Going To The Cinema In Norway Without Speaking Norwegian: What It’s Really Like

Norwegians love going to see movies in the cinema, but how would a movie theater experience be as a foreigner or tourist in Norway? This article will explain everything you need to know about going to the cinema in Norway as a non-Norwegian without any skills in understanding the Norwegian language.

You will generally be fine in Norwegian movie theaters if you speak English, and the standard format for films is to use the original sound with Norwegian subtitles. Only children’s movies are usually subbed, and family movies (for example Pixar movies) are typically available in both dubbed and original.

The entrance to Odeon in Oslo. This is a great place to be going to the cinema in Norway,
The entrance to Odeon in Oslo. Photo: Premeditated / CC BY-SA 4.0.

So as an adult with sufficient English skills, you will be more than fine by going to the cinema to watch a movie in Norway. If the movie is dubbed, it will be clearly mentioned when you book tickets, because this is something most Norwegians dislike. The Norwegian word for dubbed is “dubbet”, so it should be easy to spot.

Movies are typically available at the same time as the rest of the world, but some cinemas that are located in smaller cities and towns might get some movies a few weeks later. However, in Oslo and any other big city the movies will typically come out the same day as the rest of the world.

It is also somewhat common for movie theaters to have a midnight screening of popular movies, like whenever a new Marvel movie is released, but this is mostly restricted to the bigger cities.

Also read: The best historical movies about Norway.

How to go to the movies in Norway

We have established that you can go to the movies in Norway without having problems, but let’s also look a bit closer at how you should go about when you are going to the movies. There are some cultural differences that some (especially Americans) find kind of surprising.

One of the things many people find surprising is that most movie theaters only sell numbered seats. This means that you get the best seats if you book early, and you should never sit anywhere else than the seat number that is written on the ticket. Only after 5 minutes into the movies is it considered OK to change to another, better seat if you want to.

You should not talk while going to the movies. Some people might do it, but it is not considered a normal thing to do, and people will give you stern looks for it. Do not use your phone while the movie is playing. Not only should you not be speaking on the phone, but you should not be browsing the web or texting either.

This is probably the same around most parts of the world, but do not film anything that happens on the screen. Doing this is against the rules of the cinema, and you might get kicked out.

Odeon Kino is a cinema in Skien. Photo by Nicklas Iversen / The Norway Guide.

Be careful about movies where they speak a foreign language

As mentioned above, pretty much all the movies in movie theaters in Norway have subtitles in Norwegian. This means that you can easily see most movies as long as your English is good enough, but you might come into some trouble if someone in the movie speaks a foreign language.

It’s not that strange to see movie characters have some dialogue in a different language at some point during the movie, and this will also only be subtitled in Norwegian. So you might miss some context if the villain of the movie speaks a foreign language to their partners at a point in time, or something like that.

Full-on foreign movies that speak an entirely different language will also be subtitled in Norwegian, and you pretty much never see movies with English subtitles.

Movie theaters in Norway are generally very good

Norwegians love going to the movies, and we usually place pretty high up on lists when it comes to how often the population goes to the cinema. This has resulted in a lot of competition in the bigger cities, which has led to a pretty competitive market. For us movie goers, this means that most cinemas have modern technology and a high standard.

In smaller towns, the cinema will often be owned by the municipality (kommune). These places will often have a limited selection of which movies you can see, but they will still offer a good experience.

Inside Odeon in Oslo
Inside Odeon in Oslo. Photo: Premeditated / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Book your ticket online to make sure you get a seat

It is generally possible to book tickets at the counter just before a movie start, but it is adviced to book tickers ahead of time to make sure you get a seat. This is especially important for premieres and popular movies that has a chance to fill the entire theater.

Most movie theaters will have websites or apps that allow you to book ticket. Most of the cinemas let you book tickets on Filmweb, even in smaller cities and towns. This is a kind of aggregate website that shows all available times and cinemas for a movie in a city of your choosing. Just select a city, a movie and a date, and it will show you when and where you can watch it.

Some small towns might not have signed up to be shown on Filmweb, but if that’s the case then you need to head to the website of the cinema. In most cases for small towns this will be a part of the municipality’s website, usually found at municipalityname.kommune.no. Just change municipalityname to the actual name of the municipality. Or just search for “municipality name + kino” in Google. Kino is the Norwegian word for cinema.

Cost of movie tickets in Norway

The cost of a single movie ticket will vary depending on which movie theater you go to, which movie you see, and when you see it. Most commonly the movie ticket price is 130 – 150 NOK, but sometimes you will find that they cost up to 200 NOK.

A lot of movie theaters also has VIP Seats. These are considered the best seats to see the movie, and comes with some additional perks. Expect to pay up to an additional 100 NOK for a VIP ticket.

Children often get a discount, but it is usually pretty low like a 10 – 20 % discount. So expect to pay between 100 NOK to 140 NOK for a regular children’s ticket. The exact age limit for when a child is considered a child at the movies is not regulated by any laws, but it is often set to around 12 – 13 years, and the movie theater can choose this themselves.

The cost of buying popcorn, candy or a soda from the kiosk in the movie theater is considered to be very expensive. You pay a premium for this, so expect to shell out an additional 100 NOK if you want a popcorn and a Coke.

Some people prefer to bring candy and sodas from grocery stores or whatever they have a home, which is perfectly acceptable. Many movie goers are under the impression that you have to smuggle in this “contraband” to the movie theater, but pretty much all cinemas allow you to bring your own stuff (with the exception of alcohol, and in many cases take-away food or things with a very strong smell).

There has been a few movie theaters that have attempted to ban outside candy, but has since change their policy back to allowing it again. People pretty much had an uproar when movie theaters tried this.

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