It’d be enough if Los Angeles was merely the heart of the movie industry but the city is also home to some of the greatest movie palaces and vintage theaters still operating today. As awards season continues here are some of the best theaters to catchup on the nominated films in the city.
The American Cinematheque programs the films at this gorgeous Egyptian Revival style theater that opened in 1922 when it was home to Hollywood’s first premiere, Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks. Restored in 1998, the Hollywood landmark features an expansive courtyard complete with faux hieroglyphics, 616 comfortable seats in the main theater, great viewing angles, and an expansive courtyard. It’s a great spot to catch screenings of classic 35mm films, many of which are accompanied by Q&As with the principals. For Westsiders, the American Cinematheque also programs the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles.
Whether it’s being blown to bits in Iron Man 3 or sitting quietly in the background in Hollywood Homicide, the former Mann’s Chinese (née Grauman’s Chinese) has been featured in dozens of Hollywood films. Dating back to 1927, it’s famous for its courtyard where hundreds of stars have left their hand and shoe prints in concrete. The theater has also played home to countless movie premieres. These days, the Chinese (as it’s still known) mainly screens modern-day blockbusters. 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles.
Hidden in the back of a vertical shopping center, this outpost of South Korea’s largest multiplex chain usually shows a mix of American blockbusters and Korean fare. Watch for the little extras at the snack bar like macchiatos and caramel popcorn, and be prepared if the side walls of the auditorium light up to reveal a massive three-screen surround picture for selected films. 6988 Beach Blvd. Buena Park and 621 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles.
Bought by filmmaker Quentin Tarantino in 2007, the beloved repertory theater continues to show double features of 35mm film prints and run its popular midnight and grindhouse series of films. Featuring an encyclopedic array of films from old time westerns like True Grit to indie films like Swingers to grim foreign fare like Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, the venue also hosts animated events, celebrity festivals, and has let directors like Edgar Wright program the venue for months at a time. 7165 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles.
The perfect neighborhood theater combines all the best vintage movie house atmosphere with exquisitely updated projection and sound, and a mix of first run, art films, and oddball midnight and morning screenings. All this and the low admission prices are as retro as the animated snack bar cartoon they show before every feature. 4473 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.
Complete with a Wurlitzer pipe organ that was installed in 1928, the Orpheum Theatre in downtown L.A. now hosts concerts, special events, and, via the popular Last Remaining Seats series, classic movies. 842 Broadway, Los Angeles.
Originally built in 1929, this theater is the only one in Hollywood that is owned and ran by veterans and is located inside the historic American Legion memorial clubhouse. The theater has recently undergone renovations to include a state-of-the-art digital cinema with surround sound and classic 35mm and 70mm film projection capability. 2035 North Highland Ave. Los Angeles.
Flaunting an Art Deco style and a single screen with giant curtains, the Art Theatre of Long Beach is an architectural dream. Complete with screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday evening, the theater plays independent, documentary, and foreign language films. 2025 E. 4th St., Long Beach.
With its famous marquee, its curved screen, and its dome top that resembles a golf ball, the restored Cinerama Dome, which opened in 1963, is one of only three theaters in the world that shows movies in the three-projector process. Upgraded with a digital projector, the Dome remains the premiere place to catch Cinemascope masterpieces like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles.