The Classic “Dinner and a Movie” Date (and How to Add Some Variety)

If you type “Dinner and a Movie Date” into Google one of the first results is a blog about why this date is a bad idea.

I say nonsense!

The main arguments are that A) it’s a big time commitment, B) it’s expensive, and C) you don’t have time to “connect”.

I can’t help but think people are doing dinner and movie dates wrong if they can’t find time to chit-chat and have fun. Are you with me on this? Dinner and movie is a classic for good reason — you get the best of both worlds: food and a good flick.

How dinner and a movie became a regular date night (my guess)

It might be long ago people went to dinner theater, getting to be part of the experience while chowing down on food. These are quite fun if you haven’t done one — but what about its modern version?

Cinema has always captivated audiences.

If you want to see something interesting then check out how these people reacted seeing a train on film way back in the day:

Woo! Could you have imagined?

As time went on, movies became a regular staple. Today, going to the cinema doesn’t seem as frequent thanks to Netflix. But, going to the movies is a wholly unique experience with the big picture and booming sounds. You get captivated by the silver screen.

Movies are long and concession prices are high. I’d say this was one of the reasons why people made dinner and a movie a thing. The other being maybe people were already out and about — with movie theaters close to happening spots where people ate.

Why you’d love dinner and a movie

Let’s think here:

  • Good food
  • (Hopefully) good film

Chowing down and chit-chatting

Dining greases the interaction if this is the first date. You can order a beer or glass of wine and start to unwind. Those dating a while have their favorite spots, leaving more time to chat as they probably know what they’re already ordering.

Having fun with the film

The film is a 50/50.

Sometimes you can both agree on a film. A trailer drop got you both excited? Make that the big trip. See a movie that looks laughably terrible? That’s a good excuse to go to the movies as well!

Even if the movie ends up a dud you can still have fun. Bad bad movies are fun to rift to (if you’re not being disruptive).


Hand holding is just cutesy enough to show your affection. Sharing popcorn and drinks create a bit of bonding. You also kinda get to know the person based on how they react — like being courteous or outright loud and obnoxious.

It’s a time commitment

The time commitment is another thing. Dinner and a movie can easily take up 2 – 4 hours of your afternoon. This gives plenty of time to chat and enjoy each other’s company.

Though it’s a bit pricey

Movie ticket prices… yikes!

It sucks when you spend a bunch on tickets just to have it spoiled by some group of teens. Or, it turns out to be a bad flick. The date may not go too well, either, if this is your first — that means you’ve spent a bunch of money and now stuck next to this person. Ugh.

You can save a bit of money buying movie tickets through Fandango. Ultimately, I’d recommend waiting a week after premiers to get the real Rotten Tomatoes score.

How to make a dinner and a movie night more interesting (and special)

This will largely depend on your area but my suggestion is go to the drive-in. Yes, they’re still around and they are a-ma-zing!


Drive-in theaters — although it’s distracting — is awesome for a few reasons if one’s available in your area:

  • You get all the space you want while sitting outside
  • Concession food and drinks are super cheap
  • It’s usually a double-feature movie so double the fun

You can technically combine the two because a lot of these drive-in’s serve pizza, burgers, and other big items.

Small gatherings

I know this local sushi place that does weekly anime movie nights. There’s also a couple places that’ll do artsy or classic films. They’re tiny venues — usually 50 – 100 people.

These film gatherings are often pretty close to hip areas. You can find tons of great food in the area including awesome street food. Or, maybe catch a couple food trucks rolling through!

Movies on the lawn

Check your local parks, universities, and city/town pages because there may be a regular “movies on the lawn” type showings.

Movies on the lawn are a great place to do up the dinner and a movie night. You get some fresh air, lots of food choices, and usually see a flick that hasn’t been in theater for years.

Swap it

Should you do dinner then a movie? Or a movie then dinner? Try the latter as the movie gives you plenty to talk about during dinner.

You two could pick apart your favorite scenes or rip on the flick. It’s the perfect icebreaker versus awkwardly getting settled in while trying to order food.

Dinner and a Movie Date Tips

I wouldn’t overthink it when it comes to how to act on a movie date.

With that said…

Movie date tips for the ladies and fellas

  • Tip #1: The theater gets cold so bring a jacket (or use this as an opportunity to cuddle up)
  • Tip #2: Go dutch on the date or he pays for dinner and you do the movies (unless one of you insists)
  • Tip #3: Pick a place and movie you’d actually want to do then meet halfway (or one picks the dining, other picks the movie)
  • Tip #4: Don’t even think about getting on your phone!
  • Tip #5: Know one another’s boundaries — learn to read each other before you begin making moves
  • Tip #6: Be on time. Duh!

You’ve done both these things time and time again with friends. You’ve done it with family.

Have fun, hold conversations, and respect each other. Dinner and a movie is meant to be a good mix of bonding and intimacy. Enjoy your food, good company, and (hopefully) a good flick that’ll keep you chatting afterward. Then, make some plans and make sure you get home safe.

So… what do you think about this date night idea? Want to add your suggestions or tips? Leave a comment below!

If you type “Dinner and a Movie Date” into Google one of the first results is a blog about why this date is a bad idea. I say nonsense! The main arguments are that A) it’s a big time commitment, B) it’s expensive, and C) you don’t have time to “connect”. I can’t help but…