How to behave at the movies

January 12, 2018
How to behave at the movies

Abdulhalim Al-Barrak

Makkah daily newspaper

With the return of movie theaters to Saudi Arabia, there is going to be an outpouring of people rushing to watch movies and this necessitates the development of movie theater etiquette.

Here are a few things that can possibly go wrong and their solutions:


Most movies are at least two hours long and with drivers in the Kingdom known for illegal and double parking, I hope moviegoers do not find themselves returning to their cars with no way to leave because another impatient moviegoer double parked and blocked them. To avoid all of this, ample parking spaces should be constructed.


Many Saudis like to be supportive and even if they watched a movie a few days ago, they will watch it again with friends. This does not mean they should ruin the ending for others. Proper film etiquette means not spoiling movie endings and movie theater manners require silence!


Dear tired parent: You can sleep if you are forced to come with your children, but you absolutely cannot snore in the theater. Kids are welcome to see movies made for them but toddlers and infants are best left at home!


The process of buying tickets is streamlined and this means that moviegoers can buy their tickets online so as not to cause crowding at the ticket booth. But we still have to stand in lines to enter a theater and we must commit to standing in lines in an organized and fair manner. Seventeen men rushing to get into a theater while screaming “I was first” is uncivilized behavior.


Those who like to comment out loud during a movie should remember that they are not in their living room and that the movie theater is a public venue where the viewing experiences of other patrons should not be interrupted. Discussions and plot analyses are best left for after the movie, perhaps during the ride home. Similarly, I advise those who like to move a lot and are unable to control their limbs as if they were actors in the movie to sit in the first few rows. No one wants those seats and you can kick and jump as much as you please!

No phones

Moviegoers are expected to keep their phones on silent and not to take any calls inside the theater. And for tech savvy youth, save your Instagram and Snapchat stories for after the movie. Sending your friends 10-second clips will not achieve anything other than annoying others seated around you.

Finally, I hope that Saudi movie theaters do not follow Egypt by including a mandatory 10-minute intermission. Such a break just means people get up to eat and drink more and takes away from the overall movie going experience.

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