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.
The Plaza Theatre (Atlanta, GA)
Like many of the country's earliest movie palaces, the Plaza Theatre has gone through a series of incarnations in the 75 years since it opened, from an Art Deco gem in the 1930s to a 1970s porn palace to a restored repertory theater in the 1990s. In 2012, The Plaza – Atlanta's oldest continuously operating cinema – was purchased by a new owner, who has since reverted its programming back to a nice mix of new indie films, contemporary classics, and regular midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Why It Stands Out: In 2012, Michael Furlinger – who previously revamped Charleston's Terrace Theatre – purchased the Plaza Theatre and has been dutifully working to upgrade the facilities (Including giving it plush chairs, gourmet concessions, and digital projection) while keeping popular community events intact.
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