A great way to learn more about Sri Lanka and its culture is through the arts, including literature, paintings and movies – this little country has its own unique brand of cinema, from action packed thrillers to rib-tickling comedy. If you fancy something more mainstream you'll also find a range of popular Bollywood and Hollywood movies.
There aren't that many cinemas in Colombo, but they're still popular with the locals as a way to spend some quality time with friends. Most cinemas schedule four to five screenings per day (usually at 10.30am, 1.30pm, 4.30pm, 7.30pm and 10.30pm, but check with the cinema for the most up-to-date information) and tickets can either be bought in advance online or in-person at the box office.
The Majestic cinema has revolutionised the cinema going experience in Colombo. What began as a single screen theatre, Majestic has evolved into a multi screened Cineplex attached to the Majestic City shopping complex. The theatre has recently been refurbished with new seats, lighting and enhanced sound with Sri Lanka’s first 4K projection together with Dolby digital 7.1 surround sound system. The wide curved space and the architecture makes for comfortable seating and viewing. Comprising four ultra modern theatres, the Majestic cineplex screens the latest Hollywood, Bollywood and international movies in English.
Once a neglected cinema, Savoy (like many of Colombo’s establishments) has undergone a major facelift. Now comprising two cinemas, Savoy 3D and Savoy 2, this cineplex caters mostly for the local market. While the majority of the screenings are Sinhala movies, Savoy occasionally plays the odd Hollywood/Bollywood blockbuster and The Savoy is very popular so if you want to try a Sinhala flick, we recommend you pre-book a seat.
Entertaining Colombo cinema goers since 1930, the Regal Cinema is in the district still known as Slave island. Movies in all three languages (Sinhala, Tamil and English) are shown according to availability. The seating is conventional with varying levels of comfort and there is a balcony. The movie and sound settings are standard and movie watching there is a pleasant, if dated, experience.
Two screens make up the Liberty cineplex, Liberty Lite and well, the main Liberty cinema. Conveniently located in the heart of Colombo, the cinema has a car park, which allows for easy access. The management at Liberty make a conscious effort to screen only the biggest Hollywood/Bollywood movies, so you may find yourself watching Spiderman, Transformers or Shah Rukh’s latest dance extravaganza. The larger cinema plays movies that will either be sure fire hits or mass market Sinhala films. Lite on the other hand, is a rather cosy personalised affair with a few seats and a fluctuating roster of movies.
Luxury cinema is a new beast in this part of the world, and the Empire cineplex is the very definition of luxury. Made up of two cinemas, Empire is specifically designed to offer a high-end, private and exclusive cinema experience. Both cinemas have relatively few seats to ensure that the audience has an exclusive experience. Luxury features include leather seats that recline to a complete 180 degree angle (how to watch a movie like that?). The Empire also has an impressive in house dining menu.