Grauman's Chinese Theatre gets a new name and will undergo major upgrades

January 11, 2013 5:52pm
Source: Examiner

The Chinese Theatre, a Hollywood landmark for 85 years, is getting a new name.

A Chinese company, TCL just paid more than $5 million to rename Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the LA Times reports. The movie palace, which was opened in 1927 by renowned showman Sid Grauman, will now be called the TCL Chinese Theatre.

The landmark, with its dragon and Chinese lantern motif, really will be Chinese now. When it was built, temple bells, pagodas, stone Heaven Dogs and other artifacts were imported from China. According to its website -- which has already been changed from chinesetheatres.com to tclchinesetheatres.com -- Chinese poet and film director Moon Quon supervised a team of Chinese artisans in constructing the theater.

"It was once stated that to visit Los Angeles and not see the Chinese is like visiting China and not seeing the Great Wall," the site boasts.

The landmark previously underwent a name change when it was purchased in 1973 by the Mann's chain of theaters (owned by Ted Mann, husband to Rhonda Fleming) and renamed Mann's Chinese Theatre. In 2011 both Grauman's Chinese and the adjacent Mann Chinese 6 were purchased by nightclub owner/producer Elie Samaha and producer Donald Kushner.

It was declared a historic and cultural landmark in 1968, but its landmark status won't stop planned improvements, including a new extra-wide screen, stadium seating, and upgraded sound and projection systems. A new box-office marquee on Hollywood Boulevard is part of the plans, although it's not clear if it will be one of the digital signs that TCL manufactures or an old-fashioned marquee in keeping with the theatre's star-studded past.

The neighboring Kodak Theatre, current home to the Oscars, was also recently sold and renamed: It's now known as the Dolby Theatre. From 1944-1946, the Chinese, which continues to host high-profile movie premieres also hosted the Academy Awards ceremony.

Tourists will still flock to the world-famous monument and will likely still think of it as "Grauman's Chinese Theatre," despite the new official name.