10 of the World’s Best Movie Theaters
The Grand Théâtre Lumière in Cannes is just about the most exciting movie theater in the world right now. As the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival enters its second week, we got to thinking about some of the greatest theaters around the world.
America is, of course, no slouch in the great movie theater department–from the iconic Ziegfeld in New York City to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin (which is now opening up a theater in downtown Los Angeles), there’s plenty of fantastic theaters to choose from. Included in our list below are a few more American theaters–but we broadened our horizons and looked beyond our borders to find some of the best theaters in the world, and here is what we’ve come up with.
By no means a comprehensive list–our ten selections were chosen because of their diversity of spirit, location, and architecture. From France to South Korea to Australia, we’ve found a slew of amazing places to take in a film.
Featured image: Tampa Theater. Photo credit: Joe Roberts
#1: State Theater, Traverse City, Michigan: Documentarian Michael Moore originally restored the 1918 building to host the Traverse City Film Festival, but the State has since become a year-round art-house venue known for special events like Oscar Awards viewing parties, 25-cent family matinees and admission-free screenings when the temperature breaks 100 degrees.
#2: Ciné 32, Auch, France: Made with wooden slats to resemble tobacco sheds once prevalent in its South of France setting, each of Ciné 32’s five separate theaters has a different color theme. (Photo courtesy of Sébastien Normand)
#3: Tampa Theatre, Tampa, Florida: An overly ornate Mediterranean courtyard literally sets the stage for the classic and contemporary films that screen nightly in this 1926 landmark. Early birds also get treated to a performance on the old Wurlitzer organ. (Photo credit Joe Roberts)
#4 The Busan Cinema Center, Busan, South Korea: Three movie theaters, one performing arts theater and a convention center, all housed under the world’s largest cantilevered roof, one that measures the equivalent of 2.5 soccer fields and is covered in more than 40,000 LED lights. (Photo Courtesy of Official Korea Tourism Organization)
#5 Cinémathèque Française, Paris, France: Any French film buff worth his weight in clove cigarettes ought to make a pilgrimage to Frank Gehry’s cinema temple. In addition to one of the largest film libraries in the world, the complex boasts four screening rooms and a movie museum. (Photo courtesy of Cinematèque Française)
#6: Sun Pictures Cinema, Broome, Australia:Pearl diving brought visitors to this western Australia town at the turn of the 20th century, but this world’s first “outdoor picture garden” has kept tourists coming back since 1916. And the ramshackle appearance is more aesthetic than structural, thanks to its preservation as a historic landmark. (Photo courtesy of Look Die Bildagentur / Alamy)
#7: Cine Thisio, Athens, Greece: This open-air theater was built in 1935—making it the new kid on the block compared to its close neighbor, the Acropolis. (Photo courtesy of Cine Thisio)
#8: Raj Mandir Theatre, Jaipur, India: The best place to see Bollywood’s finest films is undeniably the Raj Mandir, with seating for 1,200 and an ornately encrusted lobby befitting it’s location in the heart of India’s gem capitol. (Photo courtesy of Erick Nguyen / Alamy)
#9: Archipelago Cinema, Thailand: Conceived originally the Yao Noi, Thailand film festival curated by Tilda Swinton and Cannes Palmes D’or-winning director Apitchapong Weerasthakul, Ole Scheeren’s floating cinema is expected to turn up again at the Venice Biennale’s 13th International Architecture Exhibition before it goes on a world-wide tour.
Photos courtesy of the architect
#10: Matadero Cineteca, Madrid, Spain: Formerly a 19th century slaughterhouse, the Matadero theater exclusively screens documentary films in its bent steel and industrial irrigation hose structure. Also, housed in the enormous former refrigeration chamber is a library of 7,000 documentaries available on loan to visitors. (Photo courtesy of Fernando Guerra.)