Going to the movies is basically the same everywhere - basically. There are a few unique qualities to visiting a German kino (cinema) and knowing about them beforehand can help sweeten the popcorn (literally - the popcorn is sweet! Refer to the section on snacks below).
Here are top tips to going to the movies in Germany.
Picking a Movie Theatre in Germany
Whether you want a movie crafted at the historic Studio Babelsberg - like the Grand Hotel Budapest - or a international blockbuster, there is a movie theatre for you. Our full listing of historic, art-house cinemas can help you decide on where to go in Berlin.
Know that your choice will be judged by your German cinema partners. A big commercial cinema may be the only place showing the latest superhero movie, but award-winning independent movies play better in unique theaters. There are also several theaters that act as the venues for the country's most prestigious film festival, Berlinale. A spectacular setting throughout the year, they are a true destination during the festival in February.
Movie Release Dates in Germany
Germany gets almost all of the major releases you would expect in the places like the USA. While the premieres often lag a few weeks, or at most a few months, occasionally a release will be before a film's American release.
When you're looking for a movie, note that it may have received a German re-nameing. For example, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" became "Ferris macht Blau" and Animal House's German title is "Ich glaub', mich tritt ein Pferd" (I believe a horse kicked me”).
German Movie Ticket Prices
Karten (tickets) normally cost around 8 euro, but may be much higher during peak times or for extra features like IMAX or 3D. Other common add-ons include .50-1 euro for buying online, 1 euro for 3D glasses, and a small charge for movies over 2 hours.
Movie-goers can find discounts on Kinotage (discount cinema days). These are usually from Monday to Wednesday, depending on the theatre. There may also be a student or senior discount if you can present an ID.
Note that movie tickets usually come with a seat reservation. You can ask for a specific area or seat and the cashier will offer suggestions. Certain desirable sections charge a small additional fee.
English-Language Movies in Germany
While this can be annoying for English-speakers and film purists, there is something interesting abut dubbed films. If you watch Brad Pitt in his many German-dubbed movies, he will always sound the same. Specific German voice actors are assigned to an actor and their career is tied to that actor's success.
When looking through movie listings, there is a code that will help you identify English-movies, subtitled, etc.
- OV/OF (Originalversion / Originalfassung) - In original version with no dubbing / subtitles
- OmU (Original mit Untertiteln) - Original language with German subtitles
- OmE / OmenglU (Original mit englischen Untertiteln) - Original version with subtitles in Englishfr
Movie Snacks in Germany
Once you've found the cinema, identified which movie you'd like to watch, patiently waited out the release date, and navigated seating and ticket purchase, you need the right snack to complete your cinema visit.
Among the common candies and soda options, there is the cinema classic of popcorn. But this salty favorite often gets a sweet makeover in Germany. Similar to kettle corn, the attendant will ask if you like your popcorn süss (sweet) or salzig (salty). And don't be surprised if it comes pre-popped and not all that warm. Ah, German customer service! Wash it all done with an unusually small .33 bier (beer and wine are commonly available) or a bionade.
If you miss snacks before the movie, longer films (over 2 hours) often have an intermission where the snacks may even come to you. As half the theatre runs for the bathroom, an attendant wanders the aisles with an old-timey tray of sweets.