What does everyone do when they are bored and not tired? What do you do when you want to go out, but also don't want to get to crazy, or spend too much money? What do you do for just enough entertainment? I say go to the movies! Yup. Go to the movies, grab your popcorn, choose the best seat and enjoy. How does the movie theaters differ in Turkey compared with America?
You buy you ticket which is around $8.00, depending on where you go. Then comes the deal breaker, refreshments. You will spend a minimum of 5$ for a drink and 5$ for a popcorn. If you get the super size popcorn or drink, you can get a "free" refill (Sharing with friends is the best way if you want/need refreshments). Then you carry your super sized everything, trying not to drop even a cent worth of popcorn to the huge dark cinema. You find the seat appropriate enough to view the entire film with the most viewing pleasure. The movie ends, and you rush to the bathroom, after drinking your extra-large beverage.
To start off, Turkey is one of the quickest countries in Europe to offer an American/popular movie. They can usually offer the major movies on the same release date as its original. I must say that going to the movies is one of my favorite simple pleasures in Turkey. To be specific, going to midnight movies is the best pleasure. So after an evening at the cafe, playing backgammon and drinking Turkish Coffee, everyone gets in the car and drives to the nearest cinema.
Like America, they have matinee, student, and adult prices. For a student, at midnight, is 11TL (About 7$). A major difference in Turkey, is that you have to select your seats on the ticket before entering. Now while this is not a problem while going to a midnight movie it poses problems other times. For example, One time we were going to Harry Potter in Marmaris in the middle of the day. We chose our seats and were stuck by some younger kids that kept screaming for Harry Potter. Let it be known, we went again later to actually enjoy the film.
While America likes to rip every cent out of your pockets and the food and beverage stand, Turkey is quite reasonable. You can get a menu of different offerings or order single items. My typical treat is a menu with a medium popcorn(small in America), a can of sprite, and a bottle of water; all for only 8TL(5-6$). When I first arrived in Turkey they did not have those huge buckets of popcorn, but within the past 6 months, Turkey has adopted some American style and started offering large buckets, but the downfall for you popcorn lovers, no refills, unless you can sweet talk the server.
They still offer 10-15 minutes of non-stop commercials in the beginning of the movies, then the standard trailers for other upcoming movies. So, like America, you can make it to the actual film even if you are 15 minutes late. Americans, you know that feeling, it's half way through the movie and you have to run to the bathroom; however, you never know when is a good time to make the race so as to not miss any good parts. Well in Turkey, they offer a nice treat called a "break." That's right, at some point in the middle of the film they will stop it for about 5-10 minutes so you can use the restroom or get more treats. If you are like us "midnighters," you can just tell them to continue the movie.
Many countries are different in this next subject, subtitles and/or dubbing(dublaj). In Turkey, American movies are shown as original, with subtitles in Turkish at the bottom of the screen. Very few movies, like Harry Potter are offered dubbed.
In the end, it is much more pleasurable on your wallet, bladder, and viewing to watch a movie in Turkey! If you make a trip to Turkey, I recommend taking a late evening trip to the local theater and experience even this simple foreign difference.