Most movie theaters are dead, these ones aren’t: The best movie theaters in Marin.

Garrett Cook

Movie theaters are a dying business. Fewer and fewer people show up to watch films in the cinema every year, and movie studios have noticed. The name of the game is streaming, so Disney, Universal and Warner Brothers are all rolling out shiny new streaming platforms in the near future to help capitalize on entertainment found on the internet. But, if you still enjoy the popcorn, slushies, fun crowds and nights out, here are three local Marin theaters still at the top of their game in the medium price range. 


Century Northgate is located inside of the Northgate mall in San Rafael and offers a reliable and comfortable theater experience. A useful back entrance directly to the theater is located at the end of the mall to the right of where the Sears used to be, and when walking through it, you immediately smell the strong scent of popcorn. Northgate has the best popcorn, no questions asked. The worker usually adds butter in layers so it’s all spread out, and not just concentrated at the top. The price of food is expensive, like at any theater, but it’s well worth it because of the variety of snack options and the mouthwatering popcorn. Northgate stands apart from its competitors because of its sheer volume of quality screens located inside, which means movies almost never sell out (unless they are Marvel). The screens are a decent size and offer a good picture, but the seats are on the lower end of the quality spectrum. Northgate is stuck with the small, black, plush seats from 2003 and hinder the viewing experience just a bit. When watching a movie over the two and a half hour mark, the seats can become uncomfortable and hurt your butt. If you want an upgraded seat, Fairfax Theater 6 just renovated their chairs and they are magnificent.

The best popcorn in Marin (Century Northgate).

Fairfax Theater 6:

Located down the street from Fairfax Scoop, Fairfax Theater 6 shines bright with its old fashioned neon lighting outlining its name and movie titles. The seats are now large, ultra-comfortable recliners that make you feel like you are lying on your most comfortable couch at home with your dog snuggled up against you. On the other hand, the snack stand does not have the variety that Northgate has. In particular, Fairfax does not have slushies, which is very disappointing because a slushie paired with popcorn is one of the best movie theater snack combinations. Other than that, Fairfax is equipped with the best regular priced viewing experience in Marin and is rarely crowded. The screens available are on the smaller side, but if you would like a larger screen for the same price, Century Cinema is where to go.

The shining neon lights outside of Fairfax Theater 6.

Century Cinema:

Although Century Cinema only has one screen, it is a large one. If you aren’t willing to spend the extra money to see a film in formats like IMAX or Dolby, Century Cinema is your best bet. The seats are standard, but the room is large and fun to watch horror movies in because of the enhanced crowd reactions. The concessions stand and popcorn are superior to Fairfax’s, but don’t reach the level of Northgate’s. Sadly, since there is only one screen, the line for new film releases are usually pretty long. If you are going to see the latest blockbuster at Century Cinema, get there about 20 minutes in advance with your ticket already purchased online.

Outside of Century Cinema.

If you are ever feeling like you want to take a break from a Netflix binge and see the newest movie in theaters, these options are sure to provide reliable and fun experiences. Sometimes going out to the theater can be a lot more fun than staying home on your laptop, especially when a large recliner and popcorn are involved.