With the massive popularity of streaming services like Netflix, a societal infatuation with staying at home, and millennials’ ability to apparently kill any industry they choose, it’s long been foretold that we will see the death of movie theaters in our lifetime. I respectfully disagree, as going to the theater to see a long awaited blockbuster or catching an Oscar nominated film is an experience that simply can’t be replicated.
The surround sound capabilities, picture quality, ambiance and communal excitement of seeing a huge franchise like Star Wars back on the big screen can’t be recreated at home, no matter how bitchin’ your home theater is. The collective gasps at the conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War or shrieks following Han Solo’s demise in The Force Awakens truly heightened the impact of each scene and made the movies all the more memorable.
There will be a literal s--t-ton of people flocking to movie theaters over the next month, a month that may be the best four weeks of theatrical releases in the last decade – Avengers: Infinity War on April 27, Deadpool 2 on May 18, and Solo: A Star Wars Story on May 26. Now seems to be a great time to remind people, especially the guy who brought his infant to the Avengers screening I went to, that there is a definitive movie-going etiquette.
I’ve simplified it to three easy, non-negotiable rules to make the theater a better place for everyone (except new parents, I guess, y’all are s--t out of luck).
Don’t bring your f-----g baby
Look, I don’t hate kids. Hell, I am practically a 24 year-old child myself — but I have (some) self control. I don’t cry in the theater (unless my childhood hero gets impaled by his son, but that’s normal), don’t ask what the words on screen mean, and I don’t loudly awaken from naps. These are things that would interrupt the movie for everyone around me, so they’re obvious no-no’s. There’s no excuse to allow your child to do these things.
There’s a very simple guideline for determining whether or not your spawn is ready for the cinema: do they read at a third grade level? If your child does, I’d say it’s safe to say they’re ready to see adult-ish movies in theaters surrounded by other adults. At that point in their lives they won’t a.) ask you what the words on screen say (which happened when I saw Justice League) b.) won’t suddenly start wailing during the middle of a dramatic moment or c.) let the whole theater know they have to pee.
Some parents may be thinking “What, so just because I have a baby I can’t go the movies anymore?” YES! When you have a child you forfeit your right to go to the movies. If you’re dying to go, then get a goddamn sitter! YOU have the burden/blessing of children — don’t make it everyone else’s burden by bringing them to a movie. It’s 2018, we either need to have designated movie-houses for parents and their kids or need to make bringing infants to movies a felony offense.
Don’t take away someone’s foot rest unless absolutely necessary
What movie theaters have foot rests? They all do! Any empty seat in front of you is automatically a footrest and should be reserved for such purposes unless no other seats are available. There is no excuse for taking a seat anywhere in a one seat radius of another person when there’s 17 people in a 275 seat theater.
What’s an acceptable distance? Great question! The answer is a King’s movement radius from the game of chess. Do not take an empty seat that is one seat behind, in front of, next to, or diagonally adjacent to another human being. That allows everyone a sense of personal space- each attendee gets their allotted footrest and nobody will have to deal with smelly feet right next to their nose.
Open your snacks, all of them, during the previews
Any hardcore horror fan will tell you that sound is 90% of the film experience. I mean just look at how terrifying A Quiet Place is — all the terror of that movie is based on the sound (or lack thereof).
Nothing ruins a tense scene more than some jabroni deciding now would be the perfect time to unravel their $6 box of cookie dough bites. Or scrambling through a box of Red Vines as soon as the punchline hits. Don’t even get me started on any psychopath that sneaks in a bag of SunChips, something that completely ruined my third viewing of Rogue One.
Save everyone the hassle and open your snacks during the previews! Go a step further and take your overpriced treats out of the deafening plastic bags they come in during the previews and pour them back in the box. Just remember, silent snacks are the best snacks for movies.
When it comes down to it, just respect your fellow moviegoer. You’re all there for the same reason — to escape your mundane life by going on a cinematic adventure. Leave the babies at home, kick your feet up, prep your snacks and enjoy the story.