Guides and Tips

Why You Need to See Your Next Movie at Universal CityWalk Hollywood

June 14, 2024
An exterior shot of Universal Cinema — An AMC Theatre at Universal CityWalk Hollywood.

Let’s play word association. I say: Hollywood. You say…what was that? Did you say movies? Yup. That’s what I thought. 

Universal Studios Hollywood is located right in the heart of Los Angeles, the movie-making capital of the world. This town is brimming with folks not just interested in making movies, but seeing them, talking about them, listening to podcasts about them, seeing them again, and — you get it. We Angelenos tend to see the movie theater as a sacred space. And while there are lots of fantastic places across town to catch a flick, there’s no place quite like  Universal CityWalk Hollywood

Just steps from Universal Studios Hollywood, the entertainment district features fantastic restaurants, great shopping, and one of the best movie theaters around: Universal Cinema – An AMC Theatre. This 19-auditorium theater features premium sound and screens, oh-so-cozy luxury seating, a drink list inspired by Universal classics, and much more. Plus it’s a stone’s throw from the Universal Studios backlot — literally where movies get made. Not a whole lot of theaters can make that claim.

But enough chit-chat, let’s get into the details! Here’s why you need to see your next movie at Universal Cinema at CityWalk Hollywood. 

Breezy Parking

Parking signage at Universal CityWalk Hollywood,

If you’re an Angeleno, chances are you’re already wondering: But is there parking!? Worry not! If you’re seeing a movie, General Parking costs just $5. There are two ways to get $5 Cinema parking:

  • AMC Theatres website or app: We recommend purchasing your movie ticket ahead of time on the AMC Theatres website or app. When you do, you’ll receive a barcode in the confirmation email to scan at the CityWalk parking tollbooth. Easy!
  • Rebate on site: If you’re not one to plan ahead (guilty), no worries! Just pay for General Parking when you arrive at the CityWalk parking tollbooth, then bring your receipt to the Universal Cinema box office to receive a rebate.

Cutting-Edge Technology

Guests enjoy a movie at Universal Cinema at Universal CityWalk Hollywood.

“In Los Angeles, one of the premier AMC moviegoing destinations is Universal Cinema AMC at CityWalk Hollywood,” says Ryan Noonan, VP of corporate communications for AMC. The movie theater offers several different kinds of Premium Large Format (PLF) experiences, including IMAX with Laser at AMC and PRIME at AMC (more on that below). Plus, the theater includes non-PLF auditoriums that feature the latest in projection technology through Laser at AMC. 

But there’s one format that makes Universal Cinema really stand out among the rest. In fact, Universal Cinema at CityWalk has the uncommon capacity to screen some of the highest quality movie images on the planet. 

Behold: IMAX 70mm.

But what does this actually mean for the typical moviegoer? Who, you know, doesn’t speak fluent film lingo? In 70mm IMAX, movies are bigger, brighter and better than most moving pictures you see. Most films these days are shot either digitally or on 35mm film. To compare, 70mm film is about ten times the size of 35mm. Practically, that means 70mm film is able to capture much more color and definition than its most common counterparts. 

And the IMAX format makes those pictures even bigger. An IMAX screen can be up to 40 percent larger than a “regular” film screen. Specifically, IMAX is about 8.3x larger than 35mm, and 3.4x larger than 70mm. Like 70mm film, IMAX captures more color and detail than its more basic counterparts.  “IMAX with Laser at AMC has become synonymous with blockbuster moviegoing,” says Noonan. “A number of leading filmmakers film with IMAX cameras, which helps draw audiences even closer to the action.”

So IMAX + 70mm provides the largest, richest, most granular films out there today. 

Lots of cinemas have IMAX theaters, and many movie theaters have 70mm film projectors. But not a whole lot of theaters have the capability to screen movies on IMAX in 70mm. Indeed, Universal Cinema at CityWalk is one of just 30 theaters on the planet able to do so.

And that’s what Universal Cinema offers: the very best film viewing experience available on the market today. Yup. It’s legit.


PRIME at AMC signage at Universal Cinema.

As of 2024, Universal Cinema acquired yet another amenity: an AMC PRIME auditorium. PRIME is AMC’s very own Premium Large Format brand, discreet from IMAX. It features high contrast Barco 4K laser projection, which in turn delivers up to 30% brighter images than standard projection. In other words: PRIME at AMC looks really good.

But PRIME is about more than just the screen itself. It combines immersive sound, luxury seating and large format presentation for the ultimate moviegoing experience. The signature PRIME portal entry makes you feel like you’re leaving the world behind and entering a whole new universe. 

My favorite PRIME perk? The rumble effect. Seats are installed with so-called ”buttkickers,” which provide physical sensations synched to the film’s audio. It really makes you feel like you’re the one speeding a car through dark city streets, or tussling with a bad guy, or discovering your own superpowers. 

PRIME is great for any kind of movie, but the auditorium tends to show the biggest and most popular films of the moment.  “On any given week, that may mean the biggest explosions, or the biggest scares, or the biggest laughs, or the biggest stars,” says Noonan. 

Get Super Cozy

Guests enjoy a movie at Universal Cinema at Universal CityWalk Hollywood.

But let’s not ignore another very important part of the moviegoing ritual: the comfy factor. It’s tough to beat the coziness of your own living room couch. But AMC Signature Recliners — found throughout most of Universal Cinema — get you pretty darn close. With the push (and hold) of a button, your plush, leather chair gets you nearly horizontal, a.k.a. in the perfect viewing position. 

The recliners at Universal Cinema are, in my humble opinion, the most comfortable movie theater chairs in Los Angeles, possibly anywhere. Am I basically writing a romantic sonnet to the AMC Signature Recliner? Yes, yes I am. I think the chair deserves such a treatment, thank you very much. 

And if you’re a movie theater chair aficionado like me, you’ll be very intrigued to learn that the recliners in the AMC PRIME auditorium has heated recliners. New coziness level unlocked. 

All of the Universal Excitement 

Broad street shot of Universal CityWalk Hollywood.

Oh, right, there’s one other big perk to seeing movies at Universal Cinema. You’re literally right next to the Universal backlot! Seeing a movie at CityWalk means seeing a movie adjacent to a working film studio — literally where movies get made. There’s a chance the next movie on your to-see list was shot (at least in part) at Universal. From the classic Universal Monsters to contemporary blockbusters, the Universal backlot is where films (and film history) are made. 

Between Universal CityWalk, Universal Studios Hollywood theme park attractions, and the proximity to the studio itself, the history and magic of the movies come to life at Universal Cinema. The Universal Studios-inspired fun isn’t confined to the silver screen at this movie theater. For instance:

  • Check out the costume display cases on the first and second floors to see movie magic IRL. The featured wardrobe rotates every few weeks, but it’s always plucked straight from the Universal archives — so you’re witnessing movie history in person. 
  • For the over-21 crowd, head up to the Director’s Lounge for a drink before the show. There, you can sip drinks inspired by Universal classic movies, including the Isla Nublar Draft IPA, the Universal Mai Tai, the Frankenstein’s Revival, and more. 
  • Pop across CityWalk to Celebrity Authentics. This shop is full of bona fide movie paraphernalia, from film props to autographed superhero figurines, all verified and authentic. 
  • Cruise through the Universal Studio Store, Cartooniversal, and Production Central. All three shops are packed with merch based on some of your favorite Universal stories.

Steps From the Universal Backlot

A Studio Tour tram stops at the War of the Worlds set on the Universal Studios backlot.

If all that Universal fun piques your interest, I’d definitely recommend heading into the theme park and taking a spin on the World-Famous Studio Tour. Now celebrating its 60th Anniversary, the Studio Tour is a 60-minute tram tour through the Universal Studios backlot. On it, guests get to see iconic (and recognizable) movie sets, experience Hollywood thrills through stunning practical effects, and step inside the movies on immersive 3D attractions. The tour is included with theme park admission. 

While you might not be able to tack on a theme park day after your movie night, it’s certainly worth a return visit. The Studio Tour is an absolute must-experience for any movie buff. 

So if you love movies like we do, Universal Cinema is the place to see ‘em. There’s nothing like seeing movies where movies are made. 

Must be 21 years and older with valid photo identification to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. Drink responsibly. 

What’s your favorite thing about seeing movies at Universal CityWalk Hollywood? Let us know in the comments below. 

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