It's National Popcorn Day on 19 January, the best excuse to go to the movies and grab an extra big pot of the world's healthiest snack!
This article takes you to the movies in Perth, with an overview of the best independent and outdoor cinemas. But first, some fun facts about popcorn!
Did You Know?
- Historians don't really know when corn was first popped, but many believe it goes back to South American indigenous people. Timing has been put at anything between 500 and 5000 years ago, with evidence of popcorn being used for decoration in Aztec ceremonial head-dresses.
- Popcorn was first sold as a snack in the 19th century after a candy shop owner called Charles Cretors invented a corn popping machine using steam. At first, the machines were only used on street carts.
- Later on, Glen W Dickson installed popcorn machines in his movie theatres, starting the trend we all know and love.
- Popcorn's popularity took another boost when Percy Spencer invested the microwave oven, the perfect way to air-pop corn!
- National Popcorn Day began in the US and is often celebrated during the Super Bowl, which occurs around the same time, popcorn being a favourite snack to accompany big sports events.
- Air-popped corn (as opposed to cooking in oil or butter) is one of the healthiest foods you can find. This tasty whole-grain snack is high in fibre and antioxidants, yet low in fat and sugar-free.
- It's what we add to popcorn that changes its nutritional value. And the options are endless. Apart from the traditional butter and salt, try adding rosemary and salt, chilli, caramel, chocolate, honey or ice cream. Popcorn also makes a great breakfast cereal with milk and maple syrup. Take a snap of your creation and post it using the hashtag #NationalPopcornDay.
Where to Eat Popcorn
Where's the best place to indulge in popcorn? At the movies of course! Independent cinemas in Perth often allow you to take in a beer too, which goes remarkably well with popcorn.
The beginnings of Australian cinema in outdoor movie theatres, with deckchairs and temporary screens, has evolved into some excellent cinemas around Perth, a city that loves to celebrate film.
As well as blockbuster Hollywood movies at various locations, Lotterywest Films screens quality international gems every summer, the Revelation Perth International Film Festival arrives in winter, and throughout the year there are festivals celebrating the best of film from almost every country you can think of, plus special screenings of arthouse films, by Luna Palace Cinemas around Perth.
Perth City Cinemas
Palace Cinemas now have the brand new Palace Raine Square Cinemas in Perth CBD are great news for movie goers, with reclining leather seats and extra space for your bags and drinks for a more comfortable experience.
The complex has two bars and a rooftop terrace overlooking Yagan Square, which joins the City to Northbridge nightlife. Grab a drink and snack to take into the movie with you: popcorn and Prosecco come highly recommended as a perfect combination.
If you join the Palace Movie Club, tickets are a very reasonable price. In addition, for a few more dollars you can enjoy one of the four cinemas dedicated to Palace Platinum class, with seats handmade in Spain and on-call waiter service. These tickets are $30.00, or $25.00 for Club members. Look out for more film festivals at this venue, after the successful screening of the British Film Festival in spring.
In Northbridge itself is an old established Perth favourite, Cinema Paradiso. This stylish Palace Cinema screens the best of arthouse, independent, stage-to-screen and international films, as well as the popular mainstream movies, in its four theatres.
Film festivals to watch for here include Spanish, Italian, Scandinavian and Polish, collating the pick of the best cinema from each country at different times of the year.
While You're There
In Perth City, there are lots of summery places to eat and drink. Check this link for rooftop venues, head to The Lucky Shag or The Point Bar and Grill on the Swan River, or explore a range of delicious options in the stunning State Buildings on St Georges Terrace. Visit Elizabeth Quay and take a ferry across to Perth Zoo, tour the fabulous Optus Stadium, or explore Perth Cultural Centre's Art Gallery and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.
More Cinemas across Perth
Luna Palace Cinemas are known in Perth for screening the best of new releases, top class film festivals and arthouse movies, all in relatively small and stylish theatres - perfect choices for National Popcorn Day!
A delightful Luna Palace open air cinema sits nestled in the suburb of Mosman Park, between the Swan River and Perth Beaches. Camelot Outdoor Cinema is a stunning art deco construction surrounding an intimate cinematic experience with seating on deckchairs and beanbags.
This is a fabulous place to enjoy the season's top films, such as Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star is Born, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, The Children Act, Colette, Mary Poppins Returns and King of Thieves. You'll find the occasional old classic in there too.
Even better, while this little gem isn't so hot on the popcorn (take your own), you can munch on a delicious home-made pizza and purchase drinks and snacks before the film.
In Leederville and Fremantle are two of the most chilled out cinema complexes in Perth. On the vibrant Oxford Street cafe strip, Luna Leederville's recently renovated group of small funky theatres are licensed, requiring under 18s to be accompanied by an adult. As well as screening current hit movies, these cinemas are committed to presenting documentary, discussions and live feeds from the New York Met Opera and UK National Theatre.
In summer, Luna Outdoor Cinema opens at Luna Leederville, with a mix of table seating and beanbags. Pre-purchase tickets, as this tiny theatre fills up quickly.
Fremantle's Luna on SX, so-called because of its laneway location between Essex and Norfolk Streets, is another set of intimate cinema screens with a licensed bar and plenty of popcorn. All the Luna Palace film festivals visit this venue, alongside Hollywood and European blockbusters.
While You're There
Leederville is popular for its alternative vibe centred on the Oxford Street strip, which has lots of cafes, restaurants and fascinating little shops to browse. Mosman Park is well located for meandering around the river, doing a spot of fishing down at Freshwater Bay, or lazing on Leighton Beach.
Fremantle has enough happening to keep you occupied for days. Wander around the art galleries, markets and shops, stop for a bite in one of the many cafes and restaurants, including some wonderful authentic Italian eateries, and relax down at Fishing Boat Harbour or Bathers Beach. There's also Fremantle Prison, the WA Maritime Museum and the WA Shipwreck Museum waiting to be explored.
Moonlight Open Air Cinema
The Kings Park summertime open air cinema is run by Australia's popular Event Cinemas, which has complexes in Innaloo, Whitford City and Galleria Morley.
Located in May Drive Parkland, Moonlight Cinema is a huge grassy venue with a limited number of bean beds, so get there early and bring your own picnic rugs and cushions in case you miss out. Picnic chairs are allowed but you'll be directed to sit towards the back so that you don't block anyone's view.
Gates open at 6.00pm, and you are welcome to bring your own drinks and food, or purchase from a plentiful and varied range of meals and snacks, including salted, sweet and salty, or salted caramel popcorn. Note that alcohol isn't served for movies rated G and PG.
Better still, purchase a Connoisseur Lounge ticket for $30.00 to gain access to a prime viewing area with reserved bean bed, or splash out on Gold Grass at $35.00 to enjoy waiter service before the start of the film as well. These premium tickets need to be booked in advance as seating is limited.
While You're There
There are few cities in the world with such a magnificent space as Kings Park. You can easily fill a day here, strolling, cycling, picnicking and kicking a footy around with the kids. Cafes and playgrounds are there to keep the whole family active and energised, while interpretive walks and guided tours are available for the inquisitive.
Just Add Popcorn
Throughout the summer, movie lovers flock to the fabulous Somerville Auditorium and Joondalup Pines outdoor cinemas for the Lotterywest Film season, screening the best movies from around the globe. Don't let the subtitles deter you - it's amazing how your brain adjusts until you forget you're reading them and become absorbed in the drama. These films are of such quality that it's worth the extra tiny effort.
Just experiencing two of Perth's favourite open air cinemas is a treat. Deckchairs under the stars are a nostalgic nod to the original Australian outdoor movie theatres, and create a wonderfully relaxing night out. Take cushions and blankets for total curl-up comfort; in our dry climate, a hot day isn't necessarily followed by a warm night, so be prepared.
Most patrons turn up early with a picnic and spread out on the grass until sundown, reserving their seats with blankets. Gates open at 6.00pm at Somerville and 6.30pm at the Pines. You can bring your own food and drink, Somerville has a bar and there are tasty snacks on sale at both cinemas. The glaring omission is popcorn. Thank goodness it's available from the supermarket in packets, so you can add it to your picnic!
If you haven't made it to any Lotterywest Films yet this season, there's still plenty of time to enjoy this open air cinema experience. Screening from mid January are Cold War, a beautiful romantic story set in post-war Europe; Shoplifters, a heart-warming tale from the back streets of Tokyo and winner of the prestigious Cannes Palme d'Or; Willem Dafoe's portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity's Gate; and Everybody Knows, a compelling mystery starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.
While You're There
The Somerville Auditorium is on the University of WA campus, right next to Matilda Bay in Crawley. This section of the Swan River is a wonderful spot to spend the day with the family, messing about in the river, picnicking with snacks and ice creams from the cafe, and setting up a game of cricket.
Joondalup Pines is on the Edith Cowan University campus, close to the centre of the town, which has lots of cafes, eclectic restaurants and hopping bars. If you prefer to get away from it all, walk or cycle around Lake Joondalup in Yellagonga Regional Park, where you might spot freshwater turtles from the jetty.