According to the Saturday edition of the Australian newspaper The Age, a new open-air, rooftop movie theater will open in Melbourne this December. The entrepreneur behind the project, who has sunk nearly a million dollars into it, claims that the lights of Melbourne's ubiquitous skyscrapers make for an amazing cinematic vision, and when used as a backdrop to a city-lights-heavy movie like Lost in Translation, can jack up the whole experience to another level. The high-altitude, open-air setting also apparently keeps ambient noise to a minimum. The theater will seat 200 and provide dinner and drinks.
No word yet on whether Melbournites will be able to view first-run releases in this fashion -- only vintage fare like Blade Runner and Flashdance is being billed as of now. Personally, I think it's hard to beat complete blackness as the ideal environment for cinema. Nothing is more frustrating than a theater that keeps some 'mood lighting' on at all times or the sudden illumination of a thousand Blackberries as the lights go out. Are there any sophisticated rooftop theaters in Manhattan that I'm not aware of? I doubt that we have anything as elaborate as this. The noise level in the city, which gets worse every year, would probably make such an experiment more trouble than it's worth. But it would be a fun thing to try.