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El Capitan Theatre

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

6838 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Try attending one of the special events or film premieres at El Capitan Theatre to see celebrities and experience the Hollywood glam up close – it's a lesser-known way to get an authentic taste of L.A.'s film culture. Also, be sure to enjoy the unique pre-show entertainment often held at El Capitan, such as organ performances or character appearances, and remember that these special touches are usually not advertised widely."

What is El Capitan Theatre?

El Capitan Theatre is a beacon of Hollywood's golden age, nestled in the heart of Los Angeles on the bustling Hollywood Boulevard. This venue isn't just a movie theatre; it's a landmark steeped in cinematic history, known for hosting grand film premieres and special events. With its lavish Spanish Colonial architecture and state-of-the-art technology, El Capitan delivers an entertainment experience that's as visually stunning as the films it screens.

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El Capitan is not your average multiplex. It's owned by The Walt Disney Company and often shows Disney's feature films in a unique setting that includes pre-show entertainment, props, and exhibits related to the current movie. The lovingly restored interior, complete with a Wurlitzer organ performance before some screenings, transports guests back to the early 20th century. Those in the know cherish El Capitan for what it represents: a blend of Hollywood's past splendor with the innovative spirit that drives the entertainment industry today.

History of El Capitan Theatre

El Capitan Theatre has an origin story as grand as many of the movies it's shown over the years. It opened its doors in 1926 as a playhouse, designed by the renowned architectural firm Morgan, Walls & Clements for the impresario Charles E. Toberman, who's often called the "Father of Hollywood." Originally, it was intended for dramatic theatrical productions, a vision that shifted with the moving tides of entertainment culture.

In 1941, the El Capitan was remodeled into a modern movie theatre by architect Gordon B. Kaufmann, renowned for his work on Hoover Dam and the Hollywood Palladium. From the 1989 purchase and restoration by The Walt Disney Company in partnership with Pacific Theatres, to the reopening a year later with the premiere of Disney’s "The Rocketeer," the theater has become a touching point of history and nostalgia. Its transformation from a stage theater to a cinema and then to its current incarnation is a testament to the enduring allure of Hollywood storytelling.

Why is El Capitan Theatre Important?

El Capitan Theatre holds a special place in the cultural tapestry of Los Angeles because it embodies the enduring legacy of show business. As a surviving example of early 20th-century theatre design, with its Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and richly decorated interior, El Capitan adds historical depth to the modern-day walk down Hollywood Boulevard.

Its significance extends beyond architecture, however. El Capitan Theatre has been a vanguard of new movie technology, from stereophonic sound in the '50s to Dolby Atmos audio systems today. But perhaps most importantly, El Capitan serves as a bridge between the past and present, where modern audiences can connect with the zeitgeist of Hollywood's heyday. Every visit is like a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the industry’s glamorous yesteryears—a story as captivating as the films it exhibits.

Things to Do & See at El Capitan Theatre

When you step into El Capitan Theatre, the experience starts with the awe-inspiring marquee and extends to the detailed ornate decor inside. But there's more than just the decor. Before settling into the plush seats for a screening, take a moment to appreciate unique experiences the theatre offers.

First, you can catch a live performance from a historic Wurlitzer organ on select occasions. This organ has pipes ranging all around the theatre, literally surrounding the audience with sound. Next, attend one of the exclusive premiers or limited engagements that often accompany Disney film releases—detailed with exhibitions showcasing original costumes and memorabilia. El Capitan is also home to special events like Tiny Tot Tuesdays, where the theater caters to the youngest fans with lights dimmed rather than fully dark and reduced sound levels.

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For those interested in the venue's storied past, El Capitan offers behind-the-scenes tours that cover the history, architecture, and operations of the theatre. These tours present a rare chance to explore spaces usually off-limits to the public. If you stick around post-show, try to snag a VIP ticket for a delightful movie-goer's perk: a private reception area that includes refills on popcorn and soft drinks. So whether you're a film aficionado, a Disney enthusiast, or someone fascinated by Los Angeles' vibrant history, El Capitan Theatre offers a novel blend of entertainment and education.

Frequently asked questions

What is the history of El Capitan Theatre?

El Capitan Theatre, opened in 1926, is a fully restored historic venue located on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. It originally operated as a playhouse before transitioning into a movie theater. The theatre is known for its lavish East Indian interior and has been designated as a Cultural Heritage Monument.

What makes El Capitan Theatre unique?

El Capitan Theatre stands out for its exclusive showings of Walt Disney Studios films, often featuring props and costumes displays, live performances, and other special events that create a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience.

Can I take a guided tour of El Capitan Theatre?

Yes, El Capitan Theatre offers guided tours where visitors can learn about its history, architectural details, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the theater's operation and significant events.

Are there any special events or programs at El Capitan Theatre?

El Capitan Theatre hosts a variety of special events, including film premieres, film festivals, panel discussions, and other interactive experiences related to the movies being shown, especially those from Disney.

How can I purchase tickets to see a movie at El Capitan Theatre?

Tickets for movies at El Capitan Theatre can be purchased online through the theatre's official website, at the box office, or via phone. It is advisable to buy tickets in advance due to the popularity of the theater and its events.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

6838 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps