Theatre etiquette


By Kyle Winfield, Contributing Writer

Originally published October 22, 2018.


Everyone is familiar with the “movie-going experience.” You sit down and the lights dim and the previews start. Throughout the theatre, most people quiet down to watch the previews. Sure, there will still be a few holdouts who keep their conversations going, but they will keep the volume to a minimum. This is still acceptable, the previews aren’t that important.


Then, there are those people. Those people who have coincidentally developed a sudden momentary loss of sight and hearing during the theatre’s blurb about keeping quiet and silencing your smartphone, before getting into previews. Then, miraculously, their senses return to them. All of them, save for common sense.


The average matinee film ticket costs roughly nine dollars and twenty-seven cents. The expectation that comes with that ticket is for a seat in a quiet theatre, watching a film. Of course, depending on the type of film, certain sounds are acceptable, such as laughs, gasps, etc.


Now, not all noise made by the audience can be called a bad thing. There are some noises that we cannot control such as sneezing, coughing and the occasional candy wrapper crinkle. Those, like the soft talking during previews, are acceptable.


What is not acceptable is loud talking. Some people actually go to the theatre to be engrossed in a story. Not listen to the uninteresting ramblings of those around them.

This is not to say that you have to be perpetually silent during a showing. As stated before, laughs and all that are perfectly fine. Very quiet whispering to someone who is accompanying you is even alright.


However, talking is not the only distracting action that can occur in the theatre. Smartphones are also a veritable plague and probably the worst thing to ever grace the hands of the moviegoing audiences. A constant distraction, not only for the individual using them, but also to those around them as the users have seemingly forgotten to dim their screens.


This begs the question. Why go to a movie if you are going to spend a decent amount of time playing around on your phone? Why spend the nine dollars if you are not even going to engage with the story unfolding before your very eyeballs? And not only are you wasting your money, but also you are inconveniencing those around you, who have also paid roughly the same amount of money you have.


Yet another another lapse people who attend the theatre often make is bringing their kids. Now, this obviously does not apply to parents bringing kids to kids films. Clearly, kids are the intended audience. But when children are brought to films rated above a PG-13, clearly some people will question the judgement of said parents, and rightfully so.


Of course, there are worse behaviors that some demonstrate while out in the theatre, but these are the three biggest offenses that are most prevalent.


So, how can we, the film going public, curtail these behaviors and improve the movie-going experience for all? In all honesty, just do the opposite of the listed grievances. Don’t talk, don’t whip out your smartphone and don’t bring your children to films that are inappropriate for them.

Pretty simple, no? When you consider it that way, you realize that it takes more energy to inconvenience others than it does to just watch a movie in peace.