Photo: Peanuts LTD
I am writing this as I have just taken my girls to the opening day screening of ‘Moana.’ Needless to say, the theatre was full of excited children. To be honest, I don’t make it a habit of seeing a film on the first day of release. In fact, I try to wait until the second week. Lines are just shorter, and the theater is less crowded, which makes for a more pleasant experience. But of course, I made an exception for the latest Disney movie because of the whims of my girls who had been watching the trailer on YouTube since its release. Unfortunately, I was all too soon reminded of why I abhor opening day screenings.
I tried to do everything right – I purchased tickets for the afternoon show as soon as the theater opened so I could get choice seats, I came a half hour before so I could buy movie treats and settle the girls in nicely, I even brought extra pashminas in case anyone got cold in the cinemas. And this was about as far as my grasp of control went. Just as the lights dimmed I started feeling the back of my chair being kicked. This went on for the entirety of the movie.
I passive aggressively looked back a few times in the hopes that this child or his guardian would take a hint. Yes, as you can guess, that didn’t help. The adult he was with never asked him to be cautious of his movements. And if that wasn’t enough, the same child was coughing throughout the movie as well. The deep, phlegmy hacks made me wish I had brought masks for my kids and I. At some point, the boy stood up and started pushing on the back of my chair and coughing towards my head. This was the final straw. I took my cellphone, turned on the flashlight and directed it at his face! Not my finest moment, but I was desperate.
This instance really ruined a movie I was looking forward to seeing, as well as what was supposed to be a fun afternoon spent with my children. But when life gives you lemons, you let it inspire you to write a piece that might avoid a situation like this in the future, and make the movie going experience a pleasurable one, not just for you, but those around you as well.
Movie Theater Etiquette Tips
1. No Infection Zone – Under no circumstance should take your child to see a movie if he/she is showing symptoms of infection such as sneezing, coughing, a rise in temperature, breaking out in a rash, has a case of head lice, etc. Asides from the home being the best place for him/her to heal, it is absolutely inappropriate to possibly infect someone else.
2. Age Appropriate – Not all G or General Audiences movies are appropriate for your kids. You might not want to take your preschooler to catch a superhero flick even if it promises only minimal violence. Asides from not putting them through the agony of sitting through something they aren’t enjoying, you also avoid unwanted whining, tantrums, snoring or anything that may inconvenience other moviegoers.
3. Staying in Line – Lines are inevitable when catching a flick, whether at the ticket booth or the concession stand, and this is a good opportunity to teach your child about waiting his/her turn. I also make sure to remind the kids to leave ample space between her/him and the person in front and make sure to explain the importance of giving others their personal space.
4. Indoor Voice – It is ok to laugh out loud in funny scenes, but talking once the movie starts should be minimal and in a whisper.
5. Cup Holder Sharing – If you happen to be in a row that is fully occupied, rule of thumb is that you take the cup holder to your right. Never hog both, unless the person next to you or your child offers it.
6. Respect – Kids will be kids, so if they happen to accidentally kick the chair in front of them, it is important to correct them. I would even go as far as having them apologize. I use the 3-chance rule. If my child continued something this inconsiderate, I would take him/her outside and explain why what they are doing is wrong and consider waiting a few months before taking them to see another film.
7. Bathroom Time – Bathroom breaks are totally acceptable, but reminding your child to politely (and quietly) say excuse me will go a long way. Any excuse to make them utter any of the magic words ingrains it in their heads.
8. Cleaning before Leaving – I find it unforgivable to leave litter under the seat when the movie is done. Teaching your child to clean up after themselves is a basic life skill as well as a good lesson in common courtesy. One for the next person to take the seat, and two for the janitorial staff who will have one less person to pick up after.
Enjoy the movie!!!