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Bad Hollywood & Highland/Bad Hollywood & Highland: Mann Chinese 6 Edition

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When it was being built, Hollywood & Highland was the source of much excitement in its neighborhood. As LA's #1 tourist destination and #1 embarrassment, Hollywood Boulevard was in desperate need of some revitalization. And H&H looked to be just the shot in the arm the area needed. For locals, one of the more promising prospects of the new mall was its planned state of the art multiplex, an offshoot of the world-famous Chinese theater called the Mann Chinese Six. Unfortunately, like most of H&H, it didn't quite live up to expectations.

Longtime residents of the area (sadly, in LA, three years makes you a longtime resident) will remember the Chinese Six's predecessor, the Chinese Three. What a dump. A bare-bones, poorly maintained triplex, it was always overshadowed by its grandiose, legendary namesake and badly in need of some refurbishing. The Chinese Six, we all thought, would be an opportunity to construct a more fitting offshoot of LA's most famous and historic movie palace. Granted, the Chinese Six is much nicer-looking than the Chinese Three ever was. It has better screens, better sound, and a much nicer lobby. But being a big step up from an eyesore is hardly an accomplishment. Compared with the other new theaters in the vicinity, the Arclight and the Pacific's The Grove 14, the Chinese 6 doesn't even come close.

The biggest problem with the Chinese 6 Theaters is the layout. The screens are enormous, but the auditoriums still seem small, and often wider than they are long. All of this gives the effect of making every seat seem like a front-row seat, and most seem like side seats as well. It's as if the entire theater was shoved into a space originally intended for a Best Buy or something, not a theater built from the ground up as one of the cornerstones of a new complex. Granted, the theaters aren't nearly as bad as those shoebox theaters at the Beverly Center, but here's betting that in ten years, that's exactly how shabby the auditoriums at the Chinese 6 will seem. It's no wonder that 90% of the top first-run titles in the Hollywood area end up at the Arclight. And it's no wonder that even at their higher ticket prices, the Arclight is always much more crowded. In a showdown between the two theaters, there's just no comparison. The Chinese 6 was a chance to look to the future, but before it even got off the ground, it seemed obsolete.

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Look a little further down Hollywood Boulevard and you'll see the ghost of another failed movie theater, the Hollywood Galaxy. The Galaxy struggled for years, and after the Chinese 6 and the Arclight opened in the neighborhood, the Galaxy shuttered its doors for good. Wouldn't it be sad if the Chinese 6 met the same fate a few years down the road? On the bright side, though, it's the perfect space for a new Best Buy. Badness Rank (1 to 10): 4.

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