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Berlin: No More Movies in English at Potsdamer Platz

The CineStar movie theater at Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz will close on December 31st, 2019. For many years, it was the best source for motion pictures in English.

Berlin’s largest cinema for movies in English will close on the last day of this year. The CineStar at Potsdamer Platz screened the original versions of motion pictures from Hollywood, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. To the many English-speaking expatriates in Berlin and Germans who prefer to see movies with their original audio tracks, this is bad news.

Employees Without Perspective

In Germany, all popular movies are being dubbed because a majority of nationals would not understand them well otherwise. Therefore, CineStar was a popular movie theater for those who could not stand to see Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Matt Damon or Julia Roberts speak German.

The 120 employees at CineStar do not know what exactly will happen. A ticket vendor told this publication, it was unclear whether the movie theater would be purchased by anyone or if everyone employed there would just be let go. She said both the CineStar and the CineStar iMax would close.

A note for customers said vouchers could be redeemed until December 31st. Refunds or returns would not be possible afterwards. But from next year, CineStar vouchers can still be used at the other theaters the company owns. They mostly show dubbed movies.

Issue for Berlinale

In June, a representative of the ‘ver.di’ union had said the movie theater would possibly close. Now the decision was taken to go ahead and shut it down. The outcome of a pay dispute ‘ver.di’ had with the owners is not known. The reason for the closure has not been announced so far either. At Sony Center, the rent might have been higher than the income through ticket sales.

Movie goes who still prefer the big screen in the age of NetFlix and similar streaming services will have to check out small ‘program cinemas’ in Berlin. They usually show politically correct movies, including original versions in English. More commercial Hollywood flicks are a taboo at those theaters.

The end of CineStar creates another problem. The Berlinale, which is Germany’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, has used it as one of its locations for many years. Now the Berlin International Film Festival might have to look for a new place. Red carpets and stars will have to be taken elsewhere from now on, which means the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz will for sure lose a lot of its glamour.