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The holidays are all about family, food, gift giving and…movies on Christmas Day. As you’re planning what to do (and see) on your days off, consider the extra-special offerings at these five area theaters. And leave the big, overpriced tub of buttery popcorn to the common folk.


For Direct-to-Seat Delivery: Alamo Drafthouse

At long last, the New Mission outpost will open its doors this week. The theater chain, started in Austin, Texas, is known for handcrafted cocktails and upscale snacks (think a “Royale with Cheese” burger and warm chocolate-chip cookies) delivered right to your seat. They also host the occasional theme night (Star Wars fans, ready your lightsabers) and will even bring in an orchestra to play a live score to certain featured films.

2550 Mission St.; 415-549-5959 or


For Serious Film Buffs: Sundance Kabuki

Not only does this beloved cinema offer reserved seating in all of its theaters but genre-specific films (like period drama Brooklyn and British crime thriller Legend) are shown in two ground-floor-level screening rooms (theaters 7 and 8) that have rocking-chair love seats and mini tables.

1881 Post St.; 415-346-3243 or


For Musical Lovers: Castro Theatre

The historic gem hosts more sing-alongs than Broadway (next up is Singin’ in the Rain on December 30 and 31). It’s also home to resident organ player David Hegarty, who has been bringing audiences pre-movie tunes for more than 30 years.

429 Castro St.; 415-621-6350 or


For Cozy Viewing and Chat Groups: New Parkway Theater

Decorated like a 1970s living room, this spot in uptown Oakland has cozy vintage couches (plus the standard theater bucket seats) and is a community gathering space as much as a movie theater. Go here if you’re in the mood for a lively post-flick discussion, want to challenge your friends to a game of popcorn poker or are interested in watching the next Democratic presidential debate (on December 19) with fellow East Bay liberals. (Get $1 off your ticket if you bike there and show ticket takers your helmet.)
474 24th St., Oakland; 510-658-7900 or

For Fully Reclining Seats: Embarcadero Center Cinema

Tucked away on the promenade level of the quirky Embarcadero Center, the FiDi’s indie theater has four tiny screening lounges with luxury recliners. These wide first-class-like leather seats recline all the way so you feel as if you’re watching from the comfort of your bed. Buy your tickets for Friday- and Saturday-night flicks a week in advance--the lounges have only about two dozen seats, which sell out fast.

1 Embarcadero Center; 415-352-0835 or

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