The initiative is part of the 2011 Swedish Pet Fair held in Stockholm’s Kistamässan in the hub of Sweden’s telecommunications and IT industry.
“To our knowledge, this is the first time that dogs have been allowed to attend a movie screening. Of course, all pets are welcome,” Gerd Lindén, project manager at the Pet Fair, said in a statement last month.
“As long as it is the family’s best friend, we promise not to discriminate against moviegoers and welcome both reptiles as well as fish in aquariums,” he added.
The dog-friendly movie theatre kicked off on Thursday afternoon at 1pm with a screening of the film Marmaduke, which features a Great Dane in the lead role and was released last year.
The dog cinema is open throughout the Pet Fair, which began on Thursday and ends on Sunday. Screenings of the film are at 12.30pm and 3pm every day. The Pet Fair is open from 10am to 6pm.
Tickets for the dog cinema are included in the admission price to the fair and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The cinema seats about 200 people and 200 dogs. Other pets are welcome, but visitors are asked to pre-register pets with special needs.
“A pet is a family affair and for dog and pet owners, it is obvious that they must find things to do together,” said Jenny Dybeck Strömbäck, marketing manager at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in Scandinavia.
“Often, this means that one may be excluded from many fun activities, such as going to theatres, museums or restaurants. We are changing that now,” she added.
The film is open from all ages, including viewers with four legs. The cinema will not sell popcorn or soft drinks as usual, but owners can buy dog biscuits and treats for their four-legged friends.
The dog cinema is a collaboration between the Pet Fair and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, the studio behind Marmaduke.
The film is based on a popular American comic strip from the 1950s about an unusually large Great Dane. The Swedish premiere of the film on Blu-ray and DVD is on Wednesday.
According to an American Kennel club survey, 87 percent of all pet owners say their pets watch TV. Research has also shown that dogs, as well as certain other animals, can actually watch TV.
They do not perceive the image as humans do, but can react to certain elements. Experiments show also that dogs have the ability to see shades of colour and not just in black and white.