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 1,566 comments)

stevenj
stevenj on August 9, 2015 at 11:28 pm

I was looking for photos of Hollywood in the 30’s and 40’s recently and came across this wonderful website – Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photo Collection – which has 8 pages of photos of the Chinese Theater from construction to late 1970’s:

Chinese Theater

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 10, 2015 at 12:59 am

Hello Again From NYC-

i want to thank macoco for the detailed look at movie distribution in the 40s, 50s and 60s in L.A.. but as enjoyable as it was to read it still doesn’t explain why Coate referred to the Chinese as a “neighborhood house”. in NYC a “neighborhood” house in the same time period was a theater in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn or Staten Island that played a film AFTER its 1st run engagements in Manhattan. in other words wherever else a movie might have been playing its engagement at the Chinese was its 1s run engagement which disqualifies the Chinese from being a “neighborhood house”.

macoco
macoco on August 10, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Hello bigjoe59—that may have applied to NY and the RKO and Loew’s distribution, but Fox West Coast played first run films in various neighborhoods, in large part because of the spread of LA: downtown, Hollywood, mid-Wilshire/Beverly Hills, Westchester are all different neighborhoods. I suspect you may be equating “neighborhood house” with second-run (i.e. after first-run), which is how the two chains worked in NYC, dividing the market for films after they played Broadway first-run run, usually exclusively. But that was not how exhibition worked in every city. In the time referenced, the Chinese played pretty much to its neighborhood—Hollywood.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 10, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Hello Again From NYC-

I want to thank macoco again for the reply to my post. in your reply you may have hit on something that explains Coate’s comment. I and anyone in NYC during the period mentioned in your original reply would have classified a “neighborhood house” as a theater within walking distance of your home in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn or Staten Island that played a film after it had exhausted its 1st run bookings in Manhattan. as you stated I am equating “neighborhood house” with 2nd or 3rd run. I know I’m being picky but the term “neighborhood house” should be reserved for only those theaters in the time period you mentioned that played films 2nd or 3rd run. in Coate’s way to liberal interpretation of the term the Loew’s Capitol could have been classified as the “neighborhood house” for Hell’s Kitchen.

Coate
Coate on October 7, 2015 at 10:18 pm

bigjoe59…. Perhaps “neighborhood house” wasn’t the ideal term to use, but, as member macoco has already (and nicely) explained, what I was referring to was the period of time when the Chinese, instead of exclusives, was running a lot of one-and two-week double features and day-and-date bookings with other Southern California theaters.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on October 18, 2015 at 10:25 pm

Hello-

regardless of the quality of the films being shown if the Chinese has in fact been a 1st run venue since the day it opened “neighborhood house” is not an applicable term is anyway. the fact the Chinese may have debuted a new film along with another theater or two in the L.A. area does not make it a neighborhood house. for New Yorkers a “neighborhood house” is a theater in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island that played a film only after it had exhausted its 1st run engagements in Manhattan.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 15, 2015 at 7:29 pm

last night star wars held its world premiere that was live streamed by verizon on its website and on fios tv. tightened security as well as lots of fans, stars, and artists. Everyone seems to like it so far.

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on December 15, 2015 at 8:22 pm

So I was at the World Premiere of Star Wars last night and the presentation was flawless . Picture and sound were amazing . The seats are comfy but have and odd tilt when sitting . The rest of the theatre looked tired and not well maintained.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on February 23, 2016 at 3:39 pm

The ad posted yesterday for “King Kong” failed to give a date, which was March 24th, 1933. Without that vital information, one might guess that it was the grand opening of the now classic movie. But “King Kong” actually had its world premiere in New York City three weeks earlier, on March 2nd, in an unprecedented two-theatre engagement at Radio City Music Hall and the New Roxy (supported at both by stage shows).

Coate
Coate on April 8, 2016 at 7:54 am

“The Bad News Bears” opened here 40 years ago today, where it enjoyed a successful eleven-week run. To commemorate the occasion, here’s my latest historical/retrospective article which mentions the run at the Chinese as well as hundreds of other theaters in which it played. Do take a look if you’re a fan of the movie or if you have fond memories of 1970s era moviegoing.

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