L.A.’s best seats

Crix picks for screening venues

Nobody knows screening rooms like film critics, who have as strong opinions about the venues as the movies projected on their screens. Daily Variety has expanded this year’s always-anticipated guide to include the likes, dislikes and overall impression of Los Angeles crix on their homes away from home.

TOP FLIGHT
1. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Samuel L. Goldwyn Theater
2. Paramount Main Theater
3. Warner Bros.’ Steven J. Ross Theater
4. Directors Guild of America Theater 1

{Honorable mentions} Next up were the theaters at MGM’s new Century City digs, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Leonard H. Goldenson Theater, Fox’s refurbished Zanuck Theater, the Writers Guild of America Theater and the Harmony Gold Theater.

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
1.The soon-to-close Todd-AO West
2. The new Wilshire Screening Room
3. Culver Studios’ DeMille Theater
4. Sony Studios’ Backstage Theater 5. Clarity

{Criteria} Problem rooms were knocked for many of the same factors that the best rooms were praised: sightlines, seating comfort, screen size, image illumination, sound and atmospherics.The studios boast generally top scores for the theaters on their lots. Some rooms, such as the Zanuck, are likely to score higher in the future once more critics venture there for screenings.

{Bugaboos} Dinky screen size and/or positioning of the screen and lack of masking were a top complaint about Miramax and Raleigh’s tiny rooms, the Pickford and the Fairbanks. These rooms also scored low on general ambience, as did the Ocean Screening Room and the New Line Screening Room.

{Human touch} Still, the personal service in some of these rooms was praised, with staff and projectionists at Raleigh and Sunset mentioned for their professionalism and hospitality.

UNDER PAR
1. Charles Aidikoff
2. Miramax
3. Raleigh Studios’ Pickford
4. Raleigh Studios’ Fairbanks
5. Fox’s William Fox Theater and Sunset Screening Room (tie)

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