projection equipment. Argue that all you want, but for the vast majority of ticket buyers, they will not know the difference.
What they will notice, is that the Chinese will have one of the biggest screens they have witnessed, and will still be the historic and beautiful theatre it has been for decades, now with better sight-lines, more comfortable seats, better accommodations for those in wheelchairs, and no awkward steps at the rear of the house! I have personally fallen down these steps more than once while looking up at the magnificent ceiling, and will be happy to see them gone!
Nice find, Robert! This must be what the big announcement is supposed to be tomorrow (Aug 6) on the Chinese Facebook page!
I agree Robert. I love the Chinese, have gone there all my life! I was there as a docent for the last public behind-the-scenes tour, and I think they are doing the right thing for the theatre. Folks who don’t even use their full names and are trashing something that they probably do not have first hand experience with are generally people I don’t pay much attention to.
Movie theaters have always been about spectacle, and an experience you can’t have at home. Theaters lost that over the last few decades and they are fighting to get that back. What the Chinese is doing is preserving and protecting the existing historical elements AND improving the experience. If they can keep the beautiful theater and fill the seats, this is GREAT for the Chinese! Those who insist on hanging on to the past, or some specific technology should buy their own theaters and do what they want with them.
Those of us who can not afford our own theaters should stop complaining on message boards and support the theater owners who care to preserve and improve at the same time, keeping these Cinema Treasures alive and prospering!
The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation was also present at todays event, and LAHTF photographer Wendell Benedetti just posted some amazing shots. I’ve added them here. All of the historic elements were protected and saved as promised. The seating capacity will 986, a bit less than before, because of required accessible seating, and the fact that todays seats are wider than they were in the 1920s!
Thanks ejones! If you win that lottery, give us a call! If and when we are able to restore and reopen the Rialto Theatre I also want to see silents and classics as a part of the programming!
Since you mentioned seeing the filming, you might be interested in the stills I’ve posted on our Facebook page from The Player as well as some other films that have been shot at the Rialto. Go to our Facebook page, click on Photos, then look for an album titled:
“The Rialto Theatre in the Movies”
CT, Thanks for the monitoring! This seems in line with the work they described to us during the final backstage tours by the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation. Since they are lowering the front rows to increase the rake, this would be mostly concrete. The metal might be from the framing for the screen that will be replaced.I have some photos of the backstage and basement pre renovation that I will try to post soon. As I remember they were planning to keep the lobby open for tours during the remodel so it makes sense that they are directing the mess out through the parking structure.
I’m not expecting anything, but if you do see anything suspicious please email me at
I agree that 3d is totally a gimmick, not worth it for me personally, but if the audience is buying it then I understand the studio’s mentality. My understanding of how they do it is by manipulating the 2d image digitally, isolating key foreground and background objects and shifting them left or right. I used to do it with stills, I assume computer have made it a lot easier for motion pictures. Stick a few techs in front of a computer and do the adaptation, then make a big deal of it and see if people come. It’s certainly cheaper for them than making a new movie! Getting people out of their livingrooms and into theaters to see old movies is a win-win, in my opinion. People get exposed to the oldies, and theaters get used! Greed, yes, but that is the system we live in. And if people don’t go to theaters to see these adapted oldies, they will not continue to do it.
Folks, I propose a little more tolerance and a little less nit-picking (sp?) Let’s stay on subject here, which is the Chinese. I have my settings so I get notified if people post here, but it is a waste of my time to read petty spelling and word choices. I can find that on any chat on the internet! We should be able to rise above this on CT, since we have so much in common!
Speaking of the Chinese, for those in the Hollywood area, the Chinese is offering Hard Hat tours during construction. I have no idea what parts of the theatre will be on the tour, and it will probably change as the process continues, but it might be of interest! You can buy tickets at the link at the bottom of this page: http://www.tclchinesetheatres.com
I just noticed there were few photos of the Music Hall so I added some that I took in 2011. Marvelous story of being saved from the wrecking ball, and how the theatre’s reopening revitalized the area.