LA's obviously where most of the movies you see get made, so it's no surprise we also have a ton of insanely cool movie theaters buried among the generic multiplexes. Rather than watching Star Wars for the seventh time with a king-size box of Buncha Crunch on a boring-size screen, you could head to the theater where Tarantino likes to run movies from his personal stash. Here are the best places in Los Angeles to get your popcorn (and cocktails and maybe smell effects?!) on.
Editor's Note: We discounted places like the Los Angeles Theatre and the Egyptian that only show movies for special events, so don't yell at us in the comments about 'em, OK?
Perhaps LA's best-kept secret, seeing a movie at the 4DX theater at Regal LA LIVE (one of only two in the country) is like being on a virtual-reality ride for two hours: the seats both shake and float, there are smoke, water, and explosion effects, and even the smells are amped up. (Seriously: during The Force Awakens, when a spaceship crashed, the theater smelled like electrical fire.) Pro tip: tickets are usually in the $25 range, which is definitely worth it, but they're only $16 on Tuesdays, though the trade-off is that you can't pick your seat.
Not only does this inside-the-mall theater have killer snacks (wasabi peas!), but some of the theaters are "living room" style -- meaning they have ACTUAL COUCHES to watch movies on, but you won't need to worry about your remote getting stuck between the cushions.
Recently, Tarantino made news because he was angry The Hateful Eight was dropped from his favorite theater: the Cinerama Dome at the ArcLight, which has been around since 1963 and is truly one of a kind. The geodesic dome -- made of 316 hexagons -- gives a feeling of scope you can't get from any other theater in the world (literally); going to movies there always feels like a special event, even if you're seeing, say, a non-special-event-at-all (looking at you, $17 I blew on Dumb and Dumberer).
The US' first-ever multi-projector, 270-degree movie theater (yes, seriously) opened quietly this year in Koreatown; essentially, you're looking at the movie not just in front of you, but out of the corners of your eyes (yes, seriously).
There're definitely a number of places that've opened up where you can order food at your seat, but there's only one where you can order food from Sherry Yard at your seat, and that's iPic, which also boasts ultra-wide, cushy seats that recline like La-Z-Boys. Game on.
When Disney took over the El Cap in 1991 (first showing: The Rocketeer!) it committed to making every moviegoing experience there feel spectacular: the building retains its '20s-era splendor, the seats are cushy and comfortable, and before every showing a live organist plays hits from the Disney catalog (or music themed to the movie you're seeing) before disappearing under the stage. Added bonus: most movies also include pre- or post-screening stage shows, and, occasionally, even theme park-style rides behind the theater.
This formerly dilapidated theater was in danger of being torn down... so Quentin Tarantino bought it, refurbished it, and programs it, often from his own collection of vintage reels. That means an eclectic barrage of non-hits that've influenced the Tarantino ouvre as well as Q's own movies, all projected in "majestic" 35mm. Oh, and often the man himself is there, with reports of him even running the projector occasionally.
Not only is the Chinese probably the most famous theater in the world (thanks to handprints! And footprints!) but it's also home to the world's biggest IMAX screen -- an immersive beast that measures in at a monstrous 94'x46'.
City of Industry
There are a couple of other drive-ins in LA County, but none as close to the center of the city (not that it's close-close, but, y'know...) and none that operate seven days a week. At Vineland, you can also see two first-run movies for the price of one the way your parents did, with sound coming through the radio and fog (or is that vape smoke?) coming from the backseat.
1. Regal Cinemas LA LIVE 141000 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles
2. Landmark Theatres10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles
3. ArcLight Cinemas6360 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
4. CGV Cinemas621 S Western Ave, Los Angeles
5. iPic Theaters Westwood10840 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
6. El Capitan Theatre6838 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
7. New Beverly Cinema7165 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles
8. TCL Chinese Theatre6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
9. Vineland Drive-in Theater443 Vineland Ave, Industry
Regal Cinemas at the LA Live entertainment complex is not like any other movie theater. Their 4DX theater (one of only two in the country) provides a "I felt like I was actually there!" type of movie experience. The seats shake and float and there are water, smoke and explosion effects.
The Landmark not only has great movie munchies, but also has a few "living room" style theaters, meaning there are couches you can lounge on during the movie.
The Arclight theater is showing movies how they were intended to be watched. No lines, no ads before the movie, reserved seating, comfy chairs and you can order food and booze while you watch. What else could you want in a movie theater? Plus, the Hollywood location is in the iconic Cinerama Dome, offering an incredible movie experience inside the dome made up of 316 hexagons.
The South Korean chain's first US location not only features current American movies, but Asian films as well. Plus, CGV Cinemas's Screen X theater hold the US's first-ever multi-projector, 270-degree movie theater for a movie experience that reaches all the way to your peripheral line of sight.
Get the first class of movie-going experiences; reclineable chairs, extra leg room and an attendant available at the push of a button. Better yet? An in-house italian restaurant and full bar makes it the perfect one-stop date-shop.
Part of the heart of Hollywood's performing arts world since 1926, this historic theater still hosts live performances and premieres.
This historic LA theater was saved from demolition by none other than Quentin Tarantino. He refurbished the theater and now programs it, running movies from his own collection of reels. So be prepared for an eclectic movie experience if you catch a film here. You might even get to see Tarantino himself running the projector.
Some Hollywood beauties lose their glow and fade into obscurity. The TCL Chinese Theater is not one of those. Recently renovated, this icon is ready for its close up. Be sure to drop/fly/web-sling by in May for Hero Complex, a celebration of sci-fi classics featuring Q&A's with the directors.
Open seven days a week, Vineland Drive-In lets you see two first-run movies for the price of one, with sound coming through the radio. Plus, it's the closest drive-in to the city center (close is all relative right?).