The German movie experience

I have always loved going to the movies, and that hasn’t changed since moving to Germany. Luckily for me, many of the big-name Hollywood movies still make it to Leipzig, several even in the original English! This week they are playing “Die Tribute von Panem” otherwise known as Mockingjay Part 2! (Can you feel my excitement?) The bonus part is that the English-language movies never seem to be full, so there is always a seat, even on opening weekend!

Side note: if you live in Leipzig and want to know when and where these original showings are happening, pop on over to the Leipzig Glocal where every Wednesday they list English and other original language movie showings.

So what is the German movie experience like? 

Overall, the experience is pretty similar to the US. You purchase a ticket for somewhere between €5-€10, grab a bag of popcorn at the concession stand, and sit down and watch a slew of previews before your movie begins.

However, there are a few minor differences that I’ve noticed.

1. You choose your seat when you buy your ticket.

I have seen a few US theaters take this approach where it feels almost like boarding a flight when you enter the theater because you have an assigned seat, but so far all of the German theaters I have seen use this approach. Even better, the Germans have realized that movie-going is a common couple activity and so they offer seats that are paired off like loveseats so you can cuddle up next to your loved one without your neighbors breathing down your neck.

2. You have to pay separately for your 3D glasses if you are going to see a 3D movie.

Craig and I recently saw Jurassic World in the theater and were bummed when we had to fork over another €2 a piece to be able to actually SEE the movie we just paid for. In the US, this cost is normally included in the ticket and people recycle their glasses when they are finished with them. We decided instead to reuse our glasses and took them home with us so we will never have to pay extra again.

3dglasses

3. There is an ice cream/snack break at the end of the previews.

In the few theaters we have visited, at the end of the very long,~30 minute previews there has been a Ben & Jerry’s commercial and then all of a sudden all of the lights come back on as if that commercial has then inspired us to run the the concession stand and grab some ice cream before the movie starts momentarily. In one of these scenarios, a vendor even brought the ice cream to the theater to sell it to us in our seats, as if we were at a sporting event. We’ve had half an hour or more already to decide if we wanted a snack; just get on with the movie!

4. Sweet popcorn!

At the last movie we went to, I was really craving some popcorn. I saw that they didn’t have butter dispensers, but decided to get some dry, salty popcorn anyway because I wanted it so badly. I tasted it, and much to my surprise, there was a good reason there weren’t any butter dispensers – it was kettle corn! Delicious, yes, I will give you that, but who can possibly eat a jumbo sized tub of that stuff? And it was pure disappointment to wash the sweetness down with a sweet coke. Maybe next time I’ll have to go for the nachos!


That has been my experience at the movies. Do you have a different experience you’d like to share? Leave a comment! (We love comments!)

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6 thoughts on “The German movie experience

  1. swanpride says:

    The Thing with the glasses differ. Some theatre chains sell them, others reuse them.

    I actually like the few theatres which still have an ice cream vendor coming in. Yes, I have half an hour to decide what I want, but it is nearly impossible to buy ice cream so well timed that I can actually eat it during the movie instead of during the advertising.

    I admit…I didn’t understand a word about your popcorn explanation. There are different kinds of popcorn?

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    • beckymarkovitz says:

      Ah, I didn’t think of that with the ice cream! I guess it makes sense so it isn’t melted by the time the movie starts. Yes, in the US popcorn is salty and buttery! Several places let you butter your own popcorn with as much as you want – it’s the American way.

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  2. Kate says:

    We’ve had similar experiences here in Spain when trying to see movies. We didn’t realize that you had to pick out your seat beforehand so the first few times we went to the movies they were sold out or only had first row seats left. Now that we’ve figured it all out, it’s great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rachael Jelnicky says:

    We went to the movies for the first time in Berlin last week and were in awe of how many people were running late (ourselves included). We were stressing because the movie started in 10 minutes and the line was out the door. Little did we know that our rushing was for nothing as we watched a full half hour of commercials before the previews even started. Every time a commercial ended, we thought “this has to be the last one right?” WRONG. Now we know. Good to know about the 3D glasses too. Love reading about a fellow Expat from the states exploring Germany 🙂

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    • beckymarkovitz says:

      Haha we had the same feeling with the previews. “Ok the movie has to start now, right?” Wrong. Always wrong. We had a similar feeling when we attended a musical and the audience clapped after the finale for a solid half hour. Prepare yourself for that one too!

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