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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Finest Cinemas/Screening Rooms in the World (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Finest Cinemas/Screening Rooms in the World
Aaron Garman
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1465
From: Toledo, OH USA
Registered: Mar 2003

 - posted 02-28-2011 02:10 AM      Profile for Aaron Garman   Email Aaron Garman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We can all probably say this has been discussed here before, but I can't find a thread dedicated to the topic. I figured it would be useful for people to consult if they are traveling and are curious about the absolute finest cinemas no matter where they are.

That being said, perhaps we should set some parameters that make a given theater one of the finest. I'd say presentation, service, and overall experience are very broad ways of looking at it. So perfect sound, perfect picture, cleanliness, comfort, and of course great food items (if offered).

I'll list two cinemas, one being the best I've attended anywhere I've been and the other being the finest one in my home town.

Again, the goal is to list not only the best of the best anywhere, but the best of the best in our home should someone being passing through. If your town doesn't have a fine theater, then we need to build one right away! [Wink]

I'm also positive I'm far less traveled than many on this forum, so I can't wait to see everyone else's answers.

Grauman's Chinese, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
-Perfect presentation, comfortable, great food, and the staff was extremely pleasant. Giant traveler, house draped in red. Overall, just a great place to see a movie.

Browning Cinema, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN
-Sure, I work here and have bias, but honestly it's a fine place to see a film and the best in South Bend for sure. THX, Dolby EX, nice and bright image. For a 200 seat house, it rocks.


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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99

 - posted 02-28-2011 02:16 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I can't think of too many industry professionals who would think that the Chinese theater has a perfect presentation. Aesthetics, sure. Actual sound quality? I have not heard good things from many people. I think it even has a center aisle. We might know more if people wandered inside instead of just hanging around the forecourt.

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Tom Petrov
Five Guys Lover

Posts: 1121
From: El Paso, TX
Registered: Jan 2003

 - posted 02-28-2011 02:46 AM      Profile for Tom Petrov     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think this is going to be a great thread!

For me, I discovered it by accident. The Toronto International Film Festival theatre is the best in the GTA.

I have seen two 70mm presentations and a digital one, and they were all outstanding. The digital presentation suprised me at how good digital can be. The theatre is state-of-the-art and is very well designed.

I can't say much for the concessions as it had a limited offering. But that is not a biggie as most of the people who go to this theatre would be happy attending a "NO FOOD ALLOWED" sceening anyway

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Ron Lacheur
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 644
From: British Columbia, Canada
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 02-28-2011 04:02 AM      Profile for Ron Lacheur   Email Ron Lacheur   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There is a center aisle at the Chinese.

The design and history of the building is a class all on it's own. The picture quality ( I saw a film presentation ) there was pretty good, I've seen the same back home.

The sound is definitely poor. I'm sure they have done numerous updates acoustically and equipment wise, but the room is what the room is.

There is a LOT of echo. There are drapes that fly in between the columns at the sides of the room, at the start of the feature presentation. They help the echo problem out a bit, but it's still distracting.

I would love to know what the RT60 rating of that room is. [Wink]

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Don Furr
Master Film Handler

Posts: 499
From: Sun City, Ca USA
Registered: Nov 2002

 - posted 02-28-2011 06:41 AM      Profile for Don Furr   Email Don Furr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes there is some echo at the Chinese but not too distracting to me. I was there last October and saw a great digital presentation. It's still a great place to watch a movie....beautiful room!!

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Lionel Fouillen
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 230
From: Belgium
Registered: Nov 2002

 - posted 02-28-2011 09:07 AM      Profile for Lionel Fouillen   Email Lionel Fouillen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Only saw 1 film at the Chinese while on holiday in the US. "Rush Hour" in 1998. Was impressed by the room, but I found the screen to be rather small and the sound unimpressive.

My choice for premium theater (closer to home): THE EMPIRE in London.

Now converted to 4K-digital, but still state-of-the-art. Nostalgics of DP70's and CP200's can see my pictures of the Empire booth/auditorium from 1993 in the warehouse section.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 02-28-2011 10:46 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I suppose we've been in a couple dozen theatres between my wife and I. Most of them have been good, although I can't say I've been in any where I went "Wow! This is amazingly great!" But I can't say I've ever said "This totally sucks" either, so I guess that's good.

I would say the best theatre we have ever been in is the AMC Pleasure Island 24 in Downtown Disney, at Disney World. Sound and presentations were fine there. But "outstanding" or "amazingly great?" Nah, it's just a nice theatre in a pleasant location. The only downside to it is the concession crew -- typical surly teenagers. (You can easily tell they work for AMC and not Disney.)

I'm looking forward to the screenings at CinemaCon. They're going to be held in the Colisseum at Caesars Palace. Should be pretty good.

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Matt Fields
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Jackson, Ohio, United States
Registered: Jun 2005

 - posted 02-28-2011 11:25 AM      Profile for Matt Fields   Email Matt Fields   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It is probably not perfect from a techincal standpoint, but they still show movies at the Ohio Theatre (Columbus, OH) during the summer. It is just an awesome place to be.


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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 02-28-2011 02:04 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Aaron Garman
That being said, perhaps we should set some parameters that make a given theater one of the finest. I'd say presentation, service, and overall experience are very broad ways of looking at it. So perfect sound, perfect picture, cleanliness, comfort, and of course great food items (if offered).
These days I'm not sure if any commercial movie theaters truly offer "perfect picture" and "perfect sound." Some get reasonably close to the standard or at least in the ballpark but most theaters are falling short and getting by on the ethics of being "good enough."

I tend to think about the demolished GCC Northpark Mall 1-2 theater in terms of theaters that did deliver perfect picture and perfect sound. This theater's sound system performed better than any of the premiere theaters I had visited in Manhattan. If a commercial movie theater could get pretty close to how the Northpark sounded I would be impressed.

Out of actively operating movie theaters here in Oklahoma I can recommend a few.

Warren Theaters Moore 14, Moore, Oklahoma

Warren Theaters' Warren Moore 14 in Moore, Oklahoma is the best commercial movie theater in Oklahoma. All 14 screens are THX certified and equipped with Dolby Digital Cinema. Some of the houses (I don't know how many) are equipped with Dolby 3D. Bill Warren spent a lot of money on decor throughout the place. A retro diner style restaurant is next to the lobby. The movie screens have curtains. Very few, if any, trailers are run before the show. No TV commercials or crap like that is shown. Cell phone use during shows is banned. The two largest houses have premium priced balcony seating for viewers 21 and older.

The projection and sound standards of the Warren Moore 14 aren't quite up to the level I had experienced at Northpark. It's good, but not quite great. If you're going to watch a movie in one of the two largest houses I recommend sitting farther back from the screen or paying extra for balcony seats. These screens definitely need a 4K projector upgrade (and native 4K movie material) provided 4K projectors can throw an image bright enough for screens that immense.

The Cine Capris, Harkins Bricktown 16, downtown Oklahoma City

This Cine Capris was equipped with a Kinoton projector. I think the picture looked about as good as 35mm can look on a screen that big (around 70' wide). Haven't been there in awhile though, so I don't know how well things have been maintained. The lobby at the Bricktown 16 is kind of cool for the film projection setup on top of the box office; it shows movie trailers on a big screen above the snack counter.

Cinemark Tulsa & IMAX

I'm mentioning this one because it is the only 15/70 film-based IMAX-branded theater in Oklahoma. Others carrying the IMAX brand are going the "Lie-MAX" route. The Omniplex in Oklahoma City has an Iwerks 15/70 system showing movies on a domed screen, but it doesn't show Hollywood movies.

Lawton is kind of out of the way; the Carmike 8 is the only place I see movies locally. It's certainly above average for Carmike locations.

I haven't seen any movies in Dallas area theaters in a few years. So I really don't know what to recommend for theaters in the Metroplex. But if I had to guess, I'd rather take a chance on one of the Studio Movie Grill locations since certain FT members are involved with those theaters and they maintain certain standards of practice that made GCC Northpark 1-2 such a kick ass place to watch a movie.

The Paramount Theater farther away in Austin shows movies from time to time, some of them in 70mm. But that isn't a full time movie theater. It pulls more duties as a venue for live concerts.

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Aaron Garman
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Toledo, OH USA
Registered: Mar 2003

 - posted 03-01-2011 04:02 AM      Profile for Aaron Garman   Email Aaron Garman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I heard the echo at the Chinese too, but I agree, it wasn't terrible, and the experience was still one of the better ones I've had despite the film being the AWFUL MacGruber. I was one of the only people there for the screening, and they actually invited me to the premiere they were having the following day for Splice. Sadly I had to decline because I was leaving the next day. Too bad, that could have been fun!

As for the Northpark, I just don't want to believe there isn't a cinema out there that is at least close. I can agree that most theaters slack off with presentation, but somewhere there has to be something that good.

And if not, we damn well need to make it happen!


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Geoff Jones
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 527
From: Broomfield, CO, USA
Registered: Feb 2006

 - posted 03-01-2011 07:33 AM      Profile for Geoff Jones   Author's Homepage   Email Geoff Jones   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I got to see a few films at the Stag Theatre in Nicasio California back when it still had film projectors.

Perfect sound, picture, cleanliness, comfort. No food allowed. It was always amazing to walk in and hear how "dead" the room was. The screen was 49' wide, constant height. I believe dual projection/ changeovers were used.

I saw one movie projected digitally there and was disappointed with the picture, but I will admit that it was in the early days of digital. And the audio was amazing.

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Ben Wales
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Southampton. England
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 - posted 03-01-2011 08:08 AM      Profile for Ben Wales   Email Ben Wales   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My choicve would be the Empire Theatre in Liecester Square London (UK) and now it is even better Sound, since they refurbished it a few years ago.

Another is the Schauburg Theatre in the Black Forest area in Karlsruhe,Germany.

Their Main Screen is surperb for 70mm Screenings on a curve screen and Presenation too [Smile] .

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Brad Johnson
Film Handler

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From: Laguna Niguel, California
Registered: Apr 2011

 - posted 04-06-2011 07:14 PM      Profile for Brad Johnson   Email Brad Johnson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
well, speaking from experience, I think that Edwards cinemas in newport beach (known as big newport) is one of the finest in CA, @ least as far as I felt going there many times to see a lot of big budget blockbusters in years past (most in 70mm ofcourse) I know that I saw STARWARS there in 70mm (there had been a very brief period that the managment had to subsitute 35mm to get their 70mm fixed but I'd swear that when I saw it it was in 70mm dolby 6-track!) I've read elsewhere that when they did show it in 35mm, that no one could tell the difference (maybe even I would have been fooled if indeed that was that particular time that the larger print was exchanged for the smaller one- their sound @ the theater was that good but I cant say for sure on this)

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Manny Knowles
"What are these things and WHY are they BLUE???"

Posts: 4247
From: Bloomington, IN, USA
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 04-06-2011 11:56 PM      Profile for Manny Knowles   Email Manny Knowles   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm a nostalgic fan of Mann's Chinese in Hollywood but it's far from being one of the "finest in the world."

I love digital (projection) but it seems as though their screen maybe got a little smaller when they converted. Did it?

IIRC, they also moved the booth upstairs, whereas it used to be at ground level -- right on axis with the screen -- when it was still a film theatre. Not a huge deal, but I think it was a mistake.

And then there's the echo. The room is just too big and cavernous for its own good. How it ever got THX certified is a mystery. Very few seats are "the best in the house."

Oh!!!! And then there was the time the old pervert sat down beside us and started wanking during "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

...but that's Hollywood! (Maybe he was a producer. It was dark. Coulda been anybody.)

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Aaron Jennerjahn
Film Handler

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From: Los Angeles , California USA
Registered: Mar 2011

 - posted 04-10-2011 12:56 AM      Profile for Aaron Jennerjahn   Email Aaron Jennerjahn       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a sentimental soft spot for he Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. It is now part of Pacific's Arclight chain, but it is still one of only two theatres here in the states that can run three- strip Cinerama films with original seven channel full coat mag soundtrack. I worked there for many years and know all it's strengths and weaknesses. It may not be the best for either picture or sound, but it has wonderful design and holds real nostalgia for a great many people.

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