Are These Really The 20 Best Movie Theaters In The World?

Most of us have a "favorite" movie theater. Specifically, we all pretty much have a preferred row, and even a special seat we love to grab when we go to the multiplex. But which movie theaters would rank among the top in the world? We now have some semblance of an answer.

In the latest issue of Men’s Journal, a list of "The Top 20 Movie Theaters In The World" has been created. The selections range from California to the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, France. And the No. 1 theater to top their list? San Francisco’s Castro Theatre.

Founded in 1910 and remodeled in 1922, the movie palace earned Historic Landmark status in September 1976, and is an iconic landmark for the gay community. In 2008, The Castro hosted the world premiere of Gus Van Sant’s Oscar-winning Milk, with Sean Penn. How famous is The Castro? It actually has its own documentary!

The Castro edged out the usual (and free floating) "Secret Cinema," which is held at various locations around the globe. Men’s Journal, in covering the "Secret Cinema," writes:

The first rule of Secret Cinema is that you do not talk about Secret Cinema... at least not its whereabouts. Which is an easy enough rule to follow considering it's not an actual venue, but rather a series of screenings at secret locations around the world. Past engagements have included screenings of Lawrence of Arabia at London's Alexandra Palace and The Grand Budapest Hotel at the landmark Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell."

The complete Top 10 listing is:

1. The Castro (San Francisco)2. Secret Cinema (Worldwide)3. Kennedy School Theater (Portland, Oregon)4. Sol Cinemas (South Wales, U.K.)5. Alamo Drafthouse (Austin, Texas)6. Le Grand Rex (Paris, France)7. New Beverly Cinema (Los Angeles, California)8. IMAX Sydney (Sydney, Australia)9. Nitehawk Cinema (Brooklyn, NY)10. Colosseum Kino (Oslo, Norway)

Of the 10, I’ve been to two, and can stand up for the fact that the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin (which is part of the annual South By Southwest Film Festival) is a tremendously unique viewing and dining experience. The two-screen Alamo Ritz on Sixth Street in downtown has a punk rock vibe to it, and the newly remodeled Alamo South Lamar will open in time for Fantastic Fest in September 2014 (from what we have been hearing).

So tell us: what theater belongs on this list? Which favorite movie house was left off? I’d lobby for the Arclight in L.A., as well as the Uptown in Washington, D.C. (for personal reasons). How about you?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.