Whether you’re an occasional movie-goer or practically a seasoned film critic, there’s a set of unspoken rules that you should follow while at a theater. For those among us who might need a little more help on their movie-going etiquette, here’s some explicit expectations most people around you have when you enter a theater.
Give your reviews later
Many people, when going to a movie, want to get immersed in the action on screen — but that gets to be a little difficult when the man in the row behind you is constantly talking about his opinions on the film. This, of course, does not refer to natural responses like surprised screams or gasps, because sometimes you can’t help it. Plain and simple — wait until later to talk about the movie.
Wait until you’re outside
Regardless of how much you loved or hated a movie, don’t blab about it to your friend the second you leave a theater — you never know who in the theater is planning on seeing the next showing. Especially if it’s a series or sequel that has a large fanbase — no fan wants to hear about their favorite character dying or a crazy plot twist just moments before entering the theater. If you can sit through a two hour movie, you can wait two more minutes to discuss it in the car.
There’s a trash can for a reason
Movie theater employees are real people. Popcorn might be messy and theaters may be dark, but that’s no excuse to throw food all over your seats. Keep your crumbs and messes to yourself as best as you can, and pick up after yourself. If you drop something, try to pick up what you can, and above all, don’t leave your trash all over the floor.
Skip a seat, if you can
This one doesn’t necessarily apply to every movie-going situation, but if you find yourself in a fairly empty theater, don’t sit right next to the only other people in there. If you get to reserve your seat to yourself, try not to reserve it directly beside another group of people. Of course, this doesn’t apply if the theater is almost full and you just need to find a place to sit, but if you can avoid it, don’t make a stranger share your armrest.
Do not touch anyone — period
Yes, theater seats are close together, and the rows may not leave a ton of leg room, but that’s no excuse to tap or hit the person next to or in front of you. Don’t rest your legs on their arm rest, lean into their personal space or tap your feet against the back of their seat. Just like when you’re on a bus or airplane, there’s nothing worse than being seated in front of someone who constantly touches your seat. Be polite and respect everyone’s bubble.
Actually turn off your cellphones
It seems obvious to almost everyone that no one wants to hear your ringtone during a movie, whether you paid $1.29 for it or not. There’s a reason movie theaters have so many advertisements and reminders before the showing that tell you to silence your phones — but even beyond that, just put them away completely. If you’re not really getting into the film, don’t just pull out your phone and scroll through social media, even if it is silent. The light can be distracting to everyone in the dark theater.