Top 6 Movie Theater Chains in North America

Landlords, looking to rent out large locations, are more and more turning towards experiential retail tenants (1) such as movie theater chains. However, not all movie theaters are the same.

Nowadays, movie theaters have upped the game and offer their customers things such as reclining chairs, cocktail bars, and special meals. But just how much do movie-goers appreciate the change?

According to research by Market Force Information, which polled 13,000 people, affordable ticket prices, delicious food options, and good seating, among other things, all play a significant role in determining the best movie theaters in the US. (2)

Here are the top six movie theater chains, based on survey responses:

1. Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas

The top pick, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, initially started off in Austin, Texas, but now has locations in multiple states. (3) People love the fact they strictly enforce rules relating to no talking and texting. Your first offense will get you a warning, while the next one is guaranteed to get you kicked out. Moreover, people, late to the start of the movie, aren’t allowed to come in. Finally, if you watch a movie in this cinema chain, you can take advantage of an excellent food and beverage service. The Alamo Drafthouse, as the name suggests, has a collection of the finest craft beers on tap, award-winning meals, and great cocktails which can be served directly to your seat.

2. Harkins Theaters

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Harkins Theaters rank high when it comes to concessions and customer loyalty. You can find their theaters in locations across the Southwest and Midwest. (4) Poll participants also score this chain highly because it offers good restrooms and many convenient locations. Harkins comes in just behind the Alamo Drafthouse in the ratings given for their friendly staff. If you ever have a chance, it’s well worth checking this theater out.

3. Marcus Theaters

Those looking for a theater chain based largely in the Midwest can visit Marcus Theaters, a company with a history that goes back more than 70 years. When it comes to seating, no one ranks better than this chain in the survey mentioned above, but they can also boast a 78% participation rate in their loyalty program called “Magical Movie Rewards.” Moreover, 63% of their customers only go to Marcus Theaters when they want to watch a movie.

4. Landmark Theaters

In terms of movie selection, Landmark theaters came out on top among movie-goers during the survey. It’s hard to beat them when it comes to independent and foreign films of all kinds.
Customers also praise this chain for their willingness and ability to help with any service issues you might have. Those wanting to watch a movie in one of its locations will be glad to know that this company operates in more than a dozen states and has over 50 theaters across the country.

5. Cinemark

When asked about Cinemark Theaters, customers gave high scores to the comfortable seating this chain offers. This company has dozens of locations open across 41 US states. If you want to watch movies in a location abroad, more specifically in South America, you can pick from 200 different locations spread through 15 different countries. Not surprisingly, Cinemark is fourth when it comes to the convenience of its chain locations. However, it is ranked 9th when people were asked if they had a good experience prior to the survey at a Cinemark theater.

6. Studio Movie Grill

Studio Movie Grill is a theater chain originating in Texas, which was ranked sixth overall according to customer satisfaction. Despite that, people also reported that these theaters have the best showing times for their selection of movies. But don’t think that being last on our list makes this company any less worthy of your time or money. Locations from this chain offer reclining leather seats, fully stocked bars, and buttons to call for service located on each of their seats so that you can order drinks and food.

With that said, it’s no wonder that customers, who like to have many good beverage and meal options, rank the Studio Movie Grill highly. Speaking to that, movie-goers ranked this business third in terms of food variety and value of beverages, as well as second for the value you get when ordering meals and snacks here. There are dozens of Studio Movie Grill theater locations in 10 different states, so chances are that you’ll be able to find and try at least one out.