The original Chinese Theatre was commissioned following the success of the nearby Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, which opened in 1922. Built over 18 months, from January 1926 by a partnership headed by Sid Grauman, the theater opened May 18, 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's film The King of Kings. It has since been home to many premieres, including the 1977 launch of George Lucas's Star Wars, as well as birthday parties, corporate junkets and three Academy Awards ceremonies. Among the theater's most distinctive features are the concrete blocks set in the forecourt, which bear the signatures, footprints, and handprints of popular motion picture personalities from the 1920s to the present day.
The TCL Chinese Theatre has partnered with IMAX Corporation to introduce the single largest IMAX® auditorium in the world. The new theatre seats 932 people, and hosts the third largest commercial movie screen in North America.