For Tim League, CEO and founder of the Alamo Drafthouse, a great movie theater is achieved two ways: "Greatness by beauty and technical presentation – like at the remodeled Chinese Theater in Los Angeles and the Paramount in Oakland." Or by being "a movie theater by movie fans for movie fans."
His theater does both: “I used to be the sole creative force at the Alamo back in the old days," he says of the parking garage-turned-indie theater he and his wife opened in Austin back in 1997. “As we've grown, I've invested heavily in recruiting passionate film nerds to help us continue to strive to be great. My single greatest challenge is to not lose sight of what the Alamo Drafthouse stood for in the beginning."
The number of theaters in the world as dedicated to movie-watching as the Alamo are relatively small. We scoured the globe and came up with theaters that shun texting, revere great film, and will even serve you a cocktail. Here are the top 20 theaters in the world.
Alamo Drafthouse (Austin, TX)
There are more than 20 Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas across the U.S. at this point, but it's the original lot, first founded in Austin in 1997, that have set the tone for the outposts that have followed. And by "tone" we mean a place for serious movie lovers only. The kind of cinephiles who are as excited by first-run superhero movies as they are a little-seen documentary.
Credit: Nick Simonite
Why It Stands Out: The Alamo doesn't play when it comes to disruptive patrons. Remember the theater owner that kicked out a girl for texting a few years back? That was The Alamo. Or the theater that created a fun series of anti-texting PSAs? That was The Alamo, too. And a few months back, founder Tim League took to Twitter to announce that he was banning Madonna from all Alamo theaters until she apologized for texting during a New York Film Festival screening of 12 Years a Slave.