Find Movie Showtimes with Spotlight in Mac OS X

May 22, 2015 - 10 Comments

Find movie showtimes with Spotlight in Mac OS X

Want to see a movie tonight? Wondering what the showtime are of a movie playing nearby? You can quickly find local movie showtimes by using the Spotlight search feature in Mac OS X. Yes you read that right, the same Spotlight that works as an app launcher and file search engine, can also uncover movie showtimes and other details about whats playing in theaters!

The Spotlight movie finder feature is really easy to use, but you’ll need a modern version of OS X from 10.10.x or later to have access to the theater showtime ability. The rest is a piece of cake.

Finding Local Movie Showtimes with Spotlight on Mac

  1. Hit Command+Spacebar to bring up Spotlight search anywhere in Mac OS X as usual
  2. Type the name of the movie to retrieve local showtime information about, wait a moment for the showtime info to populate in Spotlight

For example, this Spotlight search for “Age of Ultron” shows all sort of details about the movie:

Find movies playing nearby with Spotlight in Mac OS X

Not only will you find the movie showtime starts, but you’ll also see the movies release date, the movies runtime, the movies genre, the movies plot summary, the cast and crew, and the movies rating (sometimes – not sure why the rating only appears on some movies, perhaps bug). Note that if you hit the “Return” key, Safari will open to the Fandango website for even more movie details – hitting the Return key is not necessary to simply see movie start times and the data outlined above.

This is great if you’re wanting to see a movie this weekend or perhaps later in the evening, and you’re sitting at your Mac wondering when showtimes are. Since it’s all built into OS X, it’s extremely fast, and does not require using a web browser, FanDango, or any of the other showtime retrieval services and apps – it’s all right there in Spotlight.

Find movie showtimes with Spotlight in Mac OS X

You can even quickly plan a night out by using Spotlight to find local listings and restaurants too, just in case you want a bite to eat before heading to the theater.

If this feature isn’t working for you it’s likely because you either have Location Services completely disabled on the Mac (or for specific location services like Spotlight), you disabled many Spotlight search abilities in the features preference panel, there’s no active internet connection, or you’re not on a new enough version of OS X software.

Obviously this is most relevant if you’re currently on a Mac, but if you’re already out and about you’re not out of luck. iPhone and iPad users can get showtimes and movie info from Siri with simple requests, which means you’ll be able to quickly find a movie and when to head to the theater with whatever Apple device you’re using.

Spotlight is becoming very full featured on the Mac and iOS platform, even though their abilities are somewhat different. Don’t miss browsing through many more Spotlight tips, you’ll be sure to learn something new.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. john says:

    Does not work for me 10.10.3, even w/ all boxes checked in Spotlight preferences.

  2. Pierre Scerri says:

    This feature is not working on my system (10.10.3). Location services are on for spotlight. Does this work everywhere?

    • Kevin says:

      A US only function. Again the author forgets the rest of the world exists and not everything that works in the good ‘ol U S of A, works anywhere else.

      • Wron says:

        Actually this location and movie search Spotlight feature works in other countries too, but if you don’t have the settings enabled it won’t work anywhere. Check your settings.

        If you find a feature doesn’t work in your small country due to a small population size you should contact Apple and lobby them to support it, that is an Apple decision. Maybe they will determine that supporting a micro nation with 22 people and a coconut shell for morse code internet is worth their time because you wrote them an email.

        Apple is based in the “good ‘ol US of A” too, by the way. Population is 300 million+, it’s where most movies are made, where would you spend your efforts to support first with most features? Apple brings support to the big nations first: USA, China, Canada, Germany, Australia, UK, Japan, western Europe, then they branch out from there. If you’re in Brunei it may take a little longer.

  3. Ted says:

    A m-o-v-i-e t-h-e-a-t-re!? Who in their sane mind goes to a movie theatre nowadays? I thought they were only popular back in the 70s and 80s.

    • Paul says:

      I know, increasingly rare with streaming and movies on demand, but sometimes you get impatient and want to see a movie right away I suppose?

    • T-Bone says:

      Look at the example! Avengers – Age of Ultron! I rarely go to movie theatres, but I couldn’t wait to see it

    • Charlie says:

      I was at the movie theater about 3 weeks ago and it was crowded. It was an afternoon show to. At night, they are even more crowded. A nice amount of people still go to the movies. Good thing to because otherwise, that would be more jobs lost. There is an article about shadow jobs where we pump our own gas, bag our own groceries, scan what we buy and put the items in a bag at the drugstore chains, etc. and the article is all about how we ourselves, are taking away more and more jobs by these companies having us do the work that use to be done by their employees. Jobs are becoming less and technology, while good, has a drawback of making less and less jobs necessary which can bite us in the butt. More people in the world, less jobs available and you have a huge problem. In Europe and other places overseas, the youth unemployment rate (18-25+) is around 25% and higher. This goes for adults to and less jobs causes a problem here as well. People with more free time but less money. This is why the youth are joining ISIS. They have no jobs, are bored and are looking for something to do.

      • Sean Gonzales says:

        Indeed you’re right. As our collective gadgets, iPhones and Macs do more and more interesting things, or help us do more on our own (Apple Pay for self-check out, etc) other jobs are being lost. But those jobs should be replaced by something else, should is the word, because they’re not. The US economy is being hollowed out for many reasons, none of it is being helped by political inaction and the current political situation in the USA which has allowed the US to stagnate and fall behind for nearly two decades.

        Youth unemployment rate in the USA is around 15% too

        I know Apple has opened a few manufacturing centers in the USA, but given the cheap costs of production overseas, nobody can expect that to be the answer. Jobs will be outsourced, automated, turned over to robots, and there will be continual stratification in the USA unless there is some serious political action to intervene. Even something as boring as ‘bring your huge hoards of cash home to the USA tax free if you invest in the USA’ would be helpful, Apple is sitting on boatloads of money that are outside the USA, as are most companies. The US needs serious investment from the public and private, badly.

        • Charlie says:

          When you think of the underemployed, those working part time jobs when they want full time jobs and those that are making 30-50% less then what they use to before their company closed, relocated, etc. and now they are making far less. Also, salaries are going up on average 2.3% a year and many things people buy and pay bills for are going up 5-30% a year and people are falling farther and farther behind every year. The gap between the rich and poor is greater than in 1929 and greater than right before the French Revolution. When the gap is that wide, it is extremely bad for the economy that needs the middle class to keep a healthy economy. Now a new trade agreement President Obama wants to pass might do more damage to our jobs like previous trade agreements have done. All in all, I see people becoming poorer, more of a gap between the rich and the poor, the economy being falsely pushed up and if this ever breaks (the economy bubble) we will be in worse shape than we were when the housing bubble burst in 2008. We have not fully recovered from that yet. I do not like the direction the world is heading. I feel for the young who have many years left since if this gets worse, they will suffer the most. I hope Ultron was not correct in the movie the Avengers: Age of Ultron when he says, “They want peace. Peace will be achieved with their extinction.” With the way mankind is handling this world, with the direction we are heading, there is some truth in that statement. God help us all.

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