Sue Murphy on why we need to be a little quieter in screens
It's probably safe to assume we have all been there at some stage. You're enjoying a nice moment in a film, a touching moment, something that draws you in and makes you feel incredibly emotional only to have the wonderful silence broken by somebody rustling a bag of popcorn and chomping down like their life depends upon it.
Why do people eat food in the cinema? What is it about watching a film that makes anyone want to eat endless amounts of confectionery? It wasn't always the way!
Interestingly, popcorn was originally banned from the cinema. Initially, the movie theatres wanted the entire experience to be like an evening at the actual theatre... and they really didn't like popcorn being mushed into the carpets.
But then, cinema owners realised they could be missing out on a pretty penny and with the onset of the Great Depression, popcorn became a luxury that most people were able to afford.
That trend has continued to this day with many cinemas cashing in on the fact that they don't really make a lot of money out of the actual screenings but can lure people with the fresh smell of popcorn and various varieties of sweets and ice-cream. Yeah, you have us good, folks.
The thing about it is, I don't really object to people having a night out and enjoying a good comedy or horror with some nice treats. They can even laugh or scream. (I gest, my totalatarian regime won't be this bad). But please, for dramatic, heartfelt films that pack an emotional punch, let's leave the munch outside.
Two particular movies have highlighted the issue for me lately. One film was Room, an evening screening of an incredibly tense film with a poignant and upsetting plot. However, right in the middle of this, someone decided they needed a Revel or some such and had to burrow to the bottom of the bag to find it. A particularly quiet scene, massive amounts of rustling.
The other was the Revenant. Now, if you have seen the Revenant you're probably willing to tell people that Maltesers are the only bright thing in the entire 156 minutes of running time but the bear rustling is enough. It doesn't need any extra sound effects.
I could go on, Creed involved a number of smelly jalapenos in close vicinity to me while Sicario's opening was accompanied by sweet swishing. How can anyone even concentrate listening to that?
So what do you think? Fine for comedies but let's cut it out for the emotional punch?