Last night we went to see The Hangover Part II. It’s the second time we’ve gone to see a movie in Amsterdam since moving here, both times at the Pathe chain. We saw Harry Potter at the Pathe Arena, and last night went to Pathe De Munt near Muntplein. I’ve been asked a few times what seeing a movie here in the Netherlands is like, so here’s my attempt to fill you in.
Both times, we’ve purchased our tickets online ahead of time. Movies here have assigned seating, so it’s best to buy the tickets as early as possible, so you can select the best seats. You then print out a receipt with a bar-code, and take that to the theater. In the theater lobby, there is the traditional box-office, as well as several automated machines where you can buy, or retrieve purchased tickets. You simply take your receipt up to a machine, scan the bar-code, and your tickets print out.
Concessions are quite different. First off, beer is sold at theaters here. I know some places in St. Louis sell beer (such as the Chase and the Moolah), but most theaters do not. At De Munt, all of the food is sitting out on shelves for you to pick up. It’s quite like a mini version of a 7-Eleven. You pick up the snacks you want and take them to a register. They sell full bags of potato chips, assorted bulk candy, soda by the bottle (or by fountain), and popcorn. We made a mistake on popcorn last night. They sell both sweet and salty popcorn, and we didn’t notice the difference, so we picked up the sweet kind. We were pretty disappointed to sit down and take a bite, and not get the salty buttery goodness that we expected. Oh well. Life goes on, and we had purchased some M&Ms as well, so we made due.
Due to land being quite expensive here, movie theaters are usually built several stories high, unlike in the US where they’re usually all on 1 floor. So you frequently have to go up a few levels to find your theater. At De Munt, the numbering system is not logical, so we ended up wandering around the top floor trying to find our theater. One sign told us to go down, the other pointed up. We eventually found our way in.
Previews are shown before the movie here, but the timing is different. If the movie is scheduled to start at 8:30, it starts at 8:30, and the previews are shown from 8:15-ish until 8:30, while everyone is still filing into the theater.
Finally, movies are not dubbed into Dutch, but rather subtitled in Dutch. This works fine for us usually, except a few times last night, the audience would “read ahead” and laugh at jokes before the characters said them. Also, in places where we would normally see English subtitles, only the Dutch ones are displayed, causing you to sometimes miss out when characters speak a different language.
The Pathe chain offers a membership card where you can see an unlimited number of movies per month for a flat fee. 3D and IMAX movies are extra. You have to sign up for a minimum of 4 months though. Since Roxy doesn’t usually get home from work until almost 8pm, this isn’t a good option for us, but perhaps if she gets a different job in the future, it’s something we’ll look into.