Tampa Theatre Named World's No. 3 Cinema

May 31, 2013

The Motion Picture Association of America gives Tampa Theatre two thumbs up. Way up.

MPAA has just named Tampa's historic movie palace among the world's 10 best theaters. The rankings, which debuted this week on MPAA's news website, are based on "diversity of spirit, location, and architecture."

While it's an honor just to be nominated, coming in third place feels pretty good. Here's what the MPAA had to say about Tampa Theatre:

An overly ornate Mediterranean courtyard literally sets the stage for the classic and contemporary films that screen nightly in this 1926 landmark. Early birds also get treated to a performance on the old Wurlitzer organ.

Tampa Theatre was one of only two U.S. movie houses to make the list. Here's the full rundown:

  1. State Theater, Traverse City, Mich.
  2. Ciné 32, Auch, France.
  3. Tampa Theatre, Tampa, Fla.
  4. Busan Cinema Center, Busan, South Korea.
  5. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, France.
  6. Sun Pictures Cinema, Broome, Australia.
  7. Cine Thisio, Athens, Greece.
  8. Raj Mandeer Theatre, Jaipur, India.
  9. Archipelago floating cinema, Thailand.

In April, the 87-year-old Tampa Theatre held a free public screening to debut its digital sound and projection systems.

"With film going out of style, digital is the way that everybody has to do in the future," Tampa Bay Times film critic Steve Persall told WUSF at the event. "The longer you can stay alive, the better off you are, and Tampa Theatre has just gotten a new lease on life with this equipment coming in here."

To that we say, here's looking at you, kid.