The Best Movie Theatres in Los Angeles

Experience the movies in landmark theatres and state-of-the-art cinemas

There are nearly 40,000 movie screens in the U.S.; not all are created equally. Here in Los Angeles, we are blessed with some of the most outstanding movie theaters in the country. Some are historic, some feature state-of-the-art technology - or even a mix of both. Others offer such cutting edge fare, you’d be hard-pressed to find these films anywhere else. So the next time you go to the movies, why not make it one of these L.A. spots. Just be warned, once you visit one, it may be hard to go back to your neighborhood multiplex.

Courtyard of the restored Egyptian Theatre
Courtyard of the restored Egyptian Theatre | Photo: Kevin Estrada, Netflix

Grauman's Egyptian Theatre

In 1922, a few weeks before King Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered, the Egyptian Theatre was opened by Charles E. Toberman and Sid Grauman, who would later go on to open Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It was a prescient design choice - the world soon went mad for all things Egyptian and several other Egyptian-themed theatres soon opened across the country.

The original Egyptian, the first big movie house on Hollywood Boulevard, underwent an extensive $13-million rehabilitation and reopened in 1998 with Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. Since then, American Cinematheque produced thousands of film events at the Egyptian, including in-person tributes and conversations, film retrospectives, dazzling movie premieres, advanced screenings, and film festivals such as Beyond Fest and Noir City: Hollywood.

In October 2023, American Cinematheque and Netflix announced that the Egyptian will be reopening on November 9 following a three-year renovation that has restored the movie palace to its original 1922 grandeur. The first screening will be The Killer, followed by a Q&A with the director David Fincher.

The Egyptian Theatre is one of only five remaining theaters in the U.S. capable of projecting nitrate film, the film stock used from 1889 to the 1950s - as well as 35mm, 70mm and digital formats - bringing classic and modern cinema to life.

David Geffen Theater at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
David Geffen Theater at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Photo by Iwan Baan/©Iwan Baan Studios, courtesy of Academy Museum Foundation

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Opened in September 2021, the spectacular Academy Museum of Motion Pictures houses more than 13 million objects in a 300,000 square-foot campus designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Renzo Piano.

Dolby is the exclusive sponsor of the museum's state-of-the-art theaters. The 966-seat David Geffen Theater is a grand presentation space for major film events, public programs, live performances, movie premieres and other special events. The theater is fully equipped to present film in many formats, including nitrate, 35mm, 70mm, and laser projection supporting Dolby Vision. The theater also features Dolby Atmos, a truly immersive audio experience. The Geffen Theater’s stage can accommodate a 60-piece orchestra; its seating layout can be arranged to accommodate a sound booth; and catwalks can be rigged with theater lighting.

Located in the Saban Building, the 277-seat Ted Mann Theater offers curated screenings and special programs on a daily basis that include Oscar-winning films, family films, and rare and historical films - all presented in an intimate, elegant, art house setting.

Video Vortex | Photo: Alamo Drafthouse Los Angeles
Video Vortex | Photo: Alamo Drafthouse Los Angeles

Alamo Drafthouse

The first Los Angeles location of the acclaimed theatre chain is located at The Bloc in Downtown LA. Alamo Drafthouse features 12 screens with recliner chairs and food and drink that's delivered directly to your seat. The Video Vortex is a multi-purpose lounge with a full bar, 45+ beers on tap, Tex-Mex food menu, vintage arcade games, board games, and more than 40,000 Blu-rays and DVDs available for FREE rental (2 free items for one week, $2.99 for each item after).

Signature cocktails include the Fistful of Bourbon Old Fashioned and the Italian 75, a riff on the classic French 75 with Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin, Italicus infused with JAB MiXOLOGY Lavender Orange, pressed lemon juice and Guinigi Prosecco.

Alamo's Movie Parties are Rocky Horror-style interactive experiences that include fun props, themed drinks and more. At a recent Shaun of the Dead Movie Party, guests received inflatable cricket bats so they could smack their neighbors every time Shaun (Simon Pegg) smacks a zombie on-screen, and a keepsake Shaun-esque name tag.

Primary image for Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE
Regal L.A. LIVE  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE

There’s a reason many studios host their premieres at the Regal L.A. LIVE Stadium 14: the 800-seat premiere cinema is one of the largest stadium auditoriums in the country. There are 13 additional auditoriums, including one featuring 4DX. What’s 4DX? Imagine watching a car chase and having your movie seat lean this way and that, or venturing through a waterfall on screen and feeling a gentle mist. The 4DX theater is like a movie and a theme park ride rolled into one. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss the Oreo churros at the concession stand.

TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Hollywood
Photo: TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX

TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX

There aren’t many movie theatres that offer ticketed tours. Then again, there aren’t many movie theatres with the history of the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX, arguably the most famous movie house in the world.

The TCL opened as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings. Since then, countless movie premieres have taken place at the landmark, along with three Academy Award ceremonies and numerous special events. Audiences can enjoy the latest blockbuster film on the massive 97 by 47-foot screen, housed in the largest IMAX auditorium in the world. The TCL Chinese IMAX and TCL Chinese 6 also host the annual Turner Classic Film Festival in the spring.

Besides its Chinese pagoda design, the theatre’s most distinct feature is the famous Forecourt of the Stars, with nearly 200 celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs immortalized in the concrete. Visitors can literally touch Hollywood history, from Marilyn Monroe to Tom Hanks, Betty Grable’s legs, Jimmy Durante’s nose, and the magic wands of Harry Potter’s heroic trio.

Wurlitzer pipe organ at the El Capitan Theatre
Wurlitzer pipe organ | Photo courtesy of El Capitan Theatre

El Capitan Theatre

Opened as a playhouse in 1926, this gorgeous, fully restored movie palace has been Disney’s cinematic home on Hollywood Boulevard since 1991, when The Rocketeer premiered at the El Capitan Theatre. With Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar all under the Disney umbrella, premieres have spanned a wide range of genres and movie universes.

Along with early showings of the latest releases and special fan events, the El Capitan also presents Sensory Inclusive and Open Caption screenings. Select movies and holiday themed series are often accompanied by pre-movie stage shows and memorabilia exhibits.

Rising up from below the stage before the movie, the El Capitan's magnificent Wurlitzer organ was originally installed at San Francisco's Fox Theatre in 1929. The music of the "Mightiest of Mighty Wurlitzers" has delighted hundreds of thousands of moviegoers of all ages.

Universal Cinema at CityWalk Hollywood | Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Cinema at CityWalk Hollywood | Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Cinema - Universal CityWalk Hollywood

In December 2016, Universal CityWalk Hollywood unveiled a multi-million dollar renovation of its AMC Theatre to create an all-new, state-of-the-art Universal Cinema. The grand opening was timed to the holidays so moviegoers could experience the opening of blockbusters like Rogue One: A Stars Wars Story.

If you've ever wanted to sit in a Hollywood screening room, Universal Cinema offers the next best thing with reserved seating in deluxe power-recliner chairs. Film buffs will geek out at the amenities: all 18 auditoriums feature Christie RGB Laser projection, Dolby Atmos immersive surround sound and Christie Vive speakers, and perforated screens to enable 360 degree audio. The seven-story IMAX theatre features next-generation 4K laser projection and a 12-channel sound system for the ultimate movie experience. The Director’s Lounge Cocktail Bar is great for pre- or post-movie hangouts. Best of all, drinks served at the Lounge can be taken into the second-level theatres.

Concessions at The New Beverly Cinema
Photo: The New Beverly Cinema

New Beverly Cinema

The New Beverly Cinema may have the most colorful history of any movie theater in Los Angeles. It has been home to a candy maker, a nightclub called Slapsy Maxie’s and an X-rated theatre. And that’s not the half of it. In December 2007, Oscar-winning filmmaker Quentin Tarantino bought the building that houses the New Beverly Cinema. Tarantino famously said, "As long as I'm alive, and as long as I'm rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing double features in 35mm." Beginning in September 2014, Tarantino took over the programming duties. Many of the 35mm and 16mm prints shown are from his private collection.

Vidiots at the Eagle Theatre in Eagle Rock
Vidiots at the Eagle Theatre | Instagram: @am_cinematheque


Opened by Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber in 1985, Vidiots became an L.A. institution, beloved for its 50,000-title rental collection and the sense of community it fostered among movie nerds. When Vidiots closed in February 2017, the future of the collection was in doubt. Thanks to the efforts of Maggie Mackay, executive director of the nonprofit Vidiots Foundation since 2016, more than $2 million was raised for a capital campaign to revive Vidiots.

In June 2023, Vidiots celebrated its grand opening at the historic Eagle Theatre in Eagle Rock. The new 11,000 square-foot venue includes a 271-seat movie theatre, the MUBI Microcinema, a beer and wine bar, and of course the famed video store, which now boasts 60,000 titles on DVD, Blu-ray and VHS.

According to Variety, the Vidiots calendar features seven days of weekly programming, including "repertory titles, new independent films, classics, all-ages programs and education and preservation initiatives." Programming partners include the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, IFC Midnight & Shudder, KCRW, Outfest, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and Women in Film.

Vista Theatre

Vista Theatre

Following a three-year renovation, the historic Vista Theatre in Los Feliz is officially reopening on Friday, November 17 with Eli Roth's new holiday horror movie, Thanksgiving. Ridley Scott's Napoleon will screen in 70mm beginning November 22. Owner Quentin Tarantino, who purchased the Vista in 2021, is celebrating the theatre's centennial by hosting a sold-out 35mm screening of True Romance on November 11.

The renovation includes state of the art 35mm and 70mm film projection with powerful new audio; a cool retro ambience and endless eye candy. Unlike Tarantino's other theatre, the New Beverly, the Vista will focus on first-run releases.

Los Feliz Theatre 1

Los Feliz Theatre

Located on Vermont Avenue three blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard, the Los Feliz Theatre opened as a single-screen cinema in 1935 and was converted to a triplex in 1993. The theatre is owned and operated by Vintage Cinemas, which programs Cinemas No. 2 and 3. The American Cinematheque curates Cinema 1, at 144 seats the largest of the three screens.

Brain Dead Studios 1

Brain Dead Studios

Located in the former Silent Movie Theatre space in the Fairfax District, Brain Dead Studios is a repertory arthouse cinema showing an eclectic lineup of films from the silent era to modern day. The jam-packed schedule centers on monthly themes like "Animal Kingdom" (The Birds, Porco Rosso, Jaws, My Life as a Dog) and "Time of the Season" (Spring Breakers, Wet Hot American Summer, Midsommar, Ice Storm).

There's also a curated bookstore upstairs, and Slammers Cafe tucked in the back on the garden patio. Slammers offers free WiFi while guests enjoy espresso bar drinks with single origin beans from Heavy Water Coffee; tea, fresh pastries and gourmet versions of concession stand classics like hot dogs and nachos.

Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum
Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum | Photo: Michael Maltzan Architecture

Billy Wilder Theater

Located at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, the Billy Wilder Theater is the home of the UCLA Film & Television Archive public programs. The Wilder is one of the few venues in the country that is able to exhibit an entire century's worth of moving images in their original formats. From the earliest silent films requiring variable speed projection all the way up to cutting-edge digital cinema, the Wilder can accommodate an array of screen technologies.

Premium Plus seats at IPIC Westwood
Premium Plus seats | Photo: IPIC Westwood

iPic Theaters Westwood

Located on Wilshire Boulevard across from the Hammer Museum, IPIC Westwood features six screens and the theatre chain's signature dine-in-the-dark experience. Premium Plus seating includes full-service ordering in a leather covered recliner that seats two guests with a shared table. Along with in-theatre food and drink delivery, IPIC's ninja-like servers are available at the push of a button to ensure your comfort with blankets and more. Before or after the movie, stop by The Tuck Room for hearty pub fare and craft cocktails.

Sign up for the annual Gold Membership and receive perks like 10% off select food & beverage; 1 free Premium Plus ticket on your birthday; priority IPIC Access for new releases; invites to special screenings; and IPIC Access Points (1 point / $1 spent). Platinum and Platinum Elite Memberships are also available.

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show"
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" | Photo: 20th Century Fox

Nuart Theatre

The Landmark Nuart Theatre in West LA is a longtime showcase for independent film, foreign language cinema, documentaries, restored classics, and midnight movies as well as frequent in-person appearances and Q&A sessions with stars and filmmakers. Specs for the single screen include 4K DLP Digital Projection and 35mm Projection with 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound.

The longest-running cult movie of all time, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) stars Tim Curry as the kinky yet endearing “transsexual from Transylvania” Dr. Frank N. Furter; Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick as his hapless guests Brad and Janet; Meat Loaf as motorcycle-riding rough trade; and author Richard O’Brien as the hunchbacked butler Riff Raff.

Nearly 50 years after its original release, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is still the best interactive movie experience for longtime fans and newbies alike. The Nuart screens Rocky Horror every Saturday night at 11pm with Live Shadow Cast. Let's do the Time Warp again!

American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica
Aero Theatre | Photo: American Cinematheque

Aero Theatre

Opened on Montana Avenue in 1940, the Aero Theatre was built by Santa Monica-based Douglas Aircraft Company to serve its employees. According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, during World War II the Aero (named in tribute to the aerospace industry) showed movies around the clock, in order to accommodate Douglas' three-shift manufacturing schedule.

Designed by R.M. Woolpert, the Streamline Moderne-style theatre was renovated and reopened by the American Cinematheque in 2005. The Aero was updated again in 2019 and 2021 with new projection equipment, enhanced sound and facility upgrades. American Cinematheque programming includes sneak previews, retrospectives, revivals, restorations, in-person discussions with filmmakers, and the annual All-Night Horrorthon.