Even though you can watch a movie on your TV,laptop or iPad these days, great theaters still make going to the movies worth buying a ticket and sometimes even worth a trip. Reclining stadium seats, historic backstories and snacks
beyond popcorn and Red Vines reel us in to theaters across the country. FunOnTheNet found 10 great places to see a film—the theaters are destination-worthy. Curtains up! Here are our picks for the 10 best movie theaters.
1. United Artists Theatre, Michigan, United States
The United Artists Theatre Building is a high-rise tower in downtown Detroit, Michigan, standing at 150 Bagley Avenue. It was built in 1928 and stands 18 stories tall and was designed by architect C. Howard Crane in the renaissance revival architectural style, made mainly of brick. Until December 29, 1971, it was a first-run movie house and office space, and then after that, the theatre saw sporadic usage until 1973.It was commissioned by United Artists, the film industry powerhouse
founded by silent film legends Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and DW Griffith. It changed hands several times after its heydey and by 1989, was no longer showing movies. Instead, the building was home to the University Cathedral, the church headed by colorful televangelist Dr. Gene Scott until his death in 2005. In 2009, the theater was
purchased by the ACE HOTEL theater chain, and the renovations began. Everything was restored to its former glory, including the showstopping dome above the center of the auditorium which was fitted hundreds with LED lights.
2. Austin's Almo Drafthouse, Texas, United States
It shouldn’t make sense that a movie theater chain has such street cred, but Alamo Drafthouse does. Think of it as the cool kid brother movie theater. Alamo Drafthouse started out in Austin, Texas, and hosts a whole series of events including Heckle Vision, Quote Alongs and nights where experts rip apart Michael Bay popcorn blockbusters. But what makes the Alamo theaters really cool are its policies: no children under the age of six, no talking, an extremely strict no-cellphone policy (as this curse-laden voicemail left by an unhappy customer demonstrates) and no ads before the movie.This is a movie theater experience as it should be: the movie you pay for, zero annoyances and great food and beers being served to your seat.
3. Raj Mandir Theatre, Jaipur, India
Come here for the ultimate Bollywood experience: the national anthem at the start, a choice of expensive and cheaper seats, the three-hour Hindi flick bisected with an interlude and applaud along with the locals whenever the hero shows up on screen.With its pink Art Deco-inspired exterior made up of waves and asymmetrical shapes, the Raj Mandir is a symbol of Jaipur, a city laid out beautifully from its founding in the 18th century. It opened in 1976, seats around 1,200 and usually fills up. With ticket prices around Rs100 (US$1.90), this won't be your most luxurious movie outing, but it will definitely rank among the most memorable.
4. 4DX, Seoul, South Korea
4DX bills itself as the first 4-D movie theater in the world that screens studio releases, taking 3-D movies to the next level by
introducing movement and scent, as well as wind and water effects. Sitting through amusement park-type effects for such a long time may not be suitable for everyone, and people with heart disease, back pains, pregnant women and children under one meter are discouraged from entering. 4DX aims to “free” the moviegoer by connecting with the characters on screen, placing them into the shoes of the protagonist by feeling what he feels. 4DX theaters are now part of 14 CGV locations all over Korea. Tickets for the 4-D screenings start at ₩14,000 (US$12).
5. Uplink X, Tokyo, Japan
Uplink X calls itself the smallest movie theater in Japan, with 40 seats. It's housed in a multipurpose building managed by Uplink Co. alongside Uplink Factory, a multipurpose theater space and Uplink’s café Tabela. Its standout feature is its "social seating" plan - the 10 various types of seats are not screwed into the ground, but can be moved around within the space, making the movie-watching experience more interactive and social.
6. Prasads, Hyderabad, India
You might mistake Prasads as just another entertainment complex in Hyderabad but take a look at its cinema screen; it's the largest IMAX 3-D screen in the world. Measuring 72 x 92 feet, and running since 2003, it receives more than 1,500 calls a day to the telephone booking line.Sydney may have the largest IMAX in the world at 97 x 117 feet, but throw in the 3D technology and you get yourself on this list. The biggest grossing films in IMAX 3-D for Prasads so far have been "Avatar," "The Polar Express" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."
7. Cine de Chef, Seoul, South Korea
Korean movie theater company CGV claims another spot on this list with its Cine de Chef theater, which gives a luxury spin to the “dinner and a movie” concept. Many other movie theaters also provide food and beverage options to moviegoers, but Cine de Chef stands out with its upscale French-Italian cuisine, courtesy of a former Park Hyatt chef. After dinner, patrons can relax for the duration of the movie in the Quinette Gallay seats, specially designed for Cine de Chef. The seats are by the same people who make private movie theater seats for United Arab Emirates royalty. This meal and a movie doesn’t come cheap, however; prices start at ₩38,000 (US$34) for a lunch and a movie ticket. The dinner prices start at ₩60,000 (US$53).
8. The Castro Theatre, San Francisco, United States
The term “movie palace” was coined to describe the elaborately designed theaters that sprung up in the first half of the 20th century in the United States. Opened in 1922, the Castro Theatre is one of the last vestiges of that bygone era still in operation. Its Mexican cathedral-inspired façade continues to captivate tourists and moviegoers. With the decadence of its lobby and auditorium, and the attention to detail in the wet plaster motifs on either side of the screen, the Castro presents simply what new technologies are attempting to mimic -- the pleasure of the movie-watching experience.
9. ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood, Los Angeles
This Hollywood theater isn’t just a place to see stars on screen—you might catch a few sitting next to you in the audience. The theater offers 14 screens with reserved stadium seating (the seats are wider than average), plus the famous Cinerama Dome, which plays movies in the building next door. For snacks, choose from dishes such as gourmet chicken sausage on a baguette and great caramel corn made on site. Don’t miss the lobby gift store packed with show biz memorabilia.
10. Electric Cinema, London, UK
The 102-year-old Electric Cinema, located in London's fashionable Notting Hill, was refurbished by the Soho House group into a luxury theater with leather seating, footstools, tables for food and drink and two-seater sofas. It was one of the first
buildings in Britain to be designed specifically for motion picture. By 2001 the combined redevelopment was complete, costing roughly £2 million, funded by local resident and entrepreneur Peter Simon (founder of Monsoon) who owned 191B and bought out European Estates in 2000. Gebler Tooth installed wide leather seats and sofas, a bar in the auditorium and a full size wide screen that mechanically unfurls from inside the listed classical proscenium arch. Cinema, restaurant
and an upstairs private members club Electric House have all enjoyed great success since and the Electric is now one of London's favourite cinemas. But its most unusual feature lies (literally) in its double beds that make up the front row. Couples can get cozy under a cashmere throw and watch a movie, but please, no hanky panky. You'll be in full view of the
rest of the theater patrons. Bed tickets are cheaper at £18 per person compared to £20 per person for regular tickets.