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Tips For Having A Great Movie Theatre Experience

Updated on August 29, 2012

Going to the movie theatre is just like any other night out. There are rules to follow and preparations that need to be made in order make sure the night is a success. The following is a general guideline to make your (and the people around you) experience more enjoyable and entertaining.

1) Buy your tickets in advance!

  • There is nothing more annoying that driving to the theatre on opening weekend of a highly anticipated movie and learning that the show is completely sold out. The best way to eliminate this irritating dilemma is to simply go to a movie website such as and pre-order your tickets. The only drawback of this feature is the processing fees that are applied, however I like to look at these as “convenience fees”. You are paying an extra 2 dollars to make sure you are not wasting your time and gas for a sold out show. Also make sure you bring the card that you bought the tickets on and your ID with you to the theatre. There is nothing more embarrassing than pre-ordering your tickets and still not being able to see the show because you don’t have the necessary documentation. I also like to bring a printout of the confirmation page for extra proof of purchase.

2) Leave early!

  • Do not be one of those people who are trying to find a seat in the middle of the opening credits. It is rude, inconsiderate and just poor planning. Not only have you missed the trailers (which in my opinion is an integral part of the theatre experience) you are causing other people who did leave their house on time to miss part of the movie that they paid good money for. When deciding what time you have to leave make sure you take into account the following:
  1. Finding parking – No explanation necessary.
  2. Picking up your tickets – Even if you pre-ordered your tickets you still have to retrieve them. Pre-ordering only guarantees that you will have a ticket when you show up, it does not give you special treatment and a nudge to the front of the ticket line.
  3. Concession stand – Buying popcorn, candy and drinks is a huge part of the theatre experience. There is nothing better than theatre popcorn with extra butter drizzled on top in a big tub to share with your date. On opening weekends anticipate longer lines and plan accordingly.

3) Go with a group.

  • Getting together a group of friends who share your love for the genre or cast or general plot line is a very rewarding experience. The before movie anticipation and after credit discussions can be very stimulating and give you a better appreciation of the film.

4) Turn off your phones before the trailers start.

  • Most movies now have a clever little ‘scene’ where they show how a movie can be ruined by cell phone calls in the middle of suspenseful, emotional or pivotal Moments. Take that as your hint to shut down the cell phone. If you absolutely cannot bear the thought of shutting down your link to the outside world then at least have the courtesy to switch it to vibrate. Although this can also be distracting in a suspenseful film where things jump out at you. A vibration in your pocket can be embarrassing when you are the only one jumping out of your seat before the action starts. When you bought your tickets you dedicated yourself to not being apart of the outside world but getting fully lost in the picture. Embrace it; the rest of the world will still be there when the movie is over.

5) Choose your seats wisely.

  • Getting to the theatre early is also a great way to get prime seats. The best place in the theatre for visual and sound is the very middle of the theatre. If there is stadium seating that is even better. If your preferred seats are already taken then the general etiquette for choosing your seat is as follows:
  1. If the theatre hasn’t filled up yet you should seat at least two rows in front or behind a group of people already seated.
  2. If you can’t follow the above row and must sit in a row directly in front of someone then try to be to the side of them and not in their direct view.
  3. If you have children with you keep them as far away from the rest of the people as possible. (If you have mature children who can sit still and quiet through a two hour movie and wont kick the back of peoples seats then you are allowed to abide by the first two rules)
  4. Tall people move it to the back! As a short person I often find it annoying when I pick a seat, get comfortable and then a 6’1 giant comes and sits directly in front of me obscuring half of the screen. If you know you are above average in the height department then please be considerate. (Obviously this isn’t always possible, but the effort is appreciated)

6) Open your mind and have a good time

  • Don’t go into a movie with too many expectations. Sit back and then the story unfold and then you may critique it without the handicap of preconceived notions of what is was supposed to be. There is nothing more disappointing then watching trailers and promos, getting all hyped up and then having the actual picture be completely different then what was advertised. I find it is often gratifying to see these films a second time. You can’t get anymore disappointed then the first viewing and it is easier to appreciate what the movie actually is instead of what you wanted it to be.

When is the best time to see a movie in the theatre?

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