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 1,541 comments)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 18, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Hello Again From NYC-

I thank Escort N. his reply. if I am not mistaken The Avengers: Age of Ultron had the 2nd biggest opening weekend in history. now I wanted to see it at the IMAX theater in the Loews Lincoln Square complex but the first show of the day was way to early. so I saw the first showing of the day at the Loews which is the main and largest of the complex’s 12? auditoriums. now has I stated the film had the 2nd biggest weekend opening in history yet for that 1st showing on Sat. May 2 the Loews was virtually empty. I found that highly surprising.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 18, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Hello Again From NYC-

I thank Escort N. his reply. if I am not mistaken The Avengers: Age of Ultron had the 2nd biggest opening weekend in history. now I wanted to see it at the IMAX theater in the Loews Lincoln Square complex but the first show of the day was way to early. so I saw the first showing of the day at the Loews which is the main and largest of the complex’s 12? auditoriums. now has I stated the film had the 2nd biggest weekend opening in history yet for that 1st showing on Sat. May 2 the Loews was virtually empty. I found that highly surprising.

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on May 18, 2015 at 5:26 pm

The overall increase has been much more than 15% to 20%, I’d say, but more because they can book desirable films again and don’t have to compete for booking with the Dome. Anybody remember when “Book of Eli” played 12 weeks in the big Chinese in the late Mann days. Before TCL and especially the IMAX conversion, the Chinese in recent years just did not have the booking leverage to get more than 3-4 of the biggest blockbusters per summer.

Cliffs
Cliffs on May 19, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Yeah, Danny’s right. It’s hard to compare before to after since the last few years of the Chinese before the IMAX conversion they were booking nothing but junk (essentially what The Dome and the El Cap didn’t want) and holding onto it for waaaaay too long (they ran Tyler Perry’s Temptation for 4 weeks… it wasn’t an engagement, it was a sentence). Every once in a while they’d book something big (like The Hobbit in HFR3D), but they’d still be stuck playing it to empty houses for weeks (7 in this case) after the opening weekend flurry came and went. Now, they can book with more frequency and get films they didn’t have access to before. They didn’t even run Avengers for a full two weeks (returning Furious 7 in there for the last 3.5 days). I’m not so sure it even outdraws the El Capitan across the street. The El Capitan has a crazy following and sells out faster then the Dome even.

The better news about the Chinese is that it is now IMAX’s premiere house. Whether it’s installing a film projector to present Interstellar (the first time since Harry Potter 7.2 that an actual line formed on Hollywood Blvd) or the new laser projector, IMAX is treating this theater like home base.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 19, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Hello Again From NYC-

thanks to Danny B. for your reply. the reason I asked if the attendance had picked up all that much after the IMAX redo is simple. in Nov. of 2013 two months after the conversion was unveiled Catching Fire opened. now as you know CF is tied with Iron Man 3 as the highest grossing film of 2013. but a regular at the Chinese went to see CF with two friends the Sun. after the film opened. he stated on this page that it was an afternoon showing and was shocked the theater was at the absolute most 10% full.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 19, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Hello Again From NYC-

thanks to Danny B. for your reply. the reason I asked if the attendance had picked up all that much after the IMAX redo is simple. in Nov. of 2013 two months after the conversion was unveiled Catching Fire opened. now as you know CF is tied with Iron Man 3 as the highest grossing film of 2013. but a regular at the Chinese went to see CF with two friends the Sun. after the film opened. he stated on this page that it was an afternoon showing and was shocked the theater was at the absolute most 10% full.

Cliffs
Cliffs on May 19, 2015 at 6:41 pm

bigjoe59- Yeah, I saw the 8pm Thursday showing of Catching Fire at the Chinese (first showing ever) and it was barely half full. It’s certainly picked up since then. I think a lot of people had abandoned the Chinese when it wasn’t showing much (and also, truth be told, it ended up being a bit too tourist-y for most locals, who instead were more inclined to go to the less hectic Arclight and Grove). The average movie-goer probably hadn’t seen a film there in several years. I’m a massive movie-goer and had probably only been there 6 times in the 5 years before the conversion (I went twice in 2011 and didn’t even step foot inside there in 2012). Catching Fire was only two months after the re-opening and I just don’t think anyone knew about it.

The other thing to remember is that no one uses a newspaper anymore for showtimes and the Chinese didn’t fall under some larger corporation, so to find out what was playing at the Chinese, you had to seek it out. The showtimes weren’t sitting there across from the Pacific ad or under the AMC times. That’s another reason I think it took a little while to get the word out. As I said, I think the fact that they specifically installed a 70mm film projector for Interstellar got the theater a lot of eyeballs again. There was a lot of press that they were doing this and I think it put the Chinese back on people’s radar.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on May 21, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Hello to Cliffs-

thanks for your informative reply. another question I hope you can help me with. I discovered this wonderful website the last week of January 2012. after browsing it briefly I created a project for myself. the Golden Age of building grand old movie theaters was approx. 1914 thru 1941. this is what I set out to look for. how many such theaters that were built from the get go as 1st run venues have continued to operate as such. so far the only theater i have found that was built during this period as a 1st run venue and has continued to operate as such since the day it opened is the Chinese. is that possible?

Cliffs
Cliffs on May 23, 2015 at 2:36 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 7:05 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

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