Chinese electronics company buys naming rights to Grauman's Chinese for reported $5 million
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, one of Hollywood's most venerable landmarks, is getting a new name.
Grauman's is being rechristened TCL Chinese Theatre after Chinese electronics company TCL purchased naming rights to the movie palace, an individual with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap.
The Los Angeles Times, which first broke the news, reported that TCL forked over $5 million for rights to have its name emblazoned above the theater. The money will be used to upgrade the theater's sound system and projector and for other refurbishments, the individual said.
Producers Elie Samaha and Donald Kushner purchased the theater from a joint venture of Warner Bros. and Viacom Inc. in 2011, vowing to restore it to its former glory as a social hub and site of glossy movie premieres.
"We're actively going after the studios for premieres and afterparties," Samaha said last year. "We're going to do it very cost-efficiently so the studios don't have to get shocked. Our prices will be super-competitive."
The theater, located on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, is on local and national historic registries and its giant red Chinese pagoda exterior has become a symbol that is inextricably linked with the movie business.
The Chinese Theatre opened in 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's "The King of Kings." It was paid for under a partnership headed by Sid Grauman, who owned another fabled and themed movie palace, the nearby Egyptian Theatre. In addition to movie premieres, it hosted Oscar ceremonies and its tradition of having movie stars immortalize their handprints and footprints in the concrete in front of the theater became a tourist attraction.
Over the years it has passed through many hands. Starting in the 1970s, it was called Mann's Chinese Theater in deference to then-owner Ted Mann and the Mann Theatres chain. It was renamed Grauman's after the studios purchased ownership of the movie palace.