MadridMan: Cinemas in Madrid that show original version movies
Want to catch a film in English, or in your native tongue? MadridMan uncovers cinemas in Madrid that screen movies in their original language.
There are a small few cinemas in Madrid which show foreign movies in their original language, known as Versión Original Subtitulada (Subtitled Original Version) and indicated by the acronym V.O.S. This means the movies are only subtitled in Spanish as opposed to being dubbed, so indeed, expats and tourists can see the latest Hollywood blockbuster, for example, in English. Thankfully, two such cinemas are in downtown Madrid; Cine Ideal near Puerta del Sol and Cines Renoir/Cines Princesa near Plaza de España.
The first, Cine Ideal, is located on the Plaza Jacinto Benavente in Madrid near Puerta del Sol, and is part of the Yelmo Cineplex chain. It's also my favorite cinema in Madrid for showing versión original movies in English - if they're American or English movies - but also for movies in their original version from, say, France, Romania, China, or wherever - but then with Spanish subtitles.
I see all my Hollywood movies here. They have nine screens and generally run about 10 to 20 films at a time. They offer discounted prices on Mondays and Wednesdays, known as 'Moviegoer Day' (Día del Espectador).
The cinema is pretty historic too, I believe. The beautiful ceiling crown molding in most of the individual screening rooms is evidence of that. But the rest of the building is totally modern. Most of the viewing rooms, "salas" in Spanish, are of decent size. One or two is downright tiny, somewhat bigger than a big-screen television, but only a couple of them are almost as large as your typical cinema screen in an American movie theater. The seats are modern, comfortable, and all have cup holders. The lines are generally long at the ticket booths on a Friday or Saturday night but very short on a weekday afternoon - that's when I try to go. Oddly enough, at least to me, most of the individual screening rooms have their own bathroom in the back - or sometimes at the front. And after the movie, you cannot walk back through the cinema but instead are shuttled out the front-side exit door to the street.
The other Madrid cinema/theater that shows V.O.S. movies, Cines Renoir/Cines Princesa, is located near the Plaza de España.
Cines Renoir is actually part of a group of cinemas which show original version movies in Spain, but five are here in Madrid and two of them are in the same movie complex just one block north of the Plaza de España. One of those two is Cines Princesa. Specifically, this cinema faces the Plaza de los Cubos at Calle de la Princesa, 3, home to Starbucks, VIPs, Nebraska, Burger King, and various other bars, restaurants, and cafés.
Cines Princesa shows a few more Hollywood movies than Spanish/foreign movies, while the two Cines Renoir cinemas tend to show more International/Spanish films than American films, most often the award-winning/nominated type. The American movies are always shown with Spanish subtitles at the bottom, but there are also showings of some of these films dubbed in Spanish. Just be sure you know which one you're seeing before buying your ticket.
While I like both Cine Ideal and Cines Princesa equally, I go more often to the latter simply because my bus stops just a couple blocks away from the Plaza de España. The salas are many, but some are not much bigger than a large garage. This is a turn-off for many, but once the movie starts you don't even notice. The larger, more popular movies are always shown - at least at the beginning of its hype - in the larger salas. Cines Princesa also has a concession stand with pretty affordable (affordable as compared to USA prices) popcorn and soda/pop snacks.
Weekend tickets cost a fraction more than weekday tickets - except on Mondays. Mondays, just like at Cine Ideal, is 'Moviegoer Day' (Día del Espectador) and all tickets are discounted. Add some popcorn and you've got movie+popcorn for a bit more than 10 euros! Not a bad deal.
The ticket sales for Cinesa Princesa and the concession stand lobby are at street level, but all the cinemas/viewing rooms are about 15 steps downstairs with no elevators. There are also several below-ground restroom areas, too. The seats are comfortable, new, but not with the super-high-backs you sometimes see in modern USA movie theaters. All seats have a cup-holder at your knee-location.
In this complex you'll also find two separate Cines Renoir cinemas; one below ground (actually below the Starbucks Coffee shop) and another on the backside of the building at street level on Calle Martín de los Heros, 12. The former of the two (shown above) has a small concession stand, but the latter (a right) has not.
First showings for all these cinemas (including the aforementioned Cine Ideal) during weekdays is usually around 3.30pm – 4pm. If you plan to get popcorn for the first day's showing you may arrive to an empty popcorn machine until the concession stand workers get started. That can be frustrating. Also at first weekday showings, the individual salas can be quite warm until they turn on the air conditioning. Sometimes, I think, they either forget or not compelled to do so with only 2-10 people at the 4pm weekday showings. Bring a hand-held fan or prepare to complain to management. This has happened to me on more than a few occasions.
Finally, there's one last cinema/movie-theater in this complex of movie theaters, but it's not associated with Cines Renoir - as far as I can tell. It's the Cines Golem, located 30 meters to the left of the outdoor Cines Renoir (photo above-right) at Calle Martín de los Heros, 14. Here, they play only Spanish and international films, almost all are the "Art Film" types, winners/nominees of this-or-that-award.
Madrid has a good number of original version movie theaters and the prices are very reasonable, I think, for a big city like Madrid. Sound and video quality is always excellent, too. Do what I do and catch that first 4pm showing, if possible, and you'll have the movie theater (practically) all to yourself.
MadridMan is the online persona of an American living in Madrid since 2005. He started his Spain Travel & Tourism company, Martin Media, in 2006 and enjoys living - and sharing - life as a tourist on a daily basis.
- OCine in the province of Girona: www.ocine.es.
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