A guide to Denver’s best movie theater food, seats, drinks and more


The battle for the title of Denver’s biggest, most high-tech movie theater is always raging, egged on by every 3D, luxury-seat, cheese-fry advancement. As a top national exhibition market — according to chains such as Regal, AMC and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema — Denverites are usually the ones who benefit.

The rest of the country, for example, paused new movie-theater construction in 2019. But that same year, national exhibitors spent tens of millions of dollars on ground-up megaplexes and historic renovations in Denver. And yet, we’re not just looking for numbing sound and brightness and cocktails.

We want to run into old friends on summer nights outside historic art house theaters. We want weird, cult showings programmed by weird people. We want midnight revivals, celebrity pop-ins, costume contests and niche fests.

In short, we want a reason to leave the house. But last year, audiences strayed further away from theatrical experiences as compared with 2019 — save for the ballyhooed “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

Paying for a ticket at the Mayan. (File photo provided the Mayan Theatre)

What’s driving us away? Average movie ticket prices are way up, hitting a record $11 last year, according to IndieWire. AMC Theatres last week introduced tiered pricing to its ticket-buying system, which requires upcharges for better seats on top of any other costs. The Hollywood Reporter called it “a risky bet at a perilous time,” and like Red Rocks shows and Broadway tours, it’s further pushing megaplex movies toward an elite pastime.

At least if you don’t know where to look. Here’s a rundown of highlights at metro-area movie theaters near you that can fulfill all your cinema-going needs, whatever they may be. To see a list of favorite theaters from Denver arts and culture luminaries, see our sidebar. For more on the Denver movie scene, visit denverpost.com/things-to-do/movies.


Most of the classic movie houses from the past century or so have shut down or transformed into music venues, but a few historic gems shine on, such as Landmark’s Esquire Theatre. The overall winner, however, is the lovingly preserved, Landmark-owned Mayan Theatre, which eschews bed-like seating and bowel-shaking speakers for intimate experiences in a trio of rooms (two small, one big). The 1930 building is one of only three theaters in the country flaunting the intricate, Art Deco Mayan Revival style, according to Landmark, and the rich, sophisticated atmosphere is unique in Colorado, and perhaps the region. 110 Broadway. landmarktheatres.com

Seating at AMC 9+CO 10, a new movie theater from AMC Theatres that opens Friday, March 5, 2021 at the new 9+CO development in Denver. (Provided by AMC Theatres)
Seating at AMC 9+CO 10, a new movie theater from AMC Theatres that opens Friday, March 5, 2021 at the new 9+CO development in Denver. (Provided by AMC Theatres)


By default, each new movie theater built these days is chasing trends like adjustable heated seats, full bars, and — as will soon be the case at all AMC Theatres — up-charging for better seats. Still, we haven’t found a more comfortable theater than AMC CO 9 + 10, which opened in March 2021, after waiting out the worst of the pandemic. The heated, touch-adjusted, spacious seating is a godsend for those three-hour Marvel slogs, but also taut, 90-minute dramas. And if you’re only going occasionally, the $20 ticket is more than worth it. 826 N. Albion St. amctheatres.com

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