- By Leslie Gray Streeter Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sure, you can watch a movie literally anywhere these days - you might be watching one on your phone as you read this - but leaving your home and experiencing that movie in the dark of a theater, shoulder to shoulder with neighbors, is still incredibly popular.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) reported that tickets sales in the United States and Canada hit an all-time high of $11.4 billion in 2016, more than all theme parks and major sporting events.
So where are the best places in Palm Beach County to see a movie? The Palm Beach Post compiled the following rankings, based admittedly on unscientific but thorough criteria including how comfortable the seats are, pricing and specials, concessions and food selection, variety of films, parking price, convenience and reader feedback.
11) AMC CityPlace 20, 545 Hibiscus Street, West Palm Beach: There are newer, flashier theaters, but the former Muvico is centrally-located, has Real 3D, D-Box and IMAX available, and is so close to dining and shopping. CityPlace offers three hours of free parking for movie-going patrons with validated tickets on top of the first free hour it offers to everyone, but if you’re seeing a three-hour summer blockbuster and hoping to get dinner, you still might have to shell out some extra cash.
10) Lake Worth Playhouse Stonzek Theatre, 713 Lake Avenue, Lake Worth: It’s small and not fancy. But the L-Dub’s tiny independent (and recently refurbished) theater is the place to see hard-to-find documentaries, indies and foreign films. And there’s both street parking and valet.
9) Alco Boynton Cinema, 9764 South Military Trail, Boynton Beach: It’s got stadium seating (with lumbar support, no less!) with a combination of first-run and last-chance movies. And it’s one of the friendliest movie theaters we’ve been to.
8) Cinemark Boynton Beach, 1151 N. Congress Ave., Boynton Beach: Again, it’s convenient, located next to the Boynton Beach Mall, with great specials (all shows on Tuesdays are $5!) and the wonderful Classic Series of vintage Hollywood films.
7) Cobb Theatres - Downtown at the Gardens 16, 1611701 Lake Victoria Gardens Avenue, Palm Beach Gardens: It’s not fancy, but it’s got all your blockbusters, decent matinee prices, a recent upgrade to comfier seats and a full bar, located in the center of a busy shopping center.
6) iPic Mizner Park, 301 Plaza Real, Boca Raton: With popcorn and food a-plenty, this luxury theater offers a pricey but premium experience. Parking in the Mizner Park lot is free but can be fleeting if there’s a concert at the nearby amphitheater. Again, it’s not cheap, but the experience is worth it.
5) Movies of Lake Worth, 7380 Lake Worth Road Marketplace Shopping Center, Lake Worth: It’s under renovation but still a gem for serious moviegoers. There’s no stadium seating, but the seats are plush, the staff is friendly and the crowd is knowledgeable. Listening to the post-film discussions around me was like a private movie club.
4) Frank Theatres CineBowl & Grille + IMAX, 14775 Lyons Road - Delray MarketPlace, Delray Beach: It’s got all you need for a family day out or a date - a large selection of movies connected to a restaurant and bowling alley. If everyone doesn’t want to see the same movie, you can split up and meet on the lanes to compare notes.
3) Living Room Theater at Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton: Right on the campus of FAU is this gorgeous, friendly gem, offering independent and unique films with delicious food and wine you can eat in the dining area or have delivered to your chair. It’s just like my living room, minus the food service.
2) CMX Cinemas Wellington, 10300 West Forest Hill Boulevard, Wellington: Located on the top floor of the Mall at Wellington Green, this is Palm Beach County’s newest cinema. It offers comfy seats, good matinee prices and an opportunity for pre or post-cinema shoe shopping.
1) Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas Jupiter, 201 N US Highway 1, Jupiter: To paraphrase Joni Mitchell, I’ve looked at movies here from both sides now - regular and luxury - and there’s no losing. The luxury side, obviously, is more comfortable (and more pricey) but it’s worth it. Bonus points for easy parking, the gorgeous hotel-type lobby, full bar with specials and hot crunchy caramel corn.