One of the world's most iconic cinemas, the TCL Chinese Theatre opened as Grauman's Chinese Theatre on May 18, 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings. Thousands of people lined Hollywood Boulevard for the theatre’s grand opening. The theatre opened to the public the following day, on May 19.
The Hollywood landmark has hosted many movie premieres since then, as well as three Academy Award ceremonies and numerous events. The TCL Chinese Theatre boasts the single largest IMAX auditorium in the world, and the third largest commercial movie screen in North America. The theatre welcomes more than four million visitors from around the world every year.
Besides its Chinese design, the theatre’s most distinct feature is the famous Forecourt of the Stars, with nearly 200 celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs immortalized in the concrete. Visitors can literally touch Hollywood history, from Marilyn Monroe to Tom Hanks, Betty Grable’s legs, Jimmy Durante’s nose, and the magic wands of Harry Potter’s heroic trio. While the origin stories vary, the theatre's official account in its books and souvenir programs credits actress Norma Talmadge for inspiring the tradition when she accidentally stepped into wet concrete. Sid Grauman himself claimed in a radio interview that he came up with the idea when he stepped in soft concrete - his autograph and handprint, dated 1927, remain today.