David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
It was a two-continent crush of crazy at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood today when Feng Xiaogang became the first Chinese director to sinks his hands and shoes into wet cement for posterity at the storied venue.
Feng, who has directed more than 20 mostly comedy films in China, is having the U.S. premiere of his historical drama Back to 1942 — China’s entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar — at the theater this evening. It’s part of a weekend-long “panorama” featuring screenings of some of Feng’s notable films, sponsored by the Chinese government media office and the city of Beijing’s bureau of radio, film and TV. Back to 1942, set during the horrific World War II famine that killed millions in China, features a raft of notable Chinese stars along with Tim Robbins and Adrien Brody.
Related: China Lion Sets Debut For Feng Xiaogang’s ‘Personal Tailor’
Theater executives said they were surprised and a bit overwhelmed by the crush of media, actors, directors and others who flew over from China to take part in Feng’s imprinting event. Security struggled to both appease the fire marshal and manage the crowd jammed into the theater’s relatively small courtyard.
Related: China TV Maker Buys Naming Rights To Grauman’s Chinese
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Here’s the formal announcement of the arrangement we reported yesterday:
HOLLYWOOD, Calif., April 12, 2013 – IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX; TSX: IMX) and Chinese Theatres LLC today announced an agreement to add an IMAX® theatre to the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, through an extensive transformation of the landmark site. The addition brings the theatre into the 21st Century and gives Hollywood its first IMAX® theatre, providing fans with a movie-going experience that will rival any in southern California. Once complete, this will be IMAX’s largest auditorium in the world in terms of seating capacity and its third-largest commercial theatre screen in North America. Closing of the agreement is subject to the issuance of final permits.
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Sources tell me that a deal for IMAX to take over the iconic theater on Hollywood Boulevard is nearly complete, subject to permitting approval. The news comes just a few months after Chinese TV maker TCL paid more than $5 million for the naming rights to the venue which is now called TCL Chinese Theatre. With IMAX getting involved the plan now is to turn the Hollywood location into the Canadian company’s premiere theater for big budget premieres. “IMAX doesn’t have any theaters in Southern California that are suited for the opening of big action movies. With such a prime location, this would become it,” a source told me today. Details are sketchy on when discussions started on IMAX moving into the Chinese and how much money changed hands. Also, because of the historical landmark status of the Chinese Theatre, any deal would have to get the approval of the City of Los Angeles to go forward. However, sources tell me that IMAX doesn’t anticipate any problems with that. Once those approvals are in place, the theater will shut down in late May for a full technological refurbishment. It is expected to reopen in September with a new screen, new seats, a new sound system and a digital projection system. That digital projection system will be replaced about 18 to 24 months later with the new laser projection system that IMAX is bringing … Read More »
The Hollywood cultural and historic landmark opened in 1927 by Sid Grauman will now be called TCL Chinese Theatre under the 10-year, $5 million deal with Chinese TV firm TCL Group. As part of the agreement, TCL will help fund improvements to the property and has agreed to sponsor a national and international marketing campaign to promote Hollywood and the iconic theater, according to the LA Times. “This is one of the landmarks of North America,” said Hao Yi, vice president of TCL Group. “It can be a bridge to link the cultures of China and North America.” The deal gives TCL, the world’s fourth-largest manufacturer of flat-panel TVs, an opportunity to gain a foothold in the U.S. This isn’t the first name change for the venerable theater. Ted Mann bought the cinema house in 1973 and for nearly 30 years it was called Mann’s Chinese Theatre. Warner and Viacom acquired the theater after the Mann chain filed for bankruptcy. Chinese Theatre, LLC acquired The Chinese Theatre and the Chinese 6 Theatres from Mann Theatres on May 27, 2011.