While the vast majority of film-goers fully understand movie theater etiquette, it seems there’s always one who deems it OK to talk loudly, throw popcorn or take calls on their mobile phone. Such people can turn what had the potential to be a great night into two hours of frustrating, blood-boiling torture. Sure, you can say something, but if the posters, notices, warnings and on-screen reminders aren’t enough to communicate to the person that such behaviour is inconsiderate, it’s likely your complaint will simply fall on deaf ears.
Intent on improving the movie theater experience for its patrons, one cinema in the UK has taken a humorous approach to the situation by using ‘cinema ninjas’ to patrol the theater during a screening, looking out for trouble-making transgressors.
Paul Vickery, the PR man for the popular two-screen Prince Charles independent movie theater in central London, told the BBC that the idea was the brainchild of audience members fed up with constant interruptions. Together they hatched a plan to send lycra-clad ninjas into screenings in the hope that a touch of humor might appeal to people’s better nature.
Catherine Small, currently working as a ninja at the Prince Charles, told the BBC, “It’s all about cinema etiquette, and making people have a great experience….so if we can stop the people being naughty then everyone else can enjoy it.”
She continued, “We’ll quietly sneak up on them, obviously not wanting to scare anyone, but we’ll give them a little tap and a little ‘shoosh’ and a little whisper and explain why they’re doing something wrong and that they need to stop so that everyone else can enjoy [the movie].”
According to Catherine, the cinema ninjas seem to be having a positive effect. “The response from people has been really great. People have found it amusing….and actually quite enjoyed it,” she said.
Perhaps one day movie theaters around the world will be filled with cinema ninjas keeping order, singling out those annoying individuals who seem intent on ruining a night out for everyone else.