Remembering a time when Phnom Penh didn’t have a “proper” movie theater makes me sound like an old-fogey, reminiscing about the days gone by when locals would watch movies in small shops with a dozen chairs and usually two or three screens loudly blaring different films at the same time.
These days, there are a half-dozen places in town to see English-language movies in Phnom Penh, from giant theaters showing Hollywood blockbusters to smaller theaters that screen documentaries, independent and foreign films.
Legend Cinema was the first movie theater in town to show licensed Hollywood films and offers a true movie theater experience in their three air-conditioned theaters. Legend screens Hollywood blockbusters, action, horror and kid’s films.
You’re not going to find any dramas or chick flicks here, but they do show 3-D films regularly. Ticket prices range from $3 to $18, the more expensive ones are for family seating that seats four people. Most films are in English with Khmer subtitles, although they do show the occasional Khmer-language film.
City Mall, top floor
Monireth Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 088 954 9857
At the top of Sorya Mall, is Platinum Cineplex, formerly Sabay Cineplex, and the second big theater in town. Platinum has two regular screens and one 3-D screen. They screen Hollywood blockbusters, action films and a few local and Asian flicks.
They also have couple’s seats if you’re down to cuddle. Ticket prices start at $4 and they have many different promotions, including a $2 deal for early shows. Check their site for current promotions.
Sorya Shopping Center, 5th Floor
St 63 at St 142, Phnom Penh
T: (017) 666 210
The Flicks Community Movie House
Expat favorite The Flicks has expanded and now has two locations, one in BKK3 and on on the Riverside, both offering air-conditioned seating and a wide range of old and new English-language films including popular classics, documentaries and independent films, plus regular screenings of Cambodian-themed films like The Killing Fields.
They also have a special Flicks 3 during the dry season, where they screen open-air films in BKK1, and they will be opening a branch in Siem Reap in 2014. Their theaters are air-conditioned and have couches and futons to relax on, and they serve food and drinks (including beer and wine) that you can enjoy during the movie. They even have a special menu of delivery options from a few local restaurants, so you can make a night of it.
The Flicks screens three to four movies each day. Tickets cost $3.50 for adults and $2 for children, and the ticket is good for the entire day.
#39B Street 95, Phnom Penh
#90 Street 136, Phnom Penh
Formerly the home of The Flicks 2, The Empire has gone independent and now screens both mainstream and obscure movies. Every week they choose a theme–which you can find out about in their newsletter–and pick classic and current movies that relate to that theme (sometimes fairly abstractly). Every Tuesday is classics night where they feature one or two classic movies from the last 100 years of cinema. Fridays alternate between a movie ‘premiere’ night with new films and a Cult Movie Night, with two cult classics. They also have occasional events like Rocky Horror night every couple of months too.
The theater is air-conditioned with chairs and futons to allow patrons to fully chill out and enjoy the movie. The Empire also has their own in-house kitchen and bar, so food and drink can be enjoyed before, during or after the movie. Tickets cost $3.50 and are good for any film that day. You can also rent out the entire theater for a small fee, which is a great option for groups and parties.
#34 Street 130, Phnom Penh
T: 077 468 243
Meta House at the German Cambodian Cultural Centre shows independent films and English-language documentaries at 7pm every night of the week except Monday.
They have a full bar and restaurant and often following screenings with talks and sometimes the night ends with a DJ playing some tunes. Many of their films are about Cambodia or the region. Screening is on the building’s rooftop so don’t forget to load up on some mosquito repellant. Tickets cost $2 for foreigners, Khmer students aren’t required to pay.
#37 Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 010 312 333
» How to get from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville (and vice-versa)
» Review: Giant Ibis buses, Phnom Penh-Siem Reap
» Expat Q&A: Just how charming Phnom Penh can be
» Expat Q&A: No more good-bye parties
» Snaps: North Korean restaurant in Phnom Penh