A crowd of more than 100 people, mostly foreign workers, refused to leave Rex Cinemas at Mackenzie Road, after the theatre cancelled the premiere of a movie on Thursday night.
The police were called in after some in the crowd apparently began shouting at cinema staff when screenings of the Tamil movie, Veeram, was abruptly cancelled. They had lined up for more than six hours.
Three police cars and about 10 police officers were at the scene, but no arrests were made.
Two patrons, Mr Suresh Veerasamy, 29, and Mr Tamal Shanmugam, 28, both construction workers, said they were at the cinema at 6am on Thursday to buy tickets. The cinema had sold tickets for a 9pm and a 12.15am screening.
Both workers took the day off work to catch the movie, and said they each lost $70 in wages for the day. "I am very disappointed. I don't want a refund. I just want to watch it," said Mr Shanmugam.
A cinema spokesman said the screenings were cancelled as it could not download the film in time. It later allowed patrons to exchange their tickets for one of three screenings on Friday.
Mr Sunder Kolanjiappan, 33, a construction supervisor who has worked in Singapore for 13 years, bought 25 tickets for his friends and himself, at $15 each.
"Tomorrow we have to work. How can we watch it tomorrow?" He said they took the day off and started queuing at 9.30am for tickets, which they got only at 6pm.
The police said it received a call at 9.02pm, but the cinema managed to resolve the matter amicably with its patrons. "No incident was reported and no further police assistance was required," said a spokesman.