The movie industry is constantly changing, including the experience you get at the theater. With ticket prices on the rise, home theater systems getting better, and on-demand options for new movies rising every week, it's no wonder that more and more people are deciding they'd rather stay home than actually go to a theater.
That's a shame, because seeing a movie on the big screen, especially for movies like Gravity, is something that just can't be replicated at home. Below are the seven movie theaters in the Dallas area that make it worth your while to spend that extra money.
Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson
The area's newest entry is also instantly one of its best. The Texas chain was famously started by movie lovers for movie lovers, and you can tell by its programming that it sticks to that mantra. In addition to the mainstream fare that populates most of its theaters, it has special screenings set around monthly themes tied to holidays, a big movie coming out at that time or just the whims of its whimsical programmers.
Tired of all those pre-movie ads? Then arrive early at Alamo, as it eschews advertising for special programs featuring vintage trailers and other goodies. The attached Glass Half Full Taproom offers a variety of local craft beers and themed cocktails. In-theater food service is unobtrusive thanks to ingenious behind-seat pathways for servers.
Best of all is the zero-tolerance policy when it comes to cellphone users or talkers. If someone gets caught using a phone or talking during a movie at Alamo, he or she gets kicked out without a refund.
AMC NorthPark 15
Mall movie theaters used to be bland and forgettable, a place for parents to drop off their sullen teenagers for a couple hours of entertainment. AMC NorthPark 15 shatters that stereotype.
Occupying the highest level of NorthPark Center, the theater features a large lobby with murals of movie stars lining the walls and famous movie quotes scattered on the floor. There's also the recent addition of MacGuffins Bar and Lounge, where you can enjoy a drink in the lobby or grab one to imbibe during the movie.
Like all AMC theaters in the area, it now features an IMAX theater and can show 3D films in multiple auditoriums, assuring moviegoers that they can keep up on all the latest trends from Hollywood. AMC NorthPark even makes room for an independent film or two, thereby throwing a bone to all the cinephiles out there.
Angelika Film Center in Dallas
There are bigger multiplexes around, but none has the same combination of traits as the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station. Its eight theaters consistently provide a home for independent films and documentaries, while also making room for some mainstream films; the opposite is true for most other area theaters.
It's located directly next to DART's Mockingbird Station, meaning you can rely on public transportation and still easily enjoy a night out on the town. Drinking wine or beer at a movie is no longer a unique concept, but the Angelika was one of the first in the area to offer the amenity.
If the Angelika were to suddenly disappear, the Dallas movie scene would suffer tremendously.
Cinemark Legacy and XD in Plano
Although AMC claims the most multiplexes in the area, Cinemark has a stranglehold on movie-going in Collin County. It's a toss-up between Cinemark Legacy and Cinemark West Plano for supremacy in the area, but Legacy gets the slight nod.
It features the latest and greatest innovations from Cinemark, including its patented XD auditorium, where everything from the screen to the seats is bigger and better. An in-lobby cafe gives you a few more dietary options than your usual popcorn and hot dogs, and it is the only theater on this list to still have an arcade — a bonus for all the beleaguered parents out there.
It also hosts occasional special engagements like screenings of classic films, live presentations of Metropolitan Opera productions and other events you'd normally have to attend in person to enjoy.
Landmark Inwood Theatre in Dallas
Built in 1947, the Inwood is one of the last surviving old-time movie theaters in Dallas. The Inwood marquee is a landmark in the neighborhood, and most of the theater's original murals have been restored to their original glory.
The original 1,100-seat auditorium is long gone, but in its place are three smaller theaters with unique charms. The most notable one is the downstairs Screening Lounge Auditorium, which brings new definition to movie-going comfort with an array of couches, love seats and so-called LoveSacs — think bean bag chairs, but more plush.
Although the movie selection has gotten increasingly mainstream, the Inwood still hosts midnight movies every Friday and Saturday, showing such cult films as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room. And don't forget about the attached Inwood Lounge, where you can grab a pre- or post-show martini.
LOOK Cinemas in Addison
LOOK Cinemas makes up for its somewhat off-the-beaten-path location with a multitude of options for the picky movie-goer. Want a larger-than-life experience? Try the Evolution Theatres, which feature reserved seats, floor-to-ceiling screens and Dolby Atmos surround sound with so many speakers you'll think you're dreaming.
Want to relax? The Lofts Theatres have comfy chairs, sofas, and in-theater dining options similar to Alamo Drafthouse and Studio Movie Grill. Anyone who's ever lamented the difficulty in getting a drink refill at other theaters will love LOOK's self-serve machines, which have the added bonus of having multiple flavor options for every soft drink offered.
LOOK also makes having a dinner-and-movie date night much easier with the attached locations of Nick & Sam's Grill and Coal Vines Pizza and Wine Bar. With competitively priced tickets and choices galore, it's no wonder this new brand is already making waves.
Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff
The Texas Theatre has a long and storied history, starting with its opening in 1931. It is most famous — or infamous — for being the location where Lee Harvey Oswald was finally captured following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Due in part to its notoriety, the theater fell out of favor and into disrepair, but it was saved from the wrecking ball by a series of owners.
Leased since 2010 by Aviation Cinemas, who completed a renovation of the property, the theater now shows a variety of films, from first-run independent movies to repertory flicks you'd normally have to rent from Netflix to see. The theater's set-up also allows it to host other events like concerts and parties.