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 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 1,599 comments)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on June 23, 2017 at 1:52 pm

Hello Again!:–)

to Escott O. Norton I thank you yet again. from all the talk following the IMAX redo I got the impression the interior had been radically changed. but if I understand your latest reply correctly the interior is 80% the same as when it opened May of 1927. that’s good to know that the IMAX redo didn’t do away with that much.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 31, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Hello From NYC-

i saw Dunkirk at the Loews Lincoln Square IMAX auditorium and the experience was !!! WOW !!!. the sound and projection was A+. i felt like I was one of the stranded soldiers on the beach. what was it like at this theater?

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on August 1, 2017 at 12:26 pm

BigJoe59, I’ve been out of town for the last few weeks but plan to see Dunkirk at the Chinese as soon as I get back, and will report. My temptation is to also see it in 70mmIMAX at the one theatre it is playing in Los Angeles, and compare.

silver
silver on August 21, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Has anyone seen the new souvenir book that TCLchinesetheatres has begun selling on their website (for $10 plus shipping)? I assume they also pitch it to all the tourists doing the tour. “TCL Chinese Theatre History of the Iconic Hollywood Landmark Souvenir Book.” A photographic look at the theatre’s 90 year history.

I wonder if the book is worth it. Or if it’s just mostly photos of the handprints and the old movie star doing the handprints

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on August 21, 2017 at 9:52 pm

It’s a nice glossy colorful book with the first pages about the history with both vintage and recent photos. There is also a timeline. The majority of the book is handprint ceremonies through the years. Some great photos there too. Amazon is also selling it, so that shipping might be cheaper.

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on August 21, 2017 at 10:03 pm

BigJoe59, I finally saw Dunkirk at the Chinese and it was pretty amazing! Very immersive, with stunning visuals and sound design. If you like Nolan’s style I think you would like this. If you are frustrated by Nolan’s multilayered sound style, this will drive you crazy. That is rally the main criticism I’ve heard, that you “can’t hear the dialogue”. For me that was just fine. Now to the projection and sound. I decided to see it in 70mmIMAX so I could compare (here is another theatre nearby that was showing it in that format).
I’m sure I will get plenty of disagreement, but I thought the quality of the IMAX Laser and the IMAX 70mm were almost indistinguishable, and both looked incredible. The sound in both theatres was very similar too. What made the experience at the Chinese much better for me was the positioning of the screen and seating. At the 70mm theatre Universal Citywalk, unless you were near the very back you have to crane your neck to see the full screen, which I found uncomfortable. At the Chinese I sat at my favorite place, just behind the cross-aisle near the middle, and that put me square in the middle of the screen. No neck ache!

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 22, 2017 at 11:54 am

Hello from NYC-

to Escott O. Norton many thanks for your reply. as I said I saw it at the IMAX theater in the Loews Lincoln Square complex in Manhattan and with the size of the screen, the new laser projection system and the A+ sound system it was like I was on the beach with the stranded soldiers.

also if you’re ever in NYC and go the IMAX at Lincoln Square rows h or g are the perfect rows.

markinthedark
markinthedark on August 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm

What was the aspect ratio for all the IMAX-filmed scenes at the Chinese? Was it the 1.43:1 as it would be for the 15 Perf 70mm prints? I saw another IMAX film at the Chinese that appeared to be 1.90:1 with room at the top and bottom of the (*%#&@ unmasked) screen to spare.

I just saw Dunkirk at the Boeing IMAX in Seattle with Laser projection and it was full 1.43 for the IMAX sourced scenes. Although the Chinese had room to spare on screen when I was there it didn’t seem to be enough to go full 1.43:1 while maintaining the width of the screen. Am I wrong?

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on August 22, 2017 at 4:02 pm

What’s the next movie to be shown at the chinese imax…i think it’s Inhumans for one week only then the remake of it then kingsman…

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on August 23, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Mark— It’s 1.90:1. When they ran INTERSTELLAR on 70mm there, they brought the curtains in to mark the sides for 1:43:1.

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