Silence is golden, and other rules of etiquette for moviegoers

Apr 27, 2012

When it comes to rude movie audiences, less is more.

You’ve bought your sixteen-dollar tickets, dropped twenty bucks on popcorn and soda at the concession stand and got to the theater early enough to get good seats. Then, after the trailers have started, a rowdy group of people show up and sit right next to you. You pray their incessant chatter and phone use will stop once the feature presentation starts, but it doesn’t. You ask them politely to quiet down, and they simply ignore your request and keep on. You could go to the management, but they’ll surely only ask the miscreants to do what you just did. Besides, you’d have to get up and miss part of the movie!

This is just one of the many situations which raises the ire of moviegoers everywhere. Maybe it’s people coming in late, maybe it’s someone next to you chewing their popcorn too loudly or maybe it’s seeing the light from someone’s cell phone. Everyone has their pet peeves, and it seems like too many people out there are either blissfully unaware or malevolently trying to drive audiences crazy with their total lack of movie theater etiquette. To discuss this unsettling phenomenon, we’ve invited our FilmWeek critics on to give us their cinema dos and don’ts and share some horror stories they’ve seen over the years going to so many films.


But what about you? What’s the most egregiously rude display you’ve seen at the movies? What particularly drives you up a wall? How do you handle these situations when faced with them? Any tips for the rest of us?


Claudia Puig, film critic for KPCC and USA Today

Henry Sheehan, film critic for KPCC and

Charles Solomon, animation critic for KPCC, author and historian for

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