Movies/Movie Theaters in Singapore

Yesterday I went to my second movie in Singapore.  The first was an art house theater’s showing of “Away We Go” (which, as an aside, I think was an AWESOME movie) and yesterday I saw “Shrek 4” (also recommended, although not as highly as “Away We Go”).

Booking/Buying a Ticket


  • expensive tickets (10 bucks, which is a bit cheaper in US dollars)
  • easier to book online


  • in Singapore you’re assigned a specific seat, sort of like seeing a pro sporting event or “real” theater in the US
  • No little machines…if you book online, you still have to get in a specific queue and wait

Concession Stands


  • OMG Expensive…more than your ticket if you get popcorn, candy and a soda
  • They sell popcorn, candy, soda, and other snacks


  • There are two types of popcorn…salty (what you get in the US) and sweet (haven’t tried it yet)
  • There is no “extra” butter/salt/toppings for your popcorn.
  • The “other snacks” include like spicy prawns on a stick (I took mental notes and have, of course, forgotten all of them now)
  • You can buy bags of chips (like big ones)
  • The candy selection is M&M’s, mentos, and 2 other things.  Unimpressive



  • they’re cold
  • arm rests are points of contention


  • They’re SO COLD that the norm is to bring a sweatshirt/blanket.  This is the only place in the ENTIRE COUNTRY you need either (except “snow country” which I feel will have to be a whole other entry at a point in the future)



  • Really long
  • There are commercials


  • Almost every movie theater in the US I’ve been in shows stupid “pre-show” stuff like trivia, still ads, plays music, etc.  A movie theater here before the movie starts is stone silent and the screen is dark.
  • The start of the previews has been (for me) jarring because out of nowhere a huge image and loud sound start playing out of NOWHERE (and neither time has been “on time” so it’s kind of like a game of when will the noise come and scare the crap out of me).
  • In the US they show some commercials, then the previews, then the little song and dance about exits and no cell phones and then the movie starts….here it’s all “commercial” “Preview” “three commercials” “2 Previews” “ad for buying movie tickets online” “Previews” “commercial” “hey did the movie just start?”  I have yet to understand if there is actual rhyme, reason or pattern to it.  The previews and products advertised are not necessarily appropriate to the movie they’re being shown for (I kind of cringed at the Vagisil wash commercial before Shrek yesterday)



  • There’s a movie


  • Sometimes it has Chinese subtitles here (Away we go did, Shrek didn’t)
  • The volume is WAY LOUDER here (I often think they’re not loud enough in the US and here I could have done with a bit less)

OTHER Differences

  • Partially because I’m short, partially because I’m blind, and partially because I can lose myself in the movie if I’m not staring at the back of other people’s heads, I tend to sit fairly close to the screen.  Here the goal seems to be to sit as far back.  It has involved long discussions to get the seats I want for each movie because the people selling me the tickets seem to think I don’t understand HOW CLOSE I’ll be…the screen is RIGHT THERE!!!  I find the whole seat selection thing to be a pain in the ass, although at more sold out screenings I can see how it would be nice (I’ll remind my friends who did the IMAX Harry Potters with me how getting our seats was a little “Beyond Thunderdome.”)
  • For all that there ARE a lot of movie theaters in the country, only 10 or so movies are showing at any time.  Independent flicks and smaller movies just don’t make it here (major disappointment-I’ve been dying to see “Babies” since I saw the trailer months ago, but it came out after we left and it doesn’t seem to be coming here any time soon).
  • Movies that are wildly popular here puzzle me…”The Last Song,” the new J-Lo flick?  REALLY???  HUGE HUGE HUGE…can’t begin to explain how big those two are here.
  • They don’t play very long, or so I believe.
  • Most movie theaters are on the 4/5th floor of malls…I have yet to see/hear of one that’s freestanding.

I’ll try to take a camera next time to at least do some concession pics…I think you’d find them interesting.

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1 Response to Movies/Movie Theaters in Singapore

  1. Love Nickerson says:

    I LOVED Away We Go!!

    This was a great post! They have assigned seating in Greece too.

    You keep giving this level of detail and I won’t need to visit 🙂

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