Shanghai is bursting with places to watch films, whether it’s Hollywood blockbusters in 3D or niche documentary screenings. Here’s how to get your cinematic fix.
Time Out Film Screenings
First and foremost, don’t miss Time Out’s own Top 100 Mainland Film Series, screened in the casual, comfortable and top-notch Glam. In 2014, we polled 88 film experts around the world to determine the 100 Best Mainland Chinese films of all time; one is screened on the second Sunday ofeach month. There are special drinks deals on offer, plus a tailored post-screening food menu, and completely free entry and popcorn for all. To book your spot, send ‘film’ to the our official WeChat (id: timeoutshanghaieng).Glam is at Seventh Floor, Five on the Bund, 20 Guangdong Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, Huangpu district.
IMAX Cinema, Huaihai Zhong Lu
The six-screen IMAX sitting atop the iAPM mall on Huaihai Zhong Lu is one of the flashiest cinemas in the city. It can get crowded and it isn’t the cheapest way to watch films here in Shanghai – tickets cost around 100RMB for 2D films and 200RMB for 3D films – but it’s a proper big-screen experience with the latest international flicks. In total, there are 20 IMAX cinemas dotted around the city, but this is also one of the most convenient, sitting directly above Shaanxi Nan Lu station, and consequently it’s best to book in advance (5109 3988), especially for new releases.IMAX Sixth Floor, iAPM, 999 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu, Xuhui district. You can book tickets via 247 here, and book tickets for other general releases through Time Out Tickets here.
Pigpen Cinema at The Grumpy Pig
Pigpen Cinema is nestled within The Grumpy Pig, a cozy little restaurant with a pork-focused menu and a penchant for indie film screenings. Pigpen offers moviegoers free popcorn and drinks deals, and viewing is completely free. Recent films have included Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson doc and IRIS from legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles.Grumpy Pig is at 65 Maoming Bei Lu, near Weihai Lu, Huangpu district.
Green Initiatives Screenings
This environmentally focused non-profit screens films (often twice a month) that raise the profile of environmental issues in China, frequently hosting in the Haworth Organic Space on Nanjing Xi Lu. Films touch on issues such as industrial food production, pollution, biodynamic agriculture, and the bottled water industry. Proceeds are donated to local environmental charities. Find out more at their website.
Historic Shanghai and Royal Asiatic Society Film Club
If historical films are your thing, get on the mailing list for these two groups. The Royal Asiatic Society has a regular Film Club, showing flicks such as Sang Hu’s Zhu Fu (1956), and a documentary screening series. Historic Shanghai also organises film screenings and events, along with talks and guided walks.
Griffin Drive-In Theatre
Drive-in movie theatres might evoke images of the US in the 1950s, but what they should really call to mind is an industrial estate in Minhang district in 2016. Shanghai’s own drive-in cinema is a bargain at 160RMB per car, open from 7.30pm-4am and shows an impressive six movies a night on two screens (with eight screenings at the weekends). They offer a pretty decent range of English, Korean and Chinese language films, in their original state rather than dubbed, and plenty of recent releases too. No word on whether they’re bike friendly if you don’t have a car though.Griffin Drive-in Theatre is at 429 Quwu Lu, near Hongmei Nan Lu, Minhang district.
Hotel Indigo Cinema Pods
One of the most striking places to sit watching a film has to be Hotel Indigo. The boutique hotel has two ‘cinema pods’ – giant capsules with a large TV screen and plenty of soft seating, perfect for kicking back with friends. Curl up here, order drinks and snacks (try the ‘steak chips’, 48RMB) and settle in for your own private cinema screening. They have a range of movie channels on offer, or you can just bring your own DVD along. Your only struggle might be keeping your eyes off the fabulous Huangpu river views outside.Hotel Indigo is at 585 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu, near Dongmen Lu, Huangpu district.