Unacceptable behaviours at the movies: Brits have their say
December 4th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

Unacceptable behaviours at the movies: Brits have their say

The movies hold a special place in the hearts of many Brits, offering a cherished pastime that has seen a resurgence in popularity following the industry's pandemic-induced challenges. However, the movie-going experience is not always free of grievances. A recent YouGov study delves into the behaviours that British consumers find unacceptable at cinemas.

The habit rated most widely unacceptable by the British public is taking phone calls during the movie. At 94%, they’re significantly likelier than the average audience (86%) across 17 diverse markets to disapprove of this behaviour. Brits are only marginally less disapproving of other types of in-theatre chatter – 89% say it is unacceptable for audiences to talk during movies, putting this significantly higher than the multi-market average (80%).

A similar portion of Brits (87%) express their disapproval of customers putting their feet up on chairs, slightly higher than the global average of 84%.

Bringing babies to movies not meant for their age is also a major source of upset for the Brits (86% vs 80%).

Britons are far likelier than the average attendee across 17 markets to find unacceptable the use of phones for texting or browsing during shows. While three-fifths of consumers (60%) across all markets survey indicate this sentiment, this figure soars to roughly four in five among Britons (79%).

The consumption of noisy food and drinks, such as crunchy potato crisps or slurping on a slushy, is frowned upon by 71% of British adults, a figure that exceeds the global average of 66%.

Britons are about as likely as the multi-market average to find it unacceptable for patrons to enter the movie theatre late (47% vs 46%) and for acts of public display of affection during movies (39% vs 38%).

Two-fifths of them are opposed to loud reactions to events in the movie (43%), which is a slightly lower share than the overall average (46%). They are less than half as likely to take exception to consumers shifting in their seats (19% vs 39%).

These rates of disapproval of certain behaviours is generally almost consistent among both men and women, with a couple of noticeable exceptions. Men are eight percentage-points likelier than women to say it is unacceptable for crowds to react loudly to in-movie events (47% vs 39%), while women are more likely to disapprove of audience members showing physical affection to romantic partners while at the movies (43% vs 35%), a pattern that was also noticed among US audiences.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 17 market. The overall American sample size is 2001 adults and the multi-market sample-size is 18,076 adults. All surveys were conducted online in September 2023.