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Why I don't like seeing films theatrically anymore (1 Viewer)

The Drifter

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Being a huge film aficionado, some of my best experiences in the past have been seeing films theatrically - primarily in the 200X's. At the time, some local art house theaters had showings of older 1950's/1960's films, so it was great to see classics like this on the big screen. And, there are definitely a lot of other great films that are amazing on the big screen, i.e. the Star Wars films; Blade Runner (saw the 2007 cut in a limited theatrical release), and too many others too list.

However, as time went on I realized that it was becoming a huge hassle to see films in the theater. In fact, in my experience, non-issues with theatrical audiences are the exception rather than the rule. I used to go see movies in the theater 2-3 times a week in the 200X's, from huge Hollywood blockbusters to small art house films. And, whether I was in a large theater or a small one, the a-holes would all come out of the woodwork. Here are just some examples:

-Seeing the re-make of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 2003; a family thought it was a good idea to bring their infant to this violent film, and the kid kept crying throughout. At the same film, a women kept leaving the theater multiple times to talk on her cell phone. WTF?!

- People talking throughout the showing of Dirty Pretty Things (2002), even when various audience members told them to keep it down.

I've got numerous other examples. But, in general, I've seen the following many times when I've gone to see films in the theater: people coming in & then leaving the theater multiple times, people coming to the theater very late & disrupting the film while they find their seats in the dark, kids crying/screaming, drunk/high/obnoxious or mentally ill audience members, etc. can make going to the theater a truly messed-up and unpleasant experience.

I just don't see the point of making an effort to get expensive tickets online (or wait until you get them in the theater), drive there, and sit down in a crowded (maybe) theater to put up with this. The viewing experience @ home is a lot more pleasant, easier, and stress-free.
 
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bmasters9

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Between crying infants, loud talking people, and twits playing on cell phones, I have completely lost the desire to go to the movies anymore.

And worse, crying infants at showings of hard-R films, especially late at night when those infants should be asleep!

Shouldn't it be obvious?! If your child is crying really loud in a theater late at night, especially at a hard-R film, it's that child's way of saying, "Get me out of here!!"
 

Todd Erwin

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And now you also have the families who don't understand the concept of assigned seating. When I took my sister and her daughters to see Mary Poppins Returns last December in Dolby Cinema at their local AMC, I had to ask a bunch of children to vacate my reserved seats. They said that I had to talk to their mom when she returned from getting popcorn. So I did, and thankfully she arrived before the lights fully dimmed, but her response puzzled me - "I don't get this whole assigned seating thing." Um, if you purchased tickets online via Fandango or Atom, you were directed to a seating diagram to select your seats. The same thing if the tickets had been purchased at the box office. So, I don't get how one can't understand how assigned seating works. And I really wish my "local" theatre offered assigned seats, as I purchased my tickets for Captain Marvel two hours before showtime, but we ended up arriving late due to a delay, and ended up sitting in the first few rows that were at floor level.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I think “I don’t get this whole reserved seating thing” is code for, “The seats I really wanted weren’t available, and I was kinda hoping if I just took yours and you saw me here with a bunch of kids, you might avoid the confrontation and just give me these seats, which I really wanted in the first place, so doesn’t that kinda already make them mine?”
 

jcroy

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I stopped going a long time ago.

Too many lousy incidents, such as teenagers throwing food at one another. A cup of soda hard landing on the floor nearby and exploding.
 
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Edwin-S

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The only thing that ruins my theatre experience is the fact that I do not have a decent theatre to go to in my city.

Every time I sit in our theatre to watch a film my first thought is what an uncomfortable worn out dump the place is.
 

Bryan^H

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Inconsiderate people have completely ruined the theater experience for me. Between crying infants, loud talking people, and twits playing on cell phones, I have completely lost the desire to go to the movies anymore.

I have had some very bad experiences. I hate going to the theater because of the uncertainty of what is in store. All the things you mention, and more for me. I think cell phones are my biggest gripe and they are so common now. Those bright phones draw my eyes from the screen like a magnet. So inconsiderate.

I'm not ready to stop visiting the theater yet though. I had probably my greatest cinema experience of all time a while back, and it reminded me why seeing movies at a theater can be the best thing in the world.
 

Jeffrey D

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About the reserved seats- that issue was my one and only unpleasant experience at a theater. My brother, his wife and I got reserved seating for the film Patriots Day, and we find all 3 of our seats were taken by others who didn’t have a clue about how reserved seats work. I’ve been very lucky otherwise- either I choose a film that isn’t well attended (a couple of times I was all by myself in the theater), or the people around me have been well-mannered.
 

The Drifter

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Thanks for all of the feedback posts. To add to some of these:

-I absolutely hate assigned seating - which is another reason I hate going to see films theatrically these days. I remember not that long ago, when you could just go to a theater early & get good seats. It was a first come, first serve basis - which is the way it should be. And, if you didn't like your seat & there were extra seats somewhere, you could move. Now that we have assigned seating, I am forced to sit next to people I don't know (and don't want to know), and I've also come close to getting into fights with people when they sometimes argue with me over assigned seating.

Again, this is a lot more hassle than I need - when all I want to do is watch & enjoy the film. Life is too short to have to deal with this kind of crap.

-Also, I find ticket prices these days exorbitant - even if you go to an earlier showing; I can rent - and in some cases buy - a movie for the price it will cost me to see this theatrically. Back in the 200X's, there was a local theater that had a nice "twilight" price; i.e., the showing(s) between 4:00pm - 6:00pm-ish during the week were discounted. I would occasionally go to these showings after work. But, AFAIK they're not doing that anymore.
 
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Scott Merryfield

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We rarely go the the movie theater anymore -- it's probably been 2 years since our last visit, which was unpleasant due to that theater's assigned seating system. We went to the first show on a Sunday morning (10am) specifically because we knew the theater would not be crowded. When we purchased tickets at the counter, we were forced to select our seats on the computer screen. Well, every decent seat was blocked out, and we had to select two seats way too close to the screen. We entered the theater, and there were no more than a dozen people sitting in there. Only a handful of people entered after we sat down.

So, basically, the theater was blocking out all the good seats for their online ordering system, which charges an additional fee. While I have no issue with there being an added fee for online purchase, it's ridiculous to prevent a paying walk-in customer from buying those seats in an attempt to get a few extra bucks out of them -- especially when the theater is mostly empty.
 

bmasters9

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We rarely go the the movie theater anymore -- it's probably been 2 years since our last visit, which was unpleasant due to that theater's assigned seating system. We went to the first show on a Sunday morning (10am) specifically because we knew the theater would not be crowded. When we purchased tickets at the counter, we were forced to select our seats on the computer screen. Well, every decent seat was blocked out, and we had to select two seats way too close to the screen. We entered the theater, and there were no more than a dozen people sitting in there. Only a handful of people entered after we sat down.

So, basically, the theater was blocking out all the good seats for their online ordering system, which charges an additional fee. While I have no issue with there being an added fee for online purchase, it's ridiculous to prevent a paying walk-in customer from buying those seats in an attempt to get a few extra bucks out of them -- especially when the theater is mostly empty.

In other words, either you pay an arm and a leg to sit at a comfortable distance from the screen, or risk neck pain way up close-- is that it?
 

The Drifter

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To add to the recent posts, what I clearly remember doing from the heyday of my theatrical-going days in the 200X's (pre-assigned seating) was going to the theater early & getting a seat in the middle & about halfway to the top; most of the theaters I went to had stadium seating, so this would typically put me in a location so that the screen was about eye-level - which was perfect (at least IMHO).

I do remember going to see a movie years ago, and only being able to get a set near the front row - terrible; I had to crane my neck up & couldn't enjoy the movie at all as a result of this.
 

Malcolm R

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-Also, I find ticket prices these days exorbitant - even if you go to an earlier showing; I can rent - and in some cases buy - a movie for the price it will cost me to see this theatrically.
This is the biggest reason I seldom go any more. Once I realized that between the ticket and the popcorn I was paying more than I would pay for a blu-ray on release day, and still have to deal with all the other "annoyances" of the presentation and people as an added bonus, it made no sense to bother.

I used to plan my weekends and days off around seeing a movie in the theater. Now it's the lowest priority and the first thing to be scratched from the list of events if time runs short or it becomes the least bit inconvenient to get to a show. I think the last movie I saw in theaters was The Meg back in August 2018.
 

dpippel

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I have to agree with most of what's been said here. My experience seeing Captain Marvel yesterday at an AMC Dolby Cinema theater is a perfect example. They left the lights up and dimmed during all of the trailers, which ruins the experience. I realize this is common practice but I've NEVER understood it. Why do trailers get a less optimal viewing environment than the feature film? A pet peeve of mine.

When the feature finally DID start (a half-hour later) and the lights went all the way down, there was blue floor lighting turned on between the block of front seats and the riser seats that illuminated the lower half of the screen during the entire film. It made the "this is black" Dolby Cinema intro quite ironic to behold, because there was no "black" anywhere to be seen. In addition to THAT, the film looked slightly soft, AND I had a guy to my right coughing and blowing his nose the whole time, with another on on the left a few seats down doing the same thing.

All of this makes me wonder if it's even worth it any more. You pay a premium ticket price to see a movie in a premium venue, and the experience STILL leaves a lot to be desired more often than not. However, one thing I do love about the theatrical experience now is reserved seating. I disagree 100% with the poster above who sees this as a negative. I think it's GREAT! I get to choose where I'll sit ahead of time, and don't have to worry about getting to the theater early to wait in line *hoping* to get a good seat. It's a huge plus in my book. In fact, if it weren't for reserved seating I probably wouldn't even bother with movie theaters at this point in time. There's just too much to put up with.
 

The Drifter

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If assigned seating worked perfectly the way it was intended to 100% of the time, I would be more in favor of this. However, here is what I've noticed the few times I've dealt with this:

1) You typically can't choose the seats that you want - not necessarily due to others sitting in them - but due to the theater blocking out all the best seats (as detailed by SM above).

2) You will get to your assigned seat & find someone else sitting there. Then, you will need to argue with them about your right to sit there. They may get belligerent, and you will then need to decide whether you want to bother getting into a physical confrontation with them (which almost happened to me once), threatening to call management, etc.

3) You may/will be forced to sit near people you don't know/have no connection to & who may be obnoxious/drunk/on drugs. As a result, you may want to get up & move your seat to have more room/space, but can't do so due to the other assigned seats.

So, to those that assigned seating works for, great. However, I strongly suspect that you if go to enough movies w/assigned seating, you will invariably run into one - or more - of the issues I've detailed above.
 
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Scott Merryfield

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All of this makes me wonder if it's even worth it any more. You pay a premium ticket price to see a movie in a premium venue, and the experience STILL leaves a lot to be desired more often than not. However, one thing I do love about the theatrical experience now is reserved seating. I disagree 100% with the poster above who sees this as a negative. I think it's GREAT! I get to choose where I'll sit ahead of time, and don't have to worry about getting to the theater early to wait in line *hoping* to get a good seat. It's a huge plus in my book. In fact, if it weren't for reserved seating I probably wouldn't even bother with movie theaters at this point in time. There's just too much to put up with.

I have no issue with a theater offering reserved seating. However, I do have an issue when they do not make those same seats available to me as a walk-in customer if they have not been sold. Forcing me to buy online at an additional fee when I purposely go during a non-busy time (in our case Sunday morning) and there are lots of seats unused is not right.
 

Malcolm R

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1) You typically can't choose the seats that you want - not necessarily due to others sitting in them - but due to the theater blocking out all the best seats (as detailed by SM above).
If that's obviously the practice, and no one ever shows up to use those seats, what's stopping you from moving once the film starts?

Very occasionally, you may have someone show up late who has bought that seat, but if you've observed that these seats often go unused, I'd just move (though I have no experience with reserved seating; none of the theaters around here use it).
 

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