I apologise at the start of this if it comes across as a bit ranty, but it’s something that really annoys me!  As I have mentioned on here before, during the early 90’s I was lucky enough to get a job working at my local cinema. Was the most enjoyable job I ever had, but didn’t pay well. It wasn’t just because I got to watch a lot of films, but i enjoyed the whole audience atmosphere. One of my audience highlights was standing at the back of a screen full with over 700 people watching Jurassic Park, and watching the whole screen jump out of their seats as the Velociraptor pops out of the pipes behind Ellie. It was great!  Back then you would have to watch the film all the way through and make sure the audience behaved themselves and didn’t ruin it for other people, which brings me to my rant. Where have the manners gone in the cinema?

  Even after I stopped working at the cinema I still visited it at least once a week, and there was nothing better for me than sitting and watching a new film. Then a few years ago something seemed to change. The audiences seemed to be getting noisier, and the bane of my life started to rear it’s ugly head, the mobile phone (cell phone for US readers!). At first it was the odd call ringing out, whilst watching Face/Off one patron thought it was alright to have a conversation whilst the film ran!  Then with the invention of the touch screen films, it is now light pollution. It’s been very rare for me to go to the cinema nowadays and not be distracted from the screen by these glowing lights. It has even caused me to be accused of being a paedo for asking someone to turn their phone off! Seriously!!  That incident whilst watching Toy Story 3 led me to write to the cinema manger about people using phones during the film, and what they were going to do about it! The reply from the cinema, nothing, zero, zilch!  I even contacted head office and was fobbed off. It is becoming clear that the cinemas don’t care. i suppose why should they, they still have people filling their screens, and buying their over-priced sweets.  I think one of the problems is the lack of staff in screen. When I worked at the cinema there was one person assigned to each screen so you could keep an eye on it and deal with problems. Now they have 2-3 people covering 7 screens! 

   On their Radio 5 show Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode brought out a list of cinema etiquette, which was brilliant, if a bit harsh on some things, only soft food! It’s a shame the cinema chains don’t join together and do something similar. In terms of phone use, a slightly funny advert from Orange telling people to turn their phones off doesn’t work. They should threaten people with expulsion and bans from future performances. I even suggested they could class phones as recording devices which are banned under copyright laws. Unfortunately nothing will happen until it starts hurting the chains pockets. With home cinema systems getting better, and dvd releases coming even sooner after cinema release it’s got to start affecting box office takings. I know I am not the only one getting fed up with having my cinema going experience ruined by the selfish few, but until there is a big change in the cinema chains attitude I for one will not be going as often as I used to. It has to be something special to get me into a cinema now, and with the fantastic format of Blu Ray I can get a better looking and sounding experience at home without the annoyance of others to ruin it!  We can now get 3D in the home which was the one thing the Cinema chains were hoping would bring people in rather than watch at home, yes they are expensive, but like most tech the prices will drop.

  There is also the piracy issue. Me personally, I would never and have never downloaded a film off the net. I love films and want them to make more, and by not putting money back in just seems wrong to me. Having sat through some noisy distruptive screenings I can see why some people download!

  For the cinemas, I think it’s time you pulled your head out the sand and looked at the future of your business, soon films will get day and day releases on home as well as the big screen and unless you start treating your customers properly, they will vote with their feet and stay at home.

  Films are the one thing in my life that have always brought me a lot of joy, but for me the Cinema experience is dying. RIP Cinema.

Rant over!

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