9 Weird Movie Theaters

1The kid-friendly theaters that have opened in Southern California

A Mexican theater chain, Cinépolis USA, is debuting the first dedicated children’s movie theater auditoriums in the U.S. Here, kids can play while their parents watch a film.

Each auditorium will have both a vibrantly colored play structure/jungle gym, as well as a special fenced-in play area for smaller children. Play structures are 55′ long and 25′ high, and will include two slides, stationary pogo sticks, a scaled-down merry-go-round, and “rounded, hanging ‘Fun Forest Bags’ filled with foam.”

The first two theaters will open in Pico Rivera, California and Vista, California, the latter of which is about 15 minutes outside of Carlsbad. Sorry folks, Cinépolis has no plans to open the theaters up for less kid-friendly fare—any adults attending a screening must be accompanied by kids 12 and under.


2The floating theater located in the Strait of Malacca

Talk about being one with nature—the Archipelago Cinema was built in 2012 by the Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Foundation and famed architect Ole Scheeren.

The theater, located in the middle of a tranquil lagoon in the Strait of Malacca, was built from floating wood rafts constrained together with nets, a skill utilized by locals as a part of lobster farming.

Scheeren said he wanted to create, “a sense of temporality, randomness, almost like driftwood. Or maybe something more architectural: Modular pieces, loosely assembled, like a group of little islands that congregate to form an auditorium.”


3Shipping container theaters give small towns in Russia greater access to entertainment

In 2015, 100 cinemas made out of shipping containers were installed in small cities across Russia.

Russian company Teterin Film rolled out the theaters in small towns with the first established in Lyudinovo, in the Kaluga region southwest of Moscow. Its aim is to enable residents of Russian cities of less than 100,000 people to have access to films, and, in turn, to support Russian filmmaking. One-third of the Russian population has no access to a cinema—that’s 668 towns with a combined population of 50 million people!


4A '50s-themed movie theater created by Disney Imagineers

Kind of looks like Jack Rabbit Slims from Pulp Fiction, doesn’t it? The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater & Restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World was established May 1991 and modeled after a 1950s drive-in theater. Disney Imagineers designed the booths to resemble convertibles of the period, and some servers act as carhops while wearing roller skates. (Sound familiar?) While grabbing a bite, guests watch ’50s and ’60s B-movie classics including Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, Plan 9 from Outer Space, and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.


5A romantic theater setting inside a boat anchored in Paris

Moored in the l’Oucq canal of the Parc de la Villette in Paris all summer long, La Peniche has been screening indie and short films since 2008. It’s become THE hangout for aspiring directors, producers, and writers who come to mingle at the “art boat” which regularly hosts film premieres for Oscar-nominated titles, salsa evenings, and networking events. The boat’s romantic main cabin is a projection room with a rollback canvas roof. What’s not to love, moviegoers?


6An arthouse theater that's also an architectural marvel

Colorful, minimalist, and chic, glimpses of brilliance are visible in the Light House Cinema at Smithfield in Dublin, Ireland. The moviehouse was designed by Dublin’s award-winning DTA Architects.

The Light House has been around awhile—it started showing Irish, independent, foreign-language, arthouse and classics in 1988. It closed in 1996 but reopened again in 2012 in its new, customized space. The four-screen moviehouse includes a cafe that looks like something you’d see at a museum, not a movie theater.


7British movie patrons watch their favorite flicks from inside a hot tub

Want to watch Hot Tub Time Machine from an actual hot tub? Hot Tub Cinema’s patrons take in their favorite flicks from an inflatable hot tub that can take up to six people—but remember, keep your swimwear on at all times! They are not open for the season JUST yet but check out their website for locations and further updates.


8An eight seat theater in a camper makes for a cozy moviegoing experience

Cozy, comfortable and housed in a 1965 Morris Minor camper with just eight seats, the Sol Cinema is probably the smallest movie theater in the world.

The Cinema is the brainchild of projectionist and co-founder Paul O’Connor, who says the 7′ high and 16′ long picture house is designed for eight adults, runs on solar power and uses a projector, not a TV. It even has usherettes serving popcorn during intermission!


9The cinema that has been dubbed "the movie theater at the end of the world"

We doubt you can get to it, and even if you could, it’s unlikely there will ever be a movie shown here. Estonian photographer Kaupo Kikkas found this ghostly, abandoned outdoor cinema deep in the heart of Egypt’s Sinai desert. According to Kikkas, it was built in the early 2000s by a French stoner who not only had access to oodles of cash but one of those “million dollar ideas” that only seem to come up when you’re high.

There was an opening night, and presumably an audience, but the generator powering the event mysteriously cut out. It’s suspected that local Egyptians and government officials didn’t take too well to the European pothead and his grand cinematic ideas.


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