A guide to proper cinema etiquette


As someone with many bookmarked things to watch on Netflix, I’m no stranger to being in bed for an hour or five, binging through Breaking Bad or jumping on the Stranger Things hype. And like any person in the comfort of their own home, I’ll eat some Pringles, browse through my Twitter feed, that kind of thing. Which is completely fine! You know when it’s not fine? When you’ve spent more money than you would on a month of Netflix to go to the cinema.

These are my top things not to do when you’re at the cinema unless you want everyone to shoot you dirty looks and tut in annoyance.

Food in cinemas is expensive, I get it. You want to sneak in some sweets, I understand. But please, PLEASE don’t bring anything that’s loud or rustles, or slurp your drink. As a self-proclaimed cinephile, I don’t want the super tense and climactic point of the film to be interrupted by someone opening a crisp packet. And please, don’t slurp the dregs of your drink – I’m pretty sure you’ve finished it, honest.

What that isn’t as annoying as though, is someone kicking your seat throughout the film or putting their feet up on your seat. I even had someone behind me using my armrest as a footrest! If you want to fidget and move around during a film, please don’t go to the cinema. You’re just going to provoke some dirty looks. Especially if your shoes are off just, please – don’t ruin everyone else’s experience.

People who talk through the film are pretty terrible. And I don’t understand it – you’ve paid so much money to watch a film in a room full of people, why can’t you just watch it and talk afterwards? There’s a couple of levels to this though: people who talk at the characters and people who ask hundreds of questions and can’t keep up with the plot. Honestly, I don’t know which is worse. The choices characters make can be so frustrating, especially when the choice they ‘should’ make is so obvious to us. Alas, that is the whole point of character development and shouting suggestions will do nothing other than infuriate fellow cinema-goers. And really, if people just watched the film and stopped asking questions throughout it, then they’d probably have a better idea of what was going on – as would their friend, who wouldn’t have to keep explaining the plot and then miss parts!

This one may be minor but, look: you buy one seat. That one seat comes with two armrests. We all know that you either take one or half of each, but not both (unless nobody is sat on either side of you). Don’t be the prat who’s taken up both of your armrests, it’s completely uncalled for. You monster.

Speaking of assigned seats, you literally choose where you want to sit. There’s a handy little map of the seats and you can choose ANY vacant seats. And then you sit in them. You can’t just sit in any seat you like because the cinema is empty when you’re half an hour early, because inevitably someone will turn up, it’ll be their seats, you’ll have to move and EVERYONE WILL KNOW. Cue more dirty looks and tuts.

Other minor annoyances include PDA, people being late and constantly getting up and coming back in. But nothing is as bad as someone who’s texting, with their screen on full brightness, and even going as far as to answer a call. They’re the absolute worst and shouldn’t be allowed in. I’ve been to a few screenings of films before they’re released to the public and occasionally they ask for your phones in case you record it, and I wish that could be done in every cinema.

Don’t do any of these incredibly annoying things and I guarantee cinema lovers everywhere will have a much better experience!

Watch Danisnotonfire’s video on the subject below, in which he agrees with me on pretty much… everything:




About Author

Politics and International Relations graduate, Live Editor 2016-18, now a semi-functional adult and journalist. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about the above @cmkavanagh on Twitter.

1 Comment

  1. The popcorn chewing is also annoying. Pop corns really are a ‘symbol’ on cinemas, yet not a necessity. I thought that you missed the smartphone mania lol. But was covered in the end (Y). Again nothing can be avoided unless some strict rules are laid down upon entering the cinema, if that is possible (less likely). Anyway a great unique post & subject.

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