Movie prices in Tokyo are high and it doesn’t matter which cinema you choose. If you buy the tickets on the day, it’s about 1800 Yen. There are a couple of ways to save money though: If you preorder tickets for a movie premiere (e.g. at Lawson convenience stores) you pay less. Wednesday is „Lady’s Day“ (1000 Yen) and the first of each month is „Service Day“ where everyone only has to pay 1000 Yen. If this day is on a Saturday or Sunday, tickets quickly sell out.
Ordering via Internet is popular but not so popular that you won’t get a ticket at the counter. Still, I bought my ticket for today’s showing of „Inception“ at Shinjuku Piccadilly online. It’s quite easy: On the homepage there is a list of the films showing that day. If it is a foreign film, the original title is written as well as the Japanese one. „X“ means no seats available, △ means few seats available and ◎ lots of seats available. „*P“ is for premium members only. If you don’t speak Japanese, look for „字幕“ next to the film name – it means „subtitles“, these films are shown in their original language.
Unlike Japanese ATMs, I never had problems using a foreign credit card with a Japanese web site. I had to enter my name in Hiragana though which just looks strange. In the end you are given a reservation number (引換番号) which has to be entered along with your phone number (電話番号) at the ticket machines.
Today was the second time I watched Inception and not because I didn’t understand it the first time but because I think it’s a movie made to be seen in a cinema. There is really enough exposition in the film and to all the critics who blame the director for not explaining how the tech to enter someone’s dream works: Why should he? The technology exists in the world of Inception and it would be unnatural for the characters to suddenly explain a technology that is known to them.
Tip: If you are stranded in Shinjuku and missed your last train: Wald 9 Cinema has night showings.