'Wizard of Oz' to debut in 3-D at renovated Chinese Theatre

As it moves into the digital future, the former Grauman's Chinese Theatre will draw from its Hollywood past when it unveils a giant Imax auditorium with a 3-D screening of "The Wizard of Oz."

The new theater, now called TCL Chinese Theatre Imax, will reopen to the public next month with a digitally remastered version of the classic that held its Hollywood premiere at the Chinese in 1939. The Chinese has been closed for renovations since May 1.

TCL partnered with Warner Bros. and Imax to release "The Wizard of Oz" in Imax 3-D format. The theater will host a private premiere at the theater Sept. 15, followed by an exclusive one-week engagement at the Chinese and other Imax theaters across North America beginning Sept. 20.

"This film and the TCL Chinese Theatre are among the best-known and most-beloved icons of Hollywood filmmaking, and of course, the amazing Imax technology represents the future of filmmaking," said Alwyn Hight Kushner, president and chief operating officer for TCL Chinese Theatres. "It's going to be a game changer for the film industry and the city of Hollywood."

The iconic Hollywood Boulevard theater will feature a 90-foot-wide, 46-foot-tall screen in an auditorium that will seat 932 people. It will be the world's largest Imax auditorium in terms of seating capacity among about 730 theaters worldwide.

Consumers will pay a premium to watch Dorothy and her companions on the giant screen in 3-D: Tickets for the "Oz" screening will cost $19.

"There are very few people alive who've ever seen 'Wizard of Oz' in a movie theater, let alone an Imax movie theater," said Richard Gelfond, chief executive of Imax Corp. "We've been surprised by the level of interest we've had in it."

TCL has invested more than $5 million in the renovations, which also include new LEDs on the interior and exterior of the building. Plans to replace the marquee are still underway.

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