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The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens 924

Posted by timothy
from the this-is-why-there-are-tasers dept.
theodp writes "The "average" movie theater reportedly has a capacity of 200-300 people. Which, thanks to the wonder of mobile devices, means that it also has hundreds of screens. And — thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and texting — hundreds of potential annoyances. Which prompts NY film critic David Edelstein to ask: How Should We Treat Texters and Talkers at Movie Theaters? 'Has our culture become so private that no one knows how to behave anymore in public?' Edelstein wonders. 'Is selfishness the rule rather than exception? Are people who say, "Shut up and turn off your phone" today's version of "You kids get off my lawn"?' Jason Bailey argues that the only way to solve movie theaters' talking and texting problem is to give in to it, perhaps with anything-goes phone-friendly talk-amongst-yourselves screenings in the seven and eight o'clock hours coupled with no-tolerance shows later in the evening. Any other ideas?" You could always throw it.
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The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens

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  • by jwinterm (2740003) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:07PM (#44149417)
    I'd probably just sit there and be quiet.
  • Faraday cage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:10PM (#44149429)

    I've always liked the notion of enclosing the theatres in a faraday cage. In any new construction, it should be relatively cheap to include a mesh around the theatre itself -- and then you don't have to worry about people's manners. At least not as far as cell phones are concerned.

  • by Elgonn (921934) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:11PM (#44149435)
    Just stop going entirely. It is expensive and isn't even as nice as watching at home or with friends. There's certainly no chance that social conventions will make it palatable again within our lifetimes.
  • by Etcetera (14711) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:12PM (#44149443) Homepage

    Leaving aside racial stereotypes, is this more of a regional or cultural problem? In San Diego, I virtually never see people texting /during/ a movie, and I don't think I've heard a cell phone go off (eg, ring) during a showing any time in the last five years. About the worst thing that happens is people (myself included, occasionally) leaving a phone on but silent (no vibrate).... A flicker of a bright screen might show up if they have their phone facing outwards in a thin pocket or something, but that's it. Anyone who actually talked during a show would be told to stfu by the movie-goers, no doubt...

    FWIW, I'm normally just going to the local AMC20 or 18; nothing fancy or unusual, so I have to assume my observations are typical for this area.

    Is San Diego just a nice town, or are other places like this too?

  • Rude? Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:17PM (#44149475)

    >"'Has our culture become so private that no one knows how to behave anymore in public?"

    Yes it has. A large percent of the population are very rude regarding phones. And the younger the generation, the more rude.

    • Re:Rude? Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trogre (513942) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @09:19PM (#44150205) Homepage

      The current generation is taught through the education system a great deal about their rights, but very little about their responsibilities.

      Consequently we get a very inward-focused generation with a false sense of self-entitlement and, rudeness in general.

    • " A large percent of the population are very rude regarding phones."

      To the point of driving a car while texting, subjecting everyone sharing the road in their immediate vicinity to a much greater risk of injury/death, much like someone that has been drinking. Yet, for some reason, laws regarding texting while driving are effectively neutered compared to DUI laws. Why is that?

      I suspect the "guvment" doesn't want to clamp down on cellphone use in any way as cellphones/smartphones are apparently the most used

  • by William Ager (1157031) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:20PM (#44149493)

    This is hardly a novel problem. All manners of talking, noisemaking, and other disturbances have been problems in theaters for centuries; phones are simply another type of potential disturbance.

    Yes, it is to some extent a cultural problem. I also think it tends to be a problem of lack of any enforcement of reasonable etiquette in theaters, perhaps from a concern for repercussions and retribution, but also, at least in many movie theaters, from a lack of staff.

    But I think it is only through enforcement by venues, and cultural unacceptability, that disturbances like these can be minimized, especially in this case. I don't think anyone particularly wants to be in a theater full of other people on phones; the people who use them in theaters would likely be upset about others using them were they not using them at that particular time. There are already venues for watching movies on large screens while being able to talk and generally be more casual, and perhaps we could use more of those, but that's not the problem here: the problem are people who are selfish. If someone wants to be able to disturb others, but not be disturbed by others, then letting everyone cause disturbances isn't going to help: everyone will go to the no-tolerance shows, and become upset if they're thrown out.

  • My lawn (Score:5, Funny)

    by _Ludwig (86077) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:31PM (#44149565) Journal

    Why has “get off my lawn” become code for cranky senior citizen? What the fuck do those kids think they’re doing tearing up my meticulously-mown property, and why is it unreasonable to object to trespassers?

    I mean, if you’re just picking up a wayward frisbee or something, fine, but other than that, unless I invited you, seriously, stay off my lawn.

  • by Snotnose (212196) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:33PM (#44149583)
    One is "I wanna watch the damn movie", use a cellphone or talk too much and you get tossed out. The other is "I wanna be with my friends", anything goes. Run the experiment a couple months, see which gets the bigger audience. / Last movie I saw in a theater was Return of the King, due to talkative asshats // Second to last movie was The Two Towers
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:33PM (#44149595)
    The entire movie theater industry is dead.

    Even if cell phones were eliminated (which in my experience have been more or less a non-issue in theaters) you've still got the fact that its $8 for a ticket and then $5 for a popcorn, $5 for a soda, $5 for a box of Junior Mints... Its simply too expensive for the 2 hours of (possible) enjoyment, especially when a couple of months later you can watch the movie on Netflix or pay $1 for it at Redbox. It used to be you could offset this by the fact that you were getting a higher quality picture and sound, but anymore a HDTV and surround sound are pretty common. 3D is simply a gimmick, its fun for a movie or two but doesn't really add much to the experience. I mean, other than for a midnight premiere, does anyone actually go to the movies anymore?
    • by redmid17 (1217076) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:38PM (#44149641)
      $8 for a ticket. Where are you going? I might need to move there. Cheapest I've found for a non-matinee is $11.50 or $12. Hell even my hometown, a mid-size Midwestern city, clocks in with $10 per theater.
    • I cannot drag myself to the movie theater anymore, unless it's something I desperately need to see, or the wife really wants to go. Together, both situations add up to maybe two or three times in a year. I'm just so spoiled when it comes to entertainment. Why should I drive to a movie theater to see a movie that starts at a specific time, paying for both myself and and my wife, when I can watch Netflix, or movies on HBO or Showtime on demand, or rent via the cable box or iTunes? The movie starts when I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by splitsevin (953745)
      $8.00 for a movie ticket? My god.

      Where I live (big bad city), it's $14.00 for a single adult ticket, plus a $1.00 fee to buy online.

      Oh, you want to see "A Scientologist Actor Saves the World 3D?"

      That'll be $19.00 for the "3D ZOMG1!1!!!" experience, plus a $1.00 fee to buy online.

      I do the math and realize I have a pretty big HD tv and a penchant for Usenet and all of the sudden that cellphone-manners-fight-waiting-to-happen doesn't seem so appealing.
    • The entire movie theater industry is dead.

      I just started resuming going back to the movies, and I like it. It costs me well over $100 each time, including babysitting, IMAX 3D tickets, and popcorn. I couldn't afford it during the GFC. I'm enjoying the high-production cost, 3-D experience, and I don't mind the high ticket prices at all -- they pale in comparison to the babysitter. In combination, I always go to the first non-midnight show on the first day, when other true fans go -- again at the IMAX 3

    • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @09:17PM (#44150185)

      $5 for a popcorn, $5 for a soda, $5 for a box of Junior Mints...

      Might I suggest eating before you go to the movies?

      Really, can you really not go two and a half hours without a meal or intaking 2000 calories and 500mg of salt?

      The reason why it's so expensive for you to go to the movies is that you're not going to the movies and getting a snack, you're going to dinner and watching a movie. a $12 ticket plus $15 worth of food.

      It used to be you could offset this by the fact that you were getting a higher quality picture and sound, but anymore a HDTV and surround sound are pretty common

      You're 50-60-70in TV with 5.1 surround isn't the same quality is what the theaters have. Sure maybe so really cheapo theaters but the standard AMC theaters have over a dozen channels along the sides alone. And yes watching a movie on a 50ft wide screen is considerably different than on a TV.

      Again, you're spending almost $30 to go to the movies... Try eating beforehand and then compare the experience to a $12 ticket or...

      Go to the matinee show. Tickets are usually half price...

  • by AxemRed (755470) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:44PM (#44149683)
    I go to the theater about 5 times a year. I admit that I'm not an avid movie goer. But out of my limited experiences at the theater, I don't think I have ever been so annoyed by someone else's phone that I gave it a second thought after the movie. I see a lot of people talking and texting through the previews, but once the movie starts, people seem to stop. I have seen one person answer their phone and run out of the theater. And I see people checking their phones or texting here and there but not constantly and not with sound. Sometimes I wonder if I just live in a more polite region or if people are just anal.
  • by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:49PM (#44149725)
    like this [youtube.com]
  • by Nyder (754090) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:52PM (#44149737) Journal

    I find that supporting the Movie or Music industry is like giving money to my local mafia. Something I will NOT do.

    So going to theaters is out of the question.

  • I'm too nice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Robotech_Master (14247) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @08:06PM (#44149805) Homepage Journal

    I was watching G.I. Joe: Retribution in a theater with a "zero tolerance" cell phone policy, and the jerk in front of me took his phone out and texted several times during the movie. I considered asking him to stop, but I just don't like getting into confrontations. I further considered going and telling a staffer, but I didn't want to miss part of the movie to do it. Also the guy was there with a kid, and I didn't want to be responsible for ruining the kid's movie experience.

    I'm just too nice. :P

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @08:19PM (#44149879)

    I was having dinner with an old friend of mine (I'm early 50's and he's early 60's). you might think its only kids (relatively speaking) who are rude and will break out their phones and start thumbing thru stuff while in the middle of a dinner conversation, but NO - here he was, dinking around with his stupid iGadget while I was trying to carry on a conversation with him. yes, it really annoyed me.

    I don't do that to others. when I'm with someone, I won't whip out my phone and start messing around with it. not sure why people think this is the 'new normal'; its new but its still NOT polite and should not be considered acceptable social behavior.

    its bad enough that you cannot find people walking on the street looking where they are going, anymore; they all look down and are thumbing thru their phones and wearing earbuds while walking. car drivers, too! I see so many people wearing earbuds while driving. so unsafe! but do they care? of course not.

    I don't like the direction all this is going in. and I realize I'm in a tiny minority, on this subject matter ;(

  • by msobkow (48369) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @09:00PM (#44150107) Homepage Journal

    Wait for the DVD or Blu-Ray to come out and watch it at home without all the annoyances.

    I don't understand why anyone still goes to a theatre today with all the rude behaviour from the audience. You can't enjoy a movie at the theatre any more.

    • " You can't enjoy a movie at the theatre any more."

      Yes, you can, if you go to a weekday matinee.

      Some movies are better on a big screen. I'm thinking the latest Star Trek, which I caught in 3D about a week after it opened with about 20 other people in a gigantic theater. It was great.

  • by Le Marteau (206396) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @09:14PM (#44150173) Journal

    "Hell is other people" - Sartre

    That is all.

  • by Coppit (2441) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @09:17PM (#44150195) Homepage

    Besides being able to drink a nice beer, you can be sure that you won't see phones out at the Alamo Drafthouse:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L3eeC2lJZs [youtube.com]

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