Grauman's Chinese sells naming rights, but will anyone honor it? *

Superheroes and tourists outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre. LAO photo.

Chinese TV maker TCL has paid more than $5 million for the naming rights to the venerable Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the LA Times reports. The Hollywood Boulevard landmark will now be officially called the TCL Chinese Theatre. The company hopes the name will help raise its profile. "This is one of the landmarks of North America," said Hao Yi, vice president of TCL Group. "It can be a bridge to link the cultures of China and North America."

Yes, but will anyone in Los Angeles — other than the media companies that are required to — ever refer to the new name? I suspect Angelenos will still call it Grauman's Chinese.

* Evening update: Hillsman Wright of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation supports the name change and the new owners more generally.

Sid Grauman was Hollywood’s greatest showman – a master of ballyhoo, business and beauty. His Chinese Theatre still stands as his greatest achievement and the most famous movie palace in the world. It is a living manifestation of two Hollywoods– the real, physical, bricks and mortar Hollywood- and the other Hollywood - the dream factory of our hearts and imaginations.

The Chinese Theatre has succeeded and endured for 85 years because it is unique, and because it has adapted to each advance in motion picture technology and patron comfort. It is a great place to see a movie – maybe the best place to see a movie- and that experience will soon be even better.

I am here on behalf of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sustaining historic theatres, to offer our support for the improvements outlined today and to express our appreciation to the management of Chinese Theatres and to TCL for their visionary leadership in taking the Chinese to a new level of excellence.

Historic theatres are repositories of memory and meaning. Few theatres have fired the imaginations, inspired the dreams and quickened the hearts of as many as the Chinese Theatre. Thanks to the new partnership of the Chinese Theatres and TCL, Sid Grauman’s dream palace will continue to inspire for generations to come.

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