The Cinema; Your Private Space with 50 Strangers

Although the cinema is a public space, it’s not your typical public space. While the movie is playing it’s more of a private space with public conditions. Movie etiquette includes not talking loudly whilst the movie is on, and limiting phone use because of the bright screen that can distract people from the movie screen. However I have had many a bad movie experience, where the person behind me keeps kicking the back of their seat, or someone nearby keeps talking or eating their food really loudly. Behaviour like this in the movies is likely to anger most people sitting nearby; even though it is classified as a public space, there are certainly no no’s when it comes to disrupting peoples experience, especially as people now have to pay $20+ for a ticket.

Going to the movies is a leisurely activity; many will go from a young age with their parents, on first dates or with their friends when they’re allowed to make trips to the mall unsupervised by parents. Even if the movie isn’t that great, or if you aren’t interested in the genre, many people go to the movies just to go to the movies.

Thinking back on my last visit to the cinema, was with my Mum and teenage sister to see The Fault in our Stars. Never have I had an experience like this. The cinema was packed with teenage girls, and the mass sniffling and sobbing was equal parts fascinating and hilarious. The cinema provides a space like no other, where strangers can sit side by side in a public place and bond over a fictional story that you live through and experience for 2-3 hours.

Even though the book was better, and I probably wouldn’t watch the movie again, it’s exciting to watch a new release on a big screen. I’ve paid for many a movie that I haven’t enjoyed and wouldn’t even rate a 3/10, but I went and paid nonetheless because all my friends were going.

As an ‘adult’, the exciting movie experience isn’t quite the same as it was in my youth. There was nothing quite like watching the first Twilight movie on the day it was released with a cinema full of teenage girls who had read every page back to front and spent their days fantasizing about team Edward or Jacob.

With piracy being on the rise, I can imagine that the levels of cinema attendance will slowly decrease over the years, but I can’t see the cinema business ever shutting down completely.

“The proportion of Australians attending the cinema at least once per year has averaged 69 per cent since 2000, with an average of about eight visits per year per person. After last reaching a high of 72 per cent in 2004, the attendance rate has averaged 68 per cent in the subsequent eight years. The frequency of attendance also fell slightly during this time, and is now at 6.9 visits per year compared to 7.8 in 2004.” (Screen Australia, 2014)

These statistics are no surprise to me. With the ever increasing cost of the movies, it’s no wonder people are choosing to go less than they used to. Personally, now I’m 19 I don’t have as much time to go to the movies as I once did. Whilst trying to organise a movie date and session in our tutorials, it was apparent how much little free time we had. Due to all our differing schedules, university timetables, work rosters and other commitments, it’s harder at this age to find a day and a time that fits for everyone.

Even though an adult ticket, popcorn and frozen coke may set you back $35, the movies is an activity that people of any age can enjoy. There’s a certain excitement about watching a new movie in a cinema theatre that every person feels.


Screen Australia 2014, Audio Visual Markets; Cinema, viewed 29th August 2014 <>


One thought on “The Cinema; Your Private Space with 50 Strangers

  1. Lately the sound of shuffling popcorn bags has driven me absolutely crazy, I can’t stand the sound and how it invades the first half hour of any movie and slowly lessens but never completely goes away.. LOL. I almost wish they issued headphones that plugged into the seats or something!

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