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 1,496 comments)

markinthedark on September 26, 2014 at 1:25 pm

I am curious if anyone knows the info on image sizes for:

Current Chinese IMAX: – when playing a film released 1.85:1 – when playing a film released 2.35:1

Is there any masking for unused screen?

What are the dimensions of the screen for full Digital IMAX?

Will any of this change when the go laser?

PRE-IMAX conversion:
– what was the screen size for 1.85:1
– what was the screen size for 2.35:1

Have not been able to make it yet to the Chinese post IMAX remodel. Thanks!

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on September 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm

For all IMAX presentations (i.e. not film festival), the screen is kept at 1.90:1. Masking isn’t used for ‘Scope, per IMAX standard, but does exist. IMAX releases cropped 1.90:1 versions of most 1.44:1 content (i.e. it was not pillarboxed in the games scenes in the most recent 'Hunger Games’ film, but rather shown in 1.90:1).

I was told the screen would be getting a bit bigger with laser, but don’t have any dimensions info.

markinthedark on September 26, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Thanks Danny – so is everything presented in 1.90:1 and cropped? The only Digital IMAX presentation I have seen (at an AMC) was Thor: The Dark World. It seemed letterboxed on the screen but not to full 2.35.

I am curious if a 2.35 film would appear roughly the same size on the Chinese IMAX screen as it was on the old Chinese screen.

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on September 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm

No no, as with any other IMAX screen, ‘Scope is shown “letterboxed” with no masking. I was saying 1.44:1 content is usually cropped to 1.90:1

bigjoe59 on September 26, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Hello from NYC-

I find all the tech talk fascinating, especially screen aspect ratios. but is my assessment correct that the IMAX-ing of the Chinese though given an A+ hasn’t really brought in the crowds to the extant they thought it would?

CF100 on September 29, 2014 at 11:45 am

Discovery Channel Documentary on the Chinese Theatre (uploaded by TCL):

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on September 29, 2014 at 2:06 pm

BigJoe59, It is true that there are not sell out crowds on a regular basis. Personally, as a resident and frequent theatre goer, part of the problem is the “circus” atmosphere on Hollywood Blvd. I don’t mind the tourists, but I do not like pushing my way past the sometimes aggressive sweaty costumed characters. If you haven’t been here recently, think Times Square. Of course, that makes entering into the relative peace and beauty of the Chinese even more wonderful!

I think the other bigger issue with long time residents is getting back into the habit of coming to Hollywood to see a movie after years of going to suburban theaters. This will take time to change, and I think it will. It is surprisingly easy to get there on the Metro (subway) because there is a stop right at the corner. I can get on in Downtown L.A. where I live and be at the Chinese in 25 minutes without having to deal with traffic or parking! This might be normal in NY but for a native of Los Angeles this is remarkable, and a lot of people still aren’t used to it!

bigjoe59 on September 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Hello to Escott N.–

I am quite familiar with the costumed characters in Times Square since I am an avid theater goer. I am one of those true New Yorkers who never let Times Square’s decadent “colorful” period phase them. likewise today I ignore the costumed characters.

so L.A. residents who are turned off by the costumed characters and crowds etc……….. in front of the Chinese must have the backbone of a jellyfish. even in its decadent “colorful period” the big movie theaters in Times Square still had sell out crowds.

so since the IMAX-ing of the Chinese has gotten A+ reviews all around for L.A. residents to avoid, can’t be bothered with the theater because of the crowds etc….. in front of it well they’re probably afraid of their own shadow.

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on September 29, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Hey Big Joe, no need to get personal! I love the craziness of Times Square, was just there for the LHAT conference and had a great time! I am just hypothesizing about the reason such a beautiful theatre that is so easy to get to is not full more often.

In my opinion, one of the biggest differences between New York and Los Angeles is the ease of getting around on mass transit. We are just now getting a mediocre transit system and New York has had a great one for decades. We decentralized to the suburbs 30 years ago and it is an uphill battle bringing suburbans back to the historic centers like Hollywood and Downtown, where all of the best historic theaters are.

Things are changing for Los Angeles, we now have a fast growing downtown population, and Hollywood is also going through a huge growth spurt. I think we will see new life for our theaters partially supported by the new younger urban residents. That is part of the current focus of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, getting these new audiences aware of the theatres in their own new neighborhoods. We are working with the Chinese and other theatre owners on special events to raise awareness!

RogerA on October 1, 2014 at 5:33 pm

To answer the questions on screen size pre conversion at the Chinese; the Cinemiracle screen was over 100 feet and was curved. The largest picture using 35mm film scope 2.35 is 65 feet any larger the light required would damage the film. So the masking at the Chinese was set at 65 feet for scope and for 70mm. There has always been a problem getting enough light to fill the huge screen. The IMAX 70mm projector they are going to install for Nolans new film should be bright enough.

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