World Famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre in L.A. Gets a New Name
Even if you've never been to Los Angeles, chances are you're familiar with the world famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre. It opened 85 years ago and has been the host of countless movie premieres, appeared in dozens of films itself, and served as the inspiration for Walt Disney World's The Great Movie Ride, along with being one of Hollywood's top tourist attractions because of its location on the Walk of Fame and the celebrity hand prints in the cement. Now the theater is getting an upgrade and a new name along with it, as the LA Times reports Chinese TV maker TCL has changed the name to the "TCL Chinese Theatre."
This isn't the first time the theater has seen a name change. When Ted Mann bought the theater in 1973, it was altered to "Mann's Chinese Theater" (now another local theater) until bankruptcy caused owners to reinstate the Grauman's name in 2002. But TCL has paid $5 million for the naming rights this time, and looks to use the switch as a way to strengthen Hollywood's growing relationship with China. "This is one of the landmarks of North America," vice president of TCL Group Hao Yi said of the venue. "It can be a bridge to link the cultures of China and North America." Well, I guess it is a Chinese theater after all.
The Chinese company is planning major upgrades to the movie theater, including a "new extra-wide screen, stadium seating, superior sound and projection systems, and a new box-office marquee on Hollywood Blvd." Sound like a swanky upgrade, and Grauman's — excuse me, TCL — was already an extremely gorgeous and nice theater, so I'm excited to be able to attend screenings there once these upgrades are completed.
TCL has a ten year licensing deal on the venue for now, but with a landmark as famous as this one, it'll be interesting to see if even ten years is enough time to get the general public to recognize that it's changed and break the habit of referring to it as "Grauman's". As a Hollywood resident myself, I know it'll take some getting used to, but the Kodak Theater nearby (where the Oscars are held each year) recently experienced a name change — it's now the Dolby Theater — and that changeover didn't seem to be much of an issue for locals. But Grauman's is much more of a culturally iconic spot, so we'll see how all this goes.
Photo of Grauman's Chinese Theatre from 2010 by stanroth on Flickr.