On this matter I must disagree with you. I am most certainly referring to the movie theatre when I say let's go to the "movies". Perhaps if you wanted to argue semantics you could make the distinction which "Lago" has suggested. But in simple and functional terms if you tell anyone in the United States that you want to go to the movies, their mind will likely take them to the nearest theatre, not "the thing being shown there", but the physical building where movies are shown that they are most likely to attend.
Iago is right. "Let's go to the movies" refers to the event, not the place. It's like saying "let's go to the game" or "let's go to the concert". The reason it's plural is because at the advent of film theaters sold tickets to get in and you got to watch all of the films (movies) they had.
You: Let's go to the movies!
Me: Which one?
There is absolutely nothing peculiar or odd about this conversation, which (to me) proves that "the movies" CAN definitely refer to a building (or company, in this case Edwards). Also, if there was an incident and you asked "where did it happen?," "at the movies/at AMC" would be a very reasonable response (I actually had to refrain from writing "at the movies" after incident).
You: Let's go (out to) eat!
Me: Which one?
You: Red Lobster.
This is a very strange conversation that would never happen between two native English speakers.
So, "the movies" and "(out to) eat" are not parallel examples. In fact, "the movies" is a noun (like the word "building") and "eat" is a verb.
It could well be regional, but having lived in several different places in the U.S. I think movies can refer to the building or to the film. "Let's go to the movies." "Which one?" "Well, 'Cinderella' is at the Waterfront and 'It Follows' is at the Waterworks. In any case locally, if we were referring to the building we would probably say "movie theater" unless of course it was one of my British friends, who would say "movie theatre."
The term could go either way--the place or the event. If one says, "Let's go to the movies," it isn't usually understood that you'll be watching a movie on television or Netflicks. Rather, it is a place where movies are shown, and they sell food and drinks. By the way, most Americans say "movie theater" but NEVER "movie theatre," which is a British spelling. The Brits commonly say "cinema."