Stop Being A Victim; You Can Stop Cell Phone Use In Theaters!

cell-phone

As Denis Leary once said, “Happiness comes in small doses folks.

He was referring to a cookie or something else incredibly insignificant in your life that brings great pleasure. Next to basketball, the one thing that makes me happier than a pig in mud is being able to see a movie in a theater, with an audience, and a giant bucket of popcorn pressed between my legs (enjoy that metaphor). It’s the rare hour and a half I get to escape from the real world, and immerse myself in someone else’s fantasy. It keeps me focused in the director’s world that they’ve created, and forces me to shut down technology without having any urges to hit the pause button to check an e-mail. I AM FOCUSED; that is until someone else gives into their urges and pops on their cell phone…

I constantly hear and read about new “ideas” to solve the problem. But there’s only one way to eradicate cell phone use in theaters, and that’s with ZERO TOLERANCE.

Please read forth to see how you can help make a change. I urge you to take a few minutes out of your day to help. One voice gets lost in the woods, but an assault of requests can’t be ignored.

Stopping the use of cell phones in theaters is easy. Theaters and managers will acknowledge the problem; they’ll say they’re working on it, but ultimately, theaters are afraid that they’ll LOSE customers by kicking them out if the theater. Instead, they expect us to compromise our own safety by asking the offender in a pitch-black theater to please refrain from texting, checking e-mail, or surfing Instagram.

Using a cell phone in a theater is a disturbance; just like a drunk fan at a sporting event is a disturbance. On the back of tickets it states that the venue has the right to refuse the admittance to any guest and can eject them without a refund. By accepting the ticket, it’s a contract between the ticket seller and the buyer.

This means that theaters can eject a guest without any legal ramifications.

So why doesn’t this happen? My theory is that the theaters are afraid that if they eject a disruptive guest, that patron won’t return to “spend money” in the future. From my perspective, the theaters are going to lose their “good” customers – you know, people who actually want to see the movie – for the younger generation of kids who are solely at theaters for the social experience, as opposed to actually seeing a movie.

Without any repercussions – such as immediate ejection without a refund – the theaters are non-verbally communicating to these bad eggs that it’s “OK” to use their cell phone in a theater.

Theaters need to utilize negative reinforcement and adopt a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for the use of cell phones in theaters. If caught, patrons are ejected immediately. I guarantee they’ll never do that again in that theater, and word will spread rapidly of the theater’s strong stance.

I could go on and on about the issue, but really, there’s nothing to discuss. I could tell you stories, but you’ve experienced them on your own. Something needs to happen, someone needs to take a stand, and as a movie-going community we can make a difference.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO in very easy steps (and I urge you to have your friends also participate).

1: Tweet to your favorite theater chain and nicely express your frustration with cell phone use in theaters. Offer the ZERO TOLERANCE solution. Let them know this is the only way to effective eradicate the problem.

Here are some major chains to get you started: @Marcus_Theatres, @AMCTheatres, @ArcLightCinemas, @CineplexMovies, @RegalMovies, @LandmarkLTC, @ravemovies, @LaemmleTheatres.

2: If this bothers you as much as it does I, you may also call your local theaters, ask for the managers and nicely express the same sentiments. ZERO TOLERANCE.

3: Take it a step further and visit the websites of theater chains and contact the main company. Express your frustration nicely.

- Marcus Theaters
- AMC Theaters
- Arclight Cinemas
- Cineplex Movies
- Regal Movies
- Landmark Theaters
- Rave Motion Pictures
- Goodrich Quality Theaters
- Laemmle Theaters

4: VERY IMPORTANT: If you are in a theater and have this problem, DO NOT approach the individual. Walk out of the theater, speak civilly to the theater MANAGER, and ask him to remove the problem. When the movie is over, request a FREE MOVIE TICKET for your troubles, and make it clear that they’re going to lose you as a customer if things don’t change.

I think it is extremely important to make our voices heard – without voicing your complaints, the theaters think there’s no problem. We must show them there’s serious concern. I love the ease of VOD, but at the end of the day I am a movie fan who loves to experience film in theaters. I want the fun to return to cinemas. I’m sick and tired of feeling anxiety in my sanctuary.

Here’s a great article posted at Dark of the Matinee that lit the fire under my ass to post this.

(*In the comment section, please tell me any twitter handles or company links I may have missed.)

Watch a bunch of Alamo Drafthouse PSA videos that play before every feature:

  • coldblood

    This is my kind of theater.

    Texting is distracting in a movie theater. For you people who do text in theaters: just picture someone sitting in your immediate area jerking off. Now they are not trying to bother you, but it would bother you – wouldn’t it?

    • lovezoid

      That was a fucking awesome analogy haha

      • twoheaded

        I concur.

  • jmacgrath

    MrDisgusting:

    As a movie-goer I completely understand the frustration of texters. However, as a theatre MANAGER I also think you should be careful what you are telling people to do. DO NOT tell them to ask for a free pass… do you know how fucking annoying THAT is? When everyone is asking for a pass for the DUMBEST shit ALL THE FUCKING TIME???? I totally agree that theatres should be more strict on cell phone usage. I personally give everyone one chance. If I catch them on their phone, I tell them next time I see them with it on, they are out. It’s nice to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I also inform my Ushers of the person in the cinema that was caught texting and if they catch them, they’re out. I am not afraid to lose that texter’s business, as it is not the business we are looking for. I am, however afraid that the texter will cause a scene and disrupt the film even more. Therefore I give them a warning.

    And I can GUARANTEE you that the theatres KNOW it is a problem. There are currently several programs in development to create a solution to texters. One of which is to create theatres that are specifically meant for texters, or to have the back two rows be specifically for people who want to text. And that is not because we are afraid to lose their business, it is because this is an EPIDEMIC. The worst I’ve ever seen was Paranormal Activity 3. I went in and there was THIRTY-FOUR people texting. There were only 41 people in the theatre… WHAT. THE. FUCK. So, you see that there are extreme cases which are showing that this is becoming something more and more difficult to police. I agree 100% that it’s fucking rude for people to text, but Jesus Christ, please don’t encourage people to ask for free shit because someone was texting. You’re going to make theatre employees hate everyone, not just the texters.

    I DO agree though, that you should let theatre companies know about your frustration in this problem though. The more people who complain (to head office) the better. Getting upset at the theatre managers/supervisors/employees and asking for free shit will not do a single thing but piss them off.

    Also, if you want some Canadian theatre twitters, here are Empire Theatres: @EmpireTheatres and Cineplex: @CineplexMovies

    Sorry for the rant, I just think there are better ways to go about it. Also, the theatres NEVER expect you to confront another customer. That’s totally dangerous.. Tell an employee and they will talk to the customer.

    • EvanDickson

      @jmacgrath – I don’t think he’s saying ask for free passes for no reason – only if the theater is notified about the texter and fails to do anything about it (like stop or remove him).

      • djblack1313

        @Evan, but i can easily see some people abusing the “ask for a free pass” deal. you know it will happen.

    • anezka

      What I think as a costumer is that movie tickets are not cheap and it is even worse for whom, as me, is a student. When I pay to watch a movie on theater, I expect to enjoy the experience (even if the movie sucks) and not to get angry and frustrated with someone texting around. If I pay to watch a movie and someone don’t let me do so and the staff does nothing to prevent it to happen, I think I have all the right of getting a refund. And I don’t think it’s right to leave the room, during the movie, which I paid to watch, to complain.

    • DisturbedPixie

      you don’t want people asking for a free pass when their experience is ruined? Ya know we pay 10-17 bucks for that experience right? And 50% of us are living paycheck to paycheck already.

      Fine, keeping your customers happy is so annoying, I take my business elsewhere, or better yet, I wont pay for movies. Take that theater owners and take that Hollywood. You don’t care about the audience, so I don’t care about your bottom line either.

      One time it was so bad, that I asked for my money back, and anyone can do so after first making a scene in the lobby with the manager. Make sure they know that since no usher had the time or duty to check the quality of the screening, it is not my duty to have a bad night and pay to do so. And there is no way I am going to get furious and walk back into that theater to finish a movie after missing 5 minutes or so of it.

      All you theater employees have to do is watch for people who ruin the experience we pay for. If you don’t, you don’t deserve our money at all. And if patrons are so annoying, enjoy your empty movie theater.

    • Horror_God

      @jmac: I agree, brother. I was a manager for 3 years at a movie theatre. I HATED when people asked (or even worse, DEMANDED) a free movie pass. And usually for the most dumbest shit.

      Usually, if the customer was polite, I offered a free pass before they could even ask for one.

      This was in 2000-2003, so cell phone use in a theatre was not yet a big problem. If somebody was using their phone/texting, and somebody complained (or we witnessed it ourselves), we would politely ask the person to put their phone away, and then offer a free pass to the customer who complained (Since they were missing their movie to complain an all.)

      I got home an hour ago from a 10pm screening of “Evil Dead.”
      Half way through the movie, some little dipshit thought it was more important to check his facebook stream than pay attention to the movie. He was about 5 rows in front of me, so his screen was nicely shining in my face. I wanted to complain to an employee, but I didn’t want to miss any of the movie. I so badly wanted to tell him to put his fuckin’ phone away, but he was too far away and I didn’t want to be an ass and yell in the theatre.

      Sadly, nobody closer to him asked, either.

  • HighTensions22

    I registered just to rant. FUCK OFF with your entitled attitude MrDisgusting. I won’t be passing this along. It is people like YOU that piss me off with ideas like this. I never texted in my life, but LYING to a employee about a problem could significantly affect their job. I would know because I used to work at a restaurant and I had people lie about the quality of the food and they would get discounts because of it. And of course,they ate the whole thing before bitching about it. I lost money out of my check because of that. As far as I’m concerned, you are the biggest scum I have seen on here yet.

    • EvanDickson

      @HighTensions22 – I’m curious as to where you’re coming from here. He never encouraged lying, he said if there is a problem – report it. He’s not saying report it if there’s not a problem.

      He’s only encouraging people to ask for refunds IF the theater is notified and fails to do anything about it like ask the offending patron to stop or remove him.

    • Milk

      Personal. Issues.

    • chivalry_is_dead

      If one pays good money to get in and see a movie, one should get the common courtesy of not having to deal with the distractions of people’s cell phone screens in their faces while watching said movie. There is nothing ‘entitled’ about getting irritated when obnoxious people decide that their social lives are more important than not pissing off everyone else in the theater, and becoming even more frustrated when theater management is too wussy to do anything about it.

      You sir, need to take your pointless ranting elsewhere.

  • Jasonicus

    I am less bothered by people texting than I am by talking. That is way more disruptive and theaters don’t do anything about that either. These old bitches talked through Cabin in the Woods. All the way through it. And loudly. We asked the theater to handle it and nothing happened. It’s up to the theater and many have employees that simply don’t care.

    • DisturbedPixie

      next time, storm out and ask for your money back, loudly. Make sure other theater goers see there is a problem not being dealt with. It is never work sitting there angry as hell or missing minutes of the movie to complain. It is the theater managers job to make sure we get to enjoy the movie and if they don’t care, they don’t get your money.

  • doomas10

    ^ this guy needs to cool. Oh well, he is talking about theatres and I am not sure if he actually meant the free ticket, so take a chill pill buddy, it was a matter of speech. Addition wise, I do agree – no s*** Sherlock – that texting and even ringing or surfing the web in the cinema is annoying. Here in the UK, things are pretty bad. So what do I do? I pick off peak screening times and usually I am on my own or my friends. I want to experience the cinema viewing but nobody really cares. Cinema is dying day per day – it needs people who are passionate about it to run. Yes they do fear not losing customers but they are losing similar minded individuals like me. Making two rows at the back texting? Screw that! I do not want to hear tapping all the time. Sorry cinema should have no phones just like classrooms or being in a theatre. It is a quiet experience NOT a loud one like a concert.

  • ElizabethXXV

    A couple of the few good things about living in Wichita, we have one of the best IMAX screens in the country and a zero tolerance cell phone policy in the city’s two nicest theaters

  • VersaVulture

    This is a HUGE problem. Texting doesn’t bother me. It’s the TALKING that’s worse. I went to see Zero Dark Thirty a second time. The first was by myself and the second time, I went with my family. A man and his wife talked for almost the whole 2 hour and 45 minute runtime. Everyone was annoyed, but didn’t say anything. I complained to AMC and they gave me a pass. It was so crowded that I thought leaving the movie would be more distracting.

    The only time phone use has really bothered me was when a guy had his brightness to max and was PLAYING GAMES on it! That got me mad.

    I mean I’ve texted before, but that was when I went to the first showing of the day when I was ALONE in the theater. The only other time I even checked my phone for a text was during a time when there was a family emergency that I was waiting to hear about it. I understand that sometimes, someone NEEDS to be near their phone, but most of the time, people are just being obnoxious!

    My local AMC is surprisingly good about warning and kicking people out. I remember watching Real Steel and this Spanish family (I’m Spanish and I knew this was annoying) was translating the movie to another person they were with throughout the WHOLE movie and they were LOUDER then the movie. I complained and this really nice girl who worked there went up to them and warned them. When they continued, I went to her again and she kicked them out. I’ve talked to them before and they’re on the look out. My friend works there now and she always tells me they are on watch and I know it’s true because we watch more movies than people I personally know. I average one or two theater visits a week.

    Sorry for a LONG response that probably went all over the place, but it does depend on the theater and situation. They’re on the look out, it just depends on the employee and individual theater on whether or not they’ll enforce the rule.

  • djblack1313

    i agree w/ those who say texting isn’t as a big deal as TALKING during the movie is. I FUCKING HATE THAT SO MUCH!!!!!!! fortunately it hasn’t happened very often to me because i ONLY go to matinees. i haven’t been to a nighttime movie in 20 years. going to matinees means less people in the theater which means less possibility for texting/talking/dancing (joking! LOL).

    • DisturbedPixie

      My worse experience was in a theater that only had 6 other people in it. It’s not the quantity… it’s the quality. And I have never been so infuriated in my life. These people were sitting maybe 10 rows behind us and moved to right behind us… I think it was on purpose because they are racist f–ks. I get my money back though, and from then forward, if anybody continually ruins a movie, I’m getting my money back and never returning to that theater. It’s a quality control problem that theaters are too lazy to handle, even though I sometimes pay up to $17 a ticket. That’s two hours of work to get 2 awful hours of a-hole yapping. Not okay.

  • sweetooth

    Zero Tolerance is nice, but frankly, theaters should use cell phone jammers. Anyone who texts or talks on their phone in a theater is a fucking asshole, period. And to the guy who was saying that he was checking his phone because of a family emergency he was waiting to hear about: if you are waiting to hear about a family emergency, why are you sitting in a movie theater? So you can not only have your phone on annoying everyone, but then disrupt the theater by leaving part way through?

    The excuse of “what if there’s an emergency” as an argument against jammers is horseshit. What did people do before cell phones? Everyone thinks that now because cell phones are so common place that they’re some kind of right instead of a privilege, and if for a whole 2 hr period they don’t have a direct line of communication turned on the world will end or something.

    Every time I see someone with their phone on in a theatre I want to take it and smash it on the ground and then gouge their eyes out.

    • sweetooth

      I have this novel concept people might consider: If you feel it’s too risky to not have a cell phone for two hours in a day, then maybe going to the movies is just too dangerous for you and you better just stay at home.

      • lovezoid

        Hear hear! Your last sentence reminds me of a George Carlin quote: ‘I don’t have pet peeves…I have pure psychopathic hatreds.’

        Fuck, does nobody remember that under 20 years ago, nobody even owned mobile phones? Now, even if you get a good audience who keeps their phones off, as soon as the closing credits roll, its like the goddamn sun coming up as a hundred displays illuminate before the closing score even kicks in. And I’m like you, I just wanna go fucking stomp every phone into the ground. You almost expect the theatre manager to come out say ‘Thanks everybody, sorry for distracting you from your stupid fucking desperation for attention all that time, it’s over now.’

        The cinema is the closest thing to a church in my life, I view the experience with absolute reverence, and people should respect it the same way I would respect anyone else’s place of worship.

        • djblack1313

          lovezoid, i feel the same way about cell phones. believe it or not i actually DO NOT own a cell phone. i despise them so much i refuse to ever own one.

    • djblack1313

      sweetooth, i agree. no offense to you, VersaVulture, but if i had a family emergency i wouldn’t be at the theater. your “family emergency” excuse is just that…an excuse. how do we know that all the other people texting/using cell phones aren’t also having family emergencies. not trying to be rude here. :)

      • VersaVulture

        I understand what you both are saying and I respect that. I just have a problem dealing with bad news personally. I’ve had moments visiting family members in the hospital. My grandmother for example always seemed to have something happen to her when I went to the hospital so I AVOID going all the time. So I just do what I would normally do every day. My family always says they’ll call or text because they know I won’t be caught going to the hospital. It’s not an excuse, it’s actually how I am.

        Plus, I never have my phone on with volume anyway. The only time it’s on vibrate is when it’s an important text. Otherwise it’s ALWAYS on silent. Hey, I’m all for cell phone jammers if that will be an effective result to the cell phone situation.

  • thegodthatfailed

    Try as you might, nothing will ever happen, cause theaters are dying a very fast death. Quite frankly I’d much rather A: Wait for the DVD and pay ticket price for the movie and all the extras on the DVD, B: Sit in the comfort of my own home where I can control what happens and who’d there, and C: Be able to see the movie in much better quality and not have to break my neck to see the screen. There’s no more need for movie theaters. And quite frankly, I see no more use for them either. Trust me cell phone users are the least of a movie goers problem. Outrageous ticket prices, terrible food that’s over priced, loud people/babies, shitty isles and uncomfortable seats, and almost death row atmosphere. I’ve watched all of 10 movies in my life at a movie theater, and hated it every time. I’d much rather sit at home in my lazy boy recliner, eat my own home made food that’s better than anything a theater can offer or order out before hand, and watch it on my 45 inch LCD 1080pi TV at my leisure.

    When someone can give me that type of experience, then I might consider going back, and supporting this initiative, but I can’t now and never will, cause I don’t have to put up with the problem, and neither does anyone else. Why have to deal with people on cell phones, when you could just avoid them altogether and just not go?lol Stay home and watch the movie when it comes out on DVD/Blue Ray. Stop giving money to theaters, they’ll wise up quick.

    • sweetooth

      Personally, there’s nothing like see a movie on the big screen with an audience of genuine movie fans. It’s a totally different experience to seeing it at home, and this is coming from a guy with a high end custom built 7.1 surround system and a 60inch plasma TV.

      Especially seeing it in IMAX. The Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises were absolutely amazing to see in the Edmonton Imax (which is a real Imax and not a LieMax).

      Maybe if I had a wall sized screen and a 4K projector I’d consider just staying home, but until then I wanna see my movies in a theatre, on opening night.

      • VersaVulture

        I agree sweetooth… NOTHING is liking seeing a movie in the theater. Midnight showings in particular are GREAT when you are with enthusiastic people.

        When I was talking earlier about talking being worse, one example was watching The House at the End of the Street. I hated the movie even though I love Jennifer Lawrence, but the movie was made even worse by the fact the people were talking. Three girls were like “Oh My God, did you see that?” It was at a part where the screen was literally pitch black for TWO MINUTES!!!! you couldn’t see a thing.

        During a 1 AM Paranormal Activity 2 screening, people were like LOOK AT THAT! Others told them to shut up and then they were talking about taking it out to the parking lot. That pisses me off because it was taking away from the movie! My point, talking is worse to me than texting.

      • thegodthatfailed

        Then you can only be seen as part of the problem. This keeps encouraging theaters to allow the problems to happen cause they know that you’ll come back, and that if you don’t someone will replace you in the cash flow. Theaters (Or glorified bat caves as I call them) need people to come and spend money to survive, and as long as they do, they’ll allow any kind of bad behavior to continue cause they know that if they stop enough of those people, they’ll make less cause less people will come back. Our local movie theater sees maybe 10 people a month and shut down for a whole year last year because people don’t come anymore. I wanna see more of that happen. Until it does, you’ll be stuck in the same shitty situation Brad is whining about above. And as far as Imax goes, even shittier way to view a movie. Terrible picture quality, headache inducing sound, washed out dark picture, and having to take your attention way from viewing a scene to look at another part of a wall. Yeah, Real great experience.

        I’ll take my chances at home, where I can watch movies alone, unbothered by loud/rude people, unwanted tecnology, bad/over priced food and in a peaceful and clean atmosphere. You can have your half empty, dark, drab, terribly expesnive, loud movie theater.

        • thegodthatfailed

          Note: Should say “they’ll make less cause less people won’t come back

        • sweetooth

          Not sure what IMAX you went to, but the one I went to was the most incredibly amazing AV presentation I have ever seen. I like my movies LOUD, and they crank it there and it’s 100% clean, reference quality audio. When the movie cuts into the full 70mm IMAX footage and fills a screen that’s 22 meters tall it’s the most immersive movie experience hands down, screw 3D. I always sit in the back row, so having to look at another part of the wall is not an issue, I see the entire screen from one vantage point.

          Maybe us Canucks just have better theaters. I keep reading about people saying the projection is bad or too dark or whatever, but personally I’ve never had any issues like that at any theater I’ve been too.

          One caveat to this is IMAX 3D, that’s a whole other beast, and I must say I was not a fan.

      • Milk

        +1 to that. I have a 60″ tv in my living room as well but my significant other and I still enjoy going out to a theatre when its a movie we have been dying to see. It’s not so much the quality but the experience that you’re paying for.

    • djblack1313

      thegodthatfailed, i agree w/ much of what you said but i have NEVER understood why people would buy food/popcorn/candy/drinks at movie theaters. in fact people EATING in movie theaters (nachos!!!!!! THE AMC WHERE I LIVE FUCKING SERVES NACHOS!!!!!!! so all anyone can hear is “crunch crunch slop, crunch crunch”!! LOL) rivals people talking IMO.

      but again, i also rarely go to movies these days. only select “must see” (to me) movies.

      • VersaVulture

        This is the most I’ve commented on a BD article before. I’m shocked that the food business in theater chains are still booming. I went into New York City last weekend to see Stoker and EVERYONE in the second floor of the theater where I was sitting had their own food from home or an outside store. I see this all the time. It honestly surprises me that theater still make tons of money with food.

        When I actually do buy food from AMC, I don’t get nachos… but I get the soft pretzel bites instead. They are a lot quieter!

      • jmacgrath

        Haha, my theatre serves nachos, hotdogs, NYF fries and poutine, Pizza, pretzels and bites, along with popcorn and pop and candy. It’s like a fucking restaurant! It’s honestly too much, but what can you do? haha. But yah, there’s nothing like going to a theatre to see your movie IF you have a good crowd who isn’t disruptive or rude. In fact, I’m eating a slice of pizza, sitting in front of the computer here at work right now, ahah. And yes, it is INSANELY overprice.. like, it’s shameful. lol.

      • twoheaded

        It’s more of a subliminal advertising thing, like placing candybars where you have to wait in the check out line at the grocery store, so you’re staring at them for a good ten minutes before you go ‘I could totally use a Reese’s. Wait, buy 2 get one free? Y’know, Jimmy and Jamie might like one also… if not, more for me.’
        There’s those of us that just like snacks, so we’ll seek the stuff out anyway ‘Hmm, Doritos sound good right about now… better go pick some up.’ Then there’s those of us who’ll see/smell/hear it in the theater and go ‘Eh, I’m already here… might as well.’ Then there’s those of us that watch the movie and see, like, Johnny Depp go through 3 bags of Doritos, 4 Mountain Dews, frequently pass the same Pepsi machine, and his bodyguard has a well placed bag of Cheetos in a scene, so even though ‘Secret Window’ might not have been enjoyable… you’ve watched it long enough that now Doritos/Pepsi products are somewhere in your brain, waiting for your weak moment when you become one of us who seeks the stuff out… ‘Doritos sound really good right about now…’ Of course, there’s also those of us who could give a crap either way.
        My favorites are when a franchise jumps ships between sequels, like the NoES that had Pepsi, and the NoES that had Coke, or the Ninja Turtles that had Dominos, then the one that was totally backed by Pizza Hut.

      • DisturbedPixie

        yeah, nachos are the worse. are people so fat they can’t handle not eating during a movie? I personally have trouble paying attention while digging for cheese. And some people can’t chew without their jaw popping… I wish people would eat first, like I do. The only thing I need is a bottle of water.

  • Baphomitt

    I would much rather see an article denouncing pirating.

  • Boonraiser

    First, I turn my phone off always. It can wait. I agree with everyone on here about the talking though, it’s so much worse. These two younger guys were talking all through the first half of Cabin in the Woods. I kept getting angrier and angrier until I turned and said firmly “could you guys shut the fuck up!” They did and some people after the movie thanked me. I never do things like that, but I’d had enough. It’s such a waste of money to go there and buy your ticket, drinks and food etc. and not even pay attention to the movie. That’s the part I like about attending festivals is that you have people there that actually care about cinema.

  • TheManInBlack

    Amen.

  • Zombie-Killa

    I like most of your ideas MR. D, and I think your heart is in the right place, but it ain’t gonna happen, man. Look, jackasses, who use their cell phones during the movie annoy the shit of me too, but you’re not going to stop them. In every other movie theater, you’re ALWAYS going to have that one asshole (or assholes), who feel the need to talk out loud, text, or play video games, or some other shit to disturb people. Those people are inconsiderate dickheads, and they’ll never go away, sorry.

    True story, I finally watched Zero Dark Thirty last week, and I ALWAYS try to go during the week at nights or in the afternoon, because that way, you can avoid all of the idiots on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Well, the theater was nearly empty, and there was this couple sitting a few rows in front of me. The guy pulls out his phone (and yes, he had the ringer on LOUD), and answers the call. Then, the jerk starts having a conversation out loud, and he didn’t even make an effort to use the inside voice so to speak. The “can you believe this fucking guy???” whispers spread quick, and out of embarrassment, the girlfriend or wife forced him to end the call.

    Of course, this is isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with something like this. Like most of you, we always run into those douchebags, who feel the need to ruin the movie for other people by talking out loud, texting, answering a phone call, or laughing hysterically for attention. Shit, I bring my Playstaion Vita to the movie theaters, BUT as soon as the previews start to roll, I shut it off, and put it under my seat quickly.

    It sucks, but the jackasses won’t go away, ever. They’ll continue to pop up like weeds, and unfortunately, we just have to deal with them.

  • WolfQueen

    As a long time theatre employee with Empire Theatres in Canada, I see it as very naive that you think theaters don’t know/turn a blind eye about the problems going on with cells/talking. I personally don’t even go to movies unless they are 18A (or restricted in the States) because then I don’t need to worry about listening to teeny boppers giggling through EVERYTHING. Whenever we get a 14A (PG-13 in the States) horror movie, we INCREASE the amount of checks done in a theater during a showing because WE KNOW that there are going to be loud and annoying people in there.
    During PA3′s run, I was physically shushing people in the theaters (literally going “SHHHHHH!” as I was doing checks) because people are a pain in the ass.
    I was a customer during “The Immortals”, and one idiot sitting two rows in front of me decided to check his flashlight beam of an iPhone during the film. Two seconds later, he heard a “Turn your phone off!” in a not so non-chalant voice from me. It pisses me off when people do it to other customers but it really pisses me off if I’m a customer in a theatre.
    People in our theatre get one warning about phones and talking. If we have to go in again and deal with you, trust me, you’re out.
    I keep saying I’m going to start going in and sitting down in horror movies next to the talkers to just embarrass the crap out of them. I think I would enjoy that ;)

    • VersaVulture

      Is the PA series 14A (PG-13) in Canada because it’s Restricted in the United States? Second, in my theater, there are A LOT more adults that talk and are disruptive more than teens surprisingly enough. No movie is safe anymore. I used to really enjoy going to an R rated movie because there wouldn’t be teens, BUT now parents bring their kids to R rated movies and I have the same experience for many movies regardless of rating.

      • WolfQueen

        In Canada, the entire PA series has been 14A (PG-13 in the States). I asked one of my managers if I could watch #4 the night before it opened after we closed so I wouldn’t have it ruined by annoying people during public showings.

        • WolfQueen

          Oops, reply to myself.

          Up here, 18A movies (restricted in the States) have an age limit that if not 18, must be between 14-17 and be with an adult. If under 14, they simply don’t get in. We enforce these with great big signs stating that it is provincial law. If anyone argues, I just point to the sign.

          I secretly have my fingers crossed that the new Evil Dead gets a hard R (NC-17 in the States) so I can turn people away. LOL. It’s the evil side of me for revenge on people that try to sneak in. Haha.

    • DisturbedPixie

      It has nothing to do with being naive. Maybe your theater is different , but most don’t do quality control. I have to say, I wish I have seen an usher warn someone in a theater. I have been interrupted by an usher who thought we didn’t pay, and I found that very rude and distracting, but I never have seen an usher kick someone out for talking. I have never seen an usher walk the aisles to even do a quality check. for the amount of money I pay per ticket, I expect some quality control. I have even seen a full subtitled film where the subtitles were below the screen, and nobody corrected the projector.

  • dirtyghettok

    I honestly don’t run into this problem that often suprisingly. But, last time it did, this happened. I was with my girlfriend at the time at whatever film and in the middle or so a guy in front of me near the top of the rows cell phone rang. I immediately said in a loud deep voice “Turn. Your cell phone. Offfff.” He got up, stared me down as he turned it off and moved. Now yes that became a bigger distraction then just a ring or text but set a perfect example for everyone else that other people do get pissed off about this stuff. Also, I learned that it will also embarrass your date and you’ll be hugging your pillow going to sleep wondering why you don’t have extra duct tape around for your blow up doll.

  • Ravinus

    Fuck you, you teeny bopping whore. Next time show up to the movie on time and you won’t have to walk in the dark. Stupid fucking cunt.

  • G-Bibby

    Texters are indeed an annoying lot…… but does anybody remember the great laser pointer boom of the late 90′s…. those were troubled times in the theatre!!

    • VersaVulture

      That STILL happens. I went with two friends to see The Woman In Black when it came out. From the first trailer and throughout the movie, someone kept using a laser pointer. Everyone kept yelling SHUT IT OFF!!! Everyone was ANGRY! eventually employees sat in the theater for the WHOLE movie and kicked the teens out when they saw them do it again. It was on one of the most crowded nights I had been to the theater in a while.

  • G-Bibby

    Laser Pointers… They ruined terrible 90′s horror movies… Somebody make that a meme please hahaha

  • Mr.Mirage

    And so, should I set foot again in Texas, I will be attending Alamo Drafthouse to see whatever film is there, should there be one that I want to see. Armed with Duds and ‘corn… open fire on the bitch that bitches… male or female, both the same. I paid MY money, too, asshole, so shut the fuck up or get the fuck out.

    Reminder to self: don’t sugarcoat it next time…

  • Jasonicus

    One more story. My wife and I took my daughter to see the kids movie, Hop. Now, I get kids movies can be more annoying due to kids taking but I can get passed that.

    A family of five came in as the movie was already starting and sat right behind us. The two older kids were actually quiet, but these douches had a little one that was maybe 18 months. She didn’t want to be there. So, to “try” to keep her quiet, they walked her in and out of the theater 6 times. The father, and I shit you not, played with her on the stairs next to the seats. And he wasn’t quiet about it. The mom, when the child was seated, was turned towards her and not the screen. She was practically on my head. Add some singing from the father and obnoxious chewing of some gummi bears and I wanted to explode.

    People have less respect for one another these days. It is not difficult to sit for two hours, be quiet and watch a fucking movie.

  • VersaVulture

    Now I’m mad. I went this morning in the city to a 10:05 showing of Spring Breakers. First off, I was surprised at how packed it was. The theater was almost sold out. I’m 23 and most of the people in the theater, men and women all looked to be older than me or about a year or two younger. NO ONE used their cell phone which was great. We laughed as a collective group when we supposed to and it was a good group, but this time, SECURITY ruined the experience.

    There were younger teens sneaking into the movie (probably to check out the four leads lol) It was on the fifth floor of the theater so it’s easy to get up there. Security kept coming in and walking through the aisles asking for ID and kicking underage people out. I’m all for taking people out of the theater if they aren’t old enough, but constantly walking in the theater and taking people out DURING the movie is absolutely frustrating!!!

    They really should be outside of the theater before the movie starts and have someone around checking IDS before people go in to watch the movie so we can avoid a situation like this again.

  • twoheaded

    I won’t lie, this is an issue that was once just as important to me as the article makes it sound, and I feel your pain, I really do; I can recall many a time I paid for the overpriced snacks, not because I actually wanted them, but because, when there’s that one jerk with the annoying ringtone who just has to answer his phone halfway through the movie, and have quite a lengthy conversation with their old old gramma about their proctology exam or whatever, I just chuck handfuls of gummy bears or ice or popcorn or whatever in their general direction. I dislike going to movies alone, and I always pay for everyone who goes with me, even if it’s a crap movie. I paid over a hundred bucks for a group of friends to see ‘Watchmen’ with me, and paid $30+ and $60+ for 2 separate groups of friends to see the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ remake with me (judge these movies how you will, it’s irrelevent to the point), so I feel justified in doing so.
    But then someone decided ‘HEY! Here’s a great idea! Let’s put ALL movies in 3-D!’ ‘Brilliant, this could discourage bootlegging, AND we can charge more!’ ‘Yes, YES! And in some towns, with the smaller theaters? This could take away the option for 2-D entirely! Pure profit!’ Well… it has slowed down bootleg movies, I guess. They still pop up, just not as quickly. And they have utilized this option to milk more money for the same product, even though more than half the time (in my experience) the 3-D has been less impressive than the actual movie…
    Me? I wear glasses already, and without em, anything about 8 inches away from me is so, so blurry, almost like Van Gogh painted it; yes, even that giant screen in the theater. Wearing glasses over my glasses is rather uncomfortable, to say the least. I can’t be the only one who has some sort of bad experience with 3-D… it’s pretty much cost me my interest in attending the theater. I shouldn’t have to move or travel two towns over to go see some poorly executed movie on a big screen. Between Netflix/Red Box restricting what movies you’re allowed to watch, and how you can watch them, and the theater excluding the (small) group of people who just… don’t care about 3-D, I really don’t care to watch a lot of what’s popping up out there now.
    I’m good with picking up older dvds and playing them on my big screen at home, in 2-D. The talking/texting jerks, and the people who bring their 3 babies, and the families that eat their chips louder than goats no longer bother me so much, and it’s not running me upward of $7 for a small soda. Remember… Keanu Reeves was paid $10million up front for the first ‘Matrix’, before the $35million he earned from its success. But pirating movies is bankrupting the industry. And movie piracy is why you’re paying upward of $10 to see some real eyesores in 3-D.

    • Milk

      I feel for you. I am legally blind without my glasses and wearing the 3d glasses over my own glasses is not only annoying but nauseating. Fortunately for me I live in Phoenix and can go see a movie without the 3d since they usually play both versions. It didn’t occur to me that smaller towns may not have the luxury of choosing between versions. :(

  • Milk

    I once got into a verbal altercation with a woman sitting in front of me at a theatre since she wouldn’t stop using her phone. I asked her politely to stop the first time and she continually did it. She couldn’t stop sending txt msgs. It was a really bright white screen that kept being shone directly in my eyes. I reported her but all the theatre company did was ask her to stop. After that whenever she would do it I would kick the back of her seat as hard as I could until she would put the phone away. Eventually she started calling me a bitch etc etc and we got into a verbal assault in the middle of the movie. Luckily there weren’t many people in the theatre but I guess I was a participant in ruining their movie going experience as well. On our way out of the parking lot I saw her in an SUV sitting in the lane waiting to turn left and she was on her bloody phone again. So not only does she do it in theatres but while shes driving. I honestly hope she trips and falls and it slides up her ass jamming in her colon and she has to have some kind of embarrassing phone removal surgery. LOL.

  • Scorpionsy

    Guys…when I was in Dubai a few years ago…the Cinemas actually used professional Cellphone/Mobile signal blockers…once you are in the cinema…NO SIGNAL..problem solved. People complained that if they had an emergency call coming into the movie they would not know..so they forced Cinemas to remove the blocking devices.

    Now after that, I went online an purchased a personal/portable Cellphone signal blocker…and whenever I got into a Cinema, I turned it on and it’s range covered mainly the area of the cinema we were using. Problem Solved!

    It is the same as the Cinema asking people to turn off their phones before the movie starts…except you are just enforcing it without their choice!

    It was funny watching people confused and wondering why the Cinema they were sitting in did not have a signal…while when they would go out into the lobby/concession area they would get a full signal. So basically I forced them to go out into the lobby (which decent civilized people should do anyway) if they wanted to text or make a call.

    That my friends is the ULTIMATE SOLITION to STOP once and for all any Phones from being used for calling/texting in the Cinemas when a movie is showing.

    Do you guys agree or not?

    • Scorpionsy

      I meant…ULTIMATE SOLUTION.

    • DisturbedPixie

      My issue is they will still have their phone on trying to figure out the solution to their problem. They will turn to their friend and say, “hey does your phone work?” mine doesn’t have a signal… blah blah blah.” I friggin hate so many people.

      • Scorpionsy

        That’s true…but in time everyone going to the particular theater later on will maybe not think again about trying to use their phones for calling or texting. You are gradually sort of potty-training the offenders to just quit trying because there is no reception coverage in the theater.

  • MyScaryHalloween

    Scary movies are particularly vulnerable to distractions which take the viewer out of the moment since so many scary movies already struggle to be particularly interesting.

    I agree that as ticket buyers, we are paying for a service and the provider must make every effort to deliver good service. Yet theater chains don’t have or won’t enforce a zero tolerance policy against disruptive patrons. So far I’ve seen some soft incentives (turn off your phone and get a free popcorn refill), but how could a theater possibly police an audience? Regardless of the situation, removing patrons will be disruptive. And what do they do with repeat offenders? How do you track those jerks? Tag their ears?

    The current strategy for the serious movie buff is to go during off times (middle of work day, Thursday nights, first showing on Sunday) or wait until 2 or 3 weeks into the run. If you live in Austin (or one of the other 13 lucky cities), you could attend a showing at the Alamo Drafthouse. They are notorious for policing the audience and has no qualms with kicking out bad patrons. (YEAH!) Obviously these kinds of policies can work as Alamo Drafthouse continues to expanded across the country.

    The alternative solution will bankrupt the theater chains: if new releases were available at home via Video On Demand (VOD), many would never step foot in a theater again. I would miss the moviegoing experience, just as much as I miss perusing the aisles of Tower Records, browsing books at Borders, or going to drive-ins. But things change and we adapt. Movie theaters seem like relics from a by-gone era, where considerate people were excited to attend an event. Now, going to movies is more of a social event where some moving pictures play in the background. The experience is ultimately defined by the theater, and when they crumble, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.

    • DisturbedPixie

      There is a new type of theater experience, no not 3d, but motion capture seating (D-BOX). The seat shakes and jerks during exciting movie moments. I hope that this will become the new norm, and those damn cell phones will go flying out of people’s hands. I have never seen someone be able to be distracting during one of those rides at the theme parks. Take that ADHD! The only thing is I think they would need a intermission to take a piss since we are jerking around and can’t just stand up whenever we want.

      • Scorpionsy

        I watched the Crazies and Clash of the Titans remakes in D-Box motion seats almost 3 years ago. It’s fun but it’s not for all movies. I think it would work with action packed or horror movies (Fast and Furious movies would work really well with these motion seats for example. In the Crazies…when the Officer shot the Infected guy with the shotgun…our seats just jerked backwards (as if from the impact of the shotgun shell…it was pretty cool with the rumbling base in the back of the seats too).

  • twoheaded

    They’re calling themselves ‘Theater Ninjas’.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/17/movie-theater-ninjas-will_n_1889046.html

    Basically, the theater hires these people to dress in black suits, sit through a movie, and discreetly escort people out for disturbing the movie.

  • twoheaded

    Dig it, some jackass has made a movie called ‘App’, where they want you to leave your phone on during the movie as part of the premise

    http://jarviscity.com/2013/03/25/horror-film-uses-audiences-phones-as-part-of-the-plot/

  • Gale

    would love to post this article Stop being a victim of cell phone use on my facebook page….would anyone know how to do it?