With movie ticket prices continuing to increase — and the home theater experience getting less expensive and more immersive — you can understand why consumers would get upset if their night out at the cinema is spoiled by some mouthy jerk, or by that person three seats over who can’t seem to stop texting. But how best to handle these people — Shaming? Violence? Ninjas?
That last one isn’t a joke — though it’s certainly a misnomer on the theater’s part — as a theater in the UK recently began using volunteer “ninjas” who sport black body suits and quietly guard moviegoers’ experience in exchange for free admission.
One ninja target shares their story on Slashfilm:
I normally hate noisy people in cinemas, but I got a call from my friend just as the movie started and thought I could get away with taking it. The last thing I expected was two completely blacked-out people suddenly appearing by our seats and give me and my mates a warning to shut up. It was actually pretty terrifying at first, but then I realised it was a bit of a laugh and a great way to make it clear what I was doing was having an impact on those around me. It certainly made me hang up and shut up for the rest of the film.
This is probably a better route than slapping some kid who keeps running his yap during a movie.
And it certainly would be an improvement on theater chains’ campaigns pleading with people to pay more attention to the big screen than the one on their phone, though we still love Alamo Drafthouse’s very public shaming of a customer who not only got kicked out for being obnoxious, but then left a rambling, vitriolic voicemail about how she’d been the victim of an injustice.
We do worry that someone will eventually sue a theater operator over the ninja thing. After all, there was that woman who sued a theater after she banged her head on am armrest while hunched over trying to take a call during a movie.
So what’s the answer? We want to hear from you — not just about texters and loud-talkers, but about how theaters should deal with out-of-control children and kids who shouldn’t be in the theater in the first place.