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Cinemex Real (photo credit El Universal)

Cinemex Real

Mexico City, Mexico

First Opened: 29th March 1940 (83 years ago)

Atmospheric Style: Chinese

Architects: Luis de la Mora, Alfredo Olagaray

Former Name: Palacio Chino

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

Address: Calle Colon 17, Mexico City 06440 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

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 Contact Us with any concerns.

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

Photographs copyright © 2002-2023 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos unless otherwise noted.

Text copyright © 2017-2023 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos.

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