Sunderland cinema’s crackdown on annoying habits

General manager at Sunderland's Empire Cinema, John Hodgson is 'tormented' by the cinema-goers from hell - two of his staff Leo Collins and Marie Faraday!
General manager at Sunderland's Empire Cinema, John Hodgson is 'tormented' by the cinema-goers from hell - two of his staff Leo Collins and Marie Faraday!
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PONGY feet, heavy petting and plot spoilers are being discouraged to make movie-going more enjoyable.

Empire Cinema in Sunderland has raised the curtain on a new 10-point Cinema Etiquette Guide, to encourage better conduct.

It has been released after a survey showed that 65 per cent of people did not feel confident enough to tell off fellow cinema-goers about their bad behaviour.

Talking came out as the top pet peeve with 50 per cent of those questioned saying it was the most annoying cinema habit.

Crunching on popcorn and rustling packets loudly is the second biggest annoyance, followed by public displays of affection (PDAs).

Other top irritations include people playing on their mobile phones, putting their feet up on the chairs, people removing their shoes and having the plot or ending of the film ruined by social media.

Some 41 per cent claim to have read a film plot line on Twitter or Facebook, diminishing the enjoyment and suspense of the film they’re seeing.

John Hodgson, manager at Empire Cinema in Sunniside, said: “As well as the survey we get a lot of feedback from our social media sites about what habits people find annoying.

“I think one of the biggest annoyances these days is people using their mobile phones.

“I don’t think people realise how distracting it is when their phone lights up in a dark cinema.

“A growing problem is people checking in, tagging and Tweeting while in the cinema. We know they are doing it because they will tweet our account while they’re watching a film.

“The survey also showed that people found people going to the toilet annoying, but obviously we can’t stop people doing that.”

He added: “We already police the screens but there are little things we might not spot but which spoil the cinema experience for others.

“Quite often it’s things people don’t realise they are doing so we wanted to issue this guide as a code of acceptable behaviour and have pinned it up inside the cinema.”

TV presenter and film critic Paul Ross is backing the scheme nationally.

“We go to the cinema to enjoy, not endure, a movie,” he said. “To immerse ourselves in a fantasy world of action, comedy, romance or horror – whatever floats your boat. Strange, magical, wonderful things happen on our Empire Cinemas movie screen, which is as it should be.

“And I want those strange things to stay on the screen – not to happen two rows in front of me.

“As when, years ago, I smelt a strange smell and saw some odd movement in my peripheral vision. And there, at the end of the row, a middle aged man had pulled out a wooden stool with a leg missing and was gluing it back together – in the dark.

“Inappropriate doesn’t even enter into it. We go for the movie, not the madness.

“Follow Empire Cinema’s Etiquette Guide and abide by its 10 golden rules and we’ll all have a happier, and quieter, viewing experience.”

Twitter: @sunechokaty

The Empire Etiquette Guide

1. Keep talking to a minimum – save the chat for after the film.

2. Enjoy your treats quietly – keep rustling to a minimum.

3. No PDAs – keep public displays of affection until after the film.

4. No mobile phones – keep all mobile phone use until after the film including texting, social networking and internet surfing. All phones should be switched off or turned to silent so they don’t interrupt others mid-film.

5. Keep feet off chairs – remember your fellow cinema-goers have to sit in them.

6. Don’t disturb your fellow cinema goers – arrive on time/no getting up to go to the toilet.

7. No removing of shoes – keep your foot odour confined to your shoes.

8. No littering – take your leftovers with you and no popcorn fights.

9. No plot spoilers – don’t ruin the movie ending for others by posting on social media.

10. Allocated seating – no sitting in other peoples booked seats.