Permanent Projection Mapping at TCL Chinese Theatre


Christie teamed up with the TCL Chinese Theatre to create the world’s first permanent projection mapping show on a cinema’s façade. The unique architecture of the iconic theatre is a canvas for a four-minute show celebrating Hollywood’s most iconic films. Seen from the street, each show draws viewers into the theatre through an immersive backdrop of light and sound, unlocking a new potential for thrilling premieres like the launch of Michael Jackson’s Scream CD.

Nominating Company: Christie, Cypress, California
Venue: TCL Chinese Theatre “Hollywood Lights,” Hollywood, California
Project: TCL Chinese Theatre “Hollywood Lights”
Category: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation

This 3D projection mapping show launched before an enthralled audience of Hollywood luminaries and media to celebrate TCL Chinese Theatre’s 90th anniversary. Visible from the street, this high-impact production uses the most advanced projection technologies, playing nightly every 20 minutes from sundown. The show delivers business value as a platform for paid branded experiences and by drawing attention to the theatre and increasing ticket sales.

TCL Chinese theatre is an iconic movie palace and landmark on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California. Hosting movie premieres for more than a century, the façade is now available to studios as an immersive promotional tool. For example, to celebrate the October release of Michael Jackson’s Scream CD, Christie created original content that brought back the King of Pop in a larger-than-life experience for visitors, amplifying the excitement of hundreds of fans.

The TCL Chinese Theatre’s projection mapping show is a large outdoor experience on a cultural landmark. Christie’s mandate was to create cutting-edge content mapped to the unique architecture of the iconic Hollywood Boulevard façade, adding a 21st-Century accent to the beloved movie palace’s appeal. Besides the technical challenge of mapping the intricate architecture, Christie’s creative team contended with remaining faithful to the spirit of the building and its heritage while giving it a multimedia makeover. The answer: Play on Hollywood’s seemingly innate sense of nostalgia with high-impact, next-generation storytelling tools. Another challenge to the team was the physical conditions of the installation. All equipment had to be outside and exposed to the elements. And the landmark building could not be altered to accommodate the technology. Christie’s technical team rose above and adapted to the situation, ensuring a smooth rollout.

The Christie team worked with local teams in Cypress, and with the Chinese Theatre to design a system that would work best for the historic destination. To maintain the feel of the building, Christie chose to merge content that combined the Chinese motifs of the theatre – dragons, pagoda, celebrity handprints in the forecourt – with classic footage from films of each era that had premiered at the theatre. To house the projectors, the team built weather-proof encasements that would sit above on the outer walls in a seamless blend with the building that prevented any imposition on the structure itself.
The show was brought together by ultra-reliable, high-brightness projectors, mainly Christie Boxer 3DLP projectors, the processing ‘brains’ of Christie Pandora’s Box media server, to merge diverse media types and control the show and the intuitive ‘auto alignment’ tools (Christie Twist™) to blend the visuals.

Proving to be an added draw for premieres, Christie created the content for the premiere of Michael Jackson’s Scream CD. For the launch and the week after, the façade brought back the King of Pop, larger-than-life, for thousands of visitors walking Hollywood Boulevard.

TCL Chinese Theatre “Hollywood Lights” won a DSE 2018 APEX Award in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation category.

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