Looking for something to do the next time you visit Atlanta? Watch a movie.
Real estate blog Movoto recently named the capital of Georgia third on its list of top cities for movie lovers. Movoto cited the city’s number of theaters and rental video stores per capita, number of indie theaters, film festivals, and film/cinema museums based on population. Multiple film societies, drive-in theaters, and specialty theaters per capita also contributed to the high ranking.
While some of these criteria could lead to some skewed results (video rental stores per capita was the second item listed), Atlanta has multiple points of interest for movie lovers, including the location where the book Gone with the Wind was written and several locations from Driving Miss Daisy, including the famed Piggly Wiggly.
Former Atlanta resident Tyler Perry has filmed several of his movies in Atlanta, and scenes for the sports films Remember the Titans and We Are Marshall were filmed there, as well.
In addition to serving as a Hollywood hotspot, Atlanta has its share of cinema houses. The Forlocations app lists no fewer than 29 businesses under the “cinemas” category, although a few of these are live performance theaters.
The city is also home to multiple “dine-in movie theaters,” which allow audiences to enjoy full meals and alcoholic drinks while watching the latest blockbuster.
What really makes Atlanta stand out, though, isn’t its number of theaters. The city is home to the Atlanta Film Festival, an annual event that welcomes big names like Josh Brolin. The festival is one of only 24 film festivals in the country to have achieved “qualifying festivals” status. Several publications have ranked Atlanta’s festival as the best, including Creative Loafing and Sunday Paper.
For those who are more into artsy theaters, Atlanta is home to several indie houses, including The Plaza, which has been in operation since 1939. The Plaza still has midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as serving a full slate of the latest independent features.
The Midtown Art Cinema is a newer movie theater that features art deco design and a unique concessions stand that includes baked goods and an espresso bar. Operated by Landmark, the Midtown Art Cinema shows a mix of major motion pictures and smaller independent features.
There are very few drive-ins left in the world, and those that remain are normally located in rural areas. Atlanta is one of the few cities that still offers the drive-in theater experience our parents and grandparents grew up enjoying.
A 2012 shooting in the early morning hours may be the perfect illustration of why drive-in theaters aren’t normally found in large cities, but it was an isolated incident and business-as-usual seems to have resumed at the location. The Starlight Drive-in Theater provides the traditional “two for the price of one” movie offerings, charging $7 per person — a bargain when compared to the cost of a night at a Regal or AMC theater.
As for video rental stores, Atlanta is like most cities in that kiosks have replaced walk-in stores. Redbox and Blockbuster kiosks can be found on almost any corner. Of course, you can get many of the same titles right in your hotel room using On Demand, or on your iPad.
As much as technology has changed, true movie lovers still want the genuine experience. For small cinemas with eclectic offerings, Atlanta is a great place, ranking only behind Portland and San Francisco as the best place for movie lovers in the country. Ironically, Hollywood didn’t even make the list.