In 1938, Kurt and Max Laemmle, the nephews of Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle, opened their very own movie house dedicated to Hollywood and foreign pictures alike. Though it's since grown to encompass seven locations, Laemmle Theaters is still a family-run business that remains dedicated to its original mission.
A mix of blockbuster and art-house flicks are projected digitally into auditoriums with stadium seating, and share showtimes with special events such as premieres and one-night screenings. To spotlight smaller films, the Sneak Preview Club features upcoming movies for free, an easier way to see new releases than changing your name to Steven Spielberg. Complement each cinematic voyage with one of Laemmle Theaters' classic concessions, such as popcorn drenched in real butter.
Amid the bustle of Hollywood Boulevard stand two monuments to the silver screen. One, the TCL Chinese Theatre, oozes with history— imported Chinese stone lions, a 90-foot-tall copper roof, and concrete blocks that bear the handprints of Hollywood luminaries from years gone by each memorialize the celebrated role the building has played in Hollywood for more than eight decades.
Next door, Chinese 6 Theatres is a tribute to the cutting-edge. Six theaters, some with 3D capability, immerse viewers in ultra-realistic picture and sound better than sitting inside Steven Spielberg's android brain. Beyond the plush theater seating, a bar slings cocktails for in-movie sipping and a restaurant serves a full menu for cravings after the show. The service schedule varies for the bar and the restaurant but both will be open during Summer 2013. Whether they opt for the historic cinema or the ultramodern theater, visitors can catch a full slate of acclaimed new releases on their chosen big screen.
The storied history of TCL Chinese Theatre rivals those of the more than 200 celebrities whose handprints, footprints, and autographs are cemented into the theater's forecourt. Erected in 1927 and declared a historical and cultural landmark in 1968, the iconic theater stages movie screenings, premieres, events, and red-carpet ceremonies. Today, moviegoers walking through the theater's main courtyard can revel in the same opulence of those 1920s screen idols, craning their necks upward to take in the looming pagoda that frames the entrance. Inside, the theater's original 1927 screen towers high above the plush red-velvet seats, surrounded by wooden panels that rise to a ceiling with flowing Chinese-style drawings. This classic Hollywood setting is one of the reasons why the theater, in an echo of its origins, hosts celebrity-studded premieres, such as the 2012 opening for Life of Pi and the 2013 opening for Beautiful Creatures.
Over the course of the summer, Street Food Cinema rolls out more than a dozen events that showcase the greatest hits of the silver screen and the LA food-truck scene. When the gates open, guests spread blankets on the grass and pop open coolers. Live bands play until dusk, when crowd-pleasing movies such as Fight Club and The Sandlot across the big screen. Meanwhile, a rotating food-truck schedule assembles a diverse curbside lineup, which might include asian-inspired tacos from Komodo or the gooey delights of The Grilled Cheese Truck. Their events also feature movie-themed games projected on the big screen for audience participation. During showcases, artisan vendors are on hand selling fresh baguettes, fine meats, and sweets for purchase.
Street Food Cinema's eclectic assemblage of food, music, and films has picked up attention beyond the park's bounds, snagging mentions on NBC4 and in the Huffington Post's Broke Girls Guide. Other videos of the events in action can be seen here. It's also become known for its philanthropic work: each year the organization supports one designated local charity.
Restored to its original 1926 grandeur, the historic El Capitan Theatre seats 1,000 and shows family-friendly entertainment year-round, including first-run Disney films and Disney re-releases. After viewing Toy Story 3 in 3D, in which Buzz, Woody, and the rest of the crew deal with Andy leaving for college, enter the Toy Story 3 Fun Zone, a new 25,000-square-foot outdoor attraction behind the El Capitan Theatre. View a live stage show of Dancing with the Toys, based on the characters from the film, or jump into a scene from the movie at one of the Kodak photo locations in Andy’s Game Room. A themed obstacle course, bungee jump, and giant bounce house are also on hand to provide entertainment for kids and adults alike.
Founded on the principle that movies work best as social experiences, The Cinefamily devotes itself to finding and sharing weird and wonderful films during limited-run screenings and one-off special events. Currently averaging 14 shows per week, the movie house enhances many screenings with celebrity appearances, live music performances, and social activities such as potlucks and snipe hunts. From the theater’s cushy seats and leather couches, guests can take in pristine views of horror films, cult classics, and even TV favorites. Past events have included a month-long film retrospective of Dennis Hopper’s illustrious acting career, a Czech film festival featuring a screening of the surrealist and ultimately banned Daisies, and a celebration of director John Cassavetes featuring appearances by his frequent collaborators Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara.
Eat|See|Hear offers an unparalleled outdoor movie experience by screening new and classic films in HD on an inflatable, wrinkle-free projection screen standing 3.5 stories tall and 52 feet wide. Using a 30,000-watt sound system, each venue is custom-calibrated to ensure a decibel-appropriate listening experience for audiences lounging on blankets or in lawn chairs. Local food trucks remain onsite during events to dish out cuisine, and pre-film performances by up-and-coming bands get audiences pumped up and help loosen any cobwebs built up inside the ears.