British cinema behaviour: 45 examples of good experiences

Sometimes, for differing reasons, cinema trips take an unexpected turn for the better. Here are some examples...

As part of our survey on the behaviour of audiences in British cinemas, and how well cinema chains respond to it, we asked for examples of good and bad practice and behaviour in UK picture palaces.

Here are 45 examples of when things went right (for a variety of reasons!)…

Dealing With Complaints

Wall-E – Vue Norwich. A group of young teenagers carried on their ‘bantz’ – except we didn’t call it that back then – beyond the ads and trailers and through the short film. It was still going on when the titles rolled so I tattle-tailed on them and Vue staff were fantastic and removed the lot of them.”

“I found most adults stop talking or turn off their mobile phones if you ask them politely. They aren’t trying to be disruptive – they are just thoughtless.”

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“9 times out of 10 it’s a faultless experience at my local Cineworld. On the odd occasion that someone has been talking I’ve asked them politely to be quiet and generally speaking they do. In a couple of occasions over the years I’ve had to get up and ask for someone to be removed (bringing in booze and being noisy) and the Cineworld staff have been great.”

“Prince Charles Cinema in London is awesome with audience control, they kick people out of marathons who are disruptive/drunk.”

“I complained about annoying behaviour at an Odeon once I got home and they sent me free tickets for another film which I thought was good.”

“I had my purse stolen when I left it on the ticket counter some years ago, and I told the cinema staff (Cineworld Birmingham). They immediately searched the foyer, then checked the security footage, invited me into the camera room to point out where my purse was, and we saw it being stolen. They worked out which film the culprit bought tickets for, went in there, and pulled him out. My purse was recovered with everything present and correct, and the thief was arrested, charged, and sentenced to community service. I couldn’t have asked anything more of the cinema staff – they were brilliant.”

“Best example was stepping in to aid a fellow cinemagoer after she had plucked up the courage to ask a rowdy group of teenage girls to stop kicking the chairs and to keep the noise down & stop swearing (this was during a showing of Never Let Me Go – hardly a popcorn movie). One of the girls actually had the front to go to the management though to complain about the poor woman instead. It took a moment, but once I realised that the security guard was telling the woman off instead, I went over and explained what had been happening. As a result of their behaviour, and because they’d lied about the woman’s role, they all got thrown out and we all enjoyed the rest of the film in peace.”

“Light Cinema has excellent customer support – always welcoming and, always happy to try and resolve any concerns.”

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Setting The Standard

“Our local independent cinema (QFT Belfast) runs a notice immediately before the start of the film telling the audience to turn off their phones and stop talking now. It’s not much, but it’s more than other cinemas do.”

“The Carlton cinema in Westgate-On-Sea, Kent. A Picturedrome cinema. £2.50/£3.50 a seat during the week rising to £3.50/£4.50 at the weekend. Audience always well behaved. Queuing system even on busy showings is well managed. Don’t know any other cinema half as good as it.”

“Les Miserables anniversary live cast from the O2 to cinemas saw the cinemas really getting into the spirit and selling refreshments in front of the screen during the interval, outfit and all.”

“Harbour Lights in Southampton is excellent, just a shame they don’t show all the blockbusters. The effort they put in when showing Doctor Who specials was amazing.”

“I love visiting the Kinema in the Woods – a 1920s cinema that shows latest films. The audience always seem much more respectful of others.”

“When Cineworld made the change from unallocated to allocated they really made an effort to enforce it and helped people. That effort paid off well and people adapted very fast!!”

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“Years ago I was a security guard for a day in a cinema in Newport. I told some lads to shush and they did. I also got to watch Armageddon for nowt, which was nice.”

“I’ve found Everyman to be a good cinema chain as every time I have been there they have been very strict on their standards and rules.”

Food & Drink

“Everyman give people boxes to put their sweets in, rather than a rustling bag, including sweets not bought at the cinema – this really helps with the noise.”

“A young lad very graciously offering me some of his popcorn!”

Policing Screens

“The PCC in London is one of the best managed in terms of audience behaviour and vigilance. No other cinema has a staff member in the screening the whole time.”

“Recently, during Legend, a family with small children wandered in. The adults were clearly tired and wanted to make their kids society’s problem for a while. The staff noticed and calmly but firmly asked them to leave, which succeeded despite the grandmother’s protestations.”

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“Best experience is the BFI, it’s like the Royal Albert hall of cinemas – no one’s doing anything… And if you are 10 minutes late you’re not getting in which is fair enough.”

“Vue has a TV screen outside each cinema screen so staff can see the audience and come in if anyone is misbehaving. I think it does make people think twice.”

“My local independent cinema in Ryde will deal with disruptive patrons when reported, and occasionally do a random fly past to check. I have taken matters into my own hands before, yelling: “shut the ****up!” at persistent, loud patrons. It works, and comes with the unofficial blessing of the staff.”

“Best experience ever is Alamo Drafthouse in the US – no quibble, if you talk or use your phone you’re out. They have ushers so it’s spotted straight away and you don’t have to complain and ruin your own movie.”

“Opening night of 300, midnight showing, a fight breaks out during that scene where Xerxes explains the entire plot. Cops called. Ushers were applauded by how they dealt with it. Projectionist got booed because he couldn’t rewind the film. I still have no idea why the Battle of Thermopylae happened. :'(“

“One good example was at a showing of Jurassic World at the Everyman cinema in Hampstead. Someone near me took out their phone during the film and a worker quickly shone their torch on the person and said quite loudly “please put your phone away sir”. Not only did it get a little cheer from the crowd, it clearly embarrassed the person and made sure they did not do it again!”

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“The Empire Leicester Square is fantastic, people are ushered in and seats are allocated.”

“My local Phoenix in Leicester are great with audiences and have ushers in the screening, but even they can’t stop the older crowd from nattering! At the multiplexes I often have to say something myself as there are no ushers to be seen.”

“The Price Charles kicked out a very drunken man AND all his mates from a screening of Miami Connection. It was much appreciated!”

“Curzon Canterbury is marvellous but only because what I call the ‘Starbucks’ paradigm is in effect. The pricing model and front of house atmosphere seems to discourage people who are potentially more likely to be disruptive. I recently went to see The Martian and can happily report total silence (except appropriate laughter) and not one visible mobile phone screen. Curzon has totally reinvigorated my desire to go to the cinema after experiencing years of multiplex misery.”

“Amazing at IMAX in Central. Introduces film and reminds audience to shut up and watch. Actively monitor audience for disruptive behaviour.”

“I have recently started going to see films at an independent cinema in Birmingham, The Electric, precisely because they do not allow children in. Their screening are for adults, proper film fans with no need to worry about teenagers chatting through a film or small children kicking your seat or disrupting anyone. The screen is at the back of a stage, far enough away that your view will not be blocked by someone getting up to refill their drink. I think the classiness of the venue reflects and sends a message as you walk in and makes people behave that bit better than they would at an Odeon or Cineworld.”

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“I once paid extra to go to an over 18s only screening of a 12A film (one of the Harry Potter series I believe) specifically because it was sold as being adults only and having no kids. The information about the screening also said there would be a staff member in the screen at all times. It worked, and I don’t know why more cinemas don’t do it. I don’t remember which chain it was unfortunately.”

“New Cineworld Cinema at Glasgow Silverburn has lots of staff patrolling screenings, warning people about phones/feet on seats.”

“I have been to special previews where security tell everyone individually to turn their phones off, this seems to work, though probably not practical for large multiplex cinemas.”

Righting A Wrong

“Odeon: during one of the Marvel films, everyone had left but I was waiting for the post credits sequence, the cleaners came in and turned the lights up but as soon as they noticed me they turned the lights back down and waited for me to leave before continuing.”

Helpful Audience

Matrix Reloaded/Revelations can’t remember which – Vue Norwich. Teenager answered her phone and proceeded to have a loud conversation with her mate during one particularly arduous sequence of overblown exposition. Feeling uncharacteristically bold I asked her if she would please cease the conversation (I may have been a bit more Anglo-Saxon about it), at which point the whole theatre applauded and we never heard another peep from her.”

“Opening nights of big movies when you have to buy tickets in advance are usually much better as people actually want to be there to watch in peace.”

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“My local independent cinema takes this issue quite seriously. On a recent visit, there was a child who was making quite a lot of noise. The guy who runs the cinema just had a quiet word with the parents; he didn’t make a scene out of it, just a quiet word and this helped the situation.”

“Last week at the premiere of Spectre a couple both went to the loo one after each other in the middle of the film. but in their defence neither went back to their seats afterwards and sat on the aisle seats so as not to disturb the people sitting next to them a second time.”

“The Odyssey in St Albans is a fantastic cinema, how watching a film should be like. Lovely seats, sipping a glass of your favourite drink with like minded people who just want to watch a film as it should be watched. In P and Q.”

“Aside from that, the Curzon audience is great – no talking, very little sweet-rustling etc. There’s no staff in the cinema to supervise behaviour, but on the whole, there’s no need for them to be there – very respectful lot.”

Entertaining Audience

“Out of 50+ films seen at our local Curzon last year, we only experienced disruption once. A couple very much worse for wear tipped up ten minutes after Exodus: Gods And Kings started, walked to the back row, stood right in front of the projector and clambered/fell over the seat backs to find their seats, murmured for a bit then walked out apparently in disgust at the quality of the film, the man loudly explaining to the rest of us that Ridley Scott was the best filmmaker in the world and Christian Bale was the best actor in the world, but they’d both gone irreversibly to shit in this film and he felt sorry for anyone that had to watch it. It was sort of brilliant.”

“When we went to see the last Harry Potter someone in the audience shouted out just as the opening credits started “Dobby Loves Harry Potter” everyone laughed.”

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And one more…

“Empire Leicester Square, Frightfest 2012. Someone was using their phone down near the front. A voice from the back of the cinema “Oi! Turn your phone off you c***!” Phone was turned off :)”

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