Grand Theatre

216 Nanjing XiLu,

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Additional Info

Architects: Ladislav Edvard Hudec

Functions: Movies

Styles: Art Deco

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Grand Theatre, Shanghai, China in 1929

Originally built in 1928, on what was then called Park Road (today’s Nanjing XiLu), the Grand Theatre operated for less than three years, before going bankrupt and closing. In 1932, a joint Chinese-British-American venture totally rebuilt the Grand Theatre, hiring Czech-Hungarian Shanghai architect Ladislaus Hudec to design the new cinema, which he did in striking Art Deco style.

The Grand Theatre seated 1,913, and screened first-run American films in its elegant auditorium. The one drawback of the Grand Theatre was that it was not air-conditioned and often became unbearably hot, which deterred patrons. It wasn’t until 1941 that an air-conditioning system was installed, and business increased by large numbers.

After the 1949 Revolution, the Shanghai Cultural Bureau took over the Grand Theatre. The theater still operates today, and still occasionally screens Hollywood blockbusters.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Suwanti on July 29, 2005 at 5:03 pm

The Chinese name of this theatre is “大光明戲院"。

Suwanti on July 30, 2005 at 2:42 am

The[new]Grand Theatre opened on 14th June,1933,and the opening film was “My Weakness”.Earphone[Sinophone] system was inaugurated on 4th November,1939 for the benefit of those who could not understand English.Patrons who hired an earphone could heard simultaneous Mandarin translation of the English dialogue.

Recently,the theatre underwent massive redorcation.

Suwanti on July 30, 2005 at 6:57 am

The[old]Grand Theatre opened on 23rd December,1928 and closed in November 1928.It was situated on Bubbling Well Road.

RobertBurger on December 11, 2005 at 5:17 am

The ‘Grand Çinema’ has been noted for being the first in Shanghai in several aspects:
– the first big luxury cinema in Shanghai
– the first one to introduce wide screen projection
– the first one to introduce surround tone
– the first one to officially achieve ‘4 star'status, according to the municipal cinema ranking system

After the renovation in 1992, it now has 1554 seats in the categories single, double and VIP double.

jeffg718 on August 13, 2006 at 8:00 am

Here is photo I took recently of the Grand Theatre.

Suwanti on January 24, 2010 at 8:16 am

Cinemascope screen was installed in 1957, and modified projectors were bought from the then East Germany.

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