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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 annual Oscar presentations.

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 by the architectural firm Blair Ballard Architects 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 1,626 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2018 at 1:37 pm

As far as I know neither Raymond Kennedy, chief architect of the Chinese Theatre, nor Donald Wilkinson, head architect of the firm of Meyer & Holler, with whom Kennedy worked closely on the project, ever visited China, but I’m sure Kennedy would have done some study of Chinese design for the project.

Although the theater’s details are Chinese, the building’s form is more European Renaissance, particularly the forecourt. A forecourt is not characteristic of Chinese design. Both Kennedy and Wilkinson were classically trained, and Kennedy was awarded a Diploma as a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, where he studied for three years.

CF100
CF100 on July 6, 2018 at 4:53 pm

The replacement seating for the IMAX conversion was a “custom” design supplied by Seating Concepts:

How We Helped the Historic Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles with Its Recent Overhaul—Seating Concepts.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on July 7, 2018 at 4:28 am

That link includes a great interior shot of TCL Chinese Theatre.

Shame they have stairs running right through the centre of so many rows as that is where I prefer to sit, directly in line with the centre of the screen.

RogerA
RogerA on July 7, 2018 at 6:05 pm

That center aisle and the railings are just bad

alisonwriter
alisonwriter on July 10, 2018 at 10:21 pm

Hi, I’m working on a project about TCL/Grauman’s and would like to interview former (and current) employees—projectionists, managers, ushers, ticket sellers, janitors, etc. No on-camera required. alisonnastasi (at) gmail

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 11, 2018 at 1:47 pm

Hello-

were the engagements of Windjammer, West Side Story
and Hello Dolly the only roadshow engagements the
Chinese has held?

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on July 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm

BigJoe, I recommend you spend some time on my friend Kurt’s website. He has an exhaustive collection of photos and information, including a COMPLETE list of every movie and show ever presented at the Chinese. Also check out the 1927 tour of the theatre! http://graumanschinese.org

MSC77
MSC77 on July 12, 2018 at 10:57 am

bigjoe59: Other roadshows at the Chinese included “Half a Sixpence” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 12, 2018 at 1:23 pm

Hello-

thanks to Escot O. Norton and MSC77 for their replies. I am fascinated as to how long roadshow engagements of films lasted in L.A. as opposed to Manhattan. for instance the shortest roadshow engagement in Manhattan I can remember is Half A Sixpence which ran at the Criterion for a grand total of 6 weeks.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on August 7, 2018 at 8:05 pm

Water and Power Associates link with the Chinese Theatre and photos of other theatres and buildings.

http://waterandpower.org/museum/Early_Views_of_Hollywood%281920%2B%29_Page_6.html

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