You’ve bought your pricey movie ticket and you’re walking into a large room with stadium seating facing a massive white screen. You are jumping with excitement on the inside because you’ve been waiting to see this seemingly perfect movie for months and the moment has finally arrived. You eye your favourite seat, which is available, because the genius that you are, arrived extra early to dominate that perfect spot. The auditorium fills to capacity and you are minutes away from experiencing the film you’ve been lusting after for weeks.
The long, painful wait is over and the feature starts. The brilliant plot is slowly revealed and the dialogue is intensely intriguing. Two of the main characters are having a gripping conversation, but there’s a couple in front of you talking loudly and you’re momentarily distracted. You look back up at the screen in anger and the on-screen conversation is over. It takes a minute or two, but you manage to calm down and sink back into the imaginary world before you.
Ten minutes later, you’re right back into the heat of the movie and things are bubbling with excitement. There’s a shocking revelation about the man with the green hat and the crowd gasps. He starts describing his incredible predicament and Lady Gaga is blaring along with him… Wait, that’s not right, no it’s someone’s cell phone going off. Everyone in the theatre turns to face the jerk whose Blackberry is ringing and in complete astonishment to everyone else, he picks it up. The nerve of this guy! He talks as if he’s at home and people begin yelling at him to shut the phone off and keep his stinking trap zipped.
By now, the scene is over and most have missed the deep plot point. It takes you about five minutes to cool down because you’re baffled by the inconsiderate monkey who was talking on his phone. You’re just about to try and dive back into what’s left of the film and a teenage girl two rows in front of you is texting on her large and super bright iPhone. At this point, your attention is so far removed from the movie that you just cannot re-focus your energy into it. You spend the remainder of the feature just riding along without truly being invested in what’s taking place and brooding over the inconsiderate pricks that have ruined your long anticipated treat.
This is what talking, using your cell phone, and providing an uninvited distraction during a movie will result in. We’re living in an age where inconsideration has become common practice in movie theatres. Most of these self-centred delinquents fail to realize that we have not spent our hard earned money to listen to them talk, be entertained by their cell phones, or listen to their babies howl. We’ve invested our money in a well-deserved two hour distraction provided by Hollywood filmmakers. If chatting with someone takes precedent over the movie going experience, stay home or go somewhere more conducive to your needs, might I suggest an overpriced coffee shop?
The question is: Who should be responsible for keeping the silence in the cinema? Studios are desperately trying to get people back into theatres as ticket sales are dropping. 3D has helped a great deal, but people are becoming weary of paying extra to deal with the yahoos who disrupt their experience. The amount of tickets being sold has declined. Evidence for this trend can easily be found on sites like BoxOfficeMojo.com or The-Numbers.com by looking at the adjusted for inflation movie grosses. Of the top 50 films of all time, only 5 were made in the last 12 years.
If studios and cinemas want to bring back the audience, perhaps enforcing their pitiful pre-show warnings to turn off cell phones and keep quiet would be of greater effect.
Or why not issue movie going licences. Every time someone is caught disrupting a movie, they receive a demerit point. Once you’ve lost enough points (3 should be the maximum!), you lose your movie theatre privileges for a month or more. Continue acting the fool and you’ll be banned for life. This would definitely weed out the ignorant, self-centred wankers who just don’t get the message.
At least we can dream….
For now, I’ll have to stick to my home theatre, which may not have as large a screen as the cinema, but at least I’m able to enjoy my movies in uninterrupted silence foregoing the need to suffocate someone with a bag of popcorn.