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Cinemex Real (photo credit El Universal)

Cinemex Real

Mexico City, Mexico

First Opened: 29th March 1940 (81 years ago)

Atmospheric Style: Chinese

Architects: Luis de la Mora, Alfredo Olagaray

Former Name: Palacio Chino

Link: cinemexreal.negocio.site Link opens in new window


The Palacio Chino opened in 29th March 1940. It used the shell of a former ball court whose space was sufficient for a big movie theatre. It was the only movie theatre built in Mexico in a Chinese style, but unlike the Grauman’s Chinese in Hollywood, the interior was of the atmospheric type.

In 1945 it was listed as having 4,000 seats in two levels: orchestra (main floor) and balcony. It featured a fairly large stage, big enough to hold a symphony orchestra, and was sometimes used as a music theatre. Sergiu Celibidache once directed the National Symphony Orchestra here, as an alternate theatre to Bellas Artes, the home of the National Symphony Orchestra.

The Palacio Chino has a flat façade facing onto Iturbide street. The many windows in the façade are styled as small pagodas, and there is a large, ornate, vertical sign. The vestibule was spacious and originally full of Chinese decorations; even the ticket boots were rendered as pagodas.

The auditorium was of the atmospheric type, with pagodas, temples and gold Buddha statues amid gardens. The ceiling was vault-like, not flat but very arched, painted deep blue. The curtain in front of the projection screen was a heavy black curtain with Chinese motifs painted upon it. The proscenium arch was heavily decorated with dragons and other Chinese designs.

The Palacio Chino was subdivided and reopened as a four screen theatre on 11th October 1979.

Information sourced from Cinema Treasures Link opens in new window.

Further Reading


Photos of Cinemex Real

Cinemex Real: Exterior, courtesy <i>Studio 54 / Locations</i>
Exterior, courtesy Studio 54 / Locations
Cinemex Real: Interior, courtesy <i>El Universal</i>
Interior, courtesy El Universal
Cinemex Real: Exterior in 2016, courtesy Flickr user <i>James Stave</i>
Exterior in 2016, courtesy Flickr user James Stave

Photo credits are noted where data was available at the time of inclusion. Photos displayed here may be subject to copyright; refer to our Copyright Fair Use Statement regarding our use of copyrighted media and contact us Link opens in new window with any concerns.

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Text copyright © 2017-2022 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos.

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