Shinjuku Picadilly theater complex, since it came recommended. It's just a few minutes from the Shinjuku JR station and is easy to find. (On that note, it's also just a couple of blocks from Few Many.)
Let's start with ticket prices, which were the major reason I hadn't seen a movie here before. Walk by theaters, and you'll see posted general admission prices of 1800 yen, which is something like $22 at today's rates. No matinee prices, and they'll tack on another 300-700 yen if it's a 3D film.
|3D IMAX films are 2200 yen total.|
Vouchers usually cost 1280-1300 yen and can be used anywhere. You simply take the voucher and exchange it for a ticket at a theater. Even better, you can get tickets for a future date, plus they let you choose your seat (which I really like). For the Shinjuku Picadilly, you can go there on Tuesday and get advanced tickets right through the Thursday of the following week.
Also, theaters have special discount days. For instance, back at our Shinjuku spot, Wednesdays are Ladies Days, when all tickets are 1000 yen for women.
So if you take a couple of very easy steps, you can save a lot on what may be the world's most expensive general admission prices. I have a feeling the distribution companies may even be selling the vouchers to the ticket shops, since they're so widespread. But who knows. Incidentally, to buy vouchers at the shops, you won't need to speak any Japanese, as the little paper slips have the movie's logo or characters on them, making them easy to distinguish.
Watching the film
After the lights dim, there are a few commercials and previews. Nothing out of the ordinary there, and it only lasts a few minutes.
|Patrons are also advised not to kick the people in front. Nice!|
I have to say I really enjoyed this aspect of film watching. You can sit and watch a film and hear every nuance of the dialogue and score, while soaking in scenes without being blasted back to reality by a pair of chatting twits. I did hear a couple of cell phones vibrating, but that's it. Well, a girl a few seats down was sobbing 2/3 of the way into Harry Potter, but from what I've read online, that's common.
Both the films I saw were in English with Japanese subtitles. That was also a good thing, since I was worried that movies would be dubbed in Japanese. (That's the way they're usually shown on TV, which is a major reason TV here generally sucks, unless you enjoy watching other people eat.) Fortunately, it seems to be easy enough to find films at theaters in the original language.
Just about the worst thing about J-film watching is they keep the lights completely off through the whole ending credits - to the bitter end - past the grip boys, director's assistants, and second unit accountants. People start to shuffle out before rigor mortis threatens, but if the folks on both sides of you are staying put, then so are you unless you want to step on them to get out. But that's a small point. (And who knew how many thousands of people worked on X-Men and Harry Potter???)
|If you're feeling especially spendy, you can pick up an autographed photo.|
In closing, I want to say something clever like "The balcony is closed" but I'm happy enough with "Thank you for not munching your popcorn."