Off to the movies in London! But where?
November 22, 2010 4:32 AM   Subscribe

Going with 2 friends to London Dec. 2-6. We'd like to see the new Harry Potter movie while there. Any recommendations to the *best* movie theater available?

Obviously screen and sound will be the major factors, but what about popcorn and candy? Does that push any theaters to the head of your list? Super comfortable chairs? Great atmosphere? Any/all recommendations welcome. We'll be staying in the city center, but will have access to public transport.
posted by alchemist to Travel & Transportation around London, England (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: For an atmospheric experience you could try the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill. Posh chairs, nice food and drink, a lovely building. But if it's screen and sound that are your biggest factors, then the IMAX is probably a better bet.
posted by greycap at 4:45 AM on November 22, 2010

I think in general you'll be disappointed when comparing London theaters to American theaters on those factors. If you're looking for the ultimate moviegoing experience, it may be best to wait until you're home.
posted by awesomebrad at 4:59 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks awesomebrad, but home is Denmark :) Greycap, IMAX sounds like a cool choice as we don't show "normal" movies in IMAX format here in Copenhagen. Anyone else?
posted by alchemist at 5:06 AM on November 22, 2010

The best theatre chains/theatres in London are:

Renoir Cinemas (Curzon) - big, comfy chairs, nice food and drink

Picture House Cinemas - not as nice chairs, but smaller and more intimate venues

Everyman Cinemas - similar to Picture House, but I don't think all the cinemas have bars

Electric Cinema (as above)

For the best screens, the big cinemas on Leicester Square have the latest tech, the biggest screens etc. But prices are astronomically high, the theatres themselves are massive and they are full of popcorn-munching, crisp packet scrunching teenagers.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:08 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

awesomebrad: i call bluff. or perhaps you've visited a) all cinemas in London, b) all cinemas in the USA, and hence come to a conclusion? by the way, in London there's a difference between a theatre and a cinema.

i'm not sure when harry potter is playing but maybe the screen on the green in islington is playing it when your friends are visiting; email them and ask! look at the interior, it's awesome!
posted by asymptotic at 5:09 AM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yes, the IMAX is probably your best bet, especially if you splurge for the larger and better placed premium seats. Book online well in advance. If it's booked out, you can sometimes buy returned tickets on the day.
posted by tavegyl at 5:09 AM on November 22, 2010

The RichMix is great, not far from Liverpool street/shoreditch high street stations, it has a lovely cafe/bar/hangout and funky seating and decor in all the cinemas. No idea if it'll still be showing Harry Potter by the time of your visit.
posted by Helga-woo at 5:12 AM on November 22, 2010

Angel Tube
posted by k8t at 5:33 AM on November 22, 2010

Vue cinemas offer showings of this film which are restricted to those over 18 only. Designed for those who enjoy seeing kids movies without the distractions

Be aware also that the advertised start time at most cinemas in the UK is often (particularly for major chains) about 20 minutes before the start of the actual film. So feel free to not be too prompt if you have prebooked seats or if you don't anticipate the performance to be full.
posted by rongorongo at 7:41 AM on November 22, 2010

Best answer: The BFI IMAX is droolworthy if you're a cinema-operations geek; it's the largest screen in Britain, the building is engineered to prevent noise from the Tube station below it from messing with your experience, etc. etc.

I'd go there.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:53 AM on November 22, 2010

Be aware that movie theatres in London can be insanely expensive. For a Film Festival Premiere ticket of Uncle Boonmee I recently paid 17 Pounds at the Vue. At another placeI paid 13.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:12 AM on November 23, 2010

Also, the Vue was icy cold - apparently they are proud of their aircondition as a sign of quality. I wore a woolly hat and a parka inside. Best avoid it.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:15 AM on November 23, 2010

Response by poster: looked at all of your suggestions, showed it to my travel companions and the vote went to the BFI IMAX. We've booked tickets already and we're excited to go! Thank you everyone for your suggestions :)
posted by alchemist at 4:58 AM on November 23, 2010

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