There are plenty of options for watching movies in Melbourne. Films are presented in basic cinemas, luxury theatres and in the great outdoors. And everything from classics, indie films and new releases are shown. With so many great options, it can be tricky to choose where to watch your next feature film, so here’s a list of different cinematic experiences in Melbourne.
The major movie theatre companies in Melbourne are Hoyts, Palace Cinemas and Village Cinemas. Hoyts has some Xtremescreen auditoriums, which have a larger screen and louder sound system than the regular cinemas. Hoyts and Village Cinemas both offer luxury movie experiences.
There are several cinemas located throughout the city, but a few stand out more than others. Below is a list of the most noteworthy cinemas in Melbourne if you’re looking for a bit of culture tied in to your movie watching adventure.
Palace Westgarth is a cinema with stunning architectural features from the 20’s and a flair of Art Deco. It is located in Northcote and has a fully licensed wine and espresso bar. The theatres have comfortable seating with ample leg room. The cinema has been refurbished, but still retains an old school charm. Watching a movie at Palace Westgarth is an experience, not just a film viewing. Adult tickets are $20.50 with discounts for students, children, seniors and other concessions. Tuesdays are the bargain days, with ticket prices dropping to $12.50 with additional discounts for children and concession. Check what films are showing.
Housed in another art deco building, the Astor Theatre is a heritage-listed site in St Kilda. The cinema, which has been open since 1936, has a single screen. Some days only one film is shown, and other days multiple movies are screened. The theatre has a bar, which offers food and drinks. Tickets are $16 with a 50 cent discount for concession and members.
Astor Theatre is also available for private hire. Call (03) 9816 177 or email email@example.com for prices and bookings. Find out what’s playing at the Astor.
Originally opened in 1938, Sun Theatre now has eight screens with varied numbers of seats, including some with couches. The cinema is in Yarraville in yet another art deco style building. Sun Theatre also has a bar. The theatre shows a mix of new releases, indie films and some classics. Tickets are around $20 for adults with discounts for children, seniors, members and concession. Mondays and Tuesdays are the cheap days, with tickets discounted to $11 and $11.50, respectively. See what you can see at the Sun Theatre.
IMAX Melbourne Museum
For a big screen experience, head to the Melbourne Museum to enjoy a film at the IMAX theatre. Melbourne’s screen is the second largest in the world. The theatre shows documentaries and blockbusters. Ticket prices vary based on the movie and time. See what’s playing on the big screens at the IMAX.
Cinema Nova is the spot to go for art house films. The theatre is located in Carlton. Cinema Nova has 16 screens, and also shows commercial releases. The theatre has special film events and festivals throughout the year. Grab a cocktail, wine or beer from Nova Bar before or after your film and mingle with other movie enthusiasts. For a full night out experience, partake in the Nova Deluxe and choose from a single or three course meal to be served as you watch a film in the Nova Deluxe boutique cinema. This option is available for certain films Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check the current showings at Cinema Nova.
Luxury Movie Options
A luxury movie watching experience is definitely something you should try at least once if you watch a film in Melbourne. It’s great for a date night, adventure with friends or a treat for yourself. Gold Class is available at Village Cinemas, and LUX is available at HOYTS theatres. With both options, you get a comfortable reclining chair, table service and a much smaller crowd. Food and drinks are at an additional cost (though with LUX you do get a complimentary soft drink and popcorn). There is a special menu for gourmet food and drinks, but you can also order regular refreshments from the main snack bars. Your order is delivered to your seat at the beginning or middle of the film based on your preference. I recommend arriving about 30 minutes early to enjoy the lounge area outside of the cinemas. Tickets for Gold Class are $40 plus an online booking fee of $5. Tickets for LUX are $39 plus a $2 online booking fee.
Coburg Drive-In Movie Theatre
Coburg Drive-in offers a fun, retro experience as well as a great way to watch a movie with a good deal. If you bring multiple people, the ticket is much cheaper than a normal movie theatre. The screens here are huge too, so it’s almost like an IMAX experience, but much better value. Although, the sound, of course, is subject to your car’s stereo system. Tune in to the corresponding radio station for the screen. It isn’t as glamorous as the surround sound that theatres offer, but it’s still good fun. Tickets for the drive-in are $18.50 per adult and $45 for a car load of up to five people. Mondays are even cheaper, with prices dropping to $10 per person and $25 per car load. Discounted tickets are available for children, students, concession and senior citizens. Here’s what’s on at the drive-in.
There is also the Coburg Drive-In Food Truck Festival, which is a great event for food and movie lovers. Several food trucks come to the cinema and offer their varied dishes to movie goers. You can grab dinner from the food truck and then dine outside or in your car while enjoying the latest feature film. Check the next dates and movie showings for the festival.
Shadow Electric is held at the beautiful Abbotsford Convent during the summer months. Types of movies shown at Shadow Electric include documentaries, classics, cult films and new releases. Some nights also feature live musical performances. Go early to enjoy the grounds, the stunning architecture, the gardens and some horses and goats nearby. Abbotsford Convent is a lovely area. I also recommend enjoying dinner at Lentil As Anything, which offers scrumptious vegan and vegetarian dishes in a buffet style on a donation basis. It’s a great deal, great cause and great meal. Tickets for Shadow Electric are around $22 plus a booking fee. Discover what films are being shown.
The Moonlight Cinema is held at the central lawn in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Films shown include new releases, cult classics and some advanced screenings. The Moonlight Cinema is on during the summer months. Tickets are about $20 for adults with discounts for members, concession, children and seniors. You can also buck up for Gold Grass, a take on the Gold Class experience. With the $35 ticket, you get a beanbag bed, an ideal viewing location and beanbag-bed-side service for refreshments, which are purchased separately. Find out what’s on at the Moonlight Cinema.
Ben & Jerry’s Open Air Cinema
Movies, beach and ice cream are on offer at the Ben & Jerry’s Open Air Cinema. The outdoor cinema is located in St Kilda right near the beach. This event is family friendly and features mostly lighthearted films, including comedies and 80’s classics. There are also live bands, DJs, and food and drinks available. Head to the cinema on Sunday for a ‘Sundae Session’ and get free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream along with a special live performance. The open air cinema is on for a short time, usually between the end of November and December. Have a look at the films being screened at the Ben & Jerry Open Air Cinema.
During the summer months, the Rooftop Cinema is held on the rooftop at Curtain House in the CBD. Deckchairs are available for movie watchers. The Rooftop Bar will help quench your thirst or curb your hunger. Films range from classics to new releases. Tickets are around $20. Check out what’s on at the rooftop.
QV Outdoor Cinema
QV Outdoor Cinema is also located in Melbourne’s CBD during the summer months. The cinema is held on level two of the shopping haven of QV Melbourne. There are several restaurants in the area, so there are ample options for dinner and a drink beforehand. Movie patrons can enjoy the film at QV Square while sat on a deckchair. QV Outdoor Cinema shows more niche type films, including Australia classics, Melbourne independent films and 80’s classics. There is often some pre-film entertainment and live performances. Tickets are $12 per person. See what’s on at the QV Outdoor Cinema.
Lido Cinemas technically fits under indoor and outdoor cinemas. It has eight screens, including one screen on the rooftop. The theatre shows new releases in the mainstream and art house films groups. Lido Cinemas is in Hawthorn. The rooftop cinema operates during the summer months. Deckchairs and beanbags are available and are first come, first serve. Tickets around the $20 price range. Discover what films are showing at Lido Cinemas.
The Underground Cinema is a secret film screening that takes places at undisclosed locations throughout Melbourne. You won’t know where the films will be shown or what you’ll be watching until just before the event kicks off. The Underground Cinema also has a live performance aspect with reenactments of elements of the film that will be screened for the evening. Ticket prices are also a mystery. To participate, you have to sign up via the website.
The Melbourne International Film Festival is an annual event with multiple screenings of films from all over the world. The movies are presented at different cinemas around the CBD. The festival also features discussion programs and tributes involving the film industry. MIFF was established in 1952. Individual tickets and a variety of passes are offered for different levels of experiencing the festival. Check out what will be featured at the current film festival.