2012 SJ Movie Awards: Best Independent Movie Theater Chains
While many of us know the common movie theater multiplex chains, there is another way. Some select chains refuse to serve stale week old popcorn and fun-size candy bars at $6 a pop. They insist on providing the public with the highest quality sound and image while playing movies people should see. These are the movie houses that make people fall in love with movies.
When you mix a do it ourselves punk attitude with classic Texas hospitality and a love of film you end up with the Alamo Drafthouse cinemas. With fifteen theaters set across four states the Alamo is serving incredible movies with even more incredible food. The main attraction is the in theater full service menu. With every other row of seats replaced with a long table, and in your seat waiter service this is truly a unique movie experience. Whether it’s hosting almost all of the major SXSW film festival screenings, or by having many of the greatest events Austin Texas has to offer (air guitar championships), this chain is truly worthy of a spot on this list.
With four locations in the greater Los Angeles area, Arclight Cinemas are movie theaters for people who make movies. The superb screen quality, 21 and over screenings with alcohol, and a members program that rewards members with free screenings and early viewings of major releases, the Arclight is the second home for any cinephile.
Wichita, Kansasmay sound like an odd place for a world class theater chain. But once anyone enters a Warren theater they quickly know they are in for a special film going experience. Whether it’s their reasonable prices, all digital projection, or world class sound, there is not one part of the theater going experience that is not thought of at this great mid western theater chain. With locations in Wichita and Oklahoma City this is a special theater in a land where there are not nearly enough of its kind.
While other theaters on this list portray the height of the cinema experience, Laemmle captures the essence of what a movie experience should be. With a number of locations in the Los Angeles area Laemmle manages to show the most cutting edge independent and mainstream films with ticket prices significantly lower than other theaters. Laemmle’s location and willingness to engage in special screening arrangements also makes it a common stop for Oscar qualifying runs of smaller features.