Movie theater etiquette needs a reboot

Moviegoers lack etiquette

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The Future. Barbie may have broken some brains when it comes to movie manners, with audiences complaining that more and more people are using their phones during screenings. But with theaters not wanting to alienate anybody, the future may be in scheduling two simultaneous showtimes for popular releases: one phone-free and one not, letting moviegoers choose.

Too many screens
While some audience members using their phones has been a problem for years, there seems to have been a major uptick with Barbie.

  • That’s to take selfies, snap photos of the movie in progress, and even film “antics” (WSJ’s word) to post on social media.
  • Why the disruption? It’s the new trend of not just enjoying entertainment but also participating in it — sometimes, to an unhealthy degree.
  • It’s part and parcel of the growing phenomenon of people singing loudly during Broadway shows or throwing things at artists during concerts.

Theater chains are trying to combat the interruptions in a number of ways, whether that’s Regal crafting photo ops before and after screenings in the lobby, or the Alamo Drafthouse giving patrons warnings mid-show before giving them the boot.

The fear is, if nothing is done about the phone-wielding disruptors, more and more customers may get fed up and simply wait for films to show up on streaming… where the only person they have to worry about whipping out a phone is themself.


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