Inevitably, when we asked our fine readers for their cinema experiences earlier this year, there were a lot more bad than good (92 bad, in fact). It’s less human nature to say that everything was okay, and in truth, we reckon what most of us want from a trip to the movies is something pain-free and without off-screen incident.
But a few stories of people and places going over and above filtered through. And we thought we should share them with you. Take a look…
Once, a very long time ago, I went to see Back To The Future Part 2 (when it was new; I said it was a long time ago!) and the only other people in the cinema were Christopher Reeve and his family. That was nice.
A child sat next to me wearing ‘light-up’ trainers. Whenever he moved his feet they flashed. I asked the parent to take them off as it was really bothering me, they obliged.
Fury says so
Vue cinema staff at one point turned up before the show of Avengers and told everyone before it had even started to be respectful. It helped because he was dressed as Nick Fury.
As the MGM lion roared, an old man directly in front of me stood up at the start of Spectre and declared to the packed opening day screening “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the last time we will see Daniel Craig as James Bond – we should enjoy it!” At that point I was certain that I was in for a disruptive screen courtesy of this gentleman. Instead, he was respectful, laughed in the right places, clapped at the end of action sequences and nudged his friend during Bond’s more intimate moments. He turned out to be a perfect audience member, and his shouting out at the start, though slightly odd, was the main thing I liked about Spectre.
I saw a kid fall down the stairs in the middle of a film. He tumbled all the way to the bottom, over and over, when he got to the bottom he jumped up and faced the audience like a “Ta-da!” and got a round of applause.
Couple arrived 5 mins late for a showing [Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy] to a two thirds full cinema screening, they had brought in food and it became apparent had sneaked in alcohol too. They were some rows from me but were loudly talking and it became apparent they were a little drunk.
A few shushes from other attendees were ignored until someone got up and vanished outside. 5 mins later staff enter with torches, find them and ask them quietly to step out, to no effect and they begin to be loud and disruptive. After 3 minutes of this the film stops, house lights up, they are removed by 3 staff and we are then asked if we’d like to restart the film, have our money back or carry on viewing. As 10 minutes had gone the majority decided for a restart. Odeon Southampton got some great thanks for handling that.
A man in the audience thought it was hilarious to tell the rest of us that he would be quoting the entire movie while we watched. No one laughed. The cinema now has a ‘no heckling’ advert before every film.
Stop the film!
Cineworld Feltham – someone came in drunk and was immediately followed by staff and manager who walked him back out. Same cinema one time someone was sitting in my seat so they paused the trailers to move everyone back to where they should be.
The Filmhouse Cinema in Edinburgh still has ushers sit in on the films leading to swift resolution of any issues that arise. It’s one of my main reasons for choosing to see films there.
The improved seating at the Showcase in Peterborough has really improved the audience behaviour. The old seating was very cramped and often meant that little movements or whispers were noticed by others. Minor indiscretions could quickly grow, especially if those annoyed were too heavy handed which caused the guilty party (who may not have been aware of their fault) to become defensive and escalates everything beyond the original offence. This was all too easy in a cramped environment. It just creates a negative atmosphere even for myself a few rows away. Also the auditoriums were starting to feel rundown and this in terms changed the way people behaved and treated the place, complete with sticky floors and rubbish everywhere. This has greatly improved now and watching movies feels more like an event.
Proper policing #2
The Kinema in the Woods (Lincolnshire) is just lovely and the staff go the extra mile to help people. The atmosphere in the auditorium is always very pleasant and this comes from the overall feeling of the venue. It makes watching a movie feel special and this in turn changes how the audience behave. The staff are fantastic and will be quick to offer assistance to a family with a rowdy child and not by making them into the villain. This approach de-escalates the situation and allows all parties to relax and enjoy the film.
The occasional funny heckle
Fast And Furious 6, When Diesel catches Lottie in the air then lands on a car, guy behind said “Fuck off” in disbelief, that was funny heckling!
While watching Guardians Of The Galaxy a French couple on a date shouted their disapproval at the scenes they didn’t like but celebrated the great moments equally loudly. It was my second big screen viewing and it actually added an extra frisson of excitement. They should have been on the DVD commentary.
Proper policing #3
Odeon – really drunk lady having a domestic with her bf on the front row after arriving late. Staff informed, they came back with security for the argumentative woman after stopping the film and putting lights back on. After they left they restarted film and refunded us.
Tyneside cinema in Newcastle – they have a great eclectic mix of films, they do regular all night film marathons, staff are fantastic and I got married there so it’s special for me.
There was a lot of cheering and applause during Get Out lately, which – to be fair – did kinda morph into a fun communal experience rather than a distracting pain in the arse.
Proper policing #4
Electric in Birmingham is fantastic, they have stopped disruptive customers on 2 occasions before anyone said anything
The parent who apologised to us after the film finished (Finding Dory, I’m not ashamed!) as her toddler had got upset during the film was a nice change to not getting any reaction at all from the parents.
Perhaps our favourite!
Half way through a screening of Logan the person in the seat in front of me took out their phone to check it. This happened another 2 times. I then stuck my head between the seats and said “Hey, whatcha readin’?” He then looked at me with an embarrassed look on his face and said sorry.
Thank you to everyone who contributed!