From the outside, Cinema Paradiso looks more like a church than a movie theater. But inside, there is no mistaking that the auditorium crowded with 230 plush, royal blue velvet seats?each imported from Paris?is a luxurious haven for movie-goers. Now in its 29th year, the theater screens art-house independent films and the annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. With the ability to project 35mm, 16mm, HDCam, Digi-Beta, BetaSP, and DVD, the venue's possibilities are many, and frequent events showcase Hollywood classics and cult horror flicks. To help guests calm their jitters during the scary parts, three bars serve beer and wine, and snacks and concession fare satiate cravings, so that no growling bellies drown out tenderly whispered love scenes.
At CinéBistro, a luxurious dining theater, patrons settle into wide cushioned seats as they watch the latest action flicks and comedies flicker on the silver screen. Viewing companions alternate drawing buttery, salty puffed maize out of a shared tub of popcorn, hoping to find Gene Hackman's golden business card buried somewhere inside. Although not included with this Groupon, CinéBistro serves seated cinema aficionados a wide menu of appetizers, entrees, and desserts to complement their popcorn, from a caesar salad for a light meal ($10.75) to a pan-seared Atlantic salmon cooked to order ($19.50). Dessert indulgences include a deconstructed peanut-butter pie ($8), and liquid indulgences proffer a wine list full of international vintages to guzzle during foreign movies, as well as domestic and imported beers, martinis, and cocktails.
For anyone interested in enjoying a meal at the movies, rather than snacking on boxed candies and stale popcorn, there’s Cobb Theatres – Cinebistro. This upscale movie theater experience is specifically designed to offer an upscale dining experience, all while watching a recently released movie. Guests are served individually in comfortable high-back leather chairs, from an extensive menu with meals that range from gourmet hamburgers to New York strip steak, Caesar salads and yellowfin tuna tacos. Select a glass of wine or pull from the premium cocktail menu to complete the meal – that is, unless you have a sweet tooth. Dessert options go well beyond the usual peanut M&M’s (though you can snack on those as well), rounding out a truly decadent movie-going experience. Just make sure to show up at least 30 minutes before the film starts, and leave the children at home; only drinking-age adults are allowed inside.
Movies under the stars are an American tradition that Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In continues, but it's changed up the experience a bit. Instead of a huge open field, the drive-in is right in the city and accommodates up to 18 cars per showing, creating cozy outdoor movie watching. Those spots are in high demand, so tickets, including those for the Groupon car-slot upgrade must be purchased in advance. Once those spots are filled, there's still room for people to bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets, and plunk down for a viewing, though space is limited. When everyone settles in, reels roll, and classic movies splash across the screen such as Pulp Fiction, The Notebook, and Godzilla.
O Cinema is one of Miami’s most celebrated independent movie houses. Its goal is to provide an offering of films that otherwise might not be seen in Miami – foreign features, independent movies, artsy shorts and stunning documentaries. The Wynwood location of this small Miami chain is more diminutive than your usual cinema multiplex, but the art house feel makes you feel closer to the film itself. There are actually three different screening areas throughout the facility, and on those ever-present warm nights the O Cinema team might even put together a free outdoor screening. And, since the theater is located in Wynwood, there’s an adjoining space for art installations right on site.