TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Unfavorite 132 people favorited this theater

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 1,469 comments)

DonSolosan on August 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm

@LoveCinema — the six screens that were added are in a building next door to the Chinese. They didn’t impact the seating in the Chinese at all.

moviebuff82 on August 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I was watching this week’s episode of “Drunk History” on Comedy Central and during an episode that made fun of the history of Hollywood they showed footage of the Chinese theater with the IMAX signs. Still looks great.

LoveCinema on August 9, 2014 at 2:15 am

DonSolosan – well- I did notice that the 6 added screens are not inside the Chinese Auditorium.
What I meant was, because of converting the Chinese Theatre into an IMAX 3D reduction of seats had to be done. That’s what I feel a bit sorry about.
Have a nice day.

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on August 9, 2014 at 6:55 am

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:

moviebuff82 on August 9, 2014 at 8:51 am

what sound systems has this theater used since its inception? I bet all of them, from vitaphone to Dolby Atmos. As for projection, i guess they used everything from 16mm to 35mm to 70mm to digital projection. Do any of the theaters have stadium seating?

silver on August 9, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Hi, speaking of the recent renovations, I thought I recall reading that the box office would be moving back to an earlier design in a separate structure (then occupied by a tour company). Did they do that?

One of these days I’ll get to make my first post-IMAX renovation visit…

LoveCinema on August 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Thank you Escott O.Norton for explaining…and the link to photos.Looks beautiful…and all the other photos, too. Gave me another opurtinity to look inside the great work that LAHTF is providing for the Historic Theatres. Heard rumors about installing DOLBY ATMOS Sound System inside my favorite Theater? Hopefully this stays a rumor. Greetings from Germany

CTCrouch on August 10, 2014 at 12:44 am

As for the decorative standards: The current standards are replicas. The previous standards (which were replicas also) were auctioned off with the seats as a bulk lot. The company that purchased the seating lot was selling groups of seats, with decorative standards, on ebay, a few months back.

Silver: They conducted a significant remodel of the modern Hollywood Blvd. box office (there are a few pictures up). The older structure, which currently houses StarLine, would be a logistical nightmare to utilize as a box office, due to the courtyard tourism foot traffic.

Moviebuff82: all of the theatres are now stadium seating (modern 6 plex and classic main house).

bigjoe59 on August 10, 2014 at 4:56 am

to Escott O. Norton-

thanks for the reply to my inquiry. to which I want to make sure I understand your reply. so are you saying that although the Chinese is now a state of the art IMAX theater following its Sept. 2013 reopening that it still faces the same problem as the Ziegfeld in Manhattan? a companion question. since its reopening have there been any “big” films that had almost sell out crowds? when the theater reopened last Sept. its new sound and projection was highly lauded by everyone. yet from the posting by the person who saw Catching Fire on Sun. two days after it opened the person was shocked the theater was at the most 20% full. to bad if that’s the case.

in Manhattan many theaters have discount rates for shows before 12 noon but the Ziegfeld is not one of them. so if a “big” film opens at a number of theaters in Manhattan that offer the discount rate I will see it at the Ziegfeld because while it may sell out at the smaller theaters I know no matter how critically lauded the film is the Ziegfeld will be at the most 25% filled.

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on August 10, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Hi bigjoe59, 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.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater