Apollo Kino, Vienna:
Art-Deco Cinema with a story - Part II

With the Anschluss, the Apollo′s managing company Kiba was dissolved and all its cinemas confiscated by the Nazis. The new manager in rule was the "Nationalsozialistische Ostmärkische Filmtheater" company and regarded very importantly by the Nazis, who - like the social democrats before - were strong supporters of modern mass media and wanted full control over them. Only after the end of WWII, the Apollo was returned to the city of Vienna (alongside with other cinemas).

The decades after WWII were still a good time for the cinema, but by 1962, watching a movie had changed from being a mass event to something that had to serve specialist tastes. The gigantic theatre was sectioned into three separate ones and the screen of the main theatre changed positions. The next and even more dramatic change happened in 1992.

This was when most of the Apollo′s traditional rivals such as the Gartenbaumkino, the Taborkino, or the Weltkino hat long gone bust or turned into porn cinemas (such as the Weltkino at the Gürtel road - although since the rise of the DVD and internet, there is only one porn cinema left in Vienna as of 2008). At the same time, new players had appeared: Modern, US-style multi-screen cinemas with lots of "Xs" in their names. In 1997, the Kiba was privatised and parts of the Apollo sold to the movie company Constantin.

Apollo Kino Today: One of Vienna's most Modern Cinemas

In 1993 and then more extensively again in 1996, the Apollo was drastically re-modelled. Since then, it has 2,160 seats in twelve theatres, 504 in the main one. At its re-opening, it was the biggest cinema of Vienna and in its first year, sold about eight percent of Austria′s movie tickets. The Apollo is still doing well, although meanwhile there are other multi-screen cinemas that are bigger (such as the UCI Kinowelt in the Millennium City with more than 3,500 seats in 21 theatres). Since 1999, Constantin, which runs a chain of (mostly multiscreen) cinemas in Austria and Germany, is the only owner of the Apollo Kino.

With the changes in the interiors, the Apollo has lost its original flair and become one of many temples of consumerism. You couldn′t tell what country you are in from just looking at the interiors. However, I do acknowledge that the idea of this labourer′s cinema was to entertain, inform and educate the working classes; of which at least one thing is still perfectly achieved by the current Apollo. The outside of the Apollo with its lighthouse-like central tower is visible from several points of the Wienzeile and alongside with the Flak tower next to it, it makes a good landmark for the district of Mariahilf.

Attractions nearby include the Naschmarkt, the area of Gumpendorferstraße with lots of bars, restaurants and cafes that are nice and independent run and don′t really fit with the crowd that now likes to go to the Apollo; the Haus des Meeres; the Mariahilferkirche Church; and - if you consider a shopping lane attractive - the Mariahilferstraße road.

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Further Reading

Official Website of the Apollo Kino Cinema

City of Vienna: Fimls and Cinemas of Vienna