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.
Le Grand Rex (Paris, France)
If you like your movies on a grand scale, the name of this theater – the largest in Europe – says it all. When film producer Jacques Haïk commissioned its construction in 1931, he had a single goal in mind: to make The Rex one of the world's most beautiful theaters. He succeeded. With seating for 2,800 and a design scheme meant to mimic the great outdoors, Le Grand Rex's vast space is perfectly matched to the big-budget movies it showcases.
Why It Stands Out: Le Grand Rex is the kind of theater that only Hollywood could dream up; its Art Deco façade beckons with hypnotizing neon signs, which lead patrons into a fairytale-like interior space. Which means there's plenty to look at here, even if the movie stinks.
Credit: Courtesy Le Grand Rex