Everything you need to know about Sky Cinema


For many of us, there’s no greater joy than settling in for a great film. The pleasure of discovering your new favourite film is one that can’t really be replicated in life, and there’s few things which make us feel the way a good film can. That’s why Sky Cinema is so important to Sky subscribers like you and me, it gives us a way to think, feel and connect in ways that we never really thought possible.

So, it’s clear that Sky Cinema is an incredibly important part of Sky’s portfolio, but how did the channel get started and what can you expect to find on each channel? Join us as we take a deep dive into Sky Cinema.

Sky Cinema, from 1989 to Today

Most of us know Sky Cinema as Sky Movies, and that’s the name the channel was born with way back in 1989. As part of the original 4-channel Sky package (sent through the legendary Astra A1 satellite with channels like), the service was one of the headline features, promising big recent movies beamed directly into your home.

A free to air service, Sky ensured that their flagship channel wouldn’t be without what it’s named for – movies. First-run deals with 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros. Columbia Pictures, Buena Vista Distribution and more were struck to bring movies to the new Sky Movies service.

So, on the 5th of February, 1989, Sky began with a screening of Dirty Dancing – a film which was a mere 2 years old at the time. Nevertheless, with adverts interrupting the films, customers didn’t necessarily prefer Sky Movies to home video from the same period.

One year later, Sky made Movies a paid service, taking off free-to-air and scrambling the signal so that only paying Sky customers could view it. At the same time, adverts were removed from the movie broadcasts and moved to between films. This also had the effect of making a lot of non-movie content appear on the service. Events like wrestling, live boxing and concerts appeared on the channel entirely because it was the only paid for Sky channel.

By October 1992, Sky Movies had grown to 3 channels – Sky Movies Screen 1, Sky Movies Screen 2 and Sky Movies Gold (a “classic movies” channel). It would be the first step into the Sky Cinema that we know today – one with 11 channels of movies.

Over the years, Sky Movies continued to grow – becoming digital and adding 6 more channels in 1998 before rebranding and becoming Sky Movies 1 through 9 in 2003. Each of these channels would later be rebranded as specific movie categories from drama through to comedy via suspense, horror and family. Each would also become HD as 1080p televisions became a commonplace feature of most UK homes.

Finally, in 2016 Sky announced that the historic Movies branding would change as the service became Sky Cinema from the 8th of July. The change would be to bring the service in line with the other Sky film channels around the world, and they further stated that 4K movies would be coming to the service.

Today, we see Sky Cinema as the leading movies channel in the UK and Europe with new premieres every day and over 1000 movies to stream on demand, as and when you like. It’s the perfect complement to Sky Atlantic, which shows the best of what TV has to offer.

What are the Sky Cinema channels?

As of November 2016, there are 11 permanent Sky Cinema channels, they are:

  • Sky Cinema Premiere (SD/+1/HD) – Showing first-run premieres of amazing films each and every day. That means whether you’re pining for the latest drama or eager to catch that hit comedy, you’re likely to see it soon on Sky Cinema Premiere
  • Sky Cinema Hits (SD/HD) – The home of the biggest and best movies of recent years, with huge hits like The Avengers, Inside Out and many, many more.
  • Sky Cinema Musicals (SD/HD) – There’s nothing like the magic of the cinematic musical, so if you’re feeling like greased lightnin’ or shouting mamma mia, you’re covered 24 hours a day.
  • Sky Cinema Disney (SD/HD) – Disney films have a special place in all of our hearts, and they’re collected here for viewing any time of the day. From classics through to modern hits, there’s nothing which isn’t covered on Sky Cinema Disney.
  • Sky Cinema Disney-Pixar (SD/HD) – Disney Pixar have 20 years of classic movies under their belt, and you can find them all here. Expect Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Wreck it Ralph, Toy Story and countless other family classics.
  • Sky Cinema Action & Adventure (SD/HD) – Ready to get the heart racing? Sky Action & Adventure is here to scratch that it. Expect The Dark Knight, Camino, Vendetta, Armageddon and many more.
  • Sky Cinema Comedy (SD/HD) – Laughter brings us all together, and so does Sky Cinema Comedy. Expect comedy mega-hits like The 40 Year Old Virgin alongside underrated comedy classics and romantic comedies in this hilarious channels.
  • Sky Cinema Crime & Thriller (SD/HD) – Not for the kids, but when they’ve gone to bed, you can enjoy films like The Rock, All The President’s Men and Snatch on this ‘thrilling’ channel.
  • Sky Cinema Drama & Romance (SD/HD) – Snuggle up and enjoy these heart-warming and inspirational romance and drama pictures.
  • Sky Cinema Sci-Fi & Horror (SD/HD) – Alien or Predator? You can find out once and for all at the Sky Cinema Sci-Fi & Horror channel.
  • Sky Cinema Select (SD/HD) – The home of critically acclaimed, world class filmmaking, Sky Cinema Select offers discerning film fans the chance to catch films like Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, American Beauty, Girl Interrupted, The Forgotten Kingdom and man, many more.