It would be so easy nowadays just to watch movies on your TV at home. Or on your iPad. Or even on your phone.
Technology has put the wonder of cinema into the palm of our hands.
At home, nobody kicks the back of your chair or talks over the key lines of dialogue. Nobody's texting. No babies are crying. And sodas don't cost 5 bucks.
And yet, some 1.36 billion filmgoers trooped to America's megaplaxes in 2012.
Maybe it's the addictive smell of movie popcorn luring us out of our cocoons. Or the eye-popping 3-D.
It could be the cushy seats and creative menu choices at all those new dinner-and-a-movie houses.
But perhaps it's simply the undeniable power of savoring a movie together -- that communal high of being swept along as we all watch the epic spectacle of Life of Pi or grit our teeth at the daring hostage escape in Argo.
Going to the movies, that most democratic and affordable form of entertainment, hasn't gone out of style just yet.
In fact, theater owners seem to understand our hermit tendencies and counteract them with undeniable upgrades we simply can't get at home: state-of-the-art digital technology, screens that stretch from floor to ceiling, surround sound, sophisticated cocktails and chairs that feel like thrones. Heck, one place in DFW even has a self-serve wine station.
Which is why we started to wonder, with all these celluloid palaces in our midst, which ones are the best? Which screens reign supreme?
This being Oscar season -- don't forget to join us Sunday for our annual watching party -- we decided to nominate a few of our favorites. And because we've always been obsessed with the Madness of March, and the beauty of bracketology, we give you our first Movie Theater Madness bracket: 32 competitors assembled in four "regions" will battle it out for big-screen supremacy.
But in this case, you are a member of the academy. We want you to cast your ballots, and with your help, we'll narrow it down to a Final Four.
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