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 1,504 comments)

RogerA on November 18, 2014 at 5:33 pm

bigjoe59 The El Capitan which was the Paramount has been in operation as a single screen first run movie theater for many years. The Egyptian was shut down for many years after it was damaged by the Northridge earthquake but it is no longer a first run venue. The Vista Theater has been in operation since 1923. The Village Theater and the Bruin Theater in Westwood has been in operation as a first run venue for decades.

bigjoe59 on November 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm

to Roger A.–

thanks for your quick reply. unfortunately the grand El Capitan doesn’t qualify since it wasn’t built as a movie theater. it opened in 1926 as a legitimate theater for live shows and didn’t start showing films till Citizen Kane in 1941. so based on your reply other than the Chinese the Village and Bruin theaters both in Westwood are the only old time movie theaters in or around Hollywood that were built from the get go as 1st run venues and have continued to operate as such since the day they opened?

RogerA on November 18, 2014 at 7:24 pm

bigjoe don’t leave out the Vista Theater that has been around for a long time as a single screen and is first run

CTCrouch on November 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Technically, the Vista wouldn’t fit in to bigjoe’s parameters, as it spent time as both a porn venue and revival house (i.e. hasn’t been continuously first run from open to present day).

RogerA on November 20, 2014 at 2:18 am

I didn’t know that CTC thanks for the input

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on November 20, 2014 at 4:59 am

So BigJoe59, I guess the answer to your question is that the 2nd oldest theatre in Los Angeles built as a first run and still operating as such would be the Fox Village Theatre, opened in 1931. The Bruin across the street was opened in 1937 so would be the 3rd. Here’s a video made during our most recent Westwood theatre tour:

HowardBHaas on November 20, 2014 at 8:45 am

I thought Westwood Village movie theaters became “premiere” movie theaters in the 1960s or 1950s but not when built? i doubt they were 1st run when built. Downtown LA & Hollywood movie theaters were the 1st run until 1960s or so.

bigjoe59 on November 20, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Hello Again From NYC-

thanks for all the replies. I know I set a rather tight parameter but I was interested in what grand old time theaters other than the Chinese that were built from the get go as 1st run venues have continued to operate as such since the day they opened. the area in an around Hollywood is luck they have 3 that fit my criteria, Manhattan doesn’t have any.

also where is the Vista?

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on November 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm

The Vista is east of Hollywood, but still in the neighborhood. It has recently been given new life as a first run house, and has developed a loyal following. During my youth it was one of many great revival theatres that I would frequent.

RobertAlex on March 12, 2015 at 8:07 pm

The Chinese Theater is closed till 4/2 for installation of the new IMAX Laser Projector and a new immersive sound system. I noticed there were no showings posted so I called to ask. Personally I am psyched to finally get to see hear and this. This also means they will be using the entire screen starting with Fast and Furious 7 (after the TCM film fest is over).

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