* Prices may differ from that shown
The Apollokino has to be one of Vienna’s largest cinemas, and unlike the cinema’s that I have reviewed to date in Vienna, it does not show films in English, or films in their original version with subtitles in German, as is the case with the Haydn or the Artis amongst others, apart from a premiÃ¨re in the original version every Tuesday (most of the time the film will be in English but this is not to be taken as gospel!) and an arthouse premiÃ©re every first Thursday in the month. Should you want to get tickets to the premiÃ¨res, which are often full, you would be well advised to book, which can be done up to two weeks in advance, although as the cinema does not accept credit cards itself, you must turn up in person to make your reservation or visit the cineplexx group website (www.cineplexx.at) to reserve tickets to the cinema. The site www.film.at also carries the film schedules for the Apollokino, so you can find out when to go and at what time. To get there, your best bets are either the 13a, 14a or 57a buses, or it is a couple of minutes walk from Neubaugasse U-Bahn (on the U3) on the Mariahilferstrasse, and it is just round the corner from Haus des Meeres – an aquarium based in a former Flakturm (a remnant of the Nazi occupation of Vienna – and whose 30 foot concrete walls are about the only thing guaranteed to survive 1000 years from the Third Reich!) and the Foltermuseum – torture museum. You would be forgiven for thinking that a 12 screen cinema complex would have to be a contemporary carbuncle, but the Apollo pre-dates the multiplexes that we have all become so familiar with, although admittedly it is now run by the Cineplexx group, who do various vouchers which can make good presents for friends. The faÃ§ade, which dates from the 1930s actually looks quite impressive by night and inside the cinema is fully modernised, and the auditoria (12) are all well equipped. I was in one of the bigger screens, which held a
bout 500 people, some of the smaller ones only hold about 120 or so maximum. I went to see Bridget Jones’ diary with friends last night, it having only just come out in Austria, and was a bit disappointed by the comfort of our seats (although we were only there 15 mins in advance). We paid ATS 85 (ca. Â£4) a head for seats on the right hand side with a slightly uncomfortable view of the screen in the third row and the legroom was not particularly ample, especially if you are over 5’8” tall. So the title is a bit random - but the range of films probably does cover the above spectrum! Waffle over... Ticket prices vary between ATS70 and ATS110 with a wide range of discounts available (check the cineplexx website for details – there are so many and they are unlikely to be of any particular relevance to anyone other than people domiciled in Vienna.). There is a kiosk selling popcorn as well as nachos – which come recommended and neither are too expensive, and there are also a wide range of drinks available from vending machines. As with as all Austrian cinemas, you might be a bit disturbed during the film by people not having turned off their mobile phones, and unlike other cinemas there was nothing in the trailers asking people to turn off their phones. Overall the Apollo is a great cinema to go to if you understand German, or if you book in advance for one of the premiÃ¨res although it is well worth making sure you get there early unless you want a poorish and not too comfortable view if the film is a popular one.
In the 6 weeks since I arrived in Vienna, I have been to the cinema 7 times. 5 of those times I went to the Apollo on the 6th Dirstict which should indicate immediately that it’s an ok place. Back in 1998, the last time I was in Austria, I also went to see “Grease” here – my first journey into German dubbed films on a big screen. This cinema claims to have the biggest screens in Austria though that’s not saying much is it...? Really though, they’re quite adequate. My choosing of this venue over others is 3 fold : 1. It’s near where I live – maybe 10 mins walk if I’m strolling, 5 if I’m in power-walk mode (not often) 2. They have a good variety of films – there are 12 screens and currently showing films include Shrek, Crocodile Dundee in LA, Tomcats at Tomb Raider (all of which are fairly new releases over here). 3. The prices are reasonable – ranging from 70 to 120 Ãs (3.50 – 6 GBP, quite cheap compared to some places I’ve been in the city) for adults depending on where you sit and what day you go. There are also discounts for students (bring ID), children and OAPs. I’m not fussy really and these factors are enough to convince me it’s the place to go, although there is also a bar, quite a few snack stands and vending machines on off too. Plus there are free magazines (well at least I hope they’re free as I keep taking them.....). The cinema itself is nice and clean, and the seats an ok size (although nothing compared to the Gallery seats at the Printworks in Manchester). My main problem though is that whoever was designing the building itself was a bit, well, stupid. I’m pretty used to it, but last night I was with 2 friends who had never been there before and they found it a bit like a maze, and just as hard to navigate. The 12 screens are split over 3 floors but the order in which they’re grouped just seems
totally random – screens 1, 2, 6 and 12 this way, numbers 3, 8 and 9 over there. One question – why? Boring fact time now : Getting there is nice and easy - the cinema is on the Gumpendorfer Strasse in the 6th district as I already said. It’s opposite the Haus Des Meers (Aquarium) and is surrounded by numerous bars and restaurants. The Mariahilfe Strasse is only a few minutes walk away. To arrive on the doorstep take busses 13A, 14A or 57A. If you’re travelling by underground stations Neubaugasse (line U3) and Pilgrammgasse (line U4) are close by. Get onto the Gumpendorfer strasse and you cannot miss it – it’s the bright pink building opposite the old war bunker..... One tip though – don’t get the U6 to the actual Gumpendorfer Str stop as it’s pretty far away. Despite it’s somewhat confusing layout, this cinema’s pretty cool and I would recommend it to people who find themselves in Wien. Some final words of warning – get there early so you can find your screen – be warned that it gets packed on Sunday afternoons so avoid it then if you can – all the films are dubbed, so if your German’s not up to it, try the English Cinema Haydn about 5 mins away instead