TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Chinese Theatre is arguably the most famous movie theatre in the world. It opened as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on May 18, 1927 with Cecil B. DeMille’s “The King of Kings” starring H.B. Warner and a stage prologue “Glories of the Scripture” which had a cast of 200. Seating was provided for 2,200, all on a single sloping floor (apart from a private box located at the rear, to the left of the projection box overhanging the rear orchestra seating). The theatre was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3 manual 17 ranks theatre organ which was opened by organist Frederick Burr Scholl, and accompanied the 65-piece symphony orchestra conducted by Constantine Bakaleinikoff. The Chinese Theatre has been the site of thousands of movie premieres and the destination of millions of tourists. Scores of celebrities have left their footprints, hand prints and hoof prints on the walkways near and on the theatre’s courtyard.

In 1973, Mann Theatres bought the Chinese Theatre. Two auditoriums, each seating 750, were added next to the Chinese Theatre, turning the theatre into a triplex operation from April 12, 1979. In 2000, the two added auditoriums were razed to make way for the construction of the Kodak Theatre — the new site of the Oscars.

In 2001, the original 1927 built Chinese Theatre underwent a renovation to return its exterior to its original design and Mann Theatres, in late-2001, also added an adjoining 6-screen multiplex theatre, designed by the architectural firm Behr Browers Architects of Westlake, CA. Seating capacities in the six new screens are: 459, 177, 177, 177, 177, 279.

Still opulent in red tonality and Asiatic influences, the main original auditorium of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre remains the ultimate movie palace experience, and now seats 1,162.

In August 2009, Mann Theatres announced they were planning to put the Chinese Theatre up ‘For Sale’, and it was sold to an independent operator in April 2011. In January 2013, the naming rights were sold to television manufacturer Television China Ltd., and it was renamed TCL Chinese Theatre.

The main original auditorium was closed at the end of April 2013. Renovations to turn the historic auditorium into a 986-seat IMAX theatre, with a 46 foot tall x 94 foot wide screen were completed on September 15, 2013 when the world premiere of the updated 1939 classic movie “The Wizard of Oz-3D” was screened on the giant IMAX screen.

Recent comments (view all 1,549 comments)

Cliffs
Cliffs on May 23, 2015 at 12:36 am

I would think the Village and Bruin theaters, both in Westwood, would qualify. The Village opened in 1931 and the Bruin in 1937. Both still show first run films (the Village currently has Mad Max and the Bruin has Tomorrowland).

RogerA
RogerA on May 23, 2015 at 5:05 am

I wouldn’t call the Bruin a grand old theatre, old maybe but not grand.

I did go to see Interstellar in 70mm IMAX at Grauman’s Looked good the few scenes shot in IMAX. Those rails for the handicapped need to be lowered. And the only reason I went was because of the 70mm IMAX I am still waiting for a movie that is worth going to see so I can check out the laser. Why are they showing stuff shot or mastered in 2K? Arri has a new camera with a 65mm sensor that is higher res than 4K. These IMAX video films that are mastered or shot in 2k look horrible. The blowups from 35mm to IMAX looked bad too. I went to see an IMAX film at Universal when they had the 70MM it was one of the worst blowups from a 35mm (probably 3 perf) The grain and image quality was bad and inconstant some stuff was real bad and this was a major film with Depp. Oh yea the Cinerama film I saw recently had the same problem. Some stuff was shot in Cinerama but the action scenes were shot in Ultra Panavison. There was a big difference in quality. Henry Plitt said it best, “Blow up sh!t and you get big sh!t” I met him when he was testing Showscan at the Cinerama Dome. I can get 2K at home.

Saw How The West Was Won In Cinerama

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 24, 2015 at 11:02 am

Hello Again from NYC-

I thank Cliffs for the info on the Village and Bruin in Westwood. to which I have another question. if I understand your comment correctly the Village and the Bruin which opened in 1931 and 1937 were built from the get go as 1st run venues and have operated as such since the day they opened? the reason I ask is simple. I thought the Uptown in D.C. which is a 1st rum venue and been one since it opened in 1936. but it opened as 2nd/3rd run neighborhood theater and only reinvented itself as a 1st run venue with the dawn of the modern roadshow era in Oct. of 1955 with Oklahoma.

Cliffs
Cliffs on May 24, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Hmmm… that would certainly be a question for Michael Coate. He’d be the one most likely to know. Let me see if I can get him here.

Coate
Coate on May 24, 2015 at 1:41 pm

I believe the Village and Bruin were, essentially, “neighborhood” houses during the initial decades of their existence. I don’t think they became “first-run” (depending on how one defines such) until the 1970s when the prime L.A. booking zones shifted from downtown & Beverly Hills to Hollywood & Westwood/Century City.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 24, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Hello Again From NYC-

I thank Coate for his input on the subject. so it seems that when the Village and Bruin first opened like the Uptown in D.C. they were essentially neighborhood theaters and only became “1st run” venues decades later. so it seems that the Chinese is the only grand old movie theater built in the 1914-1941 heyday that was a 1st run venue from the get go and has continued to operate as such since the day it opened.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 24, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Hello Again From NYC-

I thank Coate for his input on the subject. so it seems that when the Village and Bruin first opened like the Uptown in D.C. they were essentially neighborhood theaters and only became “1st run” venues decades later. so it seems that the Chinese is the only grand old movie theater built in the 1914-1941 heyday that was a 1st run venue from the get go and has continued to operate as such since the day it opened.

Coate
Coate on May 24, 2015 at 2:07 pm

The Chinese was a neighborhood house, too, for much of its early life.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 25, 2015 at 12:55 am

The first movie shown at the Fox Westwood Village when it opened on August 14, 1931, was A Free Soul, which had premiered in New York City on June 2 and opened in other cities later that month.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 25, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Hello-

I am a bit confused. I always thought the Chinese was built as a 1st run venue from the get go. after all it held the premiere of Demille’s “The King of Kings” May 18, 1927. so what does Coate mean by referring to the Chinese as a neighborhood theater during its early years? granted Hollywood is a neighborhood to the people who live there but that does not make the Chinese a “neighborhood” theater in the accepted sense of the term.

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