Cinemas in Istanbul

Cinemas in Istanbul

Cinemas in Istanbul

Cinemas in Istanbul are traditionally one of the most popular social gathering mediums, and therefore cinemas of Istanbul are spread all around the city. This article is written according to COVID-19 pre-pandemic conditions, but we will also mention the basic precautions for the pandemic too.

Cinemas in Istanbul: During Pandemic (Covid-19)

Cinemas in Istanbul are one of the first businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because cinemas in Istanbul are closed areas with the suggestion of the Science Committee of Turkey. Turkish government allowed the cinemas to open after the first curfew but unfortunately, although they operated with limitations, because many people gathered together for more than an hour in a closed area, it did not result well.

Cinemas in Istanbul are expected to be opened in March 2021 again, but this may change any time according to the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cinemas in Istanbul: Locations

Cinema in Istanbul was firstborn in the Beyoglu region. Beyoglu Cinema, Alkazar and Emek Cinema were used to be the center of the seventh Art of Istanbul. There were also used to be small cinemas in Istanbul spread around the city, in different districts. Nevertheless, Beyoglu has been considered the most major district hosting cinemas for decades.

A new element entered the daily life of Turkish people approximately twenty-five years ago, shopping centers. Families and friend groups began to prefer to go to the cinema in shopping centers because they could also enjoy the food court and other retail elements before or after watching the film.

As a result of this circumstance, cinema managers began to invest in cinemas located in shopping centers, resulting in shopping centers equipped with sophisticated visual, sound, air conditioning, and ventilation systems that were technologically superior to conventional cinemas in Istanbul.

Long story short, Beyoglu still has a few independent cinemas but the Anatolian side only has Kadikoy and Moda. Even the legendary Rexx Cinema has closed this year permanently. But almost all shopping centers have a cinema with a variety of qualities. For instance, Kanyon and Ozdilek shopping centers have a 3D cinema, and Istinye Park has IMAX, which are the highest sound and visual quality.

Cinemas in Istanbul: Food And Beverage Rules

All cinemas in Istanbul have their own snack bars offering; popcorn, candies, and soft drinks but no major foods or alcoholic drinks. Another rule is that it’s strictly forbidden to bring food and beverages from outside. Because cinemas are located in major shopping centers with food courts or central locations such as; Beyoglu and Kadikoy, you can eat first and reach the theatre in minutes.

Cinemas in Istanbul: Hosting Preview and Premiere Nights

Film producers organize the preview nights for Turkish films and distributors do the same for foreign films in cinemas in Istanbul in major shopping centers of the European Side of Istanbul. Metrocity is preferred for the preview nights of more common foreign movies preview nights, and Istinye Park is usually preferred for the previews of more hit films. Previews in Metrocity are done in a small screening room on Thursday evenings, but Istinye Park’s organization is usually done is 10:00 A.M. on Thursday. Kanyon and Ozdilek are the most popular cinemas in Istanbul for the premiere nights and cocktails of Turkish films, but Akmerkez is also an option. Those are always done on Thursday evenings.

Cinema writers and people from cinema sectors are being invited to these organizations. But a small hint; all of these invitees have a plus one right. Gaining friends from these sectors may enable you to enjoy the cinemas in Istanbul in a different way, as well.

Cinemas in Istanbul: Hosting Festivals

Some chain operators of cinemas in Istanbul were used to organize their own festivals in the past, but those have canceled those festivals because of commercial reasons. Nevertheless, Istanbul is a city of festivals and cinema, therefore people who have dedicated themselves to the seventh heart are still organizing many film festivals in cinemas in Istanbul.

There are also some minor independent festivals being made but those might not be able to have annual turns. The most significant film festivals are given below, which are showing the films with English subtitles. All of those are being done annually, but the situation in 2021 is not certain yet due to COVID-19. They might also have online broadcasts which are to be decided according to the suggestions of the Science Committee of Turkey, the decisions of the organizers themselves, and of course, the decisions of the Turkish government.

  • Akbank Short Film Festival – March,
  • Istanbul Film Festival – 2nd week of April,
  • Filmekimi – October,
  • Crime And Punishment Film Festival – October or November,
  • Bosporus Film Festival – November,
  • Rendezvous Istanbul – December,


Some independent cinemas in Istanbul show festival films continuously, such as; Kadikoy, but also some chain operators rent out some of their theatres temporarily. This organization is done by a body named; “Baska Cinema” and you can check the available theatres from their website. Just keep in mind that these showings are done in festival conditions, which means you can never enter the theatre after the film starts, no matter how early you have bought your ticket or whatever your excuse is. This is an unwritten rule for independent cinemas, supporting independent films.

Cinemas in Istanbul are simple, but major elements of daily life for everyone young and old alike. Children enjoy cartoons and such children’s films with their parents, young generation use them for social gathering and watching hit movies, people who are more enthusiastic for better sound and visual systems that they cannot have in their homes; everyone who enjoys watching films go to the cinemas in, and it has been missed due to the pandemic. We all are looking forward to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and normalization of daily life, not only for vital health concerns, economic shrinkage, or boredom of lockdowns but also for simple tastes that this city has to offer such as; the cinemas in Istanbul.

Related Article: Living in Turkey as a Foreigner.