Post Pandemic: Movie Theaters In Mexico

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

Movie theaters may never be what they used to be before the health scare. Long lines for the concession stands, long lines for the movie, long lines for the women's bathroom.

I didn't care for the lines much.

A few weeks back in August we heard Cinépolis was reopening our local theater in Playas.

And you know, a cool day in air conditioning is better than a quarantined day in an overheated house.

The heat had been at record highs, the lockdown seemed endless, and what I would have done for an afternoon in air conditioning was ridiculous.

So we bought tickets from the mobile app - first seats sold for the animated show, picked our usual 4 seats in the back row, packed my purse (read: oversize carrying compartment) with unobtrusive snacks, put on the facemasks, and headed to the theater.

There are some major differences at movie theaters in Mexico, versus the U.S. version that we all know and love.

Subtitles and Audio in Spanish

Almost all English movies have written Spanish subtitles on the movie screen. Here's what you can expect:

  • Spanish or international movies will only have Spanish subtitles.

  • All kids animations will be overdubbed with Spanish. No subtitles.

  • Major blockbusters with several screenings may have one in the original English cut and the other with overdubbed Spanish audio so you have to watch for language options:

SUB: movie is in original English with Spanish Subtitles

ESP: movie is overdubbed with Spanish audio. No English subtitles.

It makes sense that kids movies are overdubbed in Spanish because young kids aren't yet adept at reading quickly. Although that's disappointing because we turn guessing the voice actor into a sport at our house, it's not so bad watching it first in Spanish and then later the original in English. #wowsuperfans

Release dates

Release dates for all movies in Mexico (as well as other countries) are not always the same release date in the U.S.

Dependencies are considered for each movie separately, but distribution can be affected by local holidays that may impact sales, award ceremonies, additional translation services, audio dubbing timeframes or even distributor budgets.

You can see for example, on the site, it lists all the various release dates by country, so before you go, make sure to check the movie theater website.

VIP Movie Seats

If you like a lot of stretch room, a reclining chair, personal service to your table, and a gourmet menu that includes alcohol, come on down!

There are a few of these located in Florida, California and other states, and hopefully by 2021, everyone can have a chance to enjoy the personal touch.

For now, in Tijuana, we slowly are starting to enjoy them again.

I assumed that the entire population of Playas de Tijuana would also be hitting movie theaters on that hot day, to scratch the same itch we have all had through the lockdown. Lucky for me (and my crowd aversion issues) there were only 4 people in the theater with us.

It was like the Twilight Zone at the movie theater.

Normally buzzing with slow-moving, popcorn-holding movie enthusiasts, the lobby was completely vacant, non-scruffed floors shiny with reflection.

We headed to our seats making sure to say hello to the ticket taker, as he was looking a little lonely and lost, and sad, and... lonely.

Normally we bypass the concession stand because I love to bring a wider variety of snacks. And to be honest, who wants to stand in line with droves of other people being robbed by inflated snack prices?

This time though, there was NOBODY in line, not a single person. Popcorn it is!

The bathrooms were quiet, every other stall taped off as out of service.

Scooby Do and Shaggy spoke was an enjoyable moment and we were safe and alone, at the movies.

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