The anthem -- "Jana Gana Mana" -- will be accompanied by an image of the Indian flag.
"All present in the (cinema) hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the national anthem," Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy wrote.
The ruling is in response to a petition
filed by Narayan Chouksey, a retired engineer in Bhopal, who asked the court to "specify what would be constituting disrespect and abuse of the national anthem."
Attorneys for Chouksey argued that the anthem was being regularly insulted and called on the court to lay down norms to protect it.
The court said the ruling must be implemented within 10 days.
Law of the land
While the national anthem is already played before movies by some theaters, and many Indians grew up listening to the song before most school and society events, it has never before been the law except in the western state of Maharashtra.
"The citizens of the country must realize that they live in a nation and are duty bound to show respect to (the) national anthem," the justices said.
Ministry of Home Affairs regulations already stipulate
that Indians must stand to attention "whenever the anthem is sung or played."
In the past there have been reports
of people being thrown out of venues or attacked
for not showing respect to the anthem.
However, many Indians have also criticized
a recent trend toward aggressive displays of patriotism
amid a rise in jingoism on television news and in the press.
It isn't the first time in recent months that national politics and the movies have intersected.
In October, one of India's most famous movie directors announced he would no longer work with Pakistani talent
Bollywood director Karan Johar's move came after weeks of rising tensions between the two neighbors over clashes along their disputed border in Kashmir