ABOUT THE EGYPTIAN THEATRE and
THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE'S PLANS FOR IT...
The American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre is both the oldest and the newest attraction on Hollywood Boulevard. On December 4,1998 the American Cinematheque re-opened the renovated, historic 1922 Egyptian Theatre to the public for special daily film screenings.
"To stand in the old forecourt of Grauman's Egyptian Theater is to sense for a moment how it was when Hollywood began. This is where flashbulbs first popped and fans turned out for that quintessential Hollywood invention, the celebrity-studded gala premiere." -- Todd S. Perdum, The New York Times
"One of the most historic theaters on Hollywood Boulevard will be used as the base for the most innovative and best-designed adaptive reuse project recently seen in Hollywood. The project is a model of collaboration between architects, engineers (both structural and acoustic), decorative painters and conservators, and the demands of a historic building." -- Jennifer Minasian, Volume5.com
The 77-year-old Egyptian was the famed impresario, Sid Grauman's first deluxe movie palace in Hollywood and was home to the very first Hollywood premiere (ROBIN HOOD on October 18, 1922 starring Douglas Fairbanks). The success of the Egyptian drew film industry notables into the city of Hollywood (then a lush, agricultural suburb) and soon Charles E. Toberman, one of the most important developers of Hollywood in the 1920's, built the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (1926); the now world famous Chinese Theater (1927) and the El Capitan (1927) which are all still standing today. Over the years, the Egyptian premiered many Hollywood classics, including Cecil B. DeMilles colossal THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1923), BEN HUR starring Charlton Heston; MY FAIR LADY starring Audrey Hepburn; and FUNNY GIRL starring Barbra Streisand.
Closed since 1992, the Egyptian, painstakingly restored to its 1920s glamour, is a must-see for visitors to Hollywood! This stunning architectural landmark brings the legacy of grand movie palaces into the new millenium, by utilizing state-of-the-art technology at work within an historic exterior.
During the day, a documentary film FOREVER HOLLYWOOD (designed for visitors to Los Angeles) about the history of Hollywood - the place, and the movies screens. The film, directed by Chief Variety Film Critic Todd McCarthy who previously directed HOLLYWOOD MAVERICKS and VISIONS OF LIGHT, features over 400 film clips and segments of archival footage of Hollywood in days gone by. The film opened December 8, 1999. A few of the interviewees whose stories about Hollywood will be part of the film, are John Travolta, Clint Eastwood, Gloria Stuart, Steven Spielberg, Kevin Spacey plus many others. Sharon Stone is the narrator.
Eventually visitors will be able to stop for a meal at the Egyptian Theatre's on-site restaurant. The space has been leased to a restauranteur (2/99) but the build-out has not yet begin. There is a lot of work to do to turn the space into a thriving eating establishment. It is our desire to recieve zoning from the city to use the roof of the restaurant space as a rooftop bar that overlooks the courtyard and Hollywood Boulevard. An opening date is not yet set. Likewise, we just opened as a movie theatre and have not yet opened a retail space for the sale of souvenirs, books and gifts. The only souvenir item available currently is a limited edition grand opening commemorative t-shirt. We also plan to have walking tours (originating at the Egyptian) of Hollywood Boulevard which will highlight buildings of historic significance in the neighborhood. Currently we have group tours of the Egyptian Theatre which can be scheduled by calling 323 461 2020 ext. 115. Your group must be 10 or more people. Students/Children are $5 each and Adults are $7. Your historic tour includes a hand-out and Egyptian Theatre sticker.
The theatre is home to the critically acclaimed American Cinematheque, a 15-year-old non-profit arts organization that presents diverse year-round film series featuring rare and unusual films and videos from all over the world, plus, an opportunity to meet the filmmakers who created the work. Post-screening discussions with directors, actors, film historians and others are a regular part of the Cinematheque's programming.
Film lovers are treated to nightly programs that range from Hollywood classics (including silent films presented with live accompaniment on our Wurlitzer organ every Tuesday) to new films from all over the globe -- including American Independent films (The Alternative Screen Showcase) from emerging directors and work rendered using state-of-the-art new media. Some film series planned for 2000 include an in-person tribute to director Billy Wilder; A Tony Curtis retrospective; New Films from Spain; Rare Film Noir; a salute to female comedians; a Special Effects Film Festival and individual tributes to world renowned actors and directors.
The 616 seat theatre (named for philanthropist Lloyd E. Rigler) with its original, ornate sunburst ceiling; the 78 seat Steven Spielberg theatre; and the open air, palm tree lined courtyard, will be available as rental locations for special events, screenings, private parties; and film, video and still photography shoots as well as Hollywood premieres; and annual film festivals. The Egyptian is one of only three remaining theatres in Los Angeles with an inviting forecourt entrance that opens onto the street. This feature provided Grauman with space to display exotic set pieces from movies he premiered, as well as an area for fans and press to congregate during the spectacle premieres held there.
Depending upon the program of the day, a visit to the Egyptian might provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet your favorite filmmaker or to see a rare film you have always wanted to see! Visitors should be sure to check our website for upcoming activities or call our 24-hour program information line (323.466.FILM). When visiting the film capital of the world you wont want to miss seeing the theatre known in Hollywoods early days as the place "where the stars see the movies!"
TICKETS: General Admission is $7
LOCATION: The Egyptian is conveniently located near bus lines and is walking distance from the Hollywood Roosevelt, Holiday Inn and Doubletree hotel as well as other Hollywood historic theaters on the Walk of Fame.
More historical background.
last updated December 14, 1999