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.
Family owned since 1978, the New Beverly Cinema promises a well-curated calendar of double features, splashing the silver screen with indie flicks, classic comedies, offbeat thrillers, and deep cuts of foreign films. Spend an evening with two pictures directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, presented in 35mm film on May 22–24, beginning with High Plains Drifter (1973) and drifting into Pale Rider (1985). On May 29–30, movie-goers can slurp their large sodas and munch their medium popcorns as they giggle to the twin bill of Road to Morocco (1942) and Road to Utopia (1946), each a farcical tale of travel starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.
For more than 200 years, Madame Tussaud and her museums have delighted the masses with impressively detailed and meticulously maintained wax renditions of celebrities, musicians, action figures, and sports stars. Madame Tussaud began crafting wax figures at the tender age of 17 after learning the art from a skilled wax sculptor who hired her mother as a housekeeper. During the French Revolution, she furthered her craft by keeping an eye out for the freshest decapitated heads, which she used to make beautifully detailed death masks. When her mentor died, Madame Tussaud inherited his vast collection of wax figures and opened a London museum in 1835. Today, the Madame Tussaud wax-figure experience is interactive—you can hug them and high-five them—so bring a 20 megapixel digital camera and make a poster of yourself challenging Jackie Chan to a staring contest.
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.
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.
Moving picture began by depicting a horse running at full gallop, and has now evolved into visually stimulating films like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Planet of the Apes, which can all be seen at The Hollywood Museum. Visitors meander through a 35,000-square-foot, four-floor maze of more than 10,000 authentic movie props, costumes, and memorabilia. Previously a Prohibition-era speakeasy, the subterranean floor beckons patrons down Hannibal Lecter's The Silence of the Lambs jail corridor into the full cell used in the film, storing spine-tingling treasures such as his muzzling mask. First-floor doors open into Max Factor's restored makeup rooms, which border Cary Grant's Rolls-Royce and The Wizard of Oz's ruby slippers, which tempt visitors to slip them on and teleport to Kansas. Costumes, props, awards, and photos crowd the upper two floors, where Sylvester Stallone's Razzie for Worst Actor of the Century finds a home next to threads that once hugged Marilyn Monroe's legendary curves. In the past, rotating exhibits have showcased such items as a script and autographed poster from Slumdog Millionaire, duds modeled by the quick-stepping cast of High School Musical 3, and rows of awards for TV shows and particularly supercalifragilisticexpialidocious spelling-bee performances.