TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard,
Hollywood,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on September 29, 2014 at 2:12 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! www.LAHTF.org

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 29, 2014 at 12:28 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 11:06 am

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!

CF100
CF100 on September 29, 2014 at 8:45 am

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GlTuvqqxxo

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 26, 2014 at 1:22 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?

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on September 26, 2014 at 11:42 am

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

markinthedark
markinthedark on September 26, 2014 at 11:17 am

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 10:41 am

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
markinthedark on September 26, 2014 at 10:25 am

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!

mhvbear
mhvbear on September 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

15/70mm from what I have read. Curious if they are striking a special print for them seeing that the screen was designed for IMAX digital not 15/70mm.

markinthedark
markinthedark on September 26, 2014 at 9:31 am

70mm IMAX or 70mm 5-perf?

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on September 26, 2014 at 8:30 am

They’d have to bring in the masking on the sides quite a bit for film because at full size, the screen isn’t 1.44:1, it’s 1.90:1. Is there a single IMAX anywhere that isn’t wall-to-wall width?

mhvbear
mhvbear on September 26, 2014 at 7:01 am

So the news on the interweb is that the Chinese is getting 70mm projection installed for the engagement of “interstellar”.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 22, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Hello from NYC-

from what I have read on this page the IMAX-ing of the Chinese gets an A+ which prompts an interesting question. three films opening between today and Dec. 31 that can really shine in this theater are Interstellar, MockingJay Pt.1 and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. my question being simple- it will be interesting to see what the crowds are like on Sun. afternoon three days after each film open assuming they play here. I found quite fascinating a post on this site made last Nov. 2013. a poster and friends went to a Sun. afternoon showing of Catching Fire only three days after the film opened and were shocked that the theater at the most maybe 20% filled.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm

bigjoe59: I’m not an administrator, but I’ve been posting here for so many years that I’ve probably come to sound a bit possessive about the site. To answer your question, no, I don’t know of any theaters in the United States other than the Chinese that opened before 1941 as first run movie houses and have remained first run throughout their history. Most of them were downtown theaters, and as movie attendance shifted to the suburbs starting in the 1950s the old palaces began closing one after another. The survival of the Chinese can probably be attributed to its location in Hollywood more than any other single factor.

patryan6019
patryan6019 on August 31, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Bigjoe59…The Fine Arts is listed(uselessly as you have discovered)as Cecchi Gori F.A.Cinema. Go figure. Hope this helps.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 31, 2014 at 11:52 am

Hello Again to Joe Vogel-

from the wording of your reply about the Fine Arts it appears you might be an administrator of this site. if you are a question for you-

the golden age of grand old movie theater building was approx. 1914-1941. now many of said grand old theaters built during this period were built from the get go as 2nd/3rd run neighborhood houses. the Castro in S.F. a perfect example. which brings me to my question. I created a project to see how many of said grand old movie theaters that were built from the get go as premiere 1st run venues have continued to operate as such since the day they opened. the only one I have been able to find is the Chinese. so is it really possible that of all the grand old movie theaters built 1914-1941 from the get go as premiere 1st run venues the Chinese is the only one in all 50 states that has continued to operate as such? very sad if that’s the case.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 31, 2014 at 11:13 am

to Joe Vogel-

I looked again at the 1968 page for 70MM in L.A. to make sure I hadn’t gotten the name wrong. but for the Oct.25 opening of The Charge of the Light Brigade it is in fact referred to as the Fox Fine Arts Theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm

bigjoe59: They must be referring to what is now the Cecchi Gori Fine Arts Cinema. It’s in Beverly Hills. I’ve never heard of it having been called the Fox Fine Arts, and we don’t list that as an aka, so that’s why it didn’t turn up in your search.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 29, 2014 at 7:20 am

Hello-

I clicked on the link Coate included for 70MM in L.A. and clicked on 1968. that year the Chinese hosted two roadshow engagements. I was familiar with all the theaters on the 1968 list except for two- the 4 Star and The Fox Fine Arts. as in NYC the studios would occasionally book reserve seat runs into theater not traditionally used for such engagements. now the 4 Star which has been a church for many years is in the process of being razed. but I could find no mention of the Fox Fine Arts on this website. what name is it listed under?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

The big roadshow house on Hollywood Boulevard was the Egyptian, though the Pantages also had its share of hard ticket events. The Warner Hollywood was tied up with Cinerama through that period. I think that Fox West Coast booked more roadshow engagements into the Carthay Circle than any other theater in the region. The Chinese was the circuit’s big first-run house.

One thing I recall about the Chinese is that at one point, I think it must have been during the late 1950s, one of the television stations in Los Angeles had a weekly movie that was hosted by Francis X. Bushman, and it featured a wraparound of Bushman talking about the movie from a seat in the Chinese. At the end of the closing segment he would get up and walk up the aisle of the auditorium. I hadn’t thought about that show in years. I wonder if anyone else remembers it?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm

to E. O. Norton and Coate-

many thanks for your assistance with my inquiry. as Norton suggested I looked at the theater website and clicked on “every film to play the Chinese”. and found that in addition to West Side Story and Hello Dolly the Chinese hosted 3 other roadshows-Windjammer, Half A Sixpence and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

a question for both of you. in the prime roadshow period of Oct. 1955 thru Dec. 1972 i have always found it interesting that whatever studio was involved would open a film on a traditional roadshow engagement in city but not another. for instance Cast A Giant Shadow opened on a traditional roadshow run at the Demille in Manhattan but opened on continuous performance at the Chinese. in reverse The Great Race opened on a continuous performance run in Manhattan but on a traditional roadshow run at the Pantages. i have always found that a odd way of doing things. what’s your take?

and for Coate-

i posed a question for you on the page for the Uptown in D.C. that i would greatly appreciate your thoughts on. its dated Aug. 5th 2014 2:16p.m.. thanks for your assistance.

Coate
Coate on August 28, 2014 at 11:14 am

Bigjoe59… There’s a lot of great detail in the Chinese presentations timeline mentioned in the above comment, but if you don’t wish to scroll through numerous pages of data just to locate the roadshows, then I can inform you the answer you’re seeking is: “Windjammer” (1958), “Half A Sixpence” (1968) and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1968).

Source: 70mm in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles entry in the Remembering Cinerama series of articles.

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on August 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Hi Bigjoe59, Not sure if you know about this website, it is the best resource I know of for Chinese Theatre history. He has a very detailed timeline put together. Here is the 1955 page: http://www.graumanschinese.org/1955.html

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on August 26, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Hello From NYC-

before I found this website I was unaware that this theater hosted roadshow engagements or reserved seat movie as me and my friends called them. to which my question. the period from the Oct. 1955 opening of Oklahoma to the Dec. 1972 opening of Man of La Mancha I refer to as the prime roadshow period. now during this period did the Chinese host any roadshow engagements other than West Side Story and Hello Dolly?