Cinema Etiquette

After we went shopping on Sunday, we went and had dinner at Hogs Breath, followed by a movie.

When we entered our cinema, it was pretty much empty however it was bound to fill up. Belinda was leading the way and decided we’d sit about midway up the seating on the right wall. We all sat down and soon there after I said we should move forward a little and into the centre section of seating.

We moved into the centre section, which in my opinion put us in a prime viewing position. This is where the cinema etiquette came into play. At this point, there was no one sitting in front of us so Belinda was happy – then someone happened to sit in front of us. Belinda had said to us, that she felt it was rude of them to sit directly in front of us, based on the logic that there were other seats available in the cinema that were just as good. Andrew reasoned that since they sat there, with no concern for us/Belinda at all that cinema etiquette clearly doesn’t exists, does it?

About five minutes later, the row in front of us was pretty much full on the left side. A new group of four people came into the cinema and instead of sitting back a few rows of seating – they had the nerve to ask the front row of people to move over two seats, so that their group of four could all sit beside each other. Keeping in mind, that if they went back about 4-5 rows they could have done that anyway and everyone else on the front row wouldn’t have been sitting in each others pockets.

My take on the situation is that in the first instance, it wasn’t particularly rude to sit in front of us. However, if it was me I probably wouldn’t have sat there; so for me, cinema etiquette does exist. In the second case, it was plain rude to ask the front row to move over two seats. For me, the only time moving of seats should take place is if you are asked to by an usher or if the cinema is clearly full and its just polite to do so. In this case, it was neither and they group of four could have seated themselves in seats just as good, if they would have moved back 4-5 rows.

Do you have any personal cinema etiquette rules you generally abide by and what gets on your goat when others don’t play nicely?

6 thoughts on “Cinema Etiquette

  1. Is this the same Alistair as I knew 5 years ago? (Jude here)

    Perhaps the cinema should provide complimentary cushions for short people or booster seats (Jude & Phil here).

    Maybe we could all line up on the wall and if we are under the line marked on the wall we qualify for a cushion (Tam here)

    I agree Al, cinema etiquette does exist but I believe it is on an individual basis. My etiquette consists of ‘not talking during the movie unless an emergency’ and ‘trying to eat quietly (some food packets are annoyingly noisy during silent parts of movies)’ and ‘buying food with the movie ticket instead of asking people to excuse you whilst you manouvere/squeeze your way past their legs (which I find soooooo very annoying)’ – I mean really, PLAN AHEAD PEOPLE, is it really that hard! However, I always try to live by this motto – “we are only responsible for our own behaviours and no-one else’s”. Therefore if you are short and no there is the possibility of someone sitting in front of you and thereby impairing your view (and especially if the cinema is all but empty at this point), you should choose a seat whereby no-one can sit in front of you (like the first row of seats up the stairs in the middle). If you do this no-one can sit in font of you and you have no reason to complain and every reason to enjoy your viewing. (Tam here).

  2. It would have been handy if we could have sat on the front row of seating I guess, however from memory there were people sitting there already. The row we sat in, was a few rows back from where everyone else was sitting that was empty. It just surprises me that they would have sat right in front of us, when there were seats everywhere else for them to sit in.

  3. Maybe when I finish my Bach. Science – Psychology, I can make my masters thesis on cinema etiquette and why some people abide by it and some don’t. From research on other things I have done, I would imagine it is attached to egos and elitism. Some people have big egos and feel superior in some respects to others and so have no problem in sitting in front of others when there are other seats available which would not be in front of others. Could be wrong of course but egotism, etc is responsible for a lot of poor behaviour. Anyway, just a bit of food for thought. (Tam)

  4. If the theatre was full anyway, you wouldn’t have an issue because people just sit where they can. I’m assuming your cinema doesn’t have the sloping theatre so you can see clearly over people’s heads.

    I’d never actually thought of this kind of etiquette. I’m more concerned about the idiots who think it’s ok to talk during the film!

  5. Itza,

    No, our cinema does have the inclined seating – however even with that you still have ‘something’ in front of you that doesn’t need to be there. You’re right, if the cinema is full then so be it but whe it isn’t and they sit right in front of you, in my opinion I think it is rude. Without question though, talking and or using a mobile phone in the cinema are the ultimate sins, totally unacceptable.


  6. I have been watching a lot of films at home recently and only lately started going to the cinema again..

    At home it doesn’t matter if i get excited and give a little Woop or extended Shiiiit at a particularly exciting part of the film.. also I can sit in the prime viewing position with no worries.

    Although when I go to the cinema and do this I do get some funny looks.

    Now you mention it I did choose a perfect spot recently that was diagonally infront of a guy – when his girlfriend/wife/whatever came to sit they grumbled a little and moved across a few seats. Did I do something wrong there? I didn’t know she was planning to sit there…

    Also during Star Trek, my brother & I were getting particularly excited (possible a little woop of excitement?) and some dude turned round and grumbled at us… (its not like it was during a quiet bit). I cannot sit silently in a film and enjoy myself, I don’t see how people can be so non-responsive.

    I can understand not chatting on the phone and not having idle chat during the film. Honestly though, do I need to remain totally silent during that film.. (does this extend to not laughing during a comedy) ?

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