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Where to watch movies in Kansas City: A guide to the best and biggest film theaters

View of B&B Mainstreet Theatre, looking up from the sidewalk.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
B&B Theatres - Mainstreet KC has changed names and ownership over the years, but started out as the Missouri Mainstreet in 1921.

Movies are made for the big screen. Whether you favor a blockbuster hit or an indie flick, living room seating or the drive-in experience, there's a movie theater in Kansas City suited to your style.

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Right now is the perfect time to make your way to a movie theater.

Whether you're hoping to catch a new blockbuster, a classic you’ve always wanted to see on the big screen, or — with the Oscars coming up in a few weeks — an awards contender that people won’t stop talking about, there's plenty of excuses to move from your couch to a comfy cinema seat.

Here are some of the best movie theaters in the Kansas City region.

Looking for dinner and a show? Check these out

Located in the former Alamo Drafthouse theater, B&B Theatres – Mainstreet KC at the Power & Light District is a beautiful and historic place to watch a movie. The iconic four-story building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. It has changed ownership and names over the years, but first opened as the Mainstreet Missouri, a vaudeville and movie house more than 100 years ago.

The theater itself serves an assortment of fast-food style meals, like burgers and fries, and it’s attached to Johnnie’s Jazz Bar & Grille, which also has live entertainment. Follow this link for showtimes, ticket prices, and more information.

AMC Theatreshas a bunch of locations around Kansas City, of course, but some have menus that go above and beyond the regular concessions. There’s the AMC Dine-In Prairiefire 17 in Overland Park, Kansas, and the AMC Dine-In Studio 28 in Olathe, Kansas. From pizza to salad to burgers and sandwiches, the locations share the same expansive menu and offer delicious desserts like the double decker shakes.

Indie and locally owned theaters

A red curtain hides the movie screen at Screenland Armour.
Screenland Armour
The historic Screenland Armour in North Kansas City first opened in 1928.

Glenwood Arts Theater in Overland Park is not only locally owned — it’s “twin owned!” Twin brothers Brian and Ben Mossman opened the place more than 40 years ago.

Today, Glenwood Arts shows some blockbusters, but their main focus is on independent or small, locally created films.

Screenland Armour is a historic, independent theater in North Kansas City. It first opened in 1928 as Armour Theatre, and today it screens everything from Marvel movies to international or local indie films to blockbusters. They also serve film-themed food (like the “Jon Hamm & Cheese” and “The Kevin Bacon” sandwiches), as well as 20 beers on tap and boozy slushies. Plus, Screenland opened a ‘90s themed dive bar in the basement calledRewind Video (find it by going through the alley behind the theater).

Tivoli at the Nelson-Atkins is well known in the city for showing indie films, restored old movies, foreign films and more. While some may be familiar with Tivoli from its old days in Westport, that location sadly shut down, but Tivoli quickly found a new home at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s auditorium.

Located in Independence, Missouri, Pharaoh 4 Cinema is another old-fashioned theater that is more than 40 years old. With its nostalgic, neon sign and stained glass, the Pharaoh is a beautiful way to step back in time and watch a film (though the movies are contemporary).

Other cool theaters to try

It’s a little chilly for a drive-in movie, but when spring rolls around, you’ll want to keep these two theaters in mind: Boulevard Drive In, located in Kansas City, Kansas, and B&B Theaters Twin Drive In located in Independence, Missouri.

Load up on your favorite drinks and snacks and pack some cozy pillows and blankets and you’ll be set! While both locations close for the winter, Boulevard opens again in April. Stay tuned to social media to find out when Twin Drive In will reopen.

If you’re feeling like a big shot, check out the largest theater in Kansas City: Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre. The Extreme Screen is an enormous 400-seat theater with an 80-by-53-foot screen, but tucked inside of Union Station it kind of hides in plain sight. The theater shows family-friendly, first-run films, retro movies during the holidays, and educational films.

Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga reports on health disparities in access and health outcomes in both rural and urban areas.
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