Cinema Etiquette for Dummies

As a regular cinema goer, there are a lot of things that I see all the time that drive me round the twist and, like most, I’ve got my own certain way of liking things when it comes to movies. Unfortunately everyone enjoys their cinema experience in a different way (how very dare they!!) so I’ve compiled a quick guide on what I think should be a staple set of guidelines for going to the cinema, regardless of which roundabout way you like to go about things. These ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ are applicable to all. Take heed.

DO get snacks. Sure they’re pricey these days (what’s that you say!?? £8.50 for a small popcorn?? Why you little…!) but let’s face it: they taste good AND they’re helping keep cinema afloat. It’s a little-known fact that cinemas rarely make any sort of profit on ticket costs anymore and so they rely on us to hit the concession stands. Go on, you know what to do! Get snacking!

DON’T rustle and munch. Ok. So I’ve highlighted that we need to be getting some chow before sitting down to watch our movie, but c’mon – is there really a need to make a racket throughout the film?! Firstly: come up with a system. By that I mean find a way that suits you (whether it be by tearing a packet a certain way or chomping uber fast through the trailers BEFORE the film starts) to cause minimal ‘paper bag disruption’ to those around you. Secondly: chew SLOWLY. No-one wants to hear the mastication of stale popcorn. Ew.

DO get all the chatting out of your system. Do this either a) before you enter the screen or b) if and ONLY if the boring adverts are on – this doesn’t include movie trailers. I’m sure no-one will mind if you talk over that dreadful Jack Black/Gullivers Travels/Orange ad. Bleurgh.

DON’T interrupt the trailers. As above. I pay to see the trailers, they gooood shit. It’s part of the cinema experience! In the same vein, don’t pay attention to people that shush you during the bog-standard TV adverts, they’re the moody gits who don’t get out much or don’t own a TV. Don’t mind them, they live a sheltered life.

DO prep your bladder. It’s sod’s law that nature will strike at the most crucial part of the movie. As such, be sure to pop to the loo BEFORE the film and only buy a drink that’s relative to how much your wee tank can hold before needing a wee. It’s sometimes hard to judge I know, but imperative if you want to sit through the whole shebang – especially if it’s a long-un. Sadly, you can’t pause the big screen!

DON’T mention the ‘no recording’ bit. You all know the bit I’m talking about. That ominous black screen appears and it tells you something along the lines of ‘don’t film this’ and if you do you’ll be ‘imprisoned’ and your camera equipment ‘confiscated’. When this first came out it was sorta funny to shout “Oi John, put your camera away!” – Several years down the line, it’s not.

DO see as many films as you can because although it’s EXTORTIONATE nowadays (do you hear that Odeon!??!) There’s also nothing quite like seeing a film on the big screen. Unless you’re rich and can afford your own big screen…in which case, jog on. Anywho, when you go and see a movie at the cinema you can sleep sound in the knowledge that you’ve supported the film industry and all that gubbins. Win win.

DON’T go to the cinema when jetlagged. Pretty obvious really. Even the strongest of wills can’t always fight jetlag and any efforts to stay awake are often futile. Going to the cinema to keep yourself awake DOESN’T work –believe me, I’ve tried. Besides, no one wants to see you drooling in a public place.

DO be considerate. This applies in two instances:
  1. To your buddies who are cinema-ing with you. Chances are they haven’t seen the film either, so asking them perpetual questions throughout is both pointless and REALLY annoying. I have a couple of friends who do this and it drives me barmy. You know who you are.
  2. If you have a large head, try and avoid sitting in front of little people (like me). Contrary to popular belief, we would also like to see the screen.
DON’T sit in the back row for a make-out sesh. This is OLD. It’s too expensive now to be wasting £8 just so that you can snog and miss the film. Foo’! Save the lip-locking for the after party.

And most importantly DO enjoy it! Remember, you’re paying to see this film and helping to support the industry at the same time, so sit back and relax! And, if you’re anything like me, why not write about how good/bad the film was afterwards? It’s a great way to waste time.

So that’s it. Respect and abide, I’ll be haunting local cinemas to see if you’ve been swotting up on your cinema etiquette or not 😛 Also, I’d love to hear if anything else bugs anyone at the cinema. What have I missed?! Comment away and in the meantime…

Alexandra Gregg

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