Going to the movies is basically the same everywhere - basically. There are a few unique qualities to a German Kino (cinema) visit and knowing about them beforehand can help sweeten the popcorn (literally - the popcorn is sweet! Refer to the section on snacks below).
Picking a Theatre in Germany
Know that your choice will be judged by your German cinema partners. A big commercial cinema may be best for a blockbuster, but much respect will be given for finding a historically significant theatre to watch the latest indie release.
Movie Release Dates in Germany
Germany gets almost all of the major releases you would expect in the USA. While the premieres often lag several days, or at most a few months, occasionally a release will be before a film's American release.
In addition, more international films receive wide release in Germany than countries like the USA. Look for native German films and offerings from France, Italy, etc.
When you're looking for a movie, note that it may have received a German re-branding. For example, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" become "Ferris macht Blau".
German Movie Ticket Prices
Karten (tickets) normally cost around 7 euro, but may be much higher during peak times or for extra features like IMAX.
Other common add-ons include .50-1 euro for buying online and additional charge for movies over 2 hours.
Movie-goers can find discounts on Kinotage (discount cinema days) from Monday-Wednesday depending on the theatre. There may also be a student discount if you can present an ID.
Note that your ticket may come with a seat reservation.
You can ask for a specific area with the prime seats or Loge incurring a small additional fee.
English-Language Movies in Germany
Dubbing a movie (synchronisiert) is very common in Germany and while big cities have plenty of English-language cinemas, it may be near impossible to find English-language movies in smaller towns.
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 their actor and their career is tied to the actor with the international name.
If you are looking for an English-language screening, there is a code that will see accompanying the listings.
- 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 the movie and bought the tickets you need the right snack. Among the candy and sodas is another perennial cinema treat - popcorn.
But this salty favorite often gets a sweet makeover in Germany, similar to Kettle corn. Ask if it is 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 beer or a bionade.
If you miss snacks before the movie, longer films (over 2 hours) oftan 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.