Owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company, this ornately restored 1926 movie palace was part of real estate developer Charles E. Toberman and showman Sid Grauman's original Hollywood theater district (along with the neighboring Chinese and Egyptian theaters). Now used primarily to host premieres and special runs of Disney films, the El Capitan is bordered by a Disney store and soda fountain, the latter of which features ice cream flavors named for the theater's current feature.
Though successful, the original incarnation of the El Capitan increasingly faltered in the 1930s, a casualty of the Depression. Financial desperation forced it to accept the premiere screening of Orson Welles' controversial Citizen Kane, which had been largely blackballed by powerful friends of the film's target, newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Shortly after this premiere, the theater closed for one year, re-opening with a new modern look, a new sponsor (Paramount Pictures) and a new name -- the United Paramount Theatre.
After a couple of decades of the theater changed ownership as Disney finally purchased it in 1989. At this time it was thoroughly restored it to its initial Spanish Colonial Revival splendor and re-opened in 1991 with its original name. The El Capitan today includes a vintage Wurlitzer organ and a museum room beneath the main theater which exhibits artwork and set pieces from the movie of the moment.
Movie tickets range from $13-22 for both adults and children, and include a pre-screening stage show. Parking at the Hollywood & Highland mall complex across the street is partially validated by the El Capitan; the mall is also a stop on the Metro's Red Line.