Movie Theater Crowds – A question of ethics

Avengers didn’t just break box office records…it shattered them. It was the first film to ever cross the $200 million mark in the US over the course of three days. People packed themselves into theaters to see this thing. Just like Avatar and Deathly Hallows Part 2, this suddenly became THE event movie of the year.

Suddenly The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t look so high and mighty anymore, and it will take a lot for Bat”thisisntacar”man to top the Avengers. Lots of money equals lots of crowds, which is where, ladies and gentlemen, my complaining begins.

On a warm Friday night in summer of 2008 I was there for opening night of “The Dark Knight”, in one of the biggest IMAX screens in the world. This place was PACKED with people. I had never seen anything like it. This was one of the first times, as a grown up, I was a part of an event movie. These tickets were going online for like $50 while I had paid about $18. But, like any true fan, I went to see the film expecting a good crowd who would pay attention and respect the movie. I was dead wrong (in my mind).

I have huge gripes with the casual film goer. I despise when someone texts during a movie, or they couldn’t even silence their cell phone when the cartoons asked them to do so before the previews (honestly why the hell do they even bother showing those messages anymore?!?), and the worst is when some jack ass in the front feels the need to yell at the characters on the screen as if they hear his every word and follow his advice.

Going to see a movie has become a crap shoot on whether or not you can even enjoy yourself. Midnight films such as the Harry Potter series and the Marvel films have become a free for all in which you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. People don’t come to watch the movie, they just go because it’s the cool thing to do, and their attention levels are so low they can’t just keep their phones off and their mouths closed and just keep their eyes on the screen.

Now all this aside, this was not the problem on my odyssey of watching the Dark Knight. It was the clapping.

I have debated about this endlessly with other filmgoers. I DETEST when people applaude during a movie in the middle of a scene. This isn’t a play, there are no live performers; it’s not as if Christopher Nolan will stand up in the front row, take a bow, and make the film somehow more epic than it already is. It’s a stupid sentiment that has constantly ruined my experiences at the movies.

Obviously if it’s something everyone has seen a hundred times such as Jaws or Alien and you’re all collectively applauding a moment you have never seen on the big screen, I fully understand. But, when it is the first time you’re watching a movie and you feel the need to interrupt everyones viewing with outrageous applause, it becomes SO distracting.

When I was watching the Dark Knight, people were applauding so much, that you could no longer hear what was being said on the screen. Not for nothing, if I’m paying $18 for a ticket to the movies, I would like to hear every word that is said on the screen. Gary Oldman isn’t going to give you a better performance because you applauded.

At this point I sound like a broken record, but it just makes me curious if I’m the only person who finds this annoying, or if there are many people who agree with me. “Be quiet and courteous to those around you” are one of the many ignored warnings we get before a movie starts, yet no one acknowledges those rules anymore, even the people working in the theaters.

Say what you will about applauding, but the talking needs to end. It has gotten so bad, I now strategize when would it be best to see a new movie coming out, as in when will no one be around, so I can enjoy it.

The Alamo Drafthouse is a movie theater company based in Texas who fully agree with the anti-talking rules that need to be reenforced into more theaters chains. At Alamo, if you are talking, texting, on the phone, or causing any sort of disturbance you are issued a warning by the ushers. If they catch you again, you are ejected from the theater without a refund.

FINALLY a theater chain gets it. Why do you need to text during a movie? If there’s an emergency, step out. People do not understand how much of a glare those LED screens give off and how much of a nuisance it becomes to other people trying to watch the movie. The fact that people actually debate over whether or not Alamo got it right doing what they do is an absolute joke. Everyone needs to learn a little more patience while watching films, and learn that to really appreciate a movie you need to pay 110% attention to it, just as the people who made it did. You being on your phone or talking is a complete disrespect to the makers of the film as well as the theater chain as well as the entire audience.

I’m sure many have ranted about this countless times, but the release of the Avengers reminded me to what lengths I now have to go to in order to enjoy a movie. I have to go on weekdays in the morning/early afternoon just so I can get lucky and dodge the barrage of talkative teens and confused grandparents who stumble into the theater to just annoy everyone around them.

Again, the clapping I always have and always will despise, but it goes beyond that, people just need to learn to shut up and enjoy a good movie. Stop pretending you’re a Batman nerd clapping to the movie like you were on the crew when you thought all along Bane was just some idiot who drones “bommmmbbb.”

Sorry…didn’t mean to rant (yes i did). LONG LIVE ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE NYC!