Adam’s Rules: Movie Theater Etiquette

Adam’s Rules: Movie Theater Etiquette

There are plenty of unspoken rules regarding seeing a movie in theaters. Well, they’re about to be written.

The first and most prominent unspoken rule takes place as you arrive at the theater.

Show up early. I always show up about 30 minutes early. Maybe more. I personally get a kick out of the pre-movie slideshow or “The 20” or whatever it’s called at your theater. This way, you get an awesome seat. You just have to hope the people after you respect your space when they arrive.

It really irks me when people roll in right as the movie is starting. Especially if there’s a group of them. How do they expect to get good seats, nonetheless good seats together? I show up 30 minutes early, get an amazing seat, and then a group plops down next to me and intrudes on my personal bubble.

Now, where do you sit?

If you’re the first person in the theater, it’s no big deal where you sit. But once you’ve got a few groups scattered, some strategy is required.

It should be fairly obvious that you don’t sit right next to a stranger. You also don’t sit right in front of them or right behind them. We all know that using the seat in front of you as a footstool is common practice and I don’t want some stranger kicking my seat while I’m enjoying my movie.


The theater’s getting crowded. You see a family and then you see a guy who looks like he needs some extra room. Even just a tall dude needs full arm-rest privileges, so always choose the smaller of two options. This way, everyone is more comfortable.

The last factor in where you sit… The crush dynamic. Maybe you go to a movie and you’re with a group. One of those people is someone you’re crushing on. If you know of a crush dynamic, you should try to subtly affect the seating arrangement like so…

You can’t maximize the movie experience (by either accidentally touching hands or whispering hilarious one-liners) if your crush is three people away from you. This responsibility falls onto anyone who knows of the potential crush dynamic.

What Not to Bring

There are things you should not bring/use during your time at the theater.

Cell Phones. The phone lights up the entire theater, even though you might think it’s super dim. It’s not. Everyone behind you is reading your text and wanting to punch you in the face. Tablets are even worse.

Babies. Why are you bring a baby to the theater? If they’re too young to appreciate or even remember the movie, leave them with a relative or babysitter. And what movie is so important that it can’t just wait til the DVD comes out?

Little Kids. Kids are almost worse than babies. Kids get tired, they get rowdy, they get hungry, etc. Kids start kicking seats. They start playing in the aisles. They start crying that they want to go home. Leave the kid elsewhere. Exception: It’s a kids’ movie.

Lip-Smackin Food. If you’re behind me, grubbing on something that is super annoying to listen to, I’ll hate you forever. In general, any sort of homemade food is shunned upon. It smells, it’s hard to eat, and it’s noisy.

In closing…

The objective of seeing a movie is to be immersed in the experience. By abiding by these rules, you’ll help everyone to be comfortable and to be distraction-free.

Make sure to check out my previous editions of Adam’s Rules, focused on riding shotgun and walking on sidewalks (yes, I created rules for walking on sidewalks, and yes, they’re very important).

You’re welcome!


About adamryen

Entertainment. Gaming. Dreaming.
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3 Responses to Adam’s Rules: Movie Theater Etiquette

  1. Tracy Phutikanit says:

    Why aren’t the people in cartoon #2 that are already in the movie theater happier? Shouldn’t they be happy that they got there early and got a decent seat?

  2. Pingback: Silver Screen Manners: Etiquette at the Movie Theater « Etiquette with Brett

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