An elephant at the premiere, a cinema pioneer with a penchant for popcorn and a legal battle with movie giants. What sounds like a Hollywood screenplay is actually only a small part of the true story of the CINEMA movie theater in Munich. So, get the popcorn ready and prepare to be amazed. 🍿

The man who brought popcorn to German cinemas

It all began with an elephant: When the CINEMA celebrated its premiere on October 23, 1954, an elephant from the Circus Krone sat under the canopy of the new cinema and greeted the curious guests.

A pompous start of which little can be seen twenty years later. When the trained economist Dieter Buchwald took over CINEMA in 1975, it was on the verge of financial ruin. For Buchwald, cinema is a hobby, a passion; he earns his money during the day at the ADAC. In the evenings, he works as a ticket collector in front of the cinema, handing out flyers. He puts the money from his bread-and-butter job - naturally - into the movie theater. His dream: to create a true paradise for movie lovers - a Movie Lovers' Paradise.

To get closer to this dream, Buchwald looked for new innovative ideas at international cinema trade fairs. In 1977, he traveled to the USA and observed how American audiences in cinemas enjoyed the burst corn kernels with salt. Back in Munich, he bought his own popcorn machine. German audiences were thrilled. But the pioneering spirit did not end with popcorn.

CINEMA's revolution: CINEMA vs. the elephants of the film business

At the time, blockbusters were only allowed to be shown in Munich by six cinemas during the launch weeks. Buchwald did not want to accept this and went to court in 1988 against the so-called right of first screening . As an example, he sued for competitive disadvantage - and was proved right. The so-called Cinema case was groundbreaking for the cinema landscape throughout Germany and put an end to the unequal treatment of many smaller cinemas.

Trendsetter CINEMA

CINEMA has succeeded time and again in reinventing cinema:

Already 30 years ago, CINEMA reacted to the great interest in films in their original version - and gradually switched the program completely to original versions. CINEMA was soon established as the best address in the city for original films. Here, too, CINEMA had the right instinct and the risky leap into the blue was very well received.

Live broadcasts of spectacular performances from concert halls such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York were also shown on the big screen at CINEMA for the first time in Germany, making them accessible to a wide audience.

Whether it's George Lucas' innovative THX sound system, digital 3D technology, formats such as the sneak preview or the double feature: as a trendsetter, CINEMA always ensures that its guests are the first to experience the latest cinema trends.

Reinventing cinema again and again

Following extensive modernization work in recent years, CINEMA now offers a state-of-the-art cinema experience with 1-A sound, high-contrast laser projection, comfortable armchairs and a foyer that invites you to linger. The famous popcorn is still considered one of the best in the city. (Our tip: be sure to order a mix of sweet and savory 😋)

The cinema has already won the City of Munich's Cinema Program Award several times and has now also received the Excellence Award from the World Association of Cinema Technology - a tribute to innovation and the constant commitment to making the cinema a unique experience and meeting place.

In his acceptance speech, acting CINEMA director Klaus Ungerer emphasized: "We have always consciously focused on implementing the latest technical innovations and original ideas. Especially at a time when it is crucial to bring audiences back to the movies, it is our priority to highlight what makes the big screen experience so unique."

Like many cultural institutions, cinemas have suffered greatly during the coronavirus pandemic and currently have to prove themselves against strong competition from online streaming services. CINEMA is not facing these challenges with cultural pessimism, but with a constant joy in innovation and an infectious love of cinema. Times are changing. Cinema continues to evolve. And CINEMA is leading the way.

If you now fancy some popcorn or would like to pay a visit to this historic cinema yourself, then take a look at the program now and plan your next movie night. 🍿🎬

📍 Nymphenburger Straße 31, 80335 Munich

🎟️ Between 8€ and 15€

⏰ 365 days a year. The box office always opens 30 minutes before the first performance of the day.

This content has been machine translated.