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 by the architectural firm Blair Ballard Architects 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 1,581 comments)

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on May 17, 2017 at 11:08 am

Because of prescheduled events both tonight and tomorrow, the Chinese Theatre' 90th Anniversary will be celebrated on Monday the 22nd with a VIP Event in the historic Forecourt. The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation will be a part of the event. Photos will be shared after the event.

moviebuff82 on May 17, 2017 at 11:28 am

I wonder what the chinese will do for its 100th?

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on May 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm

I’m told that today’s “Calendar” section of the Los Angeles Times has coverage about the 90th anniversary.

bigjoe59 on May 18, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Hello from NYC-

would any devotees of the Chinese know the difference
in size if any of the Chinese’s IMAX screen and the
one at the Loews Lincoln Square in Manhattan?

RogerA on May 18, 2017 at 7:09 pm

I know the proscenium at the Chinese is around 100' and I think the IMAX screen is close to that at about 97' Not sure what size Loews Lincoln Square is. But size can vary the largest IMAX screen is in Australia

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 18, 2017 at 7:45 pm

Lincoln Square has the largest IMAX screen in North America at 97x76 feet. The screen at the Chinese is almost as wide but not as tall, at 94x46 feet.

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on May 18, 2017 at 10:27 pm

My understanding is that the Chinese is the largest IMAX Theatre, based on seating capacity, not on screen size.

RogerA on May 19, 2017 at 6:05 pm

The square footage of the Chinese theater is extreme. It has changed over the years with the various modifications. Someone once estimated it to be around 500,000 cubic feet. Because of its size it was hard to get proper sound levels. The center channel high frequency horn would often fail from being over driven. The auditorium doesn’t look that big but it is an optical illusion. One time I chose to walk from the stage to the front during a power failure with no lights in the auditorium. My light was just absorbed by the darkness. It just doesn’t look as big as it is.

The screen is in an area that was once the stage. The stage is gone now. Partially removed for the Windjammer modification the remainder of the stage was removed for the IMAX modification. Two pillars in the front of the auditorium were also removed years ago for the Windjammer modification. The area these pillars were supporting dropped an inch or two when they were removed. These pillars matched the other pillars but were in front of the auditorium to the left and right of the stage. These pillars limited the screen size and were removed to install the huge Windjammer screen.

At one time there were two areas in the rear of the auditorium that was the nursery. The concession stand is new and keeps growing. When the Windjammer booth was removed and the projectors moved back upstairs the concession stand was enlarged. So over the years the Chinese has changed but still is huge.

moviebuff82 on May 22, 2017 at 11:38 am

40 years ago this past thursday Star Wars had its premiere at this theater when it was a single screen venue and played there for two weeks before being moved to the hollywood cinerama due to Sorcerer playing there. That movie didn’t fare as well as Star Wars, and when Star Wars returned to the Chinese during the first weekend of August, there was a lavish ceremony featuring R2D2 and C3PO putting handprints on the cement. By then, Star Wars was playing in around 1,000 theatres, a huge improvement from 32-40 theatres during Memorial Day weekend of 1977 when Fox deemed that movie a B-picture while The Other Side Of Midnight was supposed to be their big hit. Same thing happened with Poltergiest becoming the A picture while ET was the B five years after the movie came out.

RogerA on May 22, 2017 at 11:58 am

Star Wars was moved to a Mann theater in Hollywood and not the Cinerama. Sorcerer did play in the Chinese because it was previously booked and they had to play it. Mann wanted to keep Star Wars so they installed 70mm in a theater down the street and played Star Wars there until they could get rid of Sorcerer. This incident is why they built the twins. So in the future they could move a movie that wasn’t doing good business to one of the twins and keep the big house for the hit. Once Star Wars was back in the Chinese it stayed there for a record run. The twins are long gone demolished for the Hollywood Highland redo.

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