Moviegoing in Prague is quickly becoming an art form unto itself. There is a massive wave of independent theaters and screening rooms taking over various spots in the center as well as a variety of larger cinemas where you can get your fix for the latest Marvel movie or STAR WARS film. So where should an expat go? Well. That depends on what you want to watch. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Let’s start with your bigger options.
Cinema City, which opened its doors in 1999, and Cinestar, which followed in 2001, are the majors here. The gold standard.
Cinema City Czech, part of Cineworld PLC Group, is one of the leading cinema groups in Europe, operating in 10 countries: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, United Kingdom, Israel, Hungary,, Bulgaria, Romania, Ireland, and they even have cinemas in the US now with more than 750 movie theaters in total. They’re also the exclusive operator of IMAX® theatres in Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary and many of their cinemas offer the 4DX experience as well.
They currently operate six cinemas in Prague.
CineStar has 13 multiplexes in the Czech Republic with two in Prague.
On any given Friday you can count on one or both of these franchises to be hosting the latest in big budget entertainment. In fact, like so many theaters around the globe, Cinema City is already pre-selling tickets to STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER as of today and, if you can get to their Flora location in Vinohrady, you can even see it in IMAX 3D!
The websites are in English (you can toggle it on in the upper right on both sites) and what you want to look for are films that list “EN • (SUB: CZ)” or “Titulky” meaning that the film will be in original English with Czech titles. If it reads: “Dabing” (“dubbing”) you’ll be going to see the Czech dubbed version… Czech dubbing is actually some of the best in the industry – down to having actors who sound pretty similar to the originals – but unless you’re fluent I wouldn’t advise going to one of these showings.
The two Cinestar cinemas are located at Andel and the other is at the far end of the yellow line at Černý Most. Cinema City’s six cinemas are at Flora (inside the Atrium Flora mall), at the newly renovated Westfield Chodov, at Letňany (inside the OC Letňany mall), inside the OC Nový Smíchov mall at Anďel, at Slovanský dům, and finally, at the end of the yellow line in Zličin (at Metropole Zličin).
So basically, if you’re looking for a big old mainstream movie, you can find it at one of those theaters… and of course, both Cinema City and Cinestar both play first-run Czech films – though they aren’t likely to be English subtitled.
For first-run animated films, your best bet is to see them at the the Slovanský dům location where they often run them in English with Czech titulky.
For a nice mixture of smaller independent, docs, or foreign films mixed in with larger cinematic fare, look into one of the great Bio cinemas in the center.
There are three: Bio Oko, Aero, and Světozor. and all feature a similar mix though there’s a different kind of vibe for each. Tonight (22.10.19) at Světozor you could see the hilarious, award-winning, one-woman show that inspired BBC/Amazon Prime’s hit TV series Fleabag, for example, which is being broadcast live to cinemas from London’s West End.
Světozor, which is located at Vodičkova 791 is a traditional old-school cinema… whereas Oko has somewhat of a more… eclectic vibe. You could, for example, choose to watch a film from the reclined comfort of an old beach chair. Yeah. You read that right.
Bio Oko, located on Františka Křížka in Holešovice is playing Bong Joon-Ho’s likely Oscar contender PARASITE this month (highly recommend it) along with the now controversial Woody Allen’s latest right alongside the new highest-grossing ‘R’ rated film of all time: JOKER.
In addition to that, the Bio group regularly run special events. In November, Bio Oko will present the iShorts film fest in honor of the Velvet Revolution’s 30th anniversary. The 110 minute program will present “a legendary short that depicts the regime change in Czechoslovakia, as well as contemporary shorts that explore revolt and the how the ‘order of things’ shifts dramatically, with humor or in hyperbole all over the world while taking a look at major watershed moments and more intimate personal revolutions of hero and heroines in award-winning short films.”
One of the latest indie cinemas to join the new Prague Cinema renaissance is the Edison Filmhub located in Prague 1 on Jeruzalémská.
Edison Filmhub is “a modern art-house cinema with a café/bar in the heart of Prague.” Like the Bio group of cinemas, they offer screenings of premiere titles, special presentations of both new and classic European art-house films and also special film introductions and lectures and the programme includes at least one English-friendly screening per day. Filmhub also presents various film festivals and events where film professionals and enthusiasts can meet…
Finally, there’s a new place you can go to get your cinematic fix called Screenshot and I recently wrote about its cool new vibe in a (Not So) Hidden Gems article which you can find right here: https://cz.cityspy.network/prague/not-so-hidden-gems/not-so-hidden-gems-vol-4-screenshot/
So get out there and get your cinema fix! You can find more info about each of these cinemas at the following websites:
https://www.biooko.net/en (which features updated program information for all three theaters)
and finally: http://screen-shot.cz/home/