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.
State Theater (Traverse City, MI)
If Quentin Tarantino got the idea for buying Los Angeles' New Beverly Cinema from someone, it could have been Michael Moore. In 2005, the Oscar-winning documentarian purchased the historic State Theater in downtown Traverse City in order to renovate and reopen it as the home venue of his annual Traverse City Film Festival. In 2007, the started offering area residents a year-round destination for independent and art house programming, and endeavors to be affordable for all. Admission to Saturday kid matinees and classic films for seniors cost is just a quarter, and a popcorn and soda will run you just $2 more.
Credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images
Why It Stands Out: Moore has long championed the idea of film as a medium for change, and he's putting his money where his mouth is with the State Theatre. Offering a fun, eclectic, and sometimes strange lineup of films that are accessible to all.