Contrary to what you might have heard, seen, read, or even what you may feel deep down in your heart, the reality is that cinema isn’t dead. This reality includes insane gross figures from a variety of superhero franchises, as well as the appearance of near-masterpiece films in recent years such as the sublime Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, and Birdman. Even the Scottish wonder Trainspotting went full circle, being revived from an OD of pure, uncut absence spanning 20 years with T2: Trainspotting – one of the best films shot in Edinburgh for quite some time.
However, this article’s focus is primarily on a pick of the best cinemas to be found in Edinburgh. The wealth of options to choose from alone is sure-fire proof that Scorsese and Scott were mistaken in their opinion. Obviously, they haven’t ventured to the luxury of Edinburgh’s Dominion Cinema or been privy to the crowds often found at Edinburgh’s Film House on a weekend, nor have they experienced the magnificent arthouse style of The Cameo. Perhaps they need to give this article a glance, since these magnificent bastions of Edinburgh’s alive-and-well cinema scene are given a wee glance below.
Dominion Cinema Edinburgh
Size: Gold One (260), Gold Two (110), Gold Three (14), Gold Four (27) Location: Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh, EH10 4RT
Features: 1930’s style, Luxury Seating, Cafe-bar, First-Class packages, Live Events, Corporate Functions, VIP Membership
Contact Number: 0131 447 4771
Dominion is not your run-of-the-mill Odeon-esque experience. Opened back in 1938 and located a mere 15-minute drive from Waverly station, this independent cinema brings style and luxury to the film-watching experience.
In addition to magnificently luxurious seats, Dominion offers a variety of tiered products including a corporate area, bookings for private parties in the height of their luxury “Red Star Screen” area, and a first-class package where above-and-beyond service, as well as a river of complimentary beverages and snacks, will flow. For serious film-goers, Dominion even offers club membership for £26 per month, which brings with it its own perks such as discounted foods and drink, waiving of booking fees, and an all-round first-class experience from start to finish.
To see what Scorsese is missing out on by not visiting the lap of cinema luxury, visit the Dominion Cinema website.
If the idea of sitting in front of a screen and watching today’s endless stream of uninventive shower of superhero sequels is your idea of a nightmare, the selective artistic approach of Film House Cinema may appeal to you. A distinct arthouse-style cinema located a mere 10-minute walk from Waverly Station, Film House offers an ethos of openness, accessibility, equality, and the striving for artistic quality and excellence.
Don’t expect to see the big-name films screening here. This cinema focuses on selecting lesser-known, often independent films to screen. Though it lacks the decorative panache and luxury of Dominion Cinema, Film House offers a café-bar, good-quality food, and membership.
You can prove Ridley Scott wrong by visiting the Film House website and experiencing artistic excellence for yourself.
Size: Cinema 1 (Not Known), Cinema 2 (90), Cinema 3 (74) Location: Lothian Rd, Edinburgh Eh2 9BZ
Features: Multiple Screens, Café-bar, Membership Benefits, Event Hire, Film Distribution
Contact Number: 0131 228 2688
Edinburgh University Film Society
Size: Not Known Location: 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ
Features: Value Membership, Cheap Tickets, Film Quizzes, Social Gatherings
If you like to throw caution (and control) to the wind, you could choose to let the Edinburgh University Film Society choose your films for you, to be screened in what is known as FilmSoc. You won’t find amenities like others on this list, but you can visit the small cinema knowing that care has gone into the selection of each screening.
This is an extremely cheap alternative to larger cinemas, with a membership of just £15 for the year. Edinburgh FilmSoc is Located a short walk away from Waverly, this value-for-money alternative to the traditional cinema is worth a look-in.
Size: Not Known Location: Omni Leisure Building 11, 61 Leith St, Edinburgh EH1 3AU
Features: Multiple Screens, Ample Availability, Standard Cinema Snacks & Drinks, VIP Seats, Online Booking
Contact Number: 0345 308 4620
If it’s OK for all the superhero franchises to go mainstream, then it’s OK for anyone to indulge occasionally, right? With Vue, you know what you’re getting: standard prices, all the popular films, with plenty of availability and a variety of screens.
Yes the pick and mix will be pricey, as will the majority of the snacks and tickets, but the booking process for Vue Cinemas is a breeze, and the VIP tickets can lift the experience if you fancy a treat.
Size: Not Known Location: 38 Home Street, Edinburgh, Eh2 9LZ
Features: Membership, Partner Benefits, Student Membership Discount, Film Quiz, Locally-Sourced Snack Food, Vintage Sundays
Contact Number: 0871 902 5747
Another distinctly arthouse affair, The Cameo is located a small walk from the city centre, and offers patrons a wide selection of films, both commercial lesser-known. One of the most interesting offerings at The Cameo is that of Vintage Sundays, where you will find some of the all-time classics –Spartacus, Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, and Strangers on a Strain are just an example of some of the cinema’s previous offerings - awaiting your viewing pleasure.
Seats: 1,915 Location: Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9FT
Features: Bars, Traditional Theatre Setting, Digital Screening, Live Performances
Contact Number: 0131 529 6000
Part of Capital Theatres group of cinemas, the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh is another delightful alternative to the comparatively generic experience of Vue or Odeon. Set in a building constructed in 1994 and seating 1,915 patrons at full capacity, this glass-faced building has all the usual cinema wants: sleek modern style, bars, and wonderful views Inside the theatre is a much less contemporary setting, featuring self-described “sumptuous” décor with “lavish” fittings. This theatre will certainly appeal to those that enjoy the traditional surround of a theatre whilst watching films screened using digital equipment.
Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre may not equal the luxury of Dominion Cinema, but its grand setting will not disappoint those who prefer the theatre environment.