Posted by Kimberly Lindbergs on April 5, 2012
I recently read a news story shared by Devin Faraci on the Badass Digest Twitter page about an incredible floating movie theater in Thailand. I was so fascinated by the concept that I started researching international movie theaters located around the world. I love to travel but I don’t get the opportunity to do it often so I enjoyed roaming around the globe from the comfort of my own home. During my armchair travels I came across lots of unusual and unique movie theaters so I thought I’d spotlight a few of my favorite discoveries.
Movie Theater: Kino Pionier – Szczecin, Poland
Why It’s Unique: Poland’s Kino Pionier is currently the oldest operating movie theater in the world. This small but cozy cinema was built in 1909 and only seats 82 but the owners recently set up a second screen in the adjoining bar & cafe where patrons can share a drink while watching silent films accompanied by a live pianist. But don’t visit Kino Pionier expecting to only watch classic movies. They also showcase new foreign films and art house favorites.
More info: Official site of Kino Pionier
Movie Theater: Rooftop Bar & Cinema – Melbourne, Australia
Why It’s Unique: Outdoor cinemas are somewhat commonplace in Melbourne due to the warm climate during the summer months but none of them offer patrons a view as spectacular as the Rooftop Bar & Cinema. The cinema sits atop a six story building originally built in 1925 and during the summer months it operates as a bar and theater showing an unusual mix of classic movies, cult favorites, foreign films and mainstream hits. Seats are limited to 180-200 guests so you have to arrive early if you want a good view of the screen but the cityscape is worth the price of admission.
More info: Official site of Rooftop Bar & Cinema
Movie Theater: Jinbocho Theater – Tokyo, Japan
Why It’s Unique: The Jinbocho Theater opened its doors a few years ago and boasts the latest technology but what makes it stand apart is the space-age design by Tomohiko Yamanashi of the Nikken Sekkei ltd. Architectural Firm. The six story building contains a common lounge area and two theaters that seat 100-126 guests. You might expect a modern movie theater like this to play new films but the Jinbocho Theater devotes itself to showing classic Japanese cinema, which makes it my kind of place!
More info: Official site of Jinbocho Theater
Movie Theater: The Sol Cinema – South Wales, UK
Why It’s Unique: Sol Cinema is the world’s first mini mobile movie theater powered entirely by the sun. It only accommodates 8 adults but patrons are greeted by a smiling usherette who guides them into Sol Cinema on a red carpet. The mobility of Sol Cinema allows it to travel around the UK showing movies on the street or at festivals. If food trucks are currently the next big thing in dining maybe planet friendly mobile theaters are the next big thing in movie viewing? I’m sure there are plenty of people who wouldn’t mind spending their lunch hour at Sol Cinema.
More info: Official site of Sol Cinema
Movie Theater: Sala Montjuïc – Barcelona, Spain
Why It’s Unique: The inviting Sala Montjuïc in Barcelona might be the only outdoor theater showing films in a 17th century castle. During the summer months the Castell de Montjuïc offers outdoor seating while showing classic films and cult favorites. There is no formal seating so patrons must bring their own folding chairs or a comfy blanket. You will find food venders there and emergency services are on site but you can also bring your own snacks or dinner for two. Alcoholic beverages are also allowed making Sala Montjuïc a popular spot for young travelers eager to watch classic movies in a relaxed historical setting.
More info: Official site of Sala Montjuïc
Movie Theater: CGV Cheongdam Cine City – Seoul, South Korea
Why It’s Unique: If you think 3D is the next big thing in movies, think again. At CGV Cheongdam Cine City in Seoul you can watch movies in 4DX! This state-of-the-art theater uses motion, lighting, wind, fog and scent-based special effects so audiences feel as if they’re inside a movie experiencing events for themselves. 4DX is the brainchild of CJ 4DPlex Co. and they’ve recently opened theaters in Mexico, China and Thailand with plans to build many more inside the US. They’re currently offering screenings of James Cameron’s TITANIC, which allow patrons to “go down with the ship” right along with Jack and Rose. Ever wonder what the Titanic smelled like? In the future you’ll be able to find out!
More info: Official site of CGV Cheongdam Cine City
Movie Theater: Busan Cinema Center – Busan, South Korea
Why It’s Unique: Korea’s Busan Cinema Center is a 140 million dollar structure designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au, an Austrian based architecture collective. Besides a state-of the-art outdoor theater that seats 4,000, Busan also contains four indoor cinemas that seat about 1500 more patrons making it one of the largest movie theaters in Asia. But what’s so appealing about Busan is it’s incredible design that includes a rooftop and ceiling equipped with LED projectors that can display spectacular light shows. It’s home to the International Busan Film Festival and devotes itself to development and promotion of young filmmaking talents.
More info: Official site of Busan Cinema Center
Movie Theater: Cine Thisio – Athens, Greece
Why It’s Unique: The Cine Thisio in Athens boasts what might be the most impressive scenic views offered by any outdoor movie theater. Where else can you gaze at the majestic Acropolis and appreciate Greek history while watching your favorite film? This cheerful outdoor theater in Athens has been in operation since 1935. They often showcase classic movies and stay open during the summer months when the weather is warm and dry.
More info: Official site of Cine Thisio
Movie Theater: Golden Village – Katong, Singapore
Why It’s Unique: Luxury cinemas don’t get much more extravagant than the Golden Village cinema in Katong. Amenities include 56 plush armchair style seats that recline at the touch of a button and feature footrests for added comfort. You’ll also be offered a wool blanket in case you want to snuggle up and get cozy while watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster with state-of-the-art picture and sound. Still not satisfied? Then use the call button located on your table to contact the theater staff, who will happily pour you a glass of wine or mix you a cocktail. And if you’re hungry you can sample some of their unique Peranakan cuisine. That’s what I call living! Of course this kind of luxury doesn’t come cheap. Tickets start at around $40 and that doesn’t include beverages and snacks or airfare to Singapore.
More info: Official site of Golden Village Katong
Movie Theater: Futurescope – Poitiers, Poitou-Charentes, France
Why It’s Unique: Want to experience the ultimate modern movie-going experience? Look no further than the Futurescope cinema theme park in France. This huge Disneyland-like complex sits on 130 acres and contains 13 modern buildings (or pavilions) made of metal and glass that were specifically designed to showcase the latest multi-media technology. Main attractions include an outdoor movie theater as well as the space-age crystal-like Kinescope theater (pictured above), which happens to be the only movie theater in the world currently using every type of IMAX technology available.
More info: Official site of Futurescope
These are all armchair observations so please do your own research before visiting any location. Have a favorite international hot spot for watching movies that I didn’t mention? Please feel free to share it below.
Streamline is the official blog of FilmStruck, a new subscription service that offers film aficionados a comprehensive library of films including an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic art house, indie, foreign and cult films.
Actors Alfred Hitchcock Bela Lugosi Bette Davis Boris Karloff British Cinema Buster Keaton Cary Grant Charlie Chaplin Citizen Kane Comedy Criterion Dracula DVD Elizabeth Taylor Film Film Noir FilmStruck Frankenstein Fritz Lang Hammer Horror Horror horror films Horror Movies Humphrey Bogart James Bond Joan Crawford John Ford John Huston John Wayne Joseph Losey MGM Movie movies Night of the Living Dead Orson Welles Peter Lorre Psycho Roger Corman Screwball Comedy Steve McQueen TCM The Exorcist Warner Archive Westerns