When the Cinema first opened its doors in 1954, no one had any idea that the movie theater in Munich’s Maxvorstadt district would later become a prime example of state-of-the-art cinema technology. At that time, the economic upswing was being celebrated with films such as “The High and the Mighty” featuring Western legend John Wayne. The theater was able to accommodate around 580 film fans back then, consisiting mainly of young couples – with the girl wearing a contemporary petticoat, and the boy a smart suit – holding hands as they watched the exciting action taking place on the big screen.
Left: The Cinema when it opened on October 23, 1954. The curved roof entrance remains to this day.
In 1975, Dr. Dieter Buchwald took over the Cinema, and it soon became an integral part of Munich’s cultural scene. Buchwald’s declared goal: to create a true paradise for movie enthusiasts – a Movie Lovers’ Paradise.
A post-graduate of business administration and a passionate entrepreneur, Buchwald continually visited international movie theater fairs and conferences in search of ever new ideas, which he then implemented both promptly and unconventionally. The Cinema was thus, for example, the first movie theater in Germany to install George Lucas’ groundbreaking THX sound system.
Non-stop screenings at the Cinema: a big hit in the 70s
Pioneering was now a firm part of the Cinema’s concept, and its popularity kept growing not only among the residents of Munich; the innovative theater soon also attracted guests from surrounding areas as well. In this sense, the Cinema was the first German movie theater to offer its guests freshly popped popcorn; pioneering spirit was also shown with double features, as well as so-called sneak previews, which presented film fans with brand-new blockbusters long before their official release. The monumental performances of the Metropolitan Opera in New York were first projected live on the big screen at the Cinema, thereby made accessible to a broad audience in Germany as well, uniting opera fans and novices alike in an unforgettable experience.
Dieter Buchwald introduced popcorn to German movie theaters. At the Cinema, it is made fresh each day with great care and only the best ingredients.
As co-founder of Germany’s first IMAX theater in Munich and operator of the Discovery Channel IMAX theater at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Dieter Buchwald knew how to impress an audience. His experiences from these ambitious large-scale projects regularly found their way to the Cinema, including Germany’s first digitally screened 3D film. His successor, Klaus Ungerer, who took over at the helm of the Cinema in 2017, continues in the tradition of the philosophy of a Movie Lovers’ paradise.
Almost every single technical innovation in the field of cinema projection and sound has always been and can still be found at the Cinema. At the moment, Dolby Atmos combined with a special wood paneling provides for a breathtaking sound experience inside the auditorium. Thereby, the sound is mainly heard in its original language version: here, too, the Cinema proved to be a trendsetter in being the only Munich movie theater to meet the demand for films shown in their original language versions 30 years ago. Back then, it was a leap into the unknown, but one that was met with overwhelming approval by the audience.
Cinema guests may enjoy their cinematic experience by leaning back in one of 285 comfortable, recently installed theater seats. Just recently, a 4K high-contrast laser projector of the latest generation was installed, and in addition, our foyer shines in new splendor after an extensive refurbishment. No wonder that many guests like to arrive a little earlier to ring in their movie night with a longdrink or the like.
Whether with popcorn or nachos, beer or gin and tonic – in the foyer of the Cinema you may enjoy your movie night in a stylish atmosphere.