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I would like to write the equivalent of "people usually go to a cinema after going to a restaurant and they usually choose the closest cinema to the restaurant" in American English. I think the following could be the answer:

"people usually go to the movies after going to a restaurant and they usually choose the closest movie theater to the restaurant".

but I am not sure since the term "the movies" seems to refer to a known cinema not any cinema.

  • I would probably say "go to a movie" rather than "go to the movies". And they "choose the theater that is closest to the restaurant." – Hot Licks Sep 23 '17 at 12:09
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    Practically speaking, don't people choose the movie first, and then choose a restaurant near the theater where the movie is playing? – Mitch Sep 23 '17 at 16:34
  • What @Mitch said. – Jim Sep 24 '17 at 1:10
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The movies is not limited to a specific known cinema or set of cinemas, though it often refers to such when saying someting like “Let’s go to the movies tonight.”. Your recast of the sentence to use the movies and movie theater is fine.

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People usually go to dinner and a movie.

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