You want to enjoy your fantasy films, mystery movies, Halloween horror, and sci-fi cinema in a wonderful setting, right? Well, below we list some of the best venues in the Los Angeles area: theatres, museums, and other locations that showcase cinema and sometimes legitimate theatre. Some are listed merely because they offer comfort, luxury, and state-of-the-art projection; others offer special retrospective programs, often including classic and cult films in our favorite genres.
TICKETS: $2 before 6pm, $3 after 6pm, $8 midnight shows
BARGAINS: Wednesday Date Night offers a special deal for admission after 6pm: two tickets, two popcorns, and two sodas for a total price of $10.
REGULAR PROGRAMING: The theatre offers second-run films during regular business hours.
INSOMNIAC CINEMA: On Saturdays at midnight, the theatre offers classic and cult films from the past, including many science fiction, fantasy, and horror films.
NOTE: The Insomniac Cinema program has been ported over from Regency’s Fairfax Cinemas, which is apparently now closed.
GET MORE INFORMATION & UPDATES ON OUR PAGE FOR THE AERO THEATRE.
Courtyard Level, Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024
UCLA Film & Television website: www.cinema.ucla.edu
Hammer Program Schedule Home of the UCLA FILM & TELEVISION ARCHIVES, which conducts special series of screenings of films of historical importance, including the occasional classic horror and science fiction title.
TICKETS: $11.50 adults, $7.75 bargain matinees and children
IMAX: $13.75 adults, $10.75 children
FEATURES: stadium seating, wall-to-wall screens, Dolby surround sound; premium screening rooms (“Director’s Halls”) with leather seats and assigned seating; Center Stage presents brief live entertainment before weekend screenings; 12 Lounge serves appetizers and martinis; the Coffee Bar serves cappuccino and other specialty drinks.
HIGHLIGHT: a giant IMAX screen, one of the most impressive large-film formats in existence.
DRAWBACK: Most feature films are not shot in the IMAX format, so blowing them up onto the large IMAX screen (which emphasizes height rather than width) can sometimes result in lower picture resolution and a cropped image (similar to what happens when you watch a widescreen film on your television set without letterboxing).
Note: This nightclub space has discontinued its “movie-and-dinner” programming, so it is no longer a notable spot for finding classic fantasy films, mystery movies, or sci-fi cinema.
GET THE LATEST INFORMATION AND UPDATES ON OUR EYPTIAN THEATRE PAGE.
THE FAIRFAX CINEMAS – LOS ANGELES
7907 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Website: Regency Theatres
REGENCY FAIRFAX CINEMAS TICKETS: $5 before 6pm; $8 for Insomniac Cinema; $5.50 for Seniors and Children; $7.50 for General Admission.
REGENCY FAIRFAX CINEMAS DESCRIPTION: Located in the Fairfax District (not too far south from Canter’s Deli), the Fairfax Cinemas have been through many incarnations. Currently part of the Regency chain of theatres, it screens art house and obscure films during the day and offers classic and cult films as part of their Insomniac Cinema series on Friday Nights.
NOTE: The theatre website no longer lists playdate information, indicating that it has been closed.
TICKETS: $8 general admission
DESCRIPTION: Although located in swank Beverly Hills, where it serves as an art house for high-class movies, this theatre also hosts Fangoria’s Midnight Madness every Saturday night: a series of cult horror and science fiction films.
NOTE: As of May 2012, this theatre was for sale.
GRAUMAN’S CHINESE THEATRE
6925 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
TICKETS: $11 adults, $7.50 child, $7 senior
FEATURES: state-of-the art projection and sound, making it the second best best place in Hollywood to see a movie (right after the Cinerama Dome)
HIGHLIGHT: the beautiful interior design of the theatre, with its color oriental décor, is worth the price of admission all on its own. And don’t forget the famous footprints in concrete, outside.
Technically not a theatre but listed here because of Cinespia presents a summer cemetery screening series there, during which they project classic and cult films outside, including many horror films.
Note: The old website no longer operates, so we have substituted Film Radar’s calendar page for the theatre. Or you can call the threatre’s phone number for screening info.
PACIFIC’S GROVE STADIUM 14
189 The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Grove Website: www.thegrovela.com
Pacific Theatres Website: www.pacifictheatres.com
TICKETS: General admission is $10.75 for adults on weeknights, $12.50 after 6:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Children’s tickets are $8.00 anytime.
DISCOUNTS: For adults, there is a bargain discount price of $8.75 before 6:00pm on weekdays and before 4:00pm on weekends. For seniors, there is a discount price of $7.57 anytime except after 6:00pm on Friday and Saturday.
PARKING: $2.00 with validation
FEATURES: This theatre is a beautiful attempt to recreate the glory of an old-fashioned movie palace. The lobby is three or four stories high, with giant chdeliers that resemble crystal Christmas trees hung upside down, and the walls are adorend withlovely glass lighting fixtures that look like curling leaves. Despite the nostalgic appearance (which includes ticket takers in old-fashioned uniforms, complete withthe goofy little roundcaps with the strap under the chin), the theatre has all the modern conveniences: not only automated ticket kiosks but also automated kiosks to pre-purchase your popcorn and soda, thus avoiding a long wait in line. The screening rooms themselves are comfortable, and the projection is always bright andin focus, with great sound.
SURROUNDINGS: The theatre is located in the middle of “The Grove,” a sort of artificial but quite lovely town square (a la Universal Studios’ CityWalkor Disneyland’s Main Street), complete with a trolley car, a small grassy park, anda pond iwth a tiny bridge andan impressive fountain. The Grove is immediately adjacent to the famous Farmer’s Market, but it is decidedly more upscale, with dozens of high-quality if overpriced stores and restaurants (Victoria’s Secret, The Cheesecake Factory, etc.)
DRAWBACKS: Despite the high tickets prices, the theatre squeezes a few more dollars out of the advertising revenue stream by front-loading the movie with far too many commercials. Not just trailers for upcoming movies (which is acceptable) but also advertisements for products and television shows. At a local theatre with discount prices, this might be tolerable, but not in a first-run theatre that is supposed to present a top-of-the-line movie-going experience.
Read more about the Grove Theatre in our trip to see Tim Burton’s CORPSE BRIDE.
SAMUEL L. GOLDWIN THEATRE
8940 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences presents tributes to classic films and established filmmakers at this venue. Also, the building’s fourth floor gallery houses exhibitions of artwork: movie stills, posters, props, etc.
THE STEVE ALLEN THEATRE
4773 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Offers stage plays such as NEVERMORE: AN EVENING WITH EDGAR ALLAN POE. Screens silent classics such as THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, with live musical accompaniment. Sometimes offers outdoor screenings projected on the wall of the building, usually of a drive-in nature, a la THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
NOTE: The old url for the theatre (www.steveallentheatre.com) now leads only to a page explaining that the artistic director formed a new company called Trepany House, whose productions continue to appear at the Steve Allen Theatre.
SUNDANCE SUNSET CINEMAS
8000 Sunet Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90046
INFORMATION: This theatre, which used to be called the Sunset 5, was sold in November of 2011 to Robert Redford’s Sundance Cinemas. The new company closed the theatre for renovations and reopened in 2012. Sunset Cinemas still plays art house cinema, but so far Sundance has not shown a proclivity for including oddball genre items and midnight showings of films such as DEAD SNOW, GRACE, I SELL THE DEAD, etc.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS CINEMA
Featuring IMAX 3D Theatre
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
(818) 508-0711 – Universal Studios Cinema
(818) 760-8100 general IMAX information,
(818) 766 IMAX  sales office
Websites: Universal CityWalk Cinemas
TICKETS: $10 adult, $7 children and seniors.
IMAX: $12 adults, $9 children and seniors
DEALS: Movie Meal Deals for $19.95 per person (two person minimum) give you a ticket to a movie, dinner at one of a half-dozen restaurants at Universal CityWalk(menu choices are limited withthe deal), plus an $8-dollar refundon your parking. Find more details at the official website by clicking here.
FEATURES: 18 screens, 6,000 seats; pastry and cookies in the Cinema Café. Located within the Universal CityWalk, so there’s lots to see and do after the movie.
HIGHLIGHT: IMAX 3D Theatre, with a screen six-stories high and eight-stories wide, combined with a six-channel 12,000-watt sound system. Not all IMAX screenings are in 3D, obviously, but when they are, the effect is stunning, thanks to futuristic helmets that include not only polarizing lenses for your eyes but also stereo speakers for your ears—quite an advance over the flimsy cardboard glasses from the 1950s.
DRAWBACKS: the theme park attracts crowds on the weekend, so be prepared to deal with that; parking can be a bitch, too, but once you’re there, you can enjoy spending the whole day.
NOMENCLATURE: Because the theatre complex is located at CityWalk, which is a part of Universal Studios, there seems to be some confusion about what to call it. Depending on whether you’re reading the newspaper or going on line, you might find names “Universal Studio Cinemas,” “Universal Studios Cinema,” or “Universal CityWalk Cinemas.” We’ve opted for “Universal Studios Cinema” (or “Universal Cinema” for short).
TICKETS: $8 adult, $4 children &seniors; $5 bargain before 6:00pm.
PARKING: There is no parking lot for the theatre, but there is available street parking — if you’re lucky (it’s not a bad idea to come early).
FEATURES: This venerable theatre underwent a renovation back in the 1990s, restoring the lustre of its glory days. From the outside, it looks like little more than an oddly shaped brick building with a huge lighted sign on top anda flashing neon marquee in front; however, the ornate white carvings around the doors, and the balconies besides the marquee, give some suggestion of the architecture delighs within. Taking a cue from Grauman’sChinese Theatre, the concrete around the box office bears the impressions and signatures of celebrities who have been there; many of these are relatively recent, as the theatre hosts occasional revival events (like a HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS cast-and-crew reunion back in 2000). The interior is ornate in the manner of the grand old movie palaces of the 20thCentury, with an Egyptian ambiance: on either side, the walls are molded to suggest five obelisks, each topped with the looming face of a sarcophagus staring down. Red velvet curtains shield the screen, andblue drapery fills the mock “windows” between the obelisk, with faint light suggesting twlightillumination seeping in from outside. In short, this is a theatre withsome personality, worth visiting even if the movie is not very good.
THE AREA: Situated east of Hollywood and south of the major Los Feliz district, where Sunset andHollywood Blvd converge, the Vista Theatre is located in an area that looks a bit grungy, but it is actually filled with interesting local establishments. A block west on Hollywood Blvd is Rosemary’s Billygoat, a curio store filled withmacabre items. East on Sunset Blvd you will find TikiTi, a small bar offering tropical drinks; Akbar, another bar, with a Middle Eastern flavor, which also offers entertainment; The Kitchen, a nice late-night coffee-shop-type eatery; and Malo, a Mexican cantina and taqueria.