21 September 2013

Where has Movie Theater Etiquette Gone Part IV: Etiquette to the Rescue!

Remember back to March 2013 and the premiere of Where has Movie Theater Etiquette Gone Part III at the Edward Ringwald Movieplex?  If you haven't read it yet you should; in fact if you right click on this link and select "Open in a new Tab" (works on both Internet Explorer and Firefox) you can read that blog entry as well as this blog entry side by side.
The place:  AMC Regency 20 Theatres, located in Brandon at FL 60 and Interstate 75 east of Tampa.  It's also reachable from the Selmon Crosstown Expressway as Brandon is the expressway's east end.
The movie:  Insidious Chapter 2, the sequel to 2011's Insidious.  It's a horror movie about a husband and wife trying to unlock the secret that had them somehow tied to the spirit world.  If you go see this movie, be prepared for edge of your seat scenes!  Being a new release, I thought it was a must see; after all, my mother (who unfortunately passed away in March 2000) liked going to those horror movies too.
So, I set out on northbound Interstate 275 across the Howard Frankland Bridge into Tampa, checking out the progress of the Interstate 275 mega-reconstruction project as I passed by, which is supposed to be wrapped up in 2016.  The pieces are slowly being assembled, one by one.
Then through downtown Tampa and eastbound Interstate 4, going past the Selmon Crosstown Connector which will enable traffic to seamlessly transition between Interstate 4 and the Selmon Crosstown Expressway.  The connector will also benefit interests at the nearby Port of Tampa; in particular, gasoline tanker trucks won't have to go through historic Ybor City and 21st/22nd Streets and try to preserve the historic character of Ybor City at the same time.
After the Tampa Bypass Canal it's southbound on Interstate 75 to Exit 257, FL 60 to Brandon.  A couple more turns through the traffic signal garden on FL 60 in Brandon and - before you know it - AMC Regency 20 Theatres.  Park the car and find the main entrance.
Notice the heavy Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office presence at the theatre, which means extra peace of mind, as I make my way to the box office.  Purchase tickets to the 11:15 PM showing of Insidious 2.  To make maximum use of my waiting time, go to a nearby Starbucks to get something to eat and drink as well as work on my laptop.
As showtime drew nearer, enter theatre and usher takes ticket.  Head over to Auditorium 13 and the special line for the show.  Before that, make a pit stop at the concession stand for evening meal, as I don't want to eat too late.
Enter Auditorium 13 and find great seat and settle in.  After enduring about 15 minutes of upcoming attractions, now our feature presentation.  Right as the lights dimmed down and the movie started, trouble was brewing on the horizon when a group of unruly - believed to be teenage children - sat in the seats next to me.  These children insisted on their "right" to chatter and text on their cell phone, even after I courteously told them to please cut the chatter and observe silence during the movie.
After all, Silence is Golden at AMC Theatres.  And they mean it to their word.
Already someone else made a complaint regarding the teenage children's behavior.  The usher came in and warned the teenagers to please be seated and to cease all chatter and have respect for others who are trying to see Insidious 2 in quiet.  The usher put those teenagers on notice that if the conduct continues, ejection is in order.
25 minutes into Insidious 2.  The teenagers continued to insist on their "right" to use their cell phone to text as well as chat.  When I reminded these teenagers to be quiet, I was given dirty looks.  The genre of Insidious 2 brought the tragedy at the Cinemark Movie Theater at Aurora, Colorado in the back of my mind and the increased security by the major theatre chains including AMC Theatres in the wake of what happened in July 2012.
That was it.  Time to step out of Auditorium 13 and see the usher.  Within seconds, backup in the form of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputies working security detail for AMC Regency 20 Theatres was called.  Within a few minutes, the unruly teenagers were ejected.
As for me, I was way too concerned of seeing the movie any further for fear of retribution.  As such, the management of the AMC Regency 20 gave me a pass to use to see any movie (including special engagements) at any AMC theater.  Believe me, I put that pass to good use the next day, over at AMC Veterans 24 Theatres.
But I got to hand it to AMC Theatres.  They have a very successful Silence is Golden policy for many years; after all, I pay $10.50 regular adult admission for the privilege of seeing a movie that I would like to see, and I think I should be able to see a movie in its entirety without any distractions from cell phone users and chatters.
And I got to admit it:  The staff and management of AMC Theatres, especially the three Tampa area AMC Theatres - Veterans 24, Westshore 14 and Regency 20 - will do anything and everything to make your movie going experience a memorable one.  The staff at these three AMC Theatres will resolve any problems with patrons who do not wish to observe proper movie theatre etiquette including silence during the feature presentation.  Speaking of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office presence at the AMC Regency 20 (as well as the Tampa Police Department and Westshore Plaza Mall Security presence at the AMC Westshore 14 as well as the security presence at AMC Veterans 24), it makes going to the movies much more safer and enjoyable.  And I got to agree with you on that.
While we're on the subject of movie theater etiquette, more needs to be done to better enforce proper etiquette when inside a movie theater auditorium during the feature presentation.  What I believe should be done is laws being enacted that address the issue of disrupting a movie due to improper etiquette; you can make this happen by writing or emailing your legislators in Tallahassee and demanding better.
Want proof on criminal laws that deal with a specific subject?  Look at Section 871.01 of the Florida Statutes - this law deals with disruption of a church service.  The same thing can be applied to movie theaters as far as disruption during the movie by chattering patrons is concerned.
If such a law were passed here's how it would be worded:
Disturbing motion picture feature presentations; penalty -
1.  Whoever willfully interrupts or disturbs any movie theater whose purpose is the exhibition of motion pictures upon the payment of the applicable price of admission commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
2.  A person found guilty of a violation of this section, in addition to the penalties prescribed in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, shall be denied admittance to any movie theater in this state for a period of six months.  A person found guilty of a violation of this section shall be liable to the owner of the movie theater for any financial liability incurred in the refund of admissions paid as a result of such interruption or disruption.

As I wrote in Where has Movie Theater Etiquette Gone Part III, I am going to enumerate the pointers that you should know when you go to the movies, whether it's the big multi-screen multiplexes or the small two-auditorium theater in town:
1.  Turn off that cell phone, BlackBerry, iPad, Droid or whatever when you enter the theater auditorium.  Better yet, lock up that cell phone in your vehicle out of sight.

2.  Your ticket only allows you to see a movie at a particular time and only within a particular auditorium.  This information is printed on your ticket when you obtain it from the box office or the ticket kiosk.  Your ticket does not allow you to hop from auditorium to auditorium; if you want to see another movie the same day at the theater be sure to purchase a ticket for the other movie too.  Auditorium hopping is grounds for exclusion from a theater without refund.

3.  When the movie starts, please observe silence during the feature presentation.  Your fellow movie goers will thank you.  Like AMC Theatres says, it's movie time, not cell phone or texting time or whatever.

4.  If you have a group of people that want to attend a movie, call ahead of time and find out if your theater will make arrangements so that your group can sit together during the show.  Please, don't show up with your little group right when the movie starts and chase other people out of their seats.  Unless told to do so by someone in authority at the movie theater such as an uniformed usher, I will not yield my seat to your group that decides to show up at the very last minute.

Now there is a meaning to come early to get a good seat.  In fact, if you buy your movie tickets on Fandango or MovieTickets.com you are advised to show up well in advance to get a good seat.

If everyone can follow these simple tips I presented above for going to the movies then everyone will be happy and at the same time everyone will get their money's worth for the price of admission.

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