Cinema etiquette – The guide to behaving in the cinema

CinemaSeats.jpgJohn’s recent post on the best tips for a movie first date got me thinking, no, not in that way! First thought was that we should collate all the answers and build a nice little FAQ out of it, I can hear John already, “Cool. On you go then.”. That’s my next job, along with all the others.

My second thought was that it would be good to do the same for cinema etiquette. I mean we’re (and I mean me primarily) are always moaning about badly behaved people in the cinema, and the comments we get pretty much back that up. So instead of being negative, I thought we could be positive and let’s create the FAQ for how to behave in the cinema.

First off, I’ll list the main points then comment like mad. Offer new ones, argue with mine, anything you like, and sometime in the future when the posting relaxes I’ll create the final FAQ’s with the hope that people around the world see the light and start to follow them. Fat chance, but then it would be nice to dream. So in no particular order:

1. Phones: Switch them off. Totally. Not even vibrate. I quite agree with blocking signals in the cinema. I do not want to hear Ride of the Valkyrie, or some beeping version of Nelly or Brittney screaming away during the movie. The only phones I want to hear ringing are on the Orange commercials, or the ones in the movie.

2. Talking: Do not speak once the movie starts or the trailers (previews) are showing. There’s no need to tell your girlfriend why something has happened, she can sit and wait for it to be revealed as well. Teach her this process at home so she understands. There’s also no need to recap on everything that just happened, or to turn round and tell your friend\partner what is about to happen. No one in the theater paid for an Audio Commentary, and if they had they would surely prefer it from the Director or Actors involved.

3. Food: Do not eat anything that is contained in a noisy wrapper. Do not bring it into the cinema and sit behind someone and rustle and crackle away during the film, especially the quiet moments. If you really, really have to do it, sit far away from anyone else and don’t try to be clever and draw out the process, go for it. In and out.

4. Toilet: Go before, and go after. If you need to, go in your drinks carton or don’t drink so much before or during the movie. I don’t want someone getting up and walking in front of me three or four times in the movie. Once is acceptable.

5. Feet: If you are sitting behind someone, or someone is seated in the row in front of you, do not start kicking the chair in front, the vibrations can go down the row and if someone is in the seats around the one you are kicking they’ll get mad. If the cinema has bass speakers fitted in the seats then leave that job to them, and if it doesn’t, then don’t try and add your own. It’s not a roller coaster ride.

6. Timing: If you’re going to go see a movie can you get there on time? There’s nothing worse than a bunch of people arriving during the movie and the struggling to find seats or an usher flashing you in the face with a torch as they look for empty seats.

7. Watches: Please switch off your beep on the hour musical watch, and don’t sit through the movie flashing on and off your ultra bright glow in the dark watch just to check the time.

8. Seats: If the performance is seated, and your ticket is numbered, go and sit in the seats given to you. The number of times I’ve found my seats taken, sat somewhere else, only to find I’m sitting in someone else’s seats and they are making a fuss with me about my selfishness. Let’s face it, if you want a better seat, ask when you buy the tickets and if the film is just about to begin you could think about moving, if everyone else obeys No.6!

Now there’s a thing, there’s the etiquette for the cinema goers, what about the cinemas themselves? Let me delve into that one, and also let me just remind you that I have encountered all of these problems.

1. Audio: Sort out the sound so that there is a balance around the theater and that all speakers are heard at the correct level, without distortion or cross feed, from as large an area as possible in the center of the theater.

2. Picture: Keep it sharp, clear and the screen not marked with huge dust marks or tears.

3. Cleanliness: Keeping the theater in a reasonable state of cleanliness is always a good thing. Overly sticky floors and seats are not nice, nor attractive nor even comfortable. Popcorn strewn across the walkways is awful and a huge distraction when someone walks over it, not that they should be!

4. Cost: Come on, we know you have to recoup costs in the cinema, but please push back on the distributors to bring their costs down, etc. We go less because it’s expensive (and there are more crap remakes, but that’s another matter!), so keep the costs down a little.

5. Food: Put food that’s in noisy containers into quieter ones. For example, anything that rustles, put it in a cardboard container, recyclable of course! Also, how about catering for those of us who like coffee, tea, and don’t just want a huge sugar drink with a bucket of sugar, alongside a bucket of fake cheese and processed horses hooves in a tube.

6. Waiters: No! Do not offer a waiter service when the seating layout is traditional and means that the waiter walks into the theater down at the front of the screen and has to sidle across the rows of people, upsetting their viewing, just to hand over some drinks. If you’re going to offer this service then re-think the layout.

7. Seats: Please have comfortable seats. A numb-bum half way through a movie is a killer, as are crushed legs because yours are too long to squeeze in the narrow leg room offered.

8. Customer: Think of the customer, think of what they are there for and what they want out of their experience. Then give them it. That’ll ensure loyalty, healthy returns and cash for you.

Okay, those are mine. I’ve obviously gone to the extremes of my experience, but I thought I would cover everything in one go! Phew, that was good. Now, what do you think? Disagree, agree or have more to add, get them in and let’s build our FAQ’s.

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