Friday, February 3, 2023

Screen Time: 5 Unique Movie Theaters in South Florida

Tourist For a Day, a feature in our February 2022 issue, offers suggestions for dozens of activities at the height of this year’s tourist season. Additionally, if you want to show your company a flick while they’re here, make it something special by jettisoning the average chain multiplex. Instead, celebrate these venues unique to South Florida, where the experience is just as memorable as what’s on the screen.

Paragon Theaters Delray

Paragon Theaters opened its first multiplex in the Palm Beaches last fall at Delray Marketplace, and it goes all in on sensorial spectacle. All 913 seats are zero-gravity recliners, but the extravagant Lux Seats also have a warming option, privacy walls between seat pairs, and the option to order sports-bar fare from the adjoining Agency Kitchen & Bar through a seat-embedded QR code. It cost Paragon some $3 million for the renovation, which includes the only dine-in IMAX screen in the U.S. and an “Extreme Theater” screen, which aims down at audiences at a 15-degree tilt for a fully enveloping experience.

14775 Lyons Road, Delray Beach, 561/865-9487

IPIC Theaters

As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as confirmed by the number of cinema chains thieving IPIC’s innovations in luxury moviegoing. Fully reclining seats, blankets, the ordering of upscale restaurant food directly to one’s seat: We have IPIC to thank for mainstreaming these fun indulgences. Tickets aren’t cheap here, but you certainly get what you pay for. 

301 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, 561/299-3000; 25 S.E. Fourth Ave., Delray Beach, 561/359-5844, ipic.com

Living Room Theaters at FAU

This is the cinephile’s no-frills option for moviegoing: Four screens in an institutional university building. But it’s the programming, often singularly unique in the Palm Beaches, that continues to attract an audience. Esoteric documentaries, American independents, prizewinning foreign-language films and experimental art-house fare play alongside Academy Award hopefuls and other movies for grown-ups.

777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, 561/549-2600, fau.livingroomtheaters.com

The Classic Gateway Theater

The 1950s marquee, the peerless popcorn, the cork board on which filmgoers can share their mini reviews on index cards, even the cinema’s proximity to Fort Lauderdale Beach: All of these factors and more have led to the Classic Gateway Theater’s reputation as a social hangout as well as a one-of-a-kind jewel of South Florida arts and culture. Now under the secure management of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival team, this historic landmark has all the latest bells and whistles in movie projection technology.

1820 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954/278-8966, fliff.com/gateway

Coral Gables Arts Cinema

It’s quite a hike, we know, but this creatively operated and programmed single-screen cinematheque is always worth the drive. In addition to first-run independent and foreign films, the Cinema hosts Q&As with filmmakers and screens vintage titles on a regular basis—sometimes on the rare and coveted 35mm projection format—including Hollywood studio classics, midnight cult films and themed series, like the Pedro Almodovar retrospective of the past few weeks. Plus, it’s located in the bustling heart of downtown Coral Gables.

260 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, 786/472-2249, gablescinema.com

John Thomason
John Thomason
As the A&E editor of bocamag.com, I offer reviews, previews, interviews, news reports and musings on all things arty and entertainment-y in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

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