What do some of the best movies have in common? One: They’re all total classics that should be on everyone’s watch list. Two: They use a romantic movie date night as a key turning point in their plots.
True, not all the dates go well, but this proves a basic human truth: there’s magic and romance in sitting together in a dark theater (your house works just fine, too). And, it turns out, the movie itself is not so crucial.
So, if you’re looking to plan a movie date night and you need some ideas, the dating experts at Bumble have you covered. Keep reading for thoughts on finding or creating a date-worthy venue, plus our must-know tips on choosing the right genre.
Pick a movie venue that works for you
Give it some theatre
We love neutral ground for a first date, so checking out a movie theatre is always a good plan. And even if you’ve made it well beyond date number one, a movie theatre can give your evening a proper date-night glow, a touch more special than a night on the couch. Plus, there’s hot buttery popcorn and delicious drinks to keep you comfortable for the night—and a plentiful supply of pickles, if you’re in Texas. Love those snack vibes, Texans!
Don’t get us wrong, we’re down for ‘flix and chill too… but it can majorly flop without a good set-up.
“Years ago, my friend matched with someone on a dating app and got an invitation from a guy to literally ‘Netflix and chill,’” says Tyler, 33. “I mean, he actually used that phrase. And when she got there, it turned out the guy had no furniture except a little office set-up and a bed. He was going to play a movie on his laptop.”
So speaking of set-up…
DIY screening room
If you’ve got the space and the tech, consider setting up some speakers and a few oversized pillows, plus providing drinks and working up some (low crunch) snacks. Voilà! Cinema chez moi.
An at-home set-up also gives you the widest choice of movies. Genre-wise, you can create the vibe for the at-home movie date you want (more on this later).
Think outside the multiplex
I prefer the arthouse theater experience,” says Jessica. “Little three-screen theaters feel more intimate and romantic than a multiplex.”
It’s true, arthouse theatres are retro romantic and they’ll have cool indie picks on offer. Discovering an A+ new film or great director together is a serious bonding experience and will give you enough conversation ammo for the rest of the evening.
If arthouse isn’t really your thing, find a drive-in and you’re in an old-school movie date night adventure! Or consider one of the chic cinema restaurants that serve food and fancy drinks along with curated films to fit the theme—guaranteed to spark feelings, right?
Check the movie genre
We’re here to help you have a perfect date every time, and we’ve got some thoughts about genre. Here are some of our tried-and-tested rules for making your movie date great.
Romance with a capital R?
It’s a tricky one, but we recommend treading carefully around romance movies in early dates. The hyper-emotional plots move super fast from meet-cute to star-crossed lovers. Seeing these films with someone new can make you feel like you’ve been dropped into the wrong part of the story.
It’s so much easier to enjoy flirting with your cute potential crush in front of a date-night movie without the pressure to be a star-crossed lover.
We don’t love spoilers, but we do advocate for a quick scan of the content warnings on your movie date choice. Shannon, 30, has some wise words: “I really don’t enjoy slasher movies for dates. They’re just grotesque to me.”
We’re holding back from generalising here, as the horror genre is too diverse with way too many subcategories for a hard-and-fast rule. That said, here are some helpful guidelines. Torture-focused in the gory vein? Probably not. Slashers? Save them for your BFF.
Art horror or a classic are safer bets. Also, contemporary social-issue horror moviessay ‘I like to be scared out of my mind, but I also contain multitudes’.
Here’s a safer, yet still fun, way to instigate the kind of adrenaline buzz that pairs well with romantic attraction. Big-budget, well-made action films can fill nearly two hours with plot twists and pulse-quickening moments that set you up for a super-charged evening. But note: Not everyone loves action films. Which brings us to…
It’s probably the safest genre for a date-night movie. The vibe is light and the plots are simple, which makes it easier to have a laugh and a chat without missing vital plot points. If the movie gets rude, it tends to be in a silly way. No one’s too smart for a great comedy and they get you laughing together.
“I have had a great time watching [a comedy film] on a date,” says Shannon, 30. “It’s just super funny and I feel like everyone can relate in some sense. You can get to know someone quickly by what they laugh at, and you build the strongest bonds with laughter.”
Be mindful when choosing an oldie
“Lately I’ve been having an oddly hard time watching films because I can’t turn off my alarms for sexism, racism, classism, and homophobia that so casually make their way into a shocking number of movies from yesterday and today,” Tyler admits. She doesn’t rule out older movies—quite the contrary—but suggests a mindful approach to picking them for a date night movie.
“A good movie invitation is one both parties pick together, and settle on, because they’re both into it,” says Tyler.
She recommends finding a good art house that plays older films and exploring directors you might both enjoy.
Seize the moment
If you’re into your date, use the louder scenes as an opportunity to build intimacy. Say something quietly enough that they have to lean in closer. And we recommend not ending the date right after the credits! A great reason to go on a movie date is to make a night of it and talk over the film you just saw together. Grab some dinner or take a walk, chatting about the parts you loved or where you think it went wrong.
We hope you feel to pick your own path as well as your movie. Do a little research, but don’t overthink it. Do a little planning but stay open to new directions. Everyone’s a critic but you’re not on the screen, just the star of your own life. And if you’re looking for someone to star alongside you as your date for a movie night, download Bumble now to find them!