With the rising popularity of online streaming services such as Netflix and the likes, going to the movies has become more of a hangout option than a need in order to watch movies. However, the true experience of a movie can only be enjoyed with the massive screens and amazing sound effects that movie theaters offer. That, along with the great ambience and the super tasty popcorn at the movies, makes it an experience that is hard to replicate at home. This is why movie theaters remain popular and relevant even today and people of all age groups can be seen at the movies.

It is important to remember, however, that as with any other public place, movie theaters come with their own set of rules too. These rules, though unwritten at times, are essential in order to provide a good movie watching experience to all. One must follow the few rules mentioned here in order to get the best of the movies for themselves and others.

1. MOBILE PHONES

I heard recently that the average person scrolls the height of Big Ben in a day. Whilst waiting for a delayed train in Bath I spotted this line of hands on phones – all endlessly scrolling.

One of the golden rules at the movies is to keep your phone aside and on silent mode. Ringing phones or someone talking over the phone can be highly distracting to your fellow movie watchers. Also, it is a good idea to avoid texting or checking notifications as bright mobile phone screens in a dark movie theater is equally annoying. Keep your phone away for those two hours that you have decided to spend on a movie, and ensure a good experience for yourself as well as others.

2. BEING NOISY

this photo use teal orange effect

It is an unspoken rule of movie theaters that one must not be noisy. You do not like it when other people talk loudly or make too much noise while eating. So it is best to extend the same gesture to others. Do not indulge in loud behaviour. If you absolutely have to share your thoughts with your friend beside you, talking in whispers is always a good idea. Also, if you absolutely must make that important phone call right now, do not do so in the movie theater itself. Make your way out of the movie quickly and with minimal disturbance, and return once you have finished with the call. Also, avoid bringing your babies to the movie theater as the loud sound effects irritate their ears and they usually cry due to the discomfort, which is annoying to fellow movie watchers and uncomfortable for both the baby and the parents.

3. BATHROOM BREAKS

Another rule of the movie theater is to avoid walking around unless it is unavoidable. It is always a better idea to visit the washroom prior to the movie as opposed to taking bathroom breaks during the movie. This ensures that you do not annoy your fellow movie-goers by moving around and blocking their view. Also, walking in and out of the aisle in the dark movie hall is difficult and often, you end up stepping on someone’s foot. Try and avoid such mishaps by observing this unwritten rule.

4. BEING LATE

Running in an airport

Do not be the person who walks into the movie theater thirty minutes into the movie when the plot is just picking up pace and hobbles around trying to find his seat, blocking people’s view and annoying them with torch lights. Not only do you miss a part of the movie that you paid for, you also end up spoiling the experience of others. Schedule your activities accordingly so that you reach within time as a rule. Also, a lot of movie theaters offer the option of booking seats online and receiving tickets on your email. Opt for this and save your time

5. SLEEPING AND SNORING

On a very cold, gloomy weekend, after receiving some distressing news… this face.

Even though movie theaters are dark and cosy, do not get so comfortable that you fall asleep and start snoring in the middle of the movie. One of the essential movie rules is to enjoy a movie and let others enjoy it too. A noisy fellow movie watcher is a deadly enemy of that rule. So be considerate towards others at the movie theater.

6. KICKING

Houston sneakers

If you want to get more comfortable and put your feet up, by all means take off your shoes and do so, but on your own seat. It is not an option to put your feet up on the headrest of the person in front of you. You wouldn’t want a pair of feet dangling above your head at the movie theater so follow this simple movie rule for the comfort of others too.

7. DO NOT HOLD UP THE LINE

I was at a conference in Limpopo recently and during the tea breaks there were always long queues to get refreshments. What I loved though, was that everyone used these moments to laugh, to chat and generally enjoy themselves rather than moan about having to wait. This is Africa for you!

This movie rule is applicable not only to the movies, but to any other queue as well. It is never advisable to hold up a line while buying tickets before the movie or getting some popcorn and coffee during the interval. When buying food, make your choice before reaching the front of the line, and if you are going to pay by cash, try to keep change handy. When buying tickets, follow the same rule because holding up the line for too long means someone may miss the beginning of the movie because of you.

8. OUTSIDE FOOD

w/ Platterz

A lot of movie theaters these days allow you to carry outside food. While there is mostly no clear rule as to what you can or cannot carry, it is best to carry dry snacks. Avoid carrying food which may smell or spill on the seat. You surely would not like the smell of a boiled egg coming from a seat near you when you are at the movies. So exercise discretion when you are at the other end too. Though it is not a written movie rule, it is an important one.

9. TRASH

Close up of a recycle garbage bin logo at Pershing Square in Los Angeles, California.

With consumption of food comes the matter of trash. Do not litter the movie hall with popcorn or empty chips packets. Keep them with you and throw them in a waste bin on your way out. Some movie theaters even offer you the option of placing your food tray under the seat. Make sure all the waste is inside the tray and place it neatly under the seat.

10. STEALING

Lastly, do not take home the 3D glasses or blankets provided to you as they meant to be returned.

Follow these simple movie rules and make the best of going to the movies!