A movie theater or cinema hall also known as a picture house is a building that contains auditoria for viewing films (also called movies) for entertainment.

Most, but not all, theaters are commercial operations catering to the general public, who attend by purchasing a ticket.

Some movie theaters, however, are operated by non-profit organizations or societies that charge members a membership fee to view films.

The film is projected with a movie projector onto a large projection screen at the front of the auditorium while the dialogue, sounds and music are played through a number of wall-mounted speakers.

Since the 1970s, subwoofers have been used for low-pitched sounds. In the 2010s, most movie theaters are equipped for digital cinema projection, removing the need to create and transport a physical film print on a heavy reel.

Functions of a Movie Theatre in Kerala : VIDEO

Theaters are there for several purposes:

  1. To entertain us. Whether the show is a stage show or a motion picture (movie), the main reason for going to see the show is for entertainment. I will warn you know, there may be spoilers in here, so spoiler alert!
  2. To enlighten us. Depending on the type of show, it may be trying to give you a new way of thinking about ethics or politics, or how to overlook stereotypes, prejudice and racism. Of course, they could also serve to do the exact opposite.
  3. To inspire us. Some movies and plays are there to open our imaginations to the possibilities that we would never have though about before. Whether it’s a science fiction show that dwells on the subject of space travel, or travelling deep beneath the surface of our own oceans, these are the kinds that help make us think of things we can do to challenge our own souls into deeper interests.
  4. To mystify us. Some of these are almost magical. The first time I saw Les Mis, I was blown away. Not only was the music awesome and on point, but the storyline was heartbreaking almost from the beginning through to the end, but Jean Valjean never gave up. He captured our imaginations and held thme there in the palm of our hands from the moment he’s first introduced, until the moment he dies.
  5. To help us heal. Movies and plays can be very inspirational. They can be cathartic. They can touch our hearts and help cleans us of hate, or sorrow, or grief. They can leave us with a lasting sensation of hope, not just for the things we may want, but hope for humanity in general.

A great variety of films are shown at cinemas, ranging from animated films to blockbusters to documentaries. The smallest movie theaters have a single viewing room with a single screen.

In the 2010s, most movie theaters had multiple screens. The largest theater complexes, which are called multiplexes—a concept developed in Canada in the 1950s — have up to thirty screens. The audience members often sit on padded seats, which in most theaters are set on a sloped floor, with the highest part at the rear of the theater.

Movie theaters often sell soft drinks, popcorn, and candy, and some theaters sell hot fast food. In some jurisdictions, movie theaters can be licensed to sell alcoholic drinks.