CinemaCon 2014: 5 Jaw Dropping American Theaters

The worldwide motion picture theater industry descends on Caesars Palace in Las Vegas today for the fourth annual CinemaCon, the official convention of NATO [National Association of Theater Owners] that runs through March 27. CinemaCon is the largest annual gathering of cinema owners and operators from around the world, drawing filmmakers, distributors and exhibitors alike for a four-day celebration of the theaters and films we love.

We’ll be celebrating CinemaCon this week by highlighting theaters and the films that’ll be filling them this coming summer. We start today by looking at five unique, technically advanced or just down right gorgeous theaters in America. These are the places that remind you why there is simply no substitute for seeing a film in a theater; whether it's mind-blowing technology, an unbeatable environment, or the joy of watching a film with hundreds of fellow movie lovers (or a combination of all three), here's a brief look at some fantastic places to take in a movie.

The Hackworth IMAX Theater

The Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater, San Jose, California

Northern California's only domed IMAX theater can immerse you and 279 of your closest friends in a giant wrap-around screen (four times the size of a typical movie screen) with crystal clear images eight stories high, a projector the size of a Volkswagon Beetle, and 13,000 watts of wrap-around digital surround sound.

Nothing like a few adult beverages to enjoy a film. Courtesy the Uptown Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Uptown Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis has long been a unostentatious Mecca for fantastic art, and the Landmark Uptown Theater fits right into a city that includes the world renown contemporary art center the Walker among its jewels. Located in the middle of the city's Uptown District, the historic Uptown Theater (originally built as the Lagoon Theater in 1916, which eventually burned down) had a long stint as a repertory theater, eventually becoming a world class art film theater in 1985. It underwent extensive renovations in 2012, and now boasts a full bar, reserved seating, its beloved balcony and the 50-foot tower that was originally a beacon to orient residents that they were, indeed, uptown.

The Silver Theater, from the 1930s to today's AFI Silver Theater, one of the country's grandest. Courtesy the AFI SIlver Theater.

AFI Silver Theater, Silver Spring, Maryland

It's not surprising that the AFI Silver Theater is a technical marvel, considering its mandate is "seeing the screen itself as a source of literacy, learning and vision for the future." The exceptional technical facilities that define the AFI Silver include film formats from 16 to 70mm, high-definition digital cinema video projection, and broadcast quality video recording. The historic Silver theater was saved from destruction by a partnership between Montgomery Country, Maryland and the American Film Institute. Due to its namesake institute, the theater also includes distance learning capabilities via satellite, fiber and the Internet, as well as a moving image exhibition and cultural center. "Whether it's silent film at the proper frame rate with live musical accompaniment, 70mm wide screen spectaculars or digital cinema, the AFI Silver offers state-of-the-art technology in each of its three theatres — with seating for 400, 200 and 75, respectively," their website states. It's one of the premiere theaters, right in the heart of the nation's capital.

The state-of-the-art Dolby Theater. Courtesy Dolby.

The Dolby Theater, Los Angeles, Calfironia

It helps that the Dolby Theater has access to all the insane technology Dolby creates, including their breakthrough audio experience, Atmos. Atmos delivers the most natural, life-like sensory experience in the world (including last year's Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and the upcoming Noah). The theater doesn't slouch on the screen, either—Dolby is secretly becoming a powerhouse image technology company, and the Dolby 3D screen here is astounding. The specs of the theater are massive—180,000-square-feet and 3,400-seats.

 Courtesy 21st Street Warren Theater.

The 21st Street Warren Theater, Wichita, Kansas

This beloved Wichita location has an IMAX theater, stadium seating, a classic diner and malt shop and even an enclosed 'Cry room,' where parents with small children can watch the movie (with their kids' often unwanted additional soundtrack) with its own sound-system separate from the theater.


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