Bright lights, big city – it’s always fun to go to the movies!
In Stockholm you’ll find not only modern multiplex cinemas, but also old-fashioned, richly-decorated movie houses, and even a futuristic IMAX theater called Cosmonova. More about Cosmonova on the next page.
When you want to go to the movies, there are a few things you should think about before you buy your ticket. First and foremost: in Swedish biograf means “movie theater” or “cinema,” which is a good word to know when you’re navigating through the entertainment ads.
If you don’t speak Swedish you should probably skip all the Swedish movies, of course, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the movies at all. You see, the Swedes rarely dub foreign films into their language. They subtitle them instead. That means that if you attend a British, American or Australian movie, for example, the sound track will be in English and the text at the bottom of the screen will be in Swedish.
The one exception to this subtitling rule is animated film. Feature-length cartoons are usually dubbed into Swedish, so small children who have not yet learned to read can understand them. In recent years, however, Disney films have often been distributed in two versions, one dubbed and the other subtitled. If you want to be absolutely sure that the film you plan to see has an English soundtrack, call the cinema in advance.
Here’s something else to think about: In a Swedish multiplex cinema, theater #1 almost always has the largest screen. If you’re planning to see a movie extravaganza like Star Wars, for example, it might be a good idea to ask if it’s being screened in theater #1. A big movie, after all, is almost always more fun to see on a really big screen.
Filmstaden (Film City) Sergel
Subway station: Hötorget
Located on Hötorget, this is Swedish Film’s (SF’s) big, downtown showcase cinema. It’s a multiplex cinema, of course, with a large choice of films. Their largest theater (#1) is equipped with 700 seats and an enormous screen. Theater #1 is so large that it has a 14-row balcony (that is as large as most normal cinemas in the United States these days). More viewers means more shared laughter, sighs or even screams—in other words, much more fun. To find out what’s playing, call 08-56 26 00 00, browse SF’s Swedish language website—which can be an adventure in itself—or check a local paper. The website may only be in Swedish, but it is rich in pictures and many of the movies have the same title these days in both Swedish and English.
Biopalatset (The Cinema Palace)
Subway station: Medborgarplatsen
Located at Medborgarplatsen on the island of Södern, this multiplex theater was renamed Filmstaden Söder in the spring of 2007 when it was purchased by SF from the bankrupt Astoria movie chain. Most people in Stockholm still call it “Biopalatset” though. While Astoria and SF used to distribute two different lists of movies, Filmstaden Söder now shows most of the same films that other SF theaters are showing.
Although foreign film sound quality can sometimes be a problem at other Stockholm movie houses, in this “movie palace”, all ten theaters have genuinely excellent sound systems. SF claims that the acoustic effect of the sound in theater number 1 is the equivalent of 22 symphony orchestras! To find out what”s playing here, use the SF number listed above, browse their Swedish language website or check the movie ads in a local paper.
Subway station: Hötorget, Rådmansgatan or Östermalmstorg, see map.
Biograf Sture is located at Birgir Jarlsgatan 41 and first opened its doors in 1920. It’s been renovated several times since then, of course, but still has the look and feel of an old-fashioned cinema. Originally, the Sture just had a single, large theater, but a few years back the owners converted the large mezzanine into two smaller viewing rooms. They did, however, leave the original theater in very good condition and each of the three theaters has its own charm—the small ones because you get to sit close to the action without craning your neck, while the large theater’s charm lies in its old-fashioned style.
Biograf Sture offers something they call Babybio or “Baby cinema” every other Friday during the daytime. Here parents with really small children can watch a movie together with their babies. I’ve actually never attended, but it sounds like an intriguing idea.
To get a glimpse of Biograf Sture and its film schedule, browse their Swedish-only website, call 08-678 85 48, or check the newspapers.
Filmstaden (Film City) Heron City
Subway station: Skärholmen, see directions below.
Scandinavia’s largest multiplex cinema is the Heron City complex about 25 minutes south of the center of Stockholm by subway. (Take the red line to the Skärholmen station and then a connecting bus to the “Upplevelsecentrum” bus stop.) You’ll find 18 screens here and stadium seating for about 4500 people. Call 08-50 56 01 00, browse their Swedish language website or check the newspaper movie ads for more information.