Garden-variety Etiquette: Movie Theatre Seating

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Rosetta & A Big Stone

empty seatsI love going to the movies alone. And by alone I mean alone; as in, I'm the only person in the building, besides staff. This is my best-case scenario:

  • a good thriller
  • 2pm showtime
  • popcorn (half butter, half salt)
  • possibly a pack of M&M's (the blue pack: crispy)
  • soda (with enough ice to keep cold until the end of the movie)
  • a completely empty theatre

Unfortunately this rarely happens, as there's typically some other loner like me who had the same idea, or the usual half-full-house of movie viewers attempting to ruin my good time. I know I have a problem, but I actually do worry about this. I'll sit in my seat and watch people out of the corner of my eye as they come in and pray that they don't move in my direction. If they do, I'll actually get up and move to another seat, that's how much it bothers me. In fact, I usually sit on the side of the theatre, near the wall, just to avoid having to move later. Now, I'm not unrealistic…I understand that if I show up early and find my perfect middle-seat, chances are good that other people will wonder my way. I get it. However, there are some simple practices that, if put to use, would make going to the theatre a more pleasant experience for everyone. And by everyone, of course I mostly mean myself.

Ideally I prefer sitting directly in the centre of the theatre. Who doesn't? But nothing bothers me more than when I find my perfect seat in a mostly empty theatre and one of the only other 10 people there decides to sit directly in front or behind me. There's an entire theatre full of empty seats, and you are going to sit DIRECTLY BEHIND ME? Why would you do that? I don't want to hear you slurping and chomping, burping and…whatever else. I don't want to hear you laugh, I don't want to hear you cry. I don't want to know you exist. And you should feel the same about me! When I go see a movie, the idea is to be completely removed from this world and taken into another. How dare the glow of your phone bring me back to reality!

seating chart

In a mostly empty movie theatre (defined in Bradsters Dictionary as 25% full) there should be no direct vertical or horizontal alignment. So yes, that also means you should avoid even sitting in the same row as another person, if possible. If not possible, always leave more than 2 empty seats between yourself and other patrons in the same row. Simply put, here's the rule: