The Old Hollywood Glamor – Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles epitomizes the grand movie palaces of cinema’s Golden Age. When it opened in 1927, architect Raymond Kennedy gave it a lavish Chinese theme on both exterior and interior, to transport audiences into an exotic fantasy world even before the movie started. The ornate pagoda-style façade and heaven-reaching spires make it one of the most recognizable and photographed landmarks in LA. Inside, artifacts shipped from China, huge silk curtains, golden dragons, temple bells, and Chinese deities, create a sense of journeying to the Far East.
Perhaps most iconic are the forecourt’s cement handprints, footprints, and signatures of major entertainment figures from almost a century of cinema. Getting to walk over the prints of Hollywood legends like Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne connects us to their glamorous past. Seeing a movie premiere here, with the blinding flashbulbs of paparazzi and the red carpet rolled out for today’s stars, lets audiences still feel part of Hollywood’s Golden Age glamor.
An Architectural Masterpiece – The Cinémathèque Française
When the Cinémathèque Française, the national film archive of France moved into a new building in 1994, architect Frank Gehry created a structure as dazzling as any motion picture. Located in Paris’ Parc de Bercy, the irregular-shaped, multi-story building appears almost liquid, with swirling titanium and limestone forms. It seems to defy structural logic, as if shapes from different architectural eras collide. Like walking into a surreal movie scene, both exterior and interior morph in unexpected ways, with no right angles anywhere.
Inside, the main theater houses 390 red velvet seats, no seat more than 16 meters from the screen. Despite the cavernous ceiling reaching up to an irregular skylight, Gehry’s design gives an intimate, cocoon-like feel, as if the cinema itself is giving viewers a warm embrace. Seeing a classic French film here – perhaps Francois Truffaut’s 400 Blows or Jean Renoir’s Rules of the Game – lets audiences feel part of their nation’s rich cinematic history, inside Gehry’s postmodern architectural revolution.
The Cutting Edge of Technology – IMAX Sydney
Housed in Sydney’s iconic Darling Harbour along the waterfront, IMAX Sydney offers audiences the most advanced cinematic technology in the world for an unparalleled immersive experience. The theater features a huge screen spanning over 90 feet high and 70 feet across, which fills almost your entire field of vision. Paired with IMAX’s 12-channel sound system with nearly 20,000 watts of digital audio power fed through dozens of speakers throughout the theater, both visual and auditory senses become completely engulfed in the onscreen world.
The picture quality surpasses traditional cinema through IMAX’s dual 4K laser projectors and specialized projection geometry to eliminate distortion on the mega-screen. From the latest Hollywood superhero action flicks to nature documentaries shot specially in IMAX 70mm film, the unrivaled sight and sound makes you feel not just like a viewer, but part of the movie itself. Sitting in one of the theaters’ huge red plush seats with the iconic harbor just outside, IMAX Sydney lets audiences get lost in movie magic.
Dinner and a Movie – Secret Cinema London
For a night out at the cinema unlike anywhere else in the world, Secret Cinema in London creates immersive, interactive movie-going experiences that blur the lines between screen fantasy and reality. Their productions transform unique, secret locations into elaborate film-related sets and environments for audiences to not just watch films, but become part of them.
Guests purchase tickets without knowing the movie title, and get sent production notes and costume guidelines related to the film era and setting to dress up as a character. Upon arriving at the venue, they step directly into the movie’s fictional universe with actors, musicians, dancers, themed cuisine, and often recreations of key sets. The screening happens in the midst of the sets, while viewers dine and drink in their private tables or booths that let them still feel embedded in the environment.
Recent Secret Cinema productions have included Casino Royale, Stranger Things, and Romeo + Juliet. Upcoming shows will recreate worlds from 28 Days Later and Bridget Jones’s Diary. Equal parts theatrical spectacle, immersive adventure and lavish night out, Secret Cinema makes film-viewing a one-of-a-kind multi-sensory escape.
Historic Movie Palace – The Tampa Theatre
First opened in 1926 in the bustling downtown of Tampa, Florida, the Tampa Theatre stands today as a majestic movie palace of cinema’s Golden Age, now transformed into a modern performing arts center. Its exotic Mediterranean Revival architectural style with Baroque textures and Arabian ornamentation made it one of the most elaborate theaters on the Gulf Coast when it first lit up downtown. Inside, the atmosphere resembles a romantic Italian courtyard, with a twinkling night sky ceiling, stone columns, and old world statues and gargoyles watching from lush gardens and fountains.
It was the first commercial building in Tampa with air conditioning, part of the lavish experience that made going to the movies an extraordinary night out. Over its history, the Tampa has survived threats of demolition before getting rescued and restored. Now a nonprofit landmark, it shows everything from classic films to indie movies, concerts, plays, ballet and opera. State-of-the-art sound and projection get installed behind the historic walls and atmospheric interior. Attending a screening at the Tampa today lets you step back to the Golden Age of cinema, while enjoying both new and beloved films just like the audiences that first fell for its charm over 90 years ago.
Australia’s Outdoor Cinema – Moonlight Cinema
At Australia’s Moonlight Cinema, going to the movies becomes a balmy summer night out under the stars in some of the country’s most iconic outdoor urban locations. Since opening in Melbourne in 2004, Moonlight has expanded to cities across Australia with its signature mix of new release blockbusters, classic crowd-pleasers, and cult hits, all shown on giant screens in spectacular settings.
Locations range from the lush Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne to vineyards in the Hunter Valley to Australian icons like next to Sydney Harbour Bridge. As viewers cozy up on beanbags with food trucks and bars creating a festival atmosphere, fireworks and live music performances make the night magical. Open every summer, Moonlight Cinema brings communities together for a unique outdoor movie-going tradition celebrating Australia’s stunning landscapes and perfect summer weather under a glowing moonlit sky.