Lido Cinema

Okay, so I finally get around to writing about this cinema, just when it may go away. The Lido Cinema is a victim of the Edwards' bankruptcy, but its future is still uncertain. In the meantime, it is open for business. I like this theater because it feels like watching a movie in a theater from the golden age of cinema. It only has one fairly large screen, but it isn't the screen that makes the Lido unique. The theater looks like an opera house. It is two stories, and you can actually sit on the second floor. Murals adorn the walls to either side of the seats, with dolphins, orcas, and other ocean animals. When the movie starts, blacklights shine onto the murals, giving them the illusion of glowing in the dark. The blacklights do not interfere with the screen. A gold curtain in front of the screen enhances the opera house motif. There is even a little box office booth outside where you buy tickets. Since there's only one screen, you don't have to name the movie when buying tickets.

This is a pretty old theater, so it does have its drawbacks. The slope in the theater is very gentle, and this is an art house, so tall old people tend to block the view of the audience. The rows are also pretty close together, giving a cramped feeling during popular movies. The speakers are also way up on the ceiling, so when the sound reaches the ground, it sounds a little hollow. It looks like there may have once been a leak in the roof, since the mural has some water damage. But the worst aspect of the Lido Cinema is the door. There are two doors in the back of the theater, one on either side. When somebody opens the door during the movie, the glare from outside hits the screen, and you temporarily cannot see the movie. Pretty freakin' annoying. The lobby also looks a teensy gamy when the lights are on, and the stairs to the second floor are pretty narrow. When there are a lot of movies, it gets pretty crowded.

Parking is not a problem, since there is a Vons nearby with plenty of space. Nice. You're in Newport Beach also, so there are plenty of good places nearby to eat. The Lido is a stranger in today's marketplace of megaplexes. That is what makes its future uncertain. For the most part, the Lido plays movies that do not attract audiences. Sure this is Newport Beach and the market exists there, if anywhere, but it takes a lot for a movie to reap in the big bucks. It's easy enough for Edwards to unload unprofitable theaters to try to crawl back into solvency. The real test will be whether they decide to keep this theater to send a message that they support foreign and independent cinema. Their Cinematique theaters show that they do have a commitment to these movies, now let's see how this lasts while as the money trickles in.

5459 Via Lido
Newport Beach, CA

949 673 8350

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