TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Chinese Theatres (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox West Coast Theatres, Grauman, Mann Theatres, United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.

Architects: Phillip W. Holler, Raymond M. Kennedy, Mendel Meyer

Firms: BB Architects, Behr Browers Architects, Meyer & Holler

Functions: Movies (Film Festivals), Movies (First Run)

Styles: Oriental

Previous Names: Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Mann's Chinese Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 323.461.3331

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News About This Theater

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

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.

On November 2, 2021 a vote was passed at a Planning and Management Land Use Committee (PLUM) meeting of the city council to re-zone the TCL Chinese Theatre for high to medium residential use.

Recent comments (view all 1,680 comments)

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on July 23, 2023 at 6:07 pm

PR is a big game, always has been! The good news is that going to the movies in a fabulous theatre IS news again, and people are coming in droves! I just got back from the Chinese and it’s fantastic to see so many people there! As for facts, the media frequently exaggerates to make headlines, that’s just the way it is. They even misquoted the PR man for the Chinese who is a friend of mine, one article said he was the IMAX spokesperson! Here are the FACTS as I see them, we have a good summer’s worth of quality films that are getting butts in seats and selling popcorn, and as an advocate for historic theatres, that is the best news ever after surviving a pandemic!

isthisgood on September 20, 2023 at 6:03 am

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of the reopening of the theater after the IMAX renovation. In a few days, it will also mark the end of the highest-grossing run in this theater’s history, as Oppenheimer in the splendor of 70mm comes to an end at the Chinese after 2 months. Quite the recovery for the theater. It’s incredible reading about the state of the struggling theater 10+ years ago, and see how far it’s come.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on September 20, 2023 at 6:25 am

Highest grossing run in history doesn’t really tell us much. The true test of popularity is how many people actually attended, not how much they paid in total receipts. Ticket prices are at their very highest in history, so just a small sum like $1 million can be run up very fast.

isthisgood on September 20, 2023 at 6:45 am

True, but a record’s a record, and I just thought it was fitting that this technically record run for the Chinese was ending so close to the 10th Anniversary of the renovation. Still, even with a lack of numbers on attendance, Oppenheimer’s 70mm run here was definitely popular and in demand, see the round the clock screenings during the first week to keep up with demand for the film.

CTCrouch on September 20, 2023 at 8:14 am

Following the pandemic and slow return to theatre going over the past few years, it was definitely encouraging to see Oppenheimer cause such a sensation at the Chinese. As for the historic attendance vs modern revenue disparity, that also reflects the industry’s overall focus shift. The exhibition industry has become far more focused on per capita income than raw attendance in the post megaplex era; the Chinese’s remodel sacrificing seating volume for a “premium” experience exemplifies this business model shift.

MSC77 on September 20, 2023 at 1:18 pm

About a month ago several media outlets prematurely and erroneously reported OPPENHEIMER had become the Chinese’s top-grossing movie. At the time OPPENHEIMER’s accomplishment was simply that it had become the venue’s top-grossing movie for the TCL/IMAX period of the past decade or so, but it got mis-reported as being the record for the venue’s near-100-year history. It probably is #1 by now.

OPPENHEIMER being #1 for the venue’s near-100-year history is a dubious accomplishment, though, when you consider the decades of inflation and the IMAX surcharge. In terms of tickets sold, OPPENHEIMER can’t be anywhere near being the venue’s record.

Anyway, what was the Chinese’s final box-office gross for OPPENHEIMER? For it to be the venue’s #1-grossing booking I believe it needed to exceed $2,414,972, which is what STAR WARS earned there during 1977-78.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on September 20, 2023 at 1:41 pm

I wonder if West Side Story (1961) holds the record for number of admissions. It played at the Chinese for an entire year.

RogerA on September 20, 2023 at 1:57 pm

Star Wars had a record run at the Chinese. It ran around the clock for months. West Side Story did not run shows at two in the morning. Adjusted for inflation Star Wars holds the record for most money. It also holds the record for number of tickets sold for a single movie. It also started a fight between the Chinese and Fox when they had to move it to another theater for six weeks.

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on September 20, 2023 at 2:04 pm

For me what is wonderful is that the historic Chinese Theatre has been selling out a science movie for months. It was a brilliant presentation, I was there for the projector load in and watched it twice with a full house. Yes, they have had 24 hour screenings of other movies, but they were all franchise sequels, not a one-off movie about a real life scientist.

Lots of people are claiming lots of firsts, it is all PR spin. I doubt that a 2 month run could ever sell more tickets than a year long run, different capacity, different ticket prices. The record I heard and believe is that this was the highest grossing single screen for THIS movie. That makes sense. The fact is that a science movie was filling the seats at the most historic of theatres, that people were going back multiple times for the experience, and everyone I have spoken to was glad they saw it at the Chinese!

isthisgood on September 21, 2023 at 5:24 am

Exactly Escott. My point wasn’t that more people had watched Oppenheimer than any other movie at The Chinese before, obviously, inflation plays a part in that. The point was that over a decade ago, there was a real concern about whether the theater could even stay afloat amid competition from the Arclight and terrible bookings. There was a real and justified concern that The Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the most famous theater in the world, could become a nightclub or live events venue. The IMAX conversion, which opened a decade ago yesterday, ended up being just what the theater needed to finally consistently book good shows and attract audience attraction. Star Wars probably sold more tickets, fine, but it’s still great that in the year of our Lord 2023, a digital era where IP drives the market and the industry is recovering from a global pandemic, The Chinese is still able to sell out a beautiful 70mm print of a new prestige drama from the most high profile director in the world right now. They sold out a special engagement for RRR almost a year ago. The cinema is getting the newest and hottest studio releases consistently and gets good business from them. The Chinese is a far cry from the state it was in 11 years ago, and I think that’s worth celebrating.

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