At the Movies
Grab your popcorn and soda — or margarita pizza and vino — and get ready for a show. Whether you’re craving an intimate, silver screen-style experience or looking for a more traditional multiscreen outing, Newport Beach has the perfect venue for everyone.
On East Coast Highway, right in the middle of Corona del Mar, you’ll find the New Port Theater. Around since 1949, this venue has featured a live elephant in the’50s when showing “The Greatest Show on Earth”; hosted a marriage on stage in the’80s; and served as an art house for foreign and indie films for several years. Shuttered in the late ’90s, the community pulled together to begin renovating the Port in 2007 and it reopened to the public in 2012 as a luxury, boutique-style movie theater complete with nautical design touches; leather recliners, sofas and chairs with side tables; two full bars (one downstairs and one on the mezzanine level); and a kitchen where a chef cooks up tasty specialties like made-to-order pizzas (the margarita is a favorite) and famous Port Dog daily. Once you place your order, you’ll receive a small numbered block that lights up at the exact time you’ve chosen for your food to be delivered. “The theater does a great job of taking the classic, silver-screen feel and meshing it with a modern, state-of the-art customer-service experience,” says employee Rex Nelson. The theater shows one current movie at a time (with shows running anywhere from a couple of weeks to three months, depending on their popularity), and seats about 120. Tickets are $15 for adults and seniors ages 65 and older, and $12 for children ages 12 and younger, and while seats for the more popular movies sometimes are snapped up quickly, you can always reserve your tickets online for an extra $5.
A little ways north of the Port, on Balboa Peninsula, you’ll find the newly renovated Lido Theater offering up movies with a side of live music. Another throwback to the days of the silver screen (it opened in the’30s), this former member of the Regency Theatres family is being renovated by longtime Via Lido Plaza landlord and Newport Beach resident Fritz Duda with a newly painted exterior, updated lobby sporting stylish Z Gallerie chandeliers and more. A little larger than the Port, with about 550 seats, this landmark venue is now offering daily movies that change every two weeks (for $7.50) and two to four concerts a month (think Smokey Robinson; a Halloween-themed Dead Man’s Party on Oct. 24 with special musical guest featuring former members of Oingo Boingo). Oh, there’s also plenty of wine, beer, hot dogs and other offerings, but if you are in the mood for a great meal before or after the movie or concert check out Woody’s Diner next door (I love the hamburgers and onion rings).
For a more traditional multiplex experience, you’ll want to head to the Fashion Island area to check out The Edwards Big Newport 6 theater. The stand-alone Edwards Big Newport 6 theater (at 300 Newport Center Drive), offers 1,000-plus stadium-style seats and six screens, including an extra-large screen where attendees flock to watch the opening-night film for the annual Newport Beach Film Festival each year. New movies are shown every Friday, with tickets ranging from $6 to $13. Coming soon: king-sized recliners to up the comfort factor even more. Coming to the screens soon: “Annabelle,” “The BoxTrolls,” “Left Behind,” “Gone Girl,” “Addicted,” “The Equalizer” and more.