Dubai is known for its luxury shopping malls and hotels. But little is known about its wide array of luxury cinemas and movie theaters—each with its own unique interior, dining options, and advanced technological innovations. If you want to try one of these movie theaters and cinemas in Dubai to upgrade your viewing experience, refer to this guide.
Things to Know About Movie Theaters and Cinemas in Dubai
Before you choose your preferred movie theater and watch your most-anticipated movie of the year, get to know the landscape and scenes of movie theaters and cinemas in Dubai first. Here’s everything you need to know about these entertainment venues.
What Do Dubai Cinemas and Movie Theaters Offer
After the moving picture was invented, movie theaters and cinemas started to pop up around the world. But no movie theater or cinema is the same. Dubai, for one, offers a different kind of cinema experience.
There are movie theaters and cinemas in Dubai that still offer the typical theater setup with a single auditorium, widescreen, and rows of comfortable padded seats. However, as the UAE continues to embrace modernity, you’ll mostly encounter luxury movie theaters with advanced technological innovations and unique dining experiences in Dubai. You can now find cinemas in Dubai that offer interesting features like 4K laser projection systems, retractable roofs, retro themes, and dine-in movie joints.
Who Can Visit Cinemas in Dubai
The entry restriction of a cinema in Dubai depends on the final rating of the movie given by the Ministry of Information and Culture and the National Media Council. This applies to all movies in Dubai—local or foreign. Nevertheless, guests of all ages, even pregnant women and people of determination, are permitted to watch a movie classified for general audiences.
Age Considerations Based on Movie Ratings
No final rating of this movie has yet to be confirmed. In the meantime, it would stand as rated 18+.
Only guests who are 18 and older are allowed to enter.
Only guests who are 15 and older are allowed to enter.
Guests below 15 years old can enter, but a parent or guardian must accompany them.
Guests below 13 years old can enter, but a parent or guardian must accompany them.
Open to children of all ages, but parental guidance is highly suggested as some material from the movie may not be suitable for young audiences.
Open to all audiences
Cinemas welcome guests with no severe health conditions. Pregnant women and people of determination are welcome to enter. Cinemas and movie theaters in Dubai have dedicated wheelchair seats, stations, and ramps. Guests with photosensitive epilepsy, however, are advised to avoid movies with excessive visual effects and strobe lights.
Are Movie Theaters and Cinemas in Dubai Safe?
Movie theaters and cinemas in Dubai are huge entertainment spaces catering to many people. Given this setup, operating business establishments are required to provide tight security measures. There are teams of security staff outside movie theaters to ensure the safety and security of guests and other staff.
Movie theaters and cinemas in Dubai follow special health and safety measures to combat COVID-19. Business establishments are required by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities to ensure social distancing among guests, sanitize seats and public areas, conduct temperature checks for staff and guests, and promote contactless payments through e-tickets. Movie theaters and cinemas are particularly advised to pay extra attention to high-touch points inside the establishment, such as counters, POS, and payment terminals.
Guests, too, are required to follow individual safety protocols. Guests should wear face masks inside the movie theater, sit seats apart from other guests, avoid physical contact among staff and other visitors, and submit basic personal information for contact tracing purposes.
Cinemas in Dubai have now reopened, as per the advice of the national and local government. To adapt to the ongoing pandemic, some businesses introduce the concept of drive-in cinema in Dubai. However, the vulnerable population, such as children and senior citizens, are discouraged from going out when unnecessary.
When’s the Best Time to Watch a Movie in Dubai?
If you’re after peace and quiet, the best time to see a movie in Dubai is during the last showing from Monday to Thursday. Unless it’s a movie premiere, weekdays don’t attract many audiences as students and professionals have day-to-day engagements from Monday to Friday. However, if you’re an avid fan of the movie, it’s best to book a ticket early to reserve a seat and watch the movie on the premier day itself.
Where are the Best Movie Theaters and Cinemas in Dubai Located?
The best movie theaters and cinemas in Dubai are usually located inside shopping malls. These are the main and in-house entertainment venues of shopping malls in the city. Still, there are themed and special movie theaters with their own establishments. Here are the best places to watch movies in Dubai:
Dubai Mall is considered one of the largest shopping malls globally. Because of its size, it houses several in-house and third-party movie theaters and cinemas. Dubai Mall cinema, for one, is one of the most-visited entertainment venues in the city.
Mall of the Emirates
The Mall of the Emirates is a huge, award-winning shopping mall in Dubai. It houses third-party movie theaters, such as IMAX and VOX Cinema Dubai. More cinemas will be introduced in the future after the mall’s expansion.
Dubai Marina is a luxury neighborhood, entertainment area, and artificial canal that stands along the stretch of the Persian Gulf shoreline. Occupying a huge space in the heart of Dubai, the neighborhood offers many third-party movie theaters and cinemas.
Rove Downtown is a social and cultural hub in Dubai. It’s a well-known location for local and international travelers. In collaboration with hotels and other business establishments, Rove Downtown offers many third-party movie theaters and cinemas.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting the UAE, Reel Cinemas introduced a drive-in cinema in Dubai at Dubai Hills. This is perfect for moviegoers who don’t want to visit public spaces where it’s difficult to maintain social distancing.
Preparation Tips and Booking Procedures
Booking a movie ticket for your most-anticipated film is a breeze, especially now that you can reserve seats and time slots online. But choosing the best movie theater that can give you the cinema experience you’re looking for is quite challenging. With that, let’s head to the preparation stage and booking procedure.
How to Get to the Best Movie Theaters and Cinemas in Dubai
Dubai’s entertainment venues—including movie theaters and cinemas, are strategically located in the heart of the city and other popular neighborhoods. Here’s how to get to the top cinema locations we’ve previously mentioned:
How to Get to Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall is in the city’s financial street. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the mall from the city center through D78 at Sheikh Zayed Rd/E11 or Al Asayel St/D72 in approximately 15 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Dubai Mall cinema and its surrounding areas. Take buses 27, C15, C26, and X28. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to Al Rigga Metro Station or Union Metro Station. From there, you can take a 10 to 20-minute walk to Dubai Mall.
How to Get to the Mall of the Emirates
Mall of the Emirates sits on interchange four of Dubai’s main road, Sheikh Zayed. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the mall from the city center through Sheikh Zayed Rd/E1 in approximately 25 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to the Mall of the Emirates and its surrounding areas. Take buses 81, 84, and 93. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to the Mall of the Emirates Metro Station. From there, you can take a 7-minute walk to reach the mall.
How to Get to Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina is located in the city center. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach Dubai Marina from the city center in approximately 30 minutes through Sheikh Zayed Rd/E11 or Al Khail Rd/E44.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Dubai Marina and its surrounding areas. Take buses 8, 84, and F55A, depending on your location. If you want to take the metro, take the Red Line and alight at Damac Metro Station, then take a 5-minute walk to Dubai Marina.
How to Get to Rove Downtown
Rove Downtown is a convenient location with hotels and entertainment spaces. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach Rove Downtown from the city center in approximately 15 minutes through Sheikh Zayed Rd/E11.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Rove Downtown and its surrounding areas. Take buses 27, 29, 81, and F13, depending on your location. If you want to take the metro, take the Red Line and alight at Financial Centre Metro Station, then take a 24-minute walk to Rove Downtown.
How to Get to Dubai Hills
If you want to experience a one-of-a-kind drive-in cinema in Dubai, head to Dubai Hills. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach Dubai Hills from the city center in approximately 25 minutes through Al Khail Rd/E44.
What Are the Things Moviegoers Need to Prepare?
Watching movies in Dubai is a relaxing experience, so there’s not much to prepare aside from your booking tickets and expectations. Still, here are some things you may want to remember based on the UAE’s general rule for public behavior and the entertainment establishments’ in-house rules.
Wear layered clothing or bring jackets and sweaters. Cinemas in Dubai are air-conditioned closed spaces, so you’ll feel cold with thin clothing. You can also bring blankets to movie theaters with reclining seats if it’s not part of the booking package.
Food and Drinks
The rules regarding food and beverages vary per cinema in Dubai. Some won’t allow you to bring outside food. You’ll be required to purchase food and drinks on their counters, while some allow bringing of light snacks and bottled beverages.
Is Pre-Booking Necessary?
Pre-booking isn’t necessary, but it is highly encouraged to avoid queues and reserve your preferred seats. You can enter these establishments with just e-tickets. Some private cinemas in Dubai also require pre-booking and advanced reservations.
What are the Best Movie Theaters and Cinemas in Dubai?
Dubai offers hundreds of entertainment venues, and most of them are in the form of luxury cinemas with all the advanced features you could think of. With the overwhelming options at your table, here’s a compilation of the best cinemas in Dubai based on reviews and recommendations.
ScreenX, a Dubai Mall cinema, is one of the only movie theaters globally that can offer 270 degrees of action. This feature allows audiences to watch the latest blockbusters using their direct and peripheral vision.
Guests can purchase food and drinks at the cinema as part of a package or a separate purchase. Reel Cinema at Dubai Mall offers classic movie snacks, such as nachos and hotdogs. Their beverages are mostly Pepsi products.
Average ticket price: 63 AED (17.15 USD) to 78.75 AED (21.44 USD)
Timing: 10:20 AM to 11:50 PM
Location: Reel Cinemas, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai
VOX Cinema Dubai is a popular exhibitor of local and international movies. One of its franchises is at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, a private cinema that can only accommodate 15 people. You can book the venue and pick the latest international and local movies, experience gourmet dining options, and get a personalized butler service.
Average ticket price: Indefinite (by booking)
Timing: 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM, and 10:00 PM from Sundays to Wednesdays; 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM, 10:00 PM, and 2:00 AM from Thursdays to Saturdays
Location: Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Reel Cinema collaborated with Rove Hotels to introduce a private cinema with 46 kaleidoscope seats and one widescreen. Like in a hotel, guests can just sit back, relax, and wait for their snacks to be brought to their seats. The cinema offers classic snacks like mini burgers, nachos, and potato skins. Besides soft drinks, you can also get beers and wine here.
Novo Cinemas is dubbed as a premium cinema in Dubai. The interior design and services of the theater are top-notch. Before watching the movie, guests can unwind at the lounge-style waiting area, get a hot towel, and browse the menu. The cinema offers starters, full meals, desserts, and snacks.
For the actual movie experience, Nova Cinemas offers plush red leather seats. Guests have their own cushions and blankets. While the movie is ongoing, guests can order food via the iPad docked between their seats.
Average ticket price: 74 AED (183 USD) to 519 AED (141.29 AED)
Timing: 10:00 AM to 01:00 AM daily
Location: Novo 7 Star, Crescent Rd – Dubai Festival City – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Don’t let the pandemic stop you from watching your most-anticipated movies of the year. Reel Cinema offers movies in Dubai through drive-ins. Its drive-in cinema Dubai branch at Dubai Hills Estate has a large outdoor-screen setup overlooking Burj Khalifa and the Dubai skyline. Each parking or booking ticket comes with two popcorn bags, one nachos, two chocolate snacks, two soft drinks, and two bottles of water.
A unique cinema in Dubai, Roxy Cinemas stands in an open-air beachfront mall situated in the Jumeirah Beach residential area. The cinema offers a stadium-style viewing setup with comfortable seats, powerful graphics, and surround sound. The premium movie package of Roxy Cinemas comes with a three-course meal.
Average ticket price: 36 AED (9.80 USD) to 225 AED (61.25 USD)
Another unique cinema in Dubai, VOX Cinema Dubai’s Theatre by Rhodes combines the best of fine dining and film viewing experiences. Here, you can pick food and beverages straight from the signature menu of Gary Rhodes, a famous restaurateur and television chef. You can dine in seats with oversized armchairs and tables while watching the movie.
Average ticket price: 265 AED (72.14 USD)
Timing: 12:30 PM to 11:00 PM
Location: Mall Emirates, Al Barsha 1 – Dubai
Final Tips for First-Time Moviegoers in Dubai
Cinemas in Dubai may offer a more luxurious experience, but it still follows the same explicit and implicit movie etiquettes all tourists already know about. As such, for our final tips, we only advise you to choose the best movie theaters based on your preferred viewing experience. And as much as possible, always prebook.
What to Do After Visiting a Cinema in Dubai
After watching the latest local or international blockbuster movies in Dubai, surround yourself with more exciting activities in the heart of the city. Take a walking tour and visit the Burj Khalifa or Burj Al Arab. If you want to go shopping, explore the biggest shopping malls in Dubai.