Watching a movie at home is always lovely, but sometimes, you have to go out to the cinemas for a truly incredible experience. There’s something so satisfying about the smell of freshly made popcorn, and the laughter or gasps of a live audience. If your set-up at home isn’t the best, then the massive screens and the booming sound system of a cinema is simply irreplaceable. And of course, it’s important to catch a film before you hear spoilers. Whatever it may be, there’s lots of lovely reasons to go out and see a film. And thankfully, there’s lots of incredible cinemas in Melbourne for you to check out. These venues are beloved city staples, take part in special events, have rich histories or are simply cool places to hang out on a rainy day. Here are some of our favourite cinemas in Melbourne.
1. Cinema Nova
This iconic independent cinema in Carlton showcases the best in local and international films, with plenty of art-house cinema, independent flicks and more to keep you entertained. Cinema Nova often takes part in key festivals during the year, like Melbourne Queer Film Festival and Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. They also run fun events, like Twilight marathons, screenings of The Room, cocktails on Mean Girls Day and more. Visit them on Mondays for cheap movie tickets, with sessions for $7 before 4pm, and $10 after 4pm.
📍380 Lygon St, Carlton VIC 3053
2. ACMI Cinemas
ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) is all about celebrating film, TV, art, videogames and screen culture. So, it makes perfect sense that it would have its own cinema. Enjoy a rich selection of films to accompany current exhibitions, film festival events, screenings for various film clubs and more. If you can’t make it in person, you can also stay home and enjoy video on demand thanks to their platform, Cinema 3. See what’s coming up at ACMI Cinemas here.
📍 ACMI, Federation Square Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
3. The Astor Theatre
Feel transported back in time at The Astor Theatre. This grand venue opened in 1936, and is the last single screen cinema of its kind. The magnificent space features stalls, a dress circle and golden curtains over the screen. Enjoy a rich range of classic films, cult favourites and new releases. The Astor also projects a range of mediums, including 35mm prints, 70mm and 4K. Find out more and see what’s showing here.
📍1 Chapel St, St Kilda VIC 3182
4. Lido Cinemas
In the heart of Hawthorn, you’ll find Lido Cinemas. It has a rich history, starting in 1912 as the Glenferrie Theatre, and acting as a dance hall, dinner theatre and more over the years. Now, it’s a vibrant space with eight indoor cinemas, a jazz room and a rooftop cinema during the summer months. Lido shows plenty of new releases, cult classics, retrospectives and more, and takes part in various film festivals throughout the year. Find out more here.
📍675 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122
5. Classic Cinemas
Classic Cinemas has a long history in Melbourne, starting all the way back in 1888, when the building was purchased to create a skating rink. However, it instead became a community hall, and sometimes housed a makeshift cinema. Now, Classic Cinemas has ten big screens – four of them are new – as well as a refurbished bar and foyer area, and a rooftop cinema during the summer months. It also has an intimate space available for jazz, comedy, talks and more. The venue plays a mix of mainstream and arthouse cinema, and is the home for film festivals like the Jewish International Film Festival and the Children’s International Film Festival. See more here.
📍9 Gordon St, Elsternwick VIC 3185
6. Sun Theatre
This beloved theatre in Melbourne’s inner-west first opened in 1938 and had just one screen. Now, the Sun Theatre has eight cinemas inside the art deco building. Visit the historic venue for new films, classics, special events, retrospectives and more. While you’re there, be sure to order a bottle of Victorian wine to enjoy during the movie. See more here.
📍8 Ballarat St, Yarraville VIC 3013
7. Cameo Cinemas
This independent cinema has eight screens, and plays a mixture of mainstream, blockbuster and arthouse cinema. Between December to March, they also have an outdoor cinema, allowing you to enjoy movies while surrounded by the picturesque scenery of the Dandenong Ranges. Find out more about Cameo Cinemas here.
📍1628 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave VIC 3160
8. Pentridge Cinema
In this unique location, you’ll enjoy movies inside the transformed Pentridge Prison. Run by Palace Cinemas, there’s 15 screens to choose from, reclining chairs, Dolby Atmos surround sound and a fully licensed menu. After watching a new release, explore the historic venue and relax at one of the nearby restaurants and bars. Find more details about Pentridge Cinema here.
📍1 Champ St, Coburg VIC 3058
9. IMAX Melbourne
If you like to visit cinemas to feel immersed by the big screen, you can’t go wrong with IMAX Melbourne. Their cinema screen is one of the largest in the world, measuring 32 metres in width and 23 metres in height. On top of that, this venue is the only theatre in Australia with an operational IMAX 1570 Film projector, allowing you to see resolution of up to 16K. It also has a powerful and custom 15,000 watt digital speaker system to truly immerse you in the story. Watch new releases, 3D documentaries, film festival screenings and more. Learn more here.
📍Rathdowne St, Carlton VIC 3053