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10 of the world's most enjoyable movie theaters

Hoishan Chan, CNNPublished 12th July 2017
(CNN) — The best movie theaters always make the movie better.
You could be watching the third re-run of your own birth, but if you're snuggled into a soft seat with buttery popcorn in your lap and a sound system that feels like its channeled directly into your temporal lobe, somehow you'll come out feeling like you had a good time.
For the global jet-setting movie junkie, these are some movie theaters that take a good experience and make it great.

1. Cine Thisio, Athens, Greece

Athens is home to multiple outdoor movie theaters that crop up during the summer but none provide as majestic a view as Cine Thisio.
From your seat at Cine Thisio you not only get to view the latest blockbuster but also the Acropolis, and the Parthenon that sits on top. The best view is at night.
Cine Thisio is the oldest outdoor movie theater in Athens, built in 1935, and is usually open from April to October. Cine Thisio shows both first-run studio releases and classic movies.
Where to find it: Apostolou Pavlou 7, Thission, Athens 11851, Greece; +30 210 342 0864

2. Alamo Drafthouse, Texas, United States

Alamo is a movie theater chain with a difference.
Courtesy Nick Simonite
It shouldn't make sense that a movie theater chain has such street cred, but Alamo Drafthouse does. Think of it as the cool kid brother movie theater.
Alamo Drafthouse started out in Austin, Texas, and hosts a whole series of events including Heckle Vision, Quote Alongs and nights where experts rip apart Michael Bay popcorn blockbusters.
But what makes the Alamo theaters really cool are its policies: no children under the age of six, no talking, an extremely strict no-cellphone policy (as this curse-laden voicemail left by an unhappy customer demonstrates) and no ads before the movie.
This is a movie theater experience as it should be: the movie you pay for, zero annoyances and great food and beers being served to your seat.
Where to find it: 1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, Texas 78704, United States; +1 512 861 7040.

3. Rajmandir Theatre, Jaipur, India

Head to the Rajmandir for the ultimate Bollywood experience: the national anthem at the start, a choice of expensive and cheaper seats, the three-hour Hindi flick bisected with an interlude and applaud along with the locals whenever the hero shows up on screen.
With its pink Art Deco-inspired exterior made up of waves and asymmetrical shapes, the Raj Mandir is a symbol of Jaipur, a city laid out beautifully from its founding in the 18th century.
It opened in 1976, seats around 1,200 and usually fills up.
Where to find it: C-16, Panch Batti, Bhagwan Das Rd, C-Scheme, Jaipur, India;+91 141 237 9372.

4. Kino International, Berlin, Germany

This 1960s cinema is located in East Berlin. Until 1989, it was the main theater for premieres in the GDR.
Courtesy a_marga/Creative Commons/Flickr
A remnant of the Cold War, Kino International dates back to Germany's socialist period. Today Kino International boasts a well-rounded art-house program and hosts a strong list of premieres, festivals and parties.
The movie theater is situated along Karl Marx Allee, where entire blocks of buildings carry heritage status and are protected by the Denkmalschutz in Berlin.
This heritage status means that the outside facade of Kino International, along with its interior furnishings, cannot be altered.
Where to find it: 33 Karl-Marx Allee, Berlin 10178, Germany; +49 030 24756011.

5. 4DX, Seoul, South Korea

4DX bills itself as the first 4-D movie theater in the world that screens studio releases, taking 3-D movies to the next level by introducing movement and scent, as well as wind and water effects.
Sitting through amusement park-type effects for such a long time may not be suitable for everyone, and people with heart disease, back pains, pregnant women and children under one meter are discouraged from entering.
4DX aims to "free" the moviegoer by connecting with the characters on screen, placing them into the shoes of the protagonist by feeling what he feels.
4DX theaters are now part of 14 CGV locations all over Korea.
Where to find it: 4DX CGV Theater in Gangbyeon; 10F TechnoMart, 546-4 Guui-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 광진구 구의동 546-4 테크노마트 10층); Tel 1544-1122 (Domestic calls only).

6. Uplink X, Tokyo, Japan

Uplink X calls itself the smallest movie theater in Japan, with 40 seats. It's housed in a multipurpose building managed by Uplink Co. alongside Uplink Factory, a multipurpose theater space and Uplink's cafe Tabela.
Its standout feature is its "social seating" plan -- the 10 various types of seats are not screwed into the ground, but can be moved around within the space, making the movie-watching experience more interactive and social.
Where to find it: 2F, 37-18 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan; + 81 3 3485 6821

7. Hot Tub Cinema, worldwide

Watching a movie from a hot tub on a rooftop -- the perfect way to spend your summer evening.
Hot Tub Cinema
This London-based initiative includes your favorite films, amazing locations -- and hot tubs. Punters can book a whole hot tub to share with six or eight friends.
In the summer, events take place on rooftops and in parks -- in the winter Hot Tub Cinema switches to indoor locations. Across the seasons events take place in the UK, USA and Ibiza.
Where to find it: Across the world -- see Hot Tub Cinema for the latest events

8. Cine de Chef, Seoul, South Korea

Korean movie theater company CGV claims another spot on this list with its Cine de Chef theater, which gives a luxury spin to the "dinner and a movie" concept.
Many other movie theaters also provide food and beverage options to moviegoers, but Cine de Chef stands out with its upscale French-Italian cuisine, courtesy of a former Park Hyatt chef.
After dinner, patrons can relax for the duration of the movie in the Quinette Gallay seats, specially designed for Cine de Chef. The seats are by the same people who make private movie theater seats for United Arab Emirates royalty.
Where to find it: B5 CGV Apgujeong, 602 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 강남구 신사동 602 CGV압구정 지하5청); Tel + 82 2 3445 0541

9. Secret Cinema, Worldwide

How would you like to live out scenes from "Star Wars?"
Courtesy Secret Cinema
This may be stretching the concept of the movie theater since Secret Cinema does not host events in a single physical space -- the location is determined by the movie screened.
Secret Cinema is a London-based group that organizes monthly movie events shrouded in mystery. Patrons are told not to reveal the location or even the movie screened.
Once you register, you are told the day of the screening to gather at a predetermined location. From there, hired actors put on a live-action version of scenes from the movie before the finale, a theatrical showing of the movie itself.
In the past immersive cinema experiences have included transporting punters back to the '50s, "Back to the Future"-style, and to a galaxy far, far away for a "Star Wars"-themed event.
Where to find it: +44 0207 739 6055; See Secret Cinema for locations coming soon.

10. The Castro Theatre, San Francisco, United States

The Art Deco Castro cinema is famous for its sing-along screenings.
Courtesy Helder Ribeiro/Creative Commons/Flickr
The term "movie palace" was coined to describe the elaborately designed theaters that sprung up in the first half of the 20th century in the United States.
Opened in 1922, the Castro Theatre is one of the last vestiges of that bygone era still in operation. Its Mexican cathedral-inspired facade continues to captivate tourists and moviegoers.
With the decadence of its lobby and auditorium, and the attention to detail in the wet plaster motifs on either side of the screen, the Castro presents simply what new technologies are attempting to mimic -- the pleasure of the movie-watching experience. Sing-alongs to classic musicals are organized and encouraged.
Where to find it: 429 Castro Street, San Francisco, California 94114, USA; Tel +1 415 621 6120.
Editor's note: This article was previously published in 2013. It was reformatted and republished in 2017.
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