Chinese Theatre closes for renovations

The former Grauman's Chinese Theatre has closed for renovations.
(Perry C. Riddle / Los Angeles Times)

Hollywood’s best-known theater is going dark for several months.

The former Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood shut down this week for several months of renovations and a digital face lift.

The storied theater held its final movie showing last week when it screened ‘Iron Man 3,’ which filmed a scene in the courtyard at the Chinese. On Monday, in its final act, the Chinese hosted a premiere for Netflix’s “Arrested Development.”

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The theater, now called TCL Chinese Theatre — after the Chinese TV company that bought the rights to the name — is being remodeled to handle a giant Imax screen.

As the Times reported last month, Imax plans to make the Chinese Theatre one of its main venues for holding premieres of big-budget action movies.

The new Imax theater will be 94 feet wide and seat 986 people, making it the largest in terms of seating capacity among more than 730 Imax theaters worldwide.

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Opened in 1927 by showman Sid Grauman, the Chinese Theatre was declared a historic and cultural landmark in 1968. Owners Donald Kushner and Elie Samaha acquired the Chinese Theatre nearly two years ago from Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures’ parent Viacom Inc.

The city recently signed off on the Imax plans, which have been reviewed and endorsed by the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, which has said the conversion won’t affect the Chinese Theatre’s historic character.


The iconic venue will reopen in September. For the summer, the location will continue to be open for public tours, a key source of business for one of L.A.’s most popular tourism destinations.

“We’re calling them hard-hat tours for obvious reasons,” a spokesman for the owner said.


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