The days of enduring a great flick at the cost of long lines, a stiff back, a sore neck, and slippery soda-tacked floors are on their way out. Movie theaters across the world are getting serious upgrades–from leather reclining seats to full course meals. Yes, VIP amenities once reserved for elite lounges are likely coming to a theater near you.
Flatbread pizzas, high-end spirits, artisanal chocolates—a whole new breed of theaters is popping up with an eye for gourmet grub, couture comfort, and posh lounging. We scanned the globe for some of the most luxurious experiences afforded by a whole new class of cinemas. Here are our top five picks for movie houses that are re-inventing the moviegoing experience–one premium theater seat at a time:
1. iPic Theaters (Chain, USA): This gourmet chain movie theater is a bona fide gold standard for cinephiles who opt for comfort when viewing feature films. More first-class-lounge than run-of-the-mill movie theater, iPic boasts a full service wait-staff with high-end wine and draft beer offerings, to go along with a full menu of gourmet culinary dishes. Theatergoers can catch the main attraction from their fully-reclining seat, which come equipped with blankets, pillows, and plush seat coverings.
2. Arclight Theater – Hollywood (Los Angeles, California): Chances are, if you’re a film-lover who’s been to LA, you’re no stranger to the city’s iconic Arclight Theater. Located along the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Sunset Boulevard, Arclight is one of the pioneers in luxury cinema. In addition to its notorious Cinerama Dome, the Arclight features 14 state-of-the-art movie screens, reserved seating, and gourmet concession offerings—from expensive chocolates to homemade caramel corn. There’s also an in-house bar, restaurant, and various shopping options. This is movie-viewing, LA style.
3. Cine de Chef (Seoul, South Korea): What do you get when you combine gourmet food with a movie theater setting? Hopefully, something as deliciously decadent as Seoul’s Cine de Chef. This ultra-lux theater features leather reclining seats, primo state-of-the-art screens and sound technology, and a full course menu from a Le Cordon Bleu chef-helmed kitchen. Top shelf wines and filet mignon? This certainly isn’t your usual movie theater fare, but perhaps it ought to be.
4. The Alamo (Chain, USA): Part draft house, part movie theater, The Alamo is one of the most dynamic movie-going experiences around. Viewers can relax and enjoy a picture perfect movie while being waited on hand and foot. Refreshments include on-site brewed beer, a full menu, and movie-theater favorites like concession stand candy and old-fashioned popcorn. Plus, the theater prides itself in being a strictly talking and cell-phone free environment. Cinema lovers rejoice.
5. Reel Cinemas – Platinum Movie Suites (Dubai, UAE): Reel Cinemas, located in Dubai’s world-renowned Dubai Mall, might seem like a regular multiplex—until you check out their Platinum Movie Suites. This VIP cinema offering allows audiences to watch new releases in a luxurious private screening room equipped with leather reclining chairs, pillows and blankets, a personal butler service, and state-of-the-art touches—from designer accent furniture, to crystal clear movie screens, high-tech sound systems, and an awe-worthy gourmet menu. For cinema enthusiasts who live for luxury, Reel Cinemas’ Platinum Movie Suites offers the ultimate movie viewing experience.