Ranking The Most Expensive Movie Theaters In The World

How much did you spend the last time you went to the movies? Sadly, in this day and age, the answer is probably: "too much." In the U.S., ticket prices are at an all-time high and the advent of such innovations as 3-D, IMAX, premier seating, and other bonuses only serve to drive the cost of seeing a movie up even higher. As a result, it's becoming the norm to pay more than $15 for a ticket to a major release. But that's peanuts. Why not try for some considerable bang for your buck at these fantastic movie theaters?

Note: All prices accurate at time of writing.

The TCL Chinese Theater

The TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles holds a fairly decent claim to being the most famous movie theater on the planet. More commonly known as Grauman's Chinese Theater, it opened in 1927 and has since become an iconic part of Hollywood history. It hosts countless major premieres every year, has been the location for three Academy Awards ceremonies and has even appeared in a fair few movies itself. The interior is exactly what you'd expect from Hollywood's crown jewel, too: intensely colorful and extravagant to the extreme.

The privilege of watching a movie in such a jaw-dropping, recognizable venue, however, doesn't come cheap. A standard ticket will cost around $16, which might not seem so costly compared to some chains, but seeing a major release in 3-D or IMAX will set you back a little over $20. Ahh, the privilege of seeing a movie somewhere old.

The Odeon, Leicester Square

London's Odeon in Leicester Square is the U.K.'s closest equivalent to Grauman's Chinese Theater. Built in 1937, originally in an art deco style (though not so much anymore after a series of refurbishments, sadly), the Odeon is the most well-known major cinema in London and hosts an array of world premieres as well as the annual Royal Film Performance, which is attended by at least one member of the Royal Family.

The key to the cost at this theater is that Odeon is one of the U.K.'s largest chains, and one that is notorious for charging high prices for tickets. Being the Odeon's flagship, this goes doubly for the Leicester Square branch. A standard adult ticket in the stalls of the main screen will cost you around $22, while a royal circle ticket (that's where the Queen's sat, don't you know) will lighten your wallet to the tune of $29.

iPic Theaters, New York

Nationwide chain iPic claims to offer the "ultimate theater experience," and its New York branches certainly represent a decent attempt at being the costliest. Get yourself a premium plus seat in one of these movie theaters and you'll receive privacy (thanks to the individual pod-like double seats in each screen), a blanket and pillow, and full table service with a range of drinks, snacks or even a meal available to you before or during the movie.

That experience costs $32, and, naturally, the food and drink costs a fair bit on top of that — expect to shell out $16 for chicken fingers or $18 for a pizza. By the time you walk back into the light as those credits roll, you'll likely be weighing up how you're going to explain all this to your landlord when your rent is late that month.


London's BFI IMAX is the face of the British Film Institute, a charitable organization which promotes film and television in the U.K. Most of their events, festivals and workshops which take place in London happen at the BFI. It's also the home of largest cinema screen in Britain, an IMAX projector as well as one which projects 70 mm film, meaning its movies are shown in the finest formats currently available.

While run by the BFI, however, the theater is owned by Odeon, so don't go expecting a bargain when it comes to the tickets. A blockbuster during peak times will cost about $30 for an adult if you're in a premium seat, though the prices get lower in standard seats or if you're seeing a lesser-known movie. Watching an opera on the big screen is about $50, too, if that's your thing.

Hot Tub Cinema

Get used to seeing London on this list — the combination of a love for off-the-wall "event" screenings and high cost of living means it's one of the most expensive places to see a movie in the world. And it doesn't get much more off-the-wall than this: Hot Tub Cinema is, well, exactly what it sounds like. They set up a screen and a dozen or two hot tubs, and you get inside one to relax and watch the movie. The movies are usually classics (such as Top Gun, The Lion King, and Dirty Dancing) and you get a glass of sparkling wine to enjoy with them to boot.

Naturally, it's expensive. There aren't any current events coming up at time of writing — although it has expanded across the Atlantic to the U.S. in recent years — but the 2015 London tour offered a place in a hot tub for just over $45. It's a little cheaper if you pay for a private tub and split it between six, which you probably want to do, because who in the hell would ever pay extra to sit in a bath and watch a movie with strangers?

The Electric Cinema

The Electric Cinema in (you guessed it) London is one of the U.K.'s oldest working cinemas. It was built in 1910 and has undergone a series of revivals, the latest of which took place in the 1990s. Being a listed building, it's also probably one of the prettiest theaters in the world, too — all regal decor and warm lighting in an intimate and relaxed environment. Each seat is an armchair and there are sofas available at the back and beds down the front for anybody wanting that extra dash of relaxation to go with their movie.

Luxury, of course, comes at a price. A ticket to a major release will cost you $26 for an armchair, $42 for a bed, and around $60 for one of those sofas at the back.

Cine de Chef

Seoul's Cine de Chef is an establishment which combines those two finest pursuits: movies and dining. With only 30 seats for the theater's single screen, it's pretty exclusive, but those lucky few experience not only the movie but also a nouveau oriental meal prepared by Cordon Bleu-trained chefs. The ticket also includes valet parking, use of a VIP elevator and, uh, an escort service.

At the low end, a ticket at the Cine de Chef costs the equivalent of around $60, but can go up to the region of $88 on weekends and busy periods. Considering what you're getting for that, though (not only the meal and the movie, but also a genuinely gorgeous setting and a properly intimate screening) that might just be worth paying up for.

The Paragon Cineplex

The Paragon Cineplex in downtown Bangkok might not initially seem like the sort of place that will drain your bank account just for the privilege of seeing a movie, and most screenings there probably won't. This isn't the case, however, in the Enigma experience. For $90, you'll receive a complimentary drink chosen from a range of fine wines and whiskeys (only one, though), a number of snacks (including crepes and other desserts), and the chance to relax on a sofa bed to sprawl out and watch the movie.

If that's a bit much, however, you can always go for the $24 option at the Nokia Ultra Screen and stick to having just a reclining armchair, drink, snacks, and complimentary foot massage instead. But that'd be a shame, wouldn't it?

The Orange Club Cinema

Exclusivity is the name of the game at the Orange Club Cinema in Beijing. More of a private members club than an actual theater, the Orange Club offers three individually designed screens: Orange Garden, Pink Sky, and Black Room. You can relax in a sofa, settle down on some pillows, and throw over a blanket for a little something extra, and the presence of friendly butlers means you'll never have to get up to get any of the snacks or drinks on offer. The Club also serves as, well, an actual club, complete with function rooms, live music, and a bar.

Like any club, however, it's pricey to the extreme — membership begins at $150 and could cost more than $800 a year. That's a lot of money just to keep the riff-raff out.

Secret Cinema

To call Secret Cinema a movie theater is a bit of an understatement. It's actually more like a fully immersive cinematic experience in which visitors dress up in costume, lark about in a super-secret location that's been done up to look like scenes from the movie in question, interact with actors, take part in secret activities, and then finally watch the movie together. In the past, Secret Cinema events such as The Grand Budapest HotelBack to the Future, 28 Days Later, and The Empire Strikes Back (which blew the rest out of the water when it came to sheer, mind-blowing scale) have proved intensely popular and the company has gone on to sell out events all over the world, but this comes at a huge price.

The cheapest ticket for their recent run of Moulin Rouge cost $66, with the most expensive hitting the dizzying heights of $230. Considering some past controversy regarding unpaid actors and the fact that you still need to purchase food and drinks once you're inside, that's pretty rich of them.