Showing 22 comments
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.
That’s correct. They are making the audience slightly steeper, lowering the front into part of the basement (the orchestra pit was removed long ago, and the screen already has taken most of the original stage area). They are also raising the back rows up to where they used to be. Originally the back rows were at the same level as the lobby, then it sloped down to the orchestra pit. At some point the seating area was leveled, so you had to go down a flight of steps before getting to the back row. So in a sense the new seating will more closely reflect the original! It will be a HUGE screen, I’m sure it will be bright and high rez since the whole point of this renovation is to make it once again the state of-the-art, best place to see a movie!
I was one of the docents for the LAHTF tour, and have been going to the Chinese since I was a kid. LOTS of great memories, and the day spent learning about the theater and sharing it with people is now one of them. My first thought was like most: “Don’t change my Chinese Theatre!” But The LA Historic Theatre Foundation has developed a good relationship with the new owners. From what I have been told and seen in plans the renovation is going to be good for the theater, and for the audience. I agree with the writer above who remembers seeing full houses in the Chinese, and I think this renovation will help bring that back. For those interested, I recommend connecting with LAHTF. You will get the latest info from people who know and care, and who are working very hard for the Chinese and al of the Los Angeles area movie palaces. www.LAHTF.org
Looks like it has been used for some years as a meeting hall / concert venue / rental space. The family that has owned it for decades is trying to raise money to make it a community center. Click this link for info on donating and to see a little movie of the interior and exterior: http://www.indiegogo.com/savethemazatla
Hi All! Great to see all of the interest and information being shared here! There is momentum in the community to restore the Rialto and reopen it! I’m forming a non-profit advocacy group: http://www.FriendsoftheRialto.org to open a dialogue with all interested parties with the ultimate goal of bringing the old girl back to LIFE! Whether it is working with the current owners, or future buyers, or gaining a controlling interest as a non-profit, our goal is to restore and open the Rialto up once again, AND respect and preserve the historic theatre. If you want to stay informed, join us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/FriendsoftheRialto