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10 Lessons in Movie Theater Etiquette

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Lee Allport

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I see a lot of movies, nearly all new releases. Something that has always bothered me is the behavior of people in a movie theater. Recently while sitting in my local theater I began observing the actions of the patrons coming in as well as people who were already seated. My short but thorough investigation turned up more than one faux pas. So many that I decided to create a list of do's and don'ts to help you conduct yourself while enjoying the show.
10 Lessons in Movie Theater Etiquette.

  1. Arrive at a movie no less than 5 minutes before starting time. If you arrive late and you can tell the theater is near capacity do not go up and down the stairs and aisles looking for seats. If you see two seats randomly empty and the movie has started they are probably taken. It goes unsaid that the people sitting in the front rows have already played this game. They lost and so did you.
  2. When inside a packed theater you can save seats but only until the previews. After that they are fair game. Again, punctuality is rather important when dealing with cinema. If your guests can't make it on time they will have to surrender their seats to those who could.
  3. Do not put your foot on the back of the seats or worse between the seats. This is unhygienic and disrespectful. I have a friend who does this. We will call her Claire because I like the name Claire. When Claire puts her foot between the seats when someone is sitting there I will toss her the most disgusted one eyebrow raised face until she takes down her foot. I'm sorry Claire is uncomfortable but she is making the people in front of her even more uncomfortable. Don't be a Claire.
  4. Do not visit the movies if you are suffering from a cough of any kind. Obviously if you are sick stay away but if you have a tickle in your throat or just a hacking dry cough it's rude to ruin the movie for everyone else. Wait until it passes to see your movie. My son gets a cough from October until January. He is not sick, he just has a never ending cough. He doesn't see movies in the theater unless he has been cough free for 3 full days. That's because I'm a responsible parent. Snaps for me.
  5. I don't know how many times this needs to be said. Do not bring your baby to the movies. There is no exception to this rule. Wait, there is one exception. If you are seeing a movie on the day moms are allowed to bring their children and the theater is meant only for them. In this case no one should complain.
  6. Do not bring a child of inappropriate age to R rated movies. If a movie is rated R please don't have your 4 year old with you because you didn't want to pay a babysitter. Do not tell yourself that your child will just sleep. They won't. There is no exception to this rule.
  7. When they say No Talking, Texting or Tweeting they mean it. Keep your questions, excitement or opinions to yourself. Also please put your phone away during the movie. I don't mean turn it off. You can put it on vibrate so you know if a call comes through. Everyone should understand the need to take an important call but don't take that call until you are in the hallway making your way out the door.
  8. Be mindful of seating etiquette. Don't sit directly in front of people (if there is not stadium seating) before the movie is at least 1/4 full. Do not sit next to someone unless the movie is 50% full. Don't be creepy. There are exceptions to this rule such as if you are at the movie on time with a large party. Sometimes you have no choice but to sit in front of someone. Use your head.
  9. Do not ask people to move so you can sit with your group unless it is an absolute last resort. Also don't be offended if they decline. If you wanted to sit with your group you should have been punctual.
  10. Open your refreshments before the movie starts in order to limit noise. My friend Thomas likes Twizzlers. He brings 2 paper towels from home so he can open his Twizzlers and take them out of the bag and separate them into his paper towels to limit the noise for those around him. Thomas is going a bit overboard I realize, there is no need to take your candy out of its box. Just try and be mindful of the crackles of plastic wrap around your snack. Because in the end Thomas is respecting his fellow moviegoers. Everyone should be like Thomas.

By following these 10 easy expectations everyone should enjoy a much needed break from the monotony of everyday life and escape into another world. A world without stinky feet, crying babies, loud candy and lack of boundaries.
Did I miss a lesson? Feel free to comment and let me know.

FILM © Tetra Images via Getty Images FILM

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