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Three Reasons Not To Go To The Movies

Updated on August 16, 2013

Rude patrons and indifferent theater staff

© 2013 Express10

Use of cell phones (any type of use that makes the screen of the phone light up or makes any sound), talking, small children, and people who save seats for others for extended periods during peak times are just some of the common irritations movie goers face. In many theaters, staff are often nowhere to be seen in each theater while movies are running. The Alamo Drafthouse (Texas) aside, many theaters do not take any action to those causing any of the above distractions without being asked or begged to do so by other customers.

For many people, negative experiences with these irritations are reason enough not to go to the movies even when there may be a high desire to see new releases. Venturing to the movies is increasingly becoming much more of an annoyance. Notably, repeated experiences with these distractions are very commonly cited as reasons that some theater goers have reduced their trips to the movies and others have stopped going altogether.

While theaters and a fair number of people within the movie industry have taken note of the trend of declining ticket sales and revenues, it doesn't appear that these distractions amongst the patrons are being addressed. While there may be one or two on screen reminders for people to turn off cell phones, quiet children, and not to talk during the movie, humans are often a selfish bunch and most simply ignore these reminders and common courtesy and consideration of others.

Large movie theater in Sacramento, CA.
Large movie theater in Sacramento, CA. | Source

To counteract the downward trend in ticket sales there has been a recent uptick in 3-D movie releases in hopes of getting more rear ends into the seats. In addition to being a fat profit gimmick, I find 3-D strains my eye muscles and gives me a headache yet my beau loves it. Nevertheless he also hates the way other people distract and ruin the movie experience. Theaters attempt to get more tickets sold via VIP and rewards programs. However, I would definitely pay a premium directly to theaters and/or the studios to see certain first-run movies from the comfort of my home simply to avoid the irritations of inconsiderate patrons. The major obstacle with this is piracy and the possibility of people turning their homes into theaters.

However, large chain theaters such as Regal and AMC often do not even attempt to perform a mediocre job of making sure that customers do not experience these distractions, yet they continually scratch their heads as to why sales continue to decline. With competition from so many sources such as online and offline media options, a logical person would think that theaters and even movie industry decision makers would put more emphasis on the total experience of the patrons rather than just let these negative experiences be.

In today's me, me, me world, many offenders only care about themselves and refuse to acknowledge that for many a trip to the movies is a time for entertainment and not a time to have the bright light of a cell phone distracting them or to be interrupted by talking or children. Many believe that they cannot be kicked out by staff, yet if staff ignores these problems they will continue losing revenue from a fair number of customers. It is possible that at some point, even the large chains will have to take real action in these situations to keep the larger number of considerate patrons coming back.

A movie just may be the only respite from the grind of daily life for some movie goers and most people generally dislike movie interruptions and distractions no matter how much or how little entertainment time they have. Cell phones, babies, and talking are a genuine distraction to many people and this is regardless of whether or not anything is said to the offender. Where one or two people do speak up there may be a fairly good chance of getting into a verbal or even physical exchange depending on how selfish/rude the offender is and exactly how the topic is initiated by those who have been distracted, offended, or irritated. Now how is that for entertainment?

A Fumeo 9250 film projector.
A Fumeo 9250 film projector. | Source

Price gouging

Tickets, 3-D glasses, concessions. Many of us are aware that the markups theaters enjoy is typically several hundred to over a thousand percent on a variety of things that are offered for sale by theaters. Popcorn is the worst of offenders simply because it costs little (in comparison with other concession offerings) to transport to the theater and make. However, it's price often comes close to the price of a single movie ticket without even taking into account the cost of buying a beverage to go with it. Many argue that those who buy concessions are subsidizing the costs of tickets for everyone and that it's the only way for theaters to make any money. However, there are many people who would be willing to pay more for a ticket in exchange for more reasonable prices at the concessions stand and no distractions (such as cell phones and babies) during movies.

While there are a lot of concessions sold each day, if management of many large chains pay attention, they will still see a very large percentage of customers do not buy concessions. Commonly cited reasons are high prices and a lack of any healthy offerings. It is hard to stomach the cost versus profit for those who have a clue as to what the markups are. Because many people do know the markups they protest by not buying concessions or sneaking their own in. To make things worse, movie theater popcorn is topped with artery clogging "butter" with needless and unsafe chemicals in it that theaters usually do not disclose. Moreover, many patrons don't know that the buttery smell in theaters is actually a chemical fragrance added to the "butter" topping to tempt patrons to buy popcorn. Think about that the next time you or anyone you love pours this stuff over popcorn that you or they will eat.

Millions of movie goers get it. I get it. Profits are extremely important, however when a large number of customers feel that the prices are too high, they will find other ways to entertain themselves or they will just relax at home. This is the case even more so when there are competing forms of entertainment, particularly movie entertainment. Where movies are concerned, On demand and Netflix sales are increasing their bites out of the entertainment pie. As for pricing at the movies, as much as things change, they also remain the same.

Pricing has often been complained about but what's different now than from decades ago is that movies can be seen just about anywhere without going to a theater. If the pricing is getting under your skin, speak up with your wallet and take a look at other options for entertainment that are better values for your money. In many areas you can attend a baseball game, a concert, hockey game, or even a basketball game for the price of some movie outings.

Approximately one year ago there was a class action lawsuit filed by a man who lives in Michigan in the hope of ending the practice of price gouging at the movies. I think that this will not make any changes as theaters are private businesses and can run their businesses as they see fit. Nevertheless, I always cheer for the underdog.

Source

Better ways to spend your time and money

If you're in the mood for sitting down and relaxing with a movie and the movie theater experience is not a must for you, other movies can easily be seen from the comforts of your home, computer, mobile phone, or hotel. On Demand, Amazon, Netflix, and even Blockbuster Video (how Blockbuster is still around in some areas, I do not know) are options that may save you money. In some metro areas there are also outdoor and cinema cafe options available.

For many, dinner and a movie at home can often come out to half or less than what they'd pay per person at the movies. Also, many people enjoy the convenience of being able to pause the movie when needed or being able to switch from watching the movie in one room to another room such as the bedroom. A movie theater has got nothing on that level of comfort and convenience.

If you have some extra money to spend, creating a home theater could be an option that your family and friends can enjoy for years to come and if done well, it may also boost the value of your home if you sell. Please note, this option is only recommended for those who live in single family homes. If you are in a town home, condo, duplex, or apartment or other setting where you share walls, ceilings, or floors with other people's homes, please be considerate and do not create a home theater set up if you are not willing to spend (or if your landlord won't let you) many thousands of dollars to have a high quality soundproofing job done.

If you are game for any type of entertainment, there are better ways to spend your time and money than by going to the movies. You could spend several hours at the zoo, an ice rink, roller rink, skate park, beach, lake, gym, art galleries, and many other places for about the same price per ticket or less than what you would pay at the movies. I can tell you from experience that you can even throw a birthday party at ice and roller rinks for up to ten guests for less than what you would spend with the same number of guests at the movies with concession foods.

Going to the mall, a library, parks, trails, lakes, beaches, and other places will be a savings and likely better choices for you health wise and you will be getting some exercise with many of these options rather than sitting on your duff for a couple hours. The amount of money it takes for these types of outings is minimal such as buying gasoline or paying for parking in certain areas. Still other options in your area may include going to the gym, visiting family, volunteering to help others, or just staying home and spending quality time with those you love rather than going to the movies.

Have you ever had had negative experiences at the movies?

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    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 2 years ago from East Coast

      Searches? Wow. I would just stay home, I just don't like the idea of having my personal space invaded by a stranger in that manner...especially just to see a movie.

    • Askme profile image

      Pritchard 2 years ago

      No you are not missing much peachpurple especially in light of all the shooting tragedies of late at movie theaters. Finally....we are now subjected to searches at the Edward's Cinemas in Washington State! No more sneaking in my .98 cent bottled water-have to pay $5.75 for the same Dsanti water!

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 2 years ago from East Coast

      Unfortunately Peachpurple, you are not missing much of anything but some amount of irritation. I say bask in each other's presence at home and maybe use cable, Amazon or NetFlix for movies :)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i had not been to the movies since i married my hubby

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 2 years ago from East Coast

      You raise a good point about not getting caught. There is a Starbucks just feet away from the theater I used to go to and many people go there prior to going to the theater. One night I had just bought a Starbucks caramel apple cider and was told I must throw it away but for some reason the guy did not see the woman ahead of me who walked straight through with her Starbucks drink. Typically, I would not be that bold but I went to the theater with it in hand because I saw them letting other people through with theirs in hand. Go figure.

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 2 years ago from Ireland

      Everything you just mentioned I have witnessed too. As for the prices of sweets they are really outrage here. Many times we bring our own sweets and drinks from home instead of buying them there, it's a lot cheaper. :) You just better not get caught by staff. They see this as a big no no.

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 3 years ago from East Coast

      We pay $16 bucks for IMAX 3D movies at AMC in our area. The shows have at least 6 - 10 previews, commercials, etc. Staff cannot give a care if people are talking, texting, or if there are crying babies, or people talking during the movie. There aren't any assigned seats. People can and do come in during the middle of the movie and we had a rowdy group of unsupervised teens switch seats smack dab in the middle of the movie and come up to our row. They were slapping one another and talking loudly. If that wasn't enough, they were so rowdy, they actually shook all the seats on the row...we were sitting on the very end of the row and they were in the middle! I miss living in CA! I used to live in Lake Arrowhead but often went in to LA and Orange Counties.

    • Askme profile image

      Pritchard 3 years ago

      Sometimes we pay the higher price. Like for the IMAX but in Los Angeles we have a theater called "Archlight". You get assigned seats and you pay about $11.00. With that high price, you get: no commercials, no previews. The show starts on time. No one is admitted to the theater after the show starts and before the movie, a "team member" a/k/a employee of the Archlight comes in and goes over the rules. 1. Cell phones off, no texting even. 2. no talking. 3. If you are with small children, make sure the movie is age appropriate and if they start crying, leave or you will be asked to leave by management!

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 3 years ago from East Coast

      I am happy to hear that someone had a good time at the movies. The only time I can catch a break is by not going unfortunately. No matter how much I pay, there are always fools around. Perhaps your theater polices it's patrons, apparently the theater I would typically visit doesn't :(

    • Askme profile image

      Pritchard 3 years ago

      Have to admit last weekend we went to the movies and saw the Wizard of Oz in 3D at the Imax. When you pay the extra cash people don't mess around. It was wonderful!

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 3 years ago from East Coast

      You are spot on with saving movie money and using it to vacation. There are people who go to the movies very often such as once or twice a week. I've never been that type of person and never will be. Sometimes the movies are good, but many releases are boring or overboard with sexual references, etc. Going beyond that I've experienced far too many discomforts and interruptions caused by other patrons. Creating a dedicated theater at home is going to be my escape, I will gladly wait for DVD or On Demand releases rather than try my patience at the theaters.

    • anidae profile image

      Anita Adams 3 years ago from Tennessee

      Movies and the foods at the movie theater is way overpriced. I use to love going to the movies but they have become so polluted with sex scenes, vulgar language, graphic violence, and bad scripts---even the G-rated movies will allow suggestive sexual references or language that are not family appropriate. You are correct in saying you can save a lot of money and stressful situations by staying home and watching a good movie(if you can find one of quality). I like your ideas about other activities as a substitute, too. If a person saved their movie theater money and didn't touch it for a year or so, they might have a nice paid for vacation to most anywhere they wanted to go.

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      Oh how I have tried to give it the best go but I'm fed up too. It's my boyfriend that likes going to the movies because he cannot give up on the 3D gimmick. That's the only reason I've gotten dragged to the theater. He can't stand the people who use their phones, talk, etc. either but he's still a 3D die hard while it strains my eye muscles and sometimes gives me a headache. We have a couple of very good HD flat screens at home but there's no 3D there for him. The things we do for love. Ugh!

    • Askme profile image

      Pritchard 4 years ago

      I hate to tell you the things I've seen at the movies! ha ha and it was more interesting than what was playing on the screen.

      From having a grandma tell me she was going to beat me up, to the couple behind us that thought the dark of the theater was an excellent place for oral sex to the baby crying at a showing of "The Ring" and mom refusing to take the poor child out---I am fed up with going to the movies.

      With the advancements made in TVs these days, the picture on our TV is much clearer, brighter and in blueray. Rather stay home and pop my own popcorn, be able to put the movie on hold when I take a potty break and NO crying babies or rude patrons!!

      What an original hub. Vote up!!

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      I went to a movie again, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. I brought a blanket (that I promptly washed in hot water, detergent, and bleach) to keep me from coming into contact with the aforementioned contaminants that made my legs itch only while in contact with movie theater seats on two prior trips. We even went at a time when the place was less than half full. Halfway through the movie about 5 teens leave their seats in the middle of the theater and come up to the top row. They asked the old man (complete stranger) sitting a few seats away from us on the same row to move and he did. He left and never came back. Maybe he hated the movie, maybe he didn't like the kids, I can't blame him on that one.

      They then promptly began talking and slapping each other distracting us and others. They were actually shaking all the seats on the row. We got up and went down to the front row and STILL heard them for another 5 minutes or so. I did all I could to enjoy the movie and still all of the moviegoers got nonsense. I knew if I requested they sit still and be quiet that if they gave me a bit of lip I would have absolutely gone off on all of them. The movies and me, officially a lost cause.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Gee whiz. If it's like an office meeting that means I probably won't even stand it on television. Here's hoping you have a better experience next time.

    • Express10 profile image
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      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      Correction :) If the movie was good and I could have convinced my beau to give up hope on this Superman movie I would have asked for a refund the second time the perfume was sprayed.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      I have allergies too and I sneezed a couple dozen times in a row. I took a bit of a walk during the movie to get some fresh air. If it was a movie that was really good, I would have asked for a refund from management the second time I heard the perfume bottle being sprayed. But this butt head just kept spraying repeatedly with no regard for others.

      I agree with you about Superman, it will never work. It was so slow paced and long that I rested my chin on my hand like I was sitting through a boring but required meeting of some sort. Some of the action scenes really need slow motion because everything was a blur and there wasn't any detail in the visuals.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I can relate to the perfume, my coworkers love it too much and I had to tell my supervisor. I have allergies and can't stand certain smells at strong levels. I sneeze and have trouble breathing.

      About Superman, they keep trying to do what they did with Batman but I don't think it'll ever work. Superman's the eternal goody two-shoes character.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      The itching was so disgusting and the realization that it was the seats is scary to think about and the repeated perfume spraying was negatively affecting me physically. It was a very bad experience. On top of it all, Superman was a big yawn of a disappointment.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I'm so sorry to hear that, I don't know why people think it's necessary to bathe in perfume. If you have to fart, go relieve yourself and go to the bathroom.

      About the itching, that's just ridiculous. I'm not paying to suffer.

      Hopefully things will improve.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      There is much room for improvement at the movies and it's unfortunately dependent upon people being considerate of those around them as well as theaters being considerate of their patrons. I sat through the failure of a wannabe epic Superman recently and my legs itched the whole time. My boyfriend too. The second we got up from the movie theater seats the itching stopped and didn't return.

      During the same movie someone kept spraying some perfume, it was stifling and offensive. I left for a few minutes due to a sneezing fit caused by the spraying (repeatedly) of these chemicals and noticed that the "perfume" could be smelled at least a dozen rows away. My boyfriend and I came to the conclusion they must have been too lazy to go to the bathroom and were passing gas because we could hear the spray bottle being sprayed several times during the movie. If I ever go again, I'm stopping at Lowe's for a large plastic tarp and possibly elsewhere for a gas mask.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I once went to see Daddy Day Camp with my mom and aunt. The movie was horrible as you can imagine but what was worse was this poor toddler in the stinkiest diaper I've smelled in all of my life. The kid wasn't potty trained but could walk. What did the mom do? Sit there and act like nothing was afoul. I was ready to run out of the theater- I couldn't take it.

      The next worse experience was watching Why Did I Get Married with my mom. The movie was okay but one lady thought she had to provide a play by play and eventually my interest wane.

      Last time I went to the theater with my cousin to see Hangover 3, I was pleasantly surprised. A girl in my row had her phone on and was playing around- an usher- yes an usher told her to put it away and she did. It gave me hope but it still doesn't distract from the fact I'm paying 10 bucks a pop and have to eat before or smuggle in snacks. It's an old American past time but it still needs improvement.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      I appear to have a tendency to rant when it comes to things like this. Although not everyone is inconsiderate at the movies, all it really takes is one bad apple to have a truly negative experience. Some people have such bad experiences that they never return. A household terrorist cat trying to get your love and attention appears to be quite appealing compared to many of the things I've experienced at the movies. Thanks so much Epigramman.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      What a sobering expose you have written here my friend. I am 54 years old and I remember going to the movie palaces with my dad at least once or twice a week (and back then you could smoke; my dad and I even went to a cinema where they were smoking reefer (lol) and they offered my dad a 'puff') and there were even poor manners back then but nowadays it seems there are just more distractions than ever.

      I love your writing style - it is world class all of the way and should be featured in a daily newspaper column.

      Personally I love my movies on my home cinema (my lap top with head phones and no interruptions except my domestic terrorist cat trying to knock the screen over, lol)

      Sending you warm wishes and good energy from Colin and his cats at lake erie time ontario canada 10:45pm

      p.s. - I even remember in the old days one cinema had a 'live' organ player and when you had to stand for the national anthem before the film started

      Also you have a really nice assortment of hubs to choose from - hubbravo from the epi-man

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      I also go to the movies very rarely. The quality of my flat screen surpasses that of theaters and I don't have to worry about cell phones, screaming kids, and other distractions. You are right on track, at home surround sounds can sound better than what you'd hear at the movies. Thanks so much for reading.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      A very good detailed clear hub.. but I rarely go to the movies now.. so many different ways to watch a movie and cheaper too.. besides the big screen effect has lost its novelty.. big screens at home surround sounds all this plays in to me not going anymore.. im getting off track here Express.. you've expressed it well give it a ten :)